Old Window Headboard

old_window_headboardLast time we looked at a simple way to create a unique headboard for your bed using an old wooden paneled door.  Today, we’re going to move ahead with this topic (headboards) and give you another idea:  old windows.

For this project you need to once again scour your basement and your attic.  Call your friends and ask around.  And if you can’t get your hands on any old windows that way, then head out to the mission stores, the junk shops and even the antique malls (though watch out that you don’t pay too much money for somebody’s old window!)

However you (lawfully) acquire them is your business, but once you have them, you’ve got any number of ways to turn them into unique, bold, inspiring and interesting headboards for your bed.

Here are just a few ideas and tips:

Distressed Windows for that “French Country” Look

Take a look at the windows after you’ve finally found them.  Take into account the condition of the paint.  Is it pealing and flaking off?  Or does it just look worn and old?  If it’s currently flaking, you might do well to remove it entirely (trust me…leaving it on is just an invitation for it to continue flaking off all over your furniture and floors).

If you decide to remove it entirely, remember to exercise care–understanding that the paint used on the window could be lead-based.  Get an N-100 respirator which is available at any hardware or paint store and then either heat the paint up with a heat gun (less than 1,100 degrees F) and remove it that way or mist it with water (to minimize sanding dust) and power sand it off.

If you’re going for that distressed look, don’t worry too much about removing everything down to bare wood.  Just get the loose and peeling stuff off and then dust over it with a single coat of RepcoLite’s Hallmark Ceramic Matte Finish.  This will produce a very low sheen and it applies and covers very well.

Coat your windows with a single coat of this and then scuff sand them with some 120 grit paper, paying special attention to the edges and corners.  Sand them until they look sufficiently distressed and then hang them.

An option for greater durability and washability would be to topcoat them with a single coat of RepcoLite’s Flat Polyurethane Enamel Varnish.  This will keep the sheen down to a minimum while providing you with some durability down the road.  (This is only recommended over colors since it will yellow over time.  If you put it over white windows, they will look “cream” very quickly).

Neutral Windows, Colored Panes

Another way to turn these old windows into a unique headboard is to keep them simple and plain, but use colorful inserts in place of the window glass for interest.

To accomplish this, follow the original steps above to clean and prepare the windows, but rather than painting them with a bright or interesting color, paint them white or cream or some other neutral color.  Then head to the craft store and pick up either some heavy duty foam board or some small artist canvas boards (not the standard artist canvas that is stretched over a frame, but artist canvas that is glued to a thin, heavy duty board).

Pick up one of these types of materials and cut it to size to fit the openings where the window glass would normally be.

Once you’ve done that, you’ve got an almost unlimited number of options.  You could paint them solid colors–colors that coordinate or accent your room.  You could rag paint them or use any number of faux-finishing techniques to create an interesting look on the boards.  You could cover them with scraps of fabric or even leftover scraps of wallpaper.

Basically, the point is to cover these inserts with color–whether it’s paint or paper or fabric or even photos of your family.  Cover them with somethig interesting and then mount them in the windows.

Experiment with positioning and determine whether or not you want all the window openings filled with color or only several of them.

Other Variations to Consider

Clean the windows up and paint them a solid color and don’t distress it–leave it clean and simple.

Use the windows as picture frames.  If there’s no glass, you can mount new glass.  If there is glass (and if it’s old and wavy and dirty) LEAVE IT!  Mount black and white pictures behind it for a very cool and interesting look.

Fill the window openings with “Stained Glass”.  Your local craft store will usually contain small, 8×10 or so pieces of the glass that artisans use for crafting stained glass windows or mosaics.  Buy a few sheets of this and either cut it (carefully) yourself or have a hardware store cut it to size.  Then mount it in your frame.

Mount the windows and then finish the look by installing curtains around them.

Little Changes, Big Impact: Paint Some Second Hand Furniture

bigstock-Classic-Wooden-Dresser-6102291_smallerContinuing in our series about small paint projects that will have a big payoff, we’re going to talk today about painting furniture. But before we start by throwing out some examples, I want to first take a second and acquaint (or reacquaint) you with the creative home decorator’s greatest friend: the junk shop.

Lining the shelves in countless junk shops and mission stores throughout the country are treasures: unique dressers, end tables, lamps, flower stands . . . you name it. Sure, they’re not in the best condition all the time, but that’s the beauty of paint: it doesn’t matter what it looks like now; it only matters what it WILL look like with a coat of paint.

So, find the junk shops, the flea markets, the mission stores in your area and make a habit of swinging through them from time to time. Look for bargains and look with a vision for what’s possible. Remember that the piece doesn’t need to be flawless. Paint will cover over a multitude of sins. Look for interesting pieces, unique pieces, unusual pieces. And look for bargains.

And once you find them . . . snatch them up and start getting creative. To give you some food for thought, consider the following examples:

DISTRESSED TABLE

Here’s little table that’s easy to duplicate. It’s just a matter of stripping and staining the table top with a standard wood stain. After that, just apply a water based paint in your color of choice to the rest of the piece. Once it’s dry, do a little scuff-sanding to distress it and bring out the wood beneath the paint and you’re set. It’s easy to do and you end up with a furniture piece that could be a highlight in any room.

OLD DESK

Finding a piece like this at a junk shop is exciting as it gets. But putting the right colors on it and turning it into an interesting, exciting piece in your home is even better.  The desk in this example illustrates the point that you don’t need bold, bright colors to make an impact. The colors used on this are very neutral, very natural tones. The highlights on the rings of the legs are simply a slightly darker paint than the rest. Remember: it’s not always about being bold and daring. It’s about choosing the right piece and the right colors–whether they’re bold . . . or muted and neutral.

BOLD, CRAZY FLOWER STANDS

Now, while bold, bright colors aren’t always necessary to make an impact, they sure do get the job done!

Maybe these are too bright for your particular taste . . . but don’t write the idea immediately off. The value of painting bright colors on something like this is that it gives you an easy way to bring a certain color into your decorating that you’d otherwise struggle to use. For example, look at the reddish orange on the stands. It’s not an easy color to work with. It’s hard to paint an entire wall that color and get away with it. But if the rest of the room is painted in a washed-out yellow or a chalky blue . . . introducing that orange in small doses–as is the case with these pedestals–can be a great way to use it in the room without overpowering the room.

The basic point is this: look for ways to bring some color and interest into your rooms via furniture you may have purchased at a discount or at a mission store or junk shop. It’s the perfect way to infuse your home with color, without going overboard or biting off too big a project. And, when you need a change, it’s as easy as a quick repaint . . . or moving the piece to your basement!