Furniture Makeovers: Where are They Now?

Over the years I’ve shared lots of DIYs and furniture rehabs.  Some have turned out great and others I’ve tired of or realized I should have made better choices.  Below are some of my biggest projects as well as a “where are they now” update including my thoughts on what I would do differently if I could go back and change things.  Be sure to click the headings to see the old blog posts for more details on each project.

1.  Blue Ikat Sofa


After.  Photo of my Arlington, VA apartment from my 2014 home tour on The Everygirl.

I still love my sofa.  The pattern is bold but not so bold that it makes your head hurt.  I’ve recently been trying to tone things down a bit so figuring out how to do that with a blue ikat sofa is a bit tricky.  I’ve struggled with finding the perfect neutral rug (because this sofa needs a neutral rug) that is easy to keep clean, is baby friendly and works with the sofa.  I had this jute rug but it was too rough for a baby and shed like crazy so now we have this shag rug and I love it!  It’s nice and soft for Jack and it doesn’t compete with the sofa.

2.  Greek Key Dining Chairs

After.  At the family beach house on Fripp Island, SC.

I have to admit that I’m not crazy about how these turned out.  The quality of the paint I used wasn’t great so there has been a good amount of chipping, the color is too dark, and the fabric choice was not the smartest…it’s impossible to eat spaghetti without worrying about ruining the seats!  These are now down at my family’s beach house and one day I plan on redoing them.  I’m thinking white paint (my go-to Rustoleum spray paint!) and darker/more durable fabric for the seats.

3.  Chinese Chippendale Dining Chairs

Before.  (How I found them at the thrift store.)

After.  At our 2nd Maryland apartment.

I’m still as crazy about these as I was the day I spotted them at a thrift store!  They turned out better than I could have imagined, but they sure were a lot of work.  Now that Jack is mobile he likes to stand and scratch the seats.  Thankfully the paint is holding up well so far.  I should probably get some cushions made for them but they’re pretty comfortable now so I’m in no rush.  Jack has picked at the rattan wraps on one of the chairs and even starting eating one of the pieces of caning (I caught him before he tried to swallow it), so I have to keep an eye on him all the time when he’s in the dining room.  Mobile babies are exhausting!

4.  NYC “Trash Chairs”

Before.  (Starting the mile-long walk back to our hotel in Manhattan after finding them in the trash.)

After.  At our family’s beach house.

I completely regret my fabric choice on this one.  I thought I could have the fabric applied horizontally, but I couldn’t.  Instead of the preppy look I was going for I ended up with more of a “Beetle Juice Chic” look, as one reader called them.  They look neat, but they just don’t look like I imagined them.  Plus the stripes are so wide that I’m always anxious that the white part will get dirty.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with these, but for now they will stay in our family beach house.  Professional upholstery is expensive so learn from my mistakes and make sure you love the fabric and know how it is going to be applied BEFORE you pay someone to do it.

5.  Pink Wingback Chairs


After.  From my home tour on The Everygirl.

I still really like these chairs, and Tom does too thankfully.  My taste has changed a little bit these past few years though and now I tend to gravitate towards more neutral colors.  Were I to do it all over again I’d get these reupholstered in something more neutral, like a gray or blue pattern.  Now that things aren’t quite so cramped in our living room they look better because they’re not right up next to the blue sofa, the room is more colorful that I’d prefer though.

6.  Campaign Dresser and Hutch


After.  Photo taken by Sarah Bradshaw for my budget nursery article for USAA.

I LOVE this piece of furniture.  The white paint has held up extremely well and I think it’s the perfect piece in a boy’s room.  The shelves are wonderful for holding books and decorative objects I don’t want Jack to reach, and the three large lower drawers provide ample room for all of his clothes.  I would paint this piece white all over again in a heartbeat.  

7.  Campaign Dresser

Before.  (How I found it at the thrift store.)

After.  As my TV stand in my 2nd Maryland apartment.

The drawers of this dresser are still musty and a bit stinky, so it will always have to be in a non-bedroom room.  I regret painting it blue and wish I had painted it white.  It’s serving as our tv table now and it’s a wonderful piece with lots of great storage space, but I wish I had painted it white.  If I get the time I’ll likely repaint it (meaning I’ll paint it in like 10 years).  As I mentioned in #5 above, our living room is a bit colorful for my current taste so I think white would help to tone the room down a little.

8.  Faux Bamboo Tray Coffee Table

After.  Not a great photo but it looks much better in white.

I think this table looks so much better white than it did originally.  Unfortunately though, Jack would probably kill himself on it so it’s now living in Tom’s office and holding all of his papers.  Such a sad end state for such a beautiful and unique piece, but that’s our reality right now.  One day once Jack is older I’ll pull it out again.  I think it could also look really cute paired with the two pink wingback chairs in my office.  My knowledge of painting furniture was pretty limited when I did this piece so if I painted it now I think I would have done a much better job.  I did a poor job of sanding the faux bamboo joints and they look a little funky if you look closely.  A good sanding job really is so important, and I wish I had sanded this one better.

9.  Faux Bamboo Bench

After.  In our current bedroom.

I’m glad I didn’t paint this bench because the dark wood is so pretty and in such great condition.  I think the banana palm fabric is fun but it doesn’t play well with all the blue and pink in the house.  I really need to learn to not work in a vacuum and actually think about how pieces will look all together in the same room.  The cushion wasn’t very expensive to have made, and it’s removable, so I could easily get another one made in a more neutral fabric.  For now though, I think the bench looks well in our neutral bedroom so I don’t plan on getting a new cushion any time soon.

Well that’s it!  What do you guys think about these pieces and what would you have done differently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  The good thing about quality furniture is that you can always paint or reupholster it, so even if you do make a mistake you’re not stuck with it forever.  If you have a piece that you’ve been afraid to work on just go for it!  It’s intimidating when you first start refinishing furniture but you learn something every time you do it and you get better at it too.

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. October 17, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    Great post, Katie! I love those dining chairs. I am getting quicker about turning over my regrets, I found a chair at thrift store I loved, but moved it around house and it just didnt work anywhere, sold it on Craigslist within 2 days instead of letting it sit. But maybe I did that more cuz Nick is tired of all my excess furniture finds… haha. I love your couch and I think the pink chairs in office is a great idea!!

  2. October 17, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    Thanks Laurel! The "where are they now" post you did a few months ago inspired me to do this one. I've been working on it for months and finally got it all together lol. I need to sell some things on craigslist but I'm such a hoarder that I HATE getting rid of anything I put a lot of work into (or paid a lot to get reupholstered). I need to get over that. I know Tom would appreciate it haha. Thank goodness for patient husbands who are ok with their crazy wives acquiring random stuff all the time 🙂

  3. October 18, 2016 / 10:10 pm

    I LOVE your Greek key chairs in black. But, I think I have said before, black is my go to color to paint random furniture. I have a lot of white fabric in the rooms so it isn't dark and heavy. I think all your rooms look great. Taste does evolve, so your decisions weren't bad at the time, you just didn't know what you know now! If that makes sense. My style has totally evolved over the last 10 years, luckily my main pieces still work with some fabric and rug changes to make it new again. Or I have completely repurposed things into rooms I never imagined!! Personally, that is the best part of this nomadic life….the unexpected effects on your style and set up durning each move!

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