Homemade Furniture Stain & Console Table Reveal

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I’m so thrilled to share that my console table is built, stained, and in its new home in my living room! After much deliberation on what console table plans to use, I ended up making the $25 Console Table from Sawdust to Sequins.

Check it out!

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This was such an easy plan! I knocked it out in a couple of hours. This would be a fantastic beginner’s project if you’re just getting started building, and also if you’re starting to explore using a Kreg Jig and pocket holes.

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I did make some modifications to the original plan. My local Home Depot only sells 2×4’s in 8′ lengths, which are just a little too long for me to fit in my small SUV. Since I was in a hurry to get home so that I could start building, I wasn’t in the mood to get the 2×4’s cut down in the store. Instead, I purchased 1×4’s, which means my table is a little less chunky than the original plans.

I also ended up using two 1×8’s for the table top instead of three 1×6’s because I had the 1×8’s leftover from a different project.

In addition to the lumber, the tools I used were:

I ran to my nearest Home Depot around 6:30pm one evening, picked up lumber, came home to build, and was done with the table around 9:30pm! Seriously, such a quick and easy project.

And the overall effect on the room? I think this photo says it all! There’s about 2 feet between the back of the sofa and the console table. The table helps anchor the room and makes sense of the that awkward space behind the sofa. And the best part? Adding in that lamp on the table helps immensely with lighting the room in the evenings!

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What I’m most excited to share is how i finished the table! Over the past year I’ve gotten a little bit obsessed with homemade stain. I love the look of stain, but I don’t love the fumes. The mess. And the fear that I’m going to set something on fire by not disposing of rags/paper towels correctly after I’m done using stain (am I paranoid? Probably. I embrace that paranoia!).

But I don’t necessarily want to paint every piece of furniture I make. So I started exploring different homemade stain recipes and have happily settled on a homemade stain that I love (and yes – the coffee table in the photo above is also finished with that same homemade stain!).

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As you can see from the image above, the wood nicely darkens up after just two coats. And I love that I can just make up a batch of stain when I want it, and keep it in a mason jar.

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The recipe for the stain is super simple and made from ingredients I have around the house:

  • Ground coffee
  • Steel wool
  • White vinegar

I put about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee in a pint-sized mason jar, add in a steel wool pad, and pour in white vinegar until the steel wool is covered and leave it for about 18-24 hours. When I’m ready to use it, it remove the steel wool, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the coffee grounds, and then it’s ready to go.

The first coat tends to look really splotchy and a rather unappealing color, which the first time around made me feel like I’d made a huge mistake. But after about 15 minutes I add another coat and the overall color starts to improve. After another 15-20 minutes I’ll touch up any spots that haven’t covered well, and then I leave it be.

By the next day, the color has darkened up a bit more to a nice medium brown with gray undertones. Such an easy process, with the only downside being your house might smell just a bit like sauerkraut while you’re staining because of all of the vinegar. That’s a downside I can handle!

When I’m done, I prefer to keep the furniture with more of a matte finish, so if anything, I’ll put on a coat of Rustoleum’s Ultra Matte Topcoat one to two days after I’ve finished staining the piece.

I’d forgotten how much I enjoy building and finish projects, and getting this table completed was such a fun way to improve my living room last week! And all for under $50.

Have you experimented with any homemade stain recipes? Do share!

 

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Console Tables from Target for Under $120

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Last week I shared some of the plans I’ve been eyeing for consoles tables! I’m so excited to head out and by lumber this evening to get started on a table (which table is still to be determined – there are so many great ones to choose from!).

But for those of you not ready to get building, there are so really awesome console table options out there. I was particularly impressed with the selection I found at Target – great farmhouse style at awesome prices! Here are some of my favorites, all under $120!

Target
Convenience Concepts Oxford Console Table Gray Medium Convenience Concepts • $63.99
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Threshold Owings Console Table with 2 Shelves • $90.99
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Threshold Windham Console Table • $119.99
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Threshold Wheaton Trestle Base Console Table • $83.99

So many great console table options that won’t break the bank, whether you’re up for building or buying!

