Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ikea Lack Coffee Table Re-do

When Rob and I were thinking of ideas for decorating our new abode, I suggested visiting Ikea for some inspiration. As we strolled through Ikea's maze-like setup, we noticed that they used a white coffee table in most of their living room "demos." We really liked how the white coffee tables seemed to go with any color scheme and given that we hadn't settled on a sofa yet we thought a white coffee table would be a great starting point for the living room. With our modest budget, the Lack tables were right up our alley. They have three options of varying sizes and after we chose a cream sectional from Value City, I felt that the square version for $29.99 was a good fit. At first we planned to keep the table as is, but then I came across this pin on my coworker's Pinterest page and I loved how it turned such a plain table into an expensive looking rustic piece. After reading the original blogger's post, I fell even more in love with the idea and felt that it was a fairly simple project for someone who doesn't really know what they are doing (i.e. yours truly). The origin of the pin can be found at The Feminist Mystique.

We started by taking the measurements of the table which was 30 3/4" x 30 3/4", and taking a trip to Home Depot to get supplies and pine boards. We also used two 3-inch foam brushes, wood glue, a plastic drop cloth, sand paper sheets, a paint stirrer, disposable gloves, Minwax Wood Finish in Early American, and Minwax Polycrylic in Satin Finish (purchased after I changed my mind on the Clear Gloss pictured here).

Like the original blogger, we used 1x4x8 boards. Here's a tip I learned while researching this project, 1x4's are actually 1 x 3.5's. We bought four and had them cut three 31" boards out of each so that we ended up with 12 shorter boards. Out of those, 9 ended up fitting perfectly with approximately 1/2 inch of board hanging over the east and west edges of the table. The north and south edges had a couple of centimeters hanging off. If you want them to hang off equally on all sides, I would do a better measuring job than we did lol. What's cool is that the nice people at Home Depot will cut the boards for you! Here is our Home Depot associate hard at work cutting our boards to size:

Here is the Lack table all assembled without any thing done to it. It's a nice simple table as is.

Next I spent a great deal of time figuring out which nine boards fit tightly together without significant gaps between them. This is important because many boards are warped and are not completely straight. Once I found a combination of boards that satisfied me, I lined them up on top of the table to see how it would look and numbered them so we would know which order they should be glued onto the table.

I haphazardly measured how much the end boards would hang off the edge of the table and had Rob help me glue the boards to the table using wood glue. Again, if you want more exact measurements, I would be more detailed than I was. We completed the gluing by putting wood glue on the table and on the side of each board, then pressing them together for a snug fit. It would probably be best to do this with clamps, but we don't own any. Once all of the boards were glued, we used random heavy things (boxes and weights) to make sure the boards stayed in place.

After letting it dry for 24 hours, I started the sanding hand. If you have it in your budget to buy a palm sander or can borrow it from a friend, I highly recommend you do so. Hand sanding is a lot of work! I sanded the top and edges of the table over the course of two days until everything was very smooth and boyfriend approved. I took extra care to make sure the sharp edges were rounded.

Next, it was time to stain.  Unlike the original blogger who stained the boards before she glued them to the table, I did it in reverse and attempted to use plastic grocery bags to protect the table during the staining process after forgetting to buy painter's tape. This didn't work out too well and I'll explain why in a minute.

During the staining process, I used WAY TOO MUCH and it dripped everywhere, including down the sides of the table and underneath the bags. We were able to clean up some of it, but there are spots where the white table has permanent stain on it. However, it's not noticeable. I used Minwax Wood Finish stain in Early American 230.

After approximately 10 minutes, we wiped off the excess stain with a dry cloth. The color I achieved was just what I wanted - a rich medium brown , not too light and not too dark. After letting dry for 24 hours, I applied 3 coats of the Polycrylic following the directions on the can. Here is the finished result.

I love it!

Ikea Lack Cube Side Table

The first Pinterest inspired project I tackled is probably the simplest DIY project that I've seen and perfect for a first-timer. Inspired by this pin, I decided to make a cube side table out of two Lack side tables from Ikea. The origin of the pin can be found at Budget Wise Home. The white version of the Lack side tables run for $7.99 each. The look is supposed to replicate these tables from West Elm:

You'll need two Lack side tables from Ikea. Here is what one looks like normally.

On each table I attached two of the legs diagonal from each other. As you can see, Coco supervised the assembly process.

Then using liquid nails on the bottom of each leg, I fit one table on top of the other and used Rob's box of comic books and weights to secure the table until it dried.

After 24 hours I removed the box and weights and the table was all set.

A normal Lack side table is not very high so the good thing about cubing it is that it adds a bit of height. It's a cute table, but what I didn't realize is that the undersides of these tables are not white as in the picture from the pin. I find this to be unsightly so we'll be painting the undersides in the near future. Another thing with Lack tables, when the legs are screwed on they do not line up flush with the sides of the table. It doesn't bother me that much, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Not bad, right?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Introduction and First Post

Hi! Thanks for visiting my new blog. Back in August, the boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment that was much nicer than what we had been living in. It's a one bedroom with a really spacious living room (at least to us!), a balcony and a walk-in closet. When we first took a tour of this place we were so excited about moving in and I immediately started formulating decorating ideas in my head. The reason that is significant is because I never really decorate any place I live. I suppose its because I've never lived in any place long enough to really feel like putting an effort into making it look nice. Here's a fun fact - I started college in the year 2003 and from then up until this point I've literally lived in a different place every single year. True story.

When Rob and I found this place, we both felt that it would be a place we would want to live for a while and with that came a strong urge to actually decorate and buy furniture. In the process of researching affordable furniture and decorating ideas, I soon found the website Pinterest to be an invaluable source of inspiration. The "Home Decor" search function was chock full of bright colors, sofas, patterns, DIY projects and so much more. Now, I have never really been into crafts or DIY projects, but with my new found desire to make my apartment "pinworthy" and encouragement from my co-worker I am motivated to attempt some of the projects that I've found on Pinterest and other places on the web. I think it would be cool to have a sense of pride in my home and be able to say "I painted that" or "I refinished that" to a visiting guest while pointing out a piece of furniture. The goal of this blog is to document my adventure into the interior design of my home and attempts at DIY projects. I am by no means an expert at home improvement or refinishing furniture, but I hope to be a source of inspiration to other young adults like myself who are starting a home and don't know where to really start in terms of home decor. And being the novice that I am, hopefully I can do that with a little bit of humor.

With all that said, let me give you a look see of what we have so far. My apartment opens into a little hallway. The door straight ahead is the bathroom and to the right of Coco's cat tree is the bedroom. To the left are two steps the lead to the living room, dining room and kitchen.

Here is the living room from the point of view of the steps. You can see the balcony behind the couch. Off to the right is the dining room and kitchen.

We finally have a couch and a place to, you know...sit. After changing my mind a hundred times, we settled on the Spencer Cream 2-Piece sectional from Value City.

The throw pillows, which I love, are from Etsy.

Here is our dining room. The basic dining room table will be painted soon. I can't wait to get started on it.

The kitchen has a "window" the looks into the dining room.

Cool, right? Rob and I think so. Now bring on the projects!