The one in Which I Butcher Two Innocent Chairs

Once upon a time (10 weeks ago to be exact) a young designer (that would be me) stumbled upon 3 vintage rattan chairs for a very good price.  They had seen better days.  They had a shabby-chic french faux finish and plastic floral seat cushions that would make Laura Ashley proud, but this girl knew they had potential.

She sent the one that was in the best condition off to her upholsterer to get a professional makeover.  It came back lacquered red and recovered in Oscar de La Renta and now lives in Mr Boy’s bedroom.

The other two specimens, she decided to keep for her office.  Being that her office makeover budget was very very tiny, the designer decided she could handle the DIY.  Afterall, how hard is a little spray paint and cushion recovering?  

Her first pivotal mistake?  Spray painting the chairs without developing a design scheme.  Before the tone was set, before the white zebra bench was recovered, before any solid color plan was adapted, this impatient, crazy designer spray painted her chairs lilac.  Because lilac is “fun.”

Turns out lilac is also very similar to an easter egg.  Design Fail number 1.

So then she thought long and hard about the colors that actually worked with her rug and her tile floors.  Coral!  Coral is “fun.”  Picking the right coral was tough.  Erin helped all the way from Texas.  And the end result wasn’t bad.  Peppy, fun and very “her.”

But then she found her chandelier.  It’s so sophisticated and special that she really felt the whole room should be more muted.  Less pops of color and more interest through shapes and textures and patterns.  Less “fun” and more edited.  So she painted one of her chairs the 3rd time.

And this is where I have run out of steam.  The mint is too bright.  It’s needs to be grayed out with a stain to look just right against the upholstery.  The second chair is still coral.  So I have one mint chair and one coral chair.  Due to my impatient, rushed, half-assed nature, there are brush strokes, drip lines, and 3 colors showing through on various nooks and crannies.  These poor little chairs are butchered.  

So what is the moral of this story?  

Designers are crazy when working on their own rooms.  Always fully develop your plan before reaching for that can of spray paint.  Professionals are better at refinishing furniture than you are.  Instagram makes any crappy makeover look better.

The End.

Happy Friday, y’all!

  1. I’m loving the coral, but only because you told me the mint doesn’t look great in real life. Either way, I commend your patience to paint them 3 times!

  2. Haha – funny. I love how the mint one turned out! I think they are totally salvageable. Loved meeting you last night! xo

  3. Why oh why can we not follow our instincts when designing for ourselves…..

  4. Oh, I have done that before! I know the feeling BUT I am still jealous of your finds!

  5. Bahaha I can totally relate! And it’s almost always related to not having a firm plan in mind.

  6. Way to keep at it! I do this all the time – get enthusiastic and craft something up before I know it’s really going to work. Luckily, it’s almost always fixable. The gray looks great!

  7. SD

    Wow. What a story. I’m in the middle of redecorating my house with the help of Simply Decorate. I wouldn’t know how to do it myself. Since I work for them, I can honestly say they are the best online interior design Service out of everyone. You should check them out.

  8. Uggh, this is so me. I totally can relate and have a garage filled with half-assed makeovers that I don’t quite have the heart to finish. I know my husband thinks I’m a crazy, lazy ADD-riddled decorator – and he’s right!

  9. I think they all looked good, but I guess you say its the instagram…
    I’ve wasted so much time and money in the past because I failed to fully develop a scheme beforehand, but I’ve also had some interesting results this way, too. Like sometimes when you don’t think too much and just pull together different things you like, it somehow works in the end.
    Anyways, I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with. I’m loving this snapshot with the mint chair, rug, and zebra bench!

  10. This decorator did the same thing with one poor little rattan chair … It too is butchered and living in my guest room until I find a suitable replacement. So, don’t fret … I think we all have DIY mishaps. You’re brave to blog about it!

    Xoxo, Shannon Darrough

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  13. Ashley

    Thanks for keeping it real, lady. Not every DIY turns out fantastic…but the takeaway is definitely that you are daring and bold and that’s pretty cool.

    Happy weekend, N!

  14. Haha, I love the coral one, really like those two colors together. Of all the looks the last 2 are my favorites 😉

  15. LOL. I’ve been there. I have a desk that is on its SIXTH color, and I’m still not happy. It’ll fall into place… eventually. 🙂

  16. My post title starts with ‘The One Where I” and involves lilac…twinsies! However, very different scenarios. Love the chairs! Keep on keeping on, everyone does that and you are way better than everyone…so thanks for making the rest of us mere color mortals feel better for our mistakes.

    You crack me up.

  17. Totally salvageable…and yes, LOVE instagram for helping even my own crappy photos look decent! Chin up, girl…and for the record that isn’t even *close* to butchered…you should see some of the poor pieces that I’ve attacked, *heaven help them* (c:

  18. First, high five on finding the chairs! Second, I’m trying to learn patience when painting furniture, because mine always turns out a drippy mess as well. What about a possible complete strip down of the paint and see what lies beneath? Maybe a gorgeous, light color of wood that would work? If not, you could always paint again! Either way, I love how daring you are with color!

  19. Hannah

    I can totally relate with my office. I didn’t do a plan for it and I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. The chair I painted for it is without a seat because I can’t figure out what kind of fabric to use! Oh the frustrations. I actually love the mint though, but I can see what you mean if it looks too bright.

  20. You didn’t! Did ya! I NEVER make mistakes like that.Like – duh- of course I do 🙂 ..Just keep going !!!!! Have a fab weekend!! XOXO Bea

  21. I can totally relate! Other people’s rooms no problem…my own? Absolute indecisive hell!!

  22. I love this post because I can totally relate! It is impossibly hard to decorate your own space when are there too many styles that you like. I think all the finishes you changed it to look great though!

  23. Erin

    I’m going to have to take your word on the instagram bizness, because I actually think all three chairs look lovely! It’s really just about what’s going to make your space come together.

    The mint looks pretty subdued in your picture, but after trying to find a mint that worked in the baby nursery, I know how hard green can be… So hard that I gave up.

    Maybe you could rag on a paint wash to make the green recede? And then finish with a light wipe on poly coat.

    I’m sure you have plenty of time for projects such as these, right?

  24. Ugh I really share your pain on this one. Except in my case I’m so paralyzed by making decisions that nothing actually ever gets done!

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