I’m psyched to get started on my table tonight, I just need to hurry up and make a decision on exactly what table I want to build!

Easy Faux Built-Ins with IKEA BILLY Bookcases

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I am a tiny bit obsessed with built-ins. I think they add a nice combination of charm and storage, which is a win-win in my book. Unfortunately because my tipsy old house is just so old (seriously, 150+ years old), it has avoided both charm and storage, a problem I’ve been tackling with each and every project I complete.

On our main floor, there really isn’t a great place for true built ins. But I knew that I needed to do something to bring a little more visual interest to our living room, which looked like this just a few months ago. It was just…sad.

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I loved the West Elm Modern Buffet that we had brought from our previous home, but it made much more sense in our former 1960s home than in our current 1840s home. And, quite honestly, we needed more storage and we needed a set up with a smaller footprint to help maximize a small room.

Here’s a view from the other angle so you can see the size of room we’re working with. This is our main living space so we have to be really careful about how we’re using the space (and please excuse the poor quality pictures – little did I know I would end up sharing these with the blogging world).

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While I usually enjoy the challenges of building furniture, I decided to go the ready-made route because I was anxious to pull this room together and I did not have access to my garage to build anything for about three months this spring/summer because we were getting a new roof and new siding.

I read tutorial after tutorial on using IKEA’s BILLY bookcases for faux built-ins. One of my favorite tutorials, which I used as a bit of a guide, was from Bless’er House.

So, I mapped out a plan based on the size of my wall:

And then I went shopping!

I also picked up a couple of 16″ x 42″ Billy Bookcases and two extra Oxberg doors to use for another project. The Billy bookcases are surprisingly solid – those suckers are heavy! Once everything was loaded in, my car started screaming at me about low tire pressure as soon as I pulled out of the IKEA parking lot!

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I got to work on installing the bookcases early one morning when I didn’t have to work and the kids were all at daycare. As far as IKEA furniture goes, assembly was incredibly easy once I got everything unpacked. Within a few hours I had everything assembled, but it was installation that took the majority of the time.

In case you couldn’t tell earlier, the name “tipsy old house” is not a stretch. Nothing in this house is square, walls slope in different directions, and the floors on the main floor are very warped. So not only is the corner where I was putting the built-ins incredibly off kilter, the floor was warped, which made it challenging to install anything. Especially cabinets.

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To deal with the “tipsy old house” issues, I had to do a few modifications.

The bookcases are not flush with the wall along the righthand side. I had anticipated putting something into place similar to what Bless’er House did, attaching a board to the wall and then placing trim in front, giving off a built-in illusion and masking the slanted wall. Unfortunately the wall was just too challenging to work with, so I just moved the cabinets as close to the wall as I could.

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To then deal with the warped floor, I attached a long board to the bottom of the cabinets to create a more even footing. Because I was working on this project solo, I cut the board into two pieces and attached one board to half of the cabinets, attached with screws,   raised the cabinets up to standing, and then repeated with the other half.

Everything still wobbled precariously, so I used shims underneath the footing to help the unit to sit evenly. Once everything was set, I used screws to secure the individual bookcases to one another (using the pre-drilled holes for the shelves), and anchored everything to the wall.

To cover up the mounted board and endless amount of shims, I attached trim to the base of the unit.

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And with that, they are done! Not bad for a day’s worth of work.

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And of course, I found the perfect spot for sharing my mantra-of-the-moment, which may or may not often revolve around caffeinated beverages.

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These are not exactly the built-ins of my dreams, as that would require the perfect little nook in which I would nestle in some hand-crafted cabinets and shelves. But I am thrilled with the end result. These cabinets fit perfectly in our space, give us some great open and hidden storage, and really pulls the room together.

Have you found any fantastic uses for BILLY bookcases?