I was looking around on the internet and thought to myself, “You know what the world needs? Another blog about how to save money by repurposing and building furniture. 10,000 blogs just aren’t enough.” So here I am, number 10,001.
When it comes to shopping, I’m straight up cheap. This has led me to DIY all sorts of things. If I can’t find what I want for a great price at a store, then I get something old and fix it up or I build it. It started with me scouring the internet to figure out how to paint some of our old 80s oak furniture. After that was done, I refinished most of the wood furniture in our house. I also went to garage sales, thrift stores and dollar stores and found cheap things that I could make pretty with a can of spray paint(lamps, vases, frames, trays, the doorknobs in my house, etc).
When we sold our first home, I ended up saving THOUSANDS of dollars by staining all the kitchen and bathroom cupboards and painting the entire house. I also framed out all the bathroom mirrors, heightened the baseboards and built shelves. Our second home had the same oak cabinets that our first home did, so I painted those white. This was so time consuming and labor intensive, but by far the most “worth it” project I’ve done. In that home I also learned how to install chair railing and build floating shelves.
At some point I decided that whenever I found a cheap/free piece of furniture I now could confidently sand it down, fix it up, and sell it for a nice profit. At the time, I lived in Arizona in a community where every month the bulk trash guy would come around, so people would put dressers, ottomans, tables of all kinds, and so many other things just out in front of their house for him to pick up, so I was able to get a lot of things for free. Living in Alaska is a different story. There’s not that much furniture to go around in the first place, so even a trashed, scratched, broken-drawered nightstand at the Salvation Army goes for around $30. Having lived in both extremes, I can tell you that wherever you live you can still either save money by fixing or building your own furniture, or make money by reselling it.
At some point I decided that I wanted to start building furniture, too. After being married for years and still having our bed on the ground I wanted to try making a headboard. Using very basic tools, I built it and I loved it. For Mother’s Day my husband got me a Kreg Jig and it was a game-changer. Seriously, one of my favorite things ever.
In a few months we’re moving back to Arizona. The cost to ship everything down there is so high that it’s better if we just sell it all up here in Alaska and start over, which means LOTS of projects for me: coffee table, entry table, console for under the tv, dining table, side tables, nightstands, sofa table, upholstered headboard for us, beds for all the kids and outdoor furniture. (Of course, if I find a good deal somewhere and it’s cheaper to refinish than build, I’ll do that). If we end up buying instead of renting, add to that list: floating shelves, knocking holes in the walls between the studs to build extra storage, fireplace mantle, installing new light fixtures, full-length mirrors on doors, and framing out the windows and bathroom mirrors. With so many projects coming up, I really want to document all of it and maybe help a few people who want to do similar projects.
If this is something that interests you at all, just pick a piece of furniture and get started. Go through the trial and error. Learn a new skill. Save money by restoring or building instead of throwing out or buying new. The feeling of taking something that’s run down and making it useful again or of building and creating is really satisfying; there’s a certain pride that comes with doing things yourself and learning to do something you couldn’t do before. Try it out: find it, fix it or build it, and see if you actually can do what you thought you couldn’t.