Part 2: Working with what you have!

When it comes to home renovations, the reality is most of us do not have unlimited funds. We see the beautiful rooms displayed in decorating magazines and wish we had the bank account to support what it takes to get “the look”. For our last spare room I definitely did not have the funds to support what I wanted to do, I really needed to work with what I had. My creativity was put to the test in many ways, both conceptually and physically.

In my mind, I could see my vision and what I wanted the end result to look like. I find it helpful to create an Inspiration Board, which provides a visual of what you are thinking. In addition, I find it particularly helpful to ensure you keep “on track” with your concept. When you stay on track, you stay on budget (typically).

Spare Room Inspiration Board

To get the dramatic change I was looking for I decided to re-finish the furniture in the room. The pieces had good “bones”, meaning the quality of the furniture was solid with modern lines.


To the dismay of some, I decided to stain the bed frame but paint the side table and dresser (not shown). Some are completely against the idea of painting real, quality wood. For the most part I agree, however in this case painting the side table and the dresser made more sense.

To start, I lightly sanded all pieces. I found working with a gel stain significantly more “user-friendly”. Wipe stains (a pure liquid) are not easy to work with, as you need to apply quickly to achieve an even application. Gel stains allow for a slower, more precise application. Wipe stains make errors more obvious.


To apply the stain, I used a microfiber cloth. I cut the cloth in small strips so it was easier to work with.


For the shade I was aiming for, the bed frame required 2 coats of stain. The can indicates you may apply additional coats after 6 hours, however for the best results I would recommend 24-48 hours between coats.


I would highly recommend applying the stain in a well ventilated area. It may seem obvious, however the gel stains advertise to be more “odorless” than wipe stains. I found the smell to still be extremely strong.

To be continued…



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