Thursday, 31 March 2011

5 Quick & Easy Ways to Personalize an Apartment Kitchen

As a renter with very little control over the architecture of my home, I'm constantly thinking of ways to personalize the decor without paint or construction. Removable wallpaper is something I've been considering, but the price tag isn't exactly appealing. Here are a few quick and inexpensive tweaks I've made to our little kitchen, with no worries for the landlord.
  • Remove a cupboard door to display neatly organized dishes. (Believe me, my other cupboards do not look so pretty inside!)
  • Exchange old cabinet hardware for new knobs and handles — easily switched out during a move.
  • Hang textiles, such as aprons on the walls, or nice looking tea towels on cabinet doors. (Just make sure your wet towels don't drape on unprotected wood doors!)
  • Hang art on the walls. Small kitchens might not have a lot of wall space, but take advantage of the space you have.

If you're interested in seeing more of my little kitchen, check out the before and after below. Images: Amanda Johnson

Before & After: Small Apartment Kitchen Brightened

Before signing the lease of my dream apartment, I asked the landlord if I could pretty please paint the kitchen cabinets. Armed with a two-year lease, he agreed to not only give me permission to work on the kitchen, but he also supplied the paint.
There were 4 layers of paint underneath the blue, which made for long hours of stripping with scrapers and heat guns. Fortunately, my father has a spray gun and air compressor, which made the actual painting process a breeze.

After the doors were ready, I decided to leave off the mis-matched hardware of the wood cabinets and also one of the rear cabinet doors. I was able to convince the landlord to remove the old double-action door that kept the tiny room blocked off from the rest of the apartment. Now the bright light from the skylight can illuminate the adjacent rooms, and even entices me to do the dishes! (Sometimes.)
Images: Bill Malloy, Amanda Johnson

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

BIG Mural in a Little Bedroom

Photo: Annie Schlechter

Okay, forget just hanging a painting at the head of the bed. This hyper-color bedroom takes it a step further with an entire mural wall acting as a headboard...
This bedroom looks like it might just be nestled into a little alcove that's partitioned off by those bright red drapes. The rear wall has been covered with what appears to be a gigantic blow-up of a mountain scene photograph. Between the mural, the bedspread and the curtains, this little bedroom nook packs quite a colorful punch.
I think Harry would have liked the one above. It is certainly much more peaceful than the Forbidden Forest.

Or perhaps this one...




Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How to Decoupage Furniture DIY Paper Projects

By Lauren Flanagan
Decoupage Dresser Drawers - Daniele Lugli
Decoupage Dresser Drawers - Daniele Lug
Decoupaging furniture is a great way to spruce up old or unfinished items. All it takes are a few basic supplies, a little bit of time, and some imagination.

Decoupage is the art of decorating items with paper. Decoupage can be used for a whole host of craft projects large and small, including dressing up furniture.

Instructions for How to Decoupage Furniture

Sometimes the methods will vary slightly depending on whether or not the furniture is finished or unfinished, rough or smooth, and what kind of paper is used. These instructions can be followed for basic pieces of furniture and paper of a regular stock.
  • Choose a piece of furniture to be decoupaged. If this is your first attempt a flat surface will be much easier than a curved one. Remember that it doesn't have to be the whole piece. A drawer front, the seat or back of a chair, or a tabletop can be done while leaving the rest.
  • Find a paper to use for the decoupage project. It can be wallpaper, giftwrap, a greeting card, photographs, or anything else you can come up with. Entire pieces can be used, or cut out shapes and designs that will work for the project.
  • Lay out the paper pictures on the surface in the way that you want the finished project to look. Then it's time to glue.

Gluing Paper and Photographs to Furniture

  • Using a water-based sealant glue (such as Mod Podge), or by diluting regular white glue with water, begin attaching the paper.
  • Spread the glue on the back of the paper picture with a paintbrush.
  • Lay down the picture on the surface in the chosen spot then smooth it out with a ruler (making sure there are no air bubbles trapped underneath.
  • Use a damp cloth to carefully wipe away any excess glue around the edges. Be careful not to move the paper while doing this.

Final Steps of Decoupaging Furniture

  • Once all of the images are glued into place, let them dry completely. Leave it 12-24 hours just to be certain.
  • When it's completely dry, apply a thin layer of water-based sealant glue or lacquer to the entire piece of furniture (with a paintbrush). It will act as a topcoat, sealing the design, and also give the piece an even, finished look.
  • After applying the first coat and letting it dry, have a look and see if a second is necessary.
  • Once it looks the way you want you're done!
The art of decoupage is actually quite simple. The key is finding the right paper pictures to apply, and placing them in a pleasing way. Whether it's a vintage poster applied to a chair, or botanical or floral wallpaper cutouts applied to a chest of drawers, decoupaged furniture can be very stylish, and best of all, fun to make.

By Muralismo

This Blog link  http://twiceremembered.blogspot.com/2010/01/decoupage-goodness-make-your-monday.html has AMAZING photos of walls decoupaged with book pages. What an attractive alternative to wallpaper or a wall mural!

Here is an example of my own decoupage. A wooden tissue box that I bought from Spotlight in Panmure. 

Now all I need to do is to find the perfect writing desk to upcycle with BOTH decoupage AND a set of of our beautiful glass knobs or handles.
I think I will use Rose covered wrapping paper to fit the Romantic Shabby Chic theme I will be trying to create.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Students having FUN Upcycling furniture

When I was a kid I had a ' Thingie ' box.

In it my Mum would put old stuff, empty containers, wool, paper, plastic, bottle tops, you name it.
I would amuse myself for hours making ' Thingies ' out of the bits and pieces I would find in there

One creation I will never forget. My friend had a baby doll that wet itself so she could change its nappy. I wanted one so I set to work.

I turned an old DB beer can into the body of my ' baby.' Using a nail I made a hole in the bottom of the can and then threaded a straw through from top to bottom.

A number of improvements were added ( a head, arms and legs ) and then I fed my ' baby ' some water which went through the straw and wet the nappy! Success :)

I would have LOVED the challenge when I was the age of the below students to try my hand at making something new out of the bits and pieces put at their disposal.

 Making NEW out of OLD

That’s what 15 students and designers did during a two day workshop. The participants got to choose whatever they wanted out of the delivery of furniture and objects provided by Fretex, to redesign or upcycle. The designers at Ralston & Bau coached the workshop and made sure everyone could bring home their finished product or furniture.
Floor lamps emerged out of table and stool legs, a wooden armchair was dressed in jeans and another one received 34 legs!


Upcycled Throne

Inspiring stuff.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Kim's Fabulous Forest Mural

Here is a striking example of how a mural can give an ordinary space the WOW factor.

The forest Mural used in this home brings the outside in and gives the space a feeling of tranquility.

You CAN create the same look as Kim here in New Zealand.

We sell out of this POPULAR Mural regularly but do not despair. We have more on order and will reserve one for you if requested.
Go to http://www.cadlow.co.nz/product/829/the-crucial-product-4-achieving-design-success/