Furniture refresh, October- fall inspired

Furniture refresh, October- fall inspired

I am giddy with excitement to announce that I have the next 12 months of my life planned. I am a planner and having this all organized gives me all the feels. OK, so I do not have every part of my life planned. I do know that for the next 12 months I will have a fabulous furniture refresh every month! I am getting together with a group of crazy talented bloggers and each month there will be a different theme. We have to refresh a piece of furniture keeping in mind that theme. Hence the name, Furniture Refresh. I have to give a quick thank you to Melody from My passion for decor. She is the one who put this together, organized this talented group, and wanted to include me! I never knew when I started on this blogging journey that fellow bloggers would be my absolute biggest support and favorite thing about blogging. I am hooked on these relationships and the talent they all put out and share. 
I do a lot of DIY and new build around here, but I can up cycle a piece of furniture as well. I like the challenge of looking at something and seeing the possibilities. The pretty under the dirt and grime. I must have trained for my love of all things makeover in high school when my girlfriends and I had sleepovers and braided each others hair and tried flashy eye shadows on. I don’t do the whole “classic” makeover anymore. Makeup is something I do on a really fancy occasion only. However, furniture makeovers are so fun and I am hooked on them. This is the adult version of trying sparkly blue eye shadow. 

At the bottom of this post you will get to see all of the amazing furniture that was refreshed in this months theme, Inspired by. The initial theme was inspired by fall but that was a tricky one. I stuck with that original theme in my furniture redo. Fall is in the air around here. 
This is what I had to work with. I am a secondhand furniture hoarder. I currently have one dining room table with 6 matching chairs, 5 arm chairs, 4 folding chairs, two ottomans, 2 coffee tables, and 2 end tables in my basement waiting to be redone. This is the beast that I chose to turn into a beauty this month. A simple, not actual wood shelf. 

Because this bookshelf is not real wood I cannot sand it down to paint it. I needed to think of something different. I went to the store and bought a legit, high cover primer. 

I put two coats onto it and then 3 coats of white, semi gloss paint. Nothing special. To paint this piece the key was not putting on too much at once. Thinner coats. This will allow less running as the paint is going on. 

I purchased plywood, measured and cut it down to fit the front of this bookshelf. Then cut that in half. I did not take pictures of this process, I will do my best to keep track of all steps for next months challenge. I needed these steps because I decided to fancy this bookshelf up and turn it into usable storage, with doors.

The doors is where the fall inspiration will come into play. I wanted to add a tree outline onto the doors. Giving it some fun and different details to the piece. Also, this storage is now much more usable as the doors can be closed. Anyone else sometimes not perfectly organized with their cabinets, and need to hide said mess? Just me? Moving on…

I cut down to the exact size of the plywood two pieces of masonite. This will be what the tree will be made out of. It will give some depth to the tree. I could have simply painted it on but really wanted to add a fun detail to the actual doors. Once they were cut, I measured the frame around the whole doors. Marking appropriately.

Then the scary part, I am going to draw a tree, freehand. That is me in the above picture internally freaking out while trying to draw a tree. I changed my plans while drawing it. I was going to do two separate trees, with their own trunks on each door. However the doors are somewhat narrow, so making there be one tree, with one trunk and then many branches from it seems to work better. 
It also had a cool effect of going from one frame to the next. The complicated part came in that they had to line up, make sense and have a defined beginning and exit strategy. I did not want the branches to look like claws, crazy hair, gang signs, or anything else. This is inspired by fall, I needed a tree. 

I finally decided that the drawing was as tree-like as it was going to get. I scribbled in the spaces that needed to be cut out. I was worried that once I got to hacking off the rest that the lines would become blurred and not be clear. 

To make this job really easy I am breaking out a big time tool that we got from a family friend. It is a old table scroll saw. It can make curved cuts very easily. 

Cutting along the lines that I drew of the tree. 

It was a slow process, but so worth the effort. 
I ended up with two outlines of trees, within a frame. Just what I was going for!
I selected a dark gray paint color, that after dried appeared black. Learn from me, paint a sample to make sure the paint drys the way you want. I would have preferred this to have appeared more gray versus black. I still love the outcome though so it is ok. 
To make the top have a look more fitting of a cabinet or table, I took to pallet pieces and cut them down to size. Then sanded them. 

Using a dark walnut stain to cover the rough look of the wood pallets. 
I also painted the plywood doors white, the same color as the bookshelf. I set the tree frame on top of the doors to confirm that all fit right and nothing needed to be cut down. 
Lay the tree upside down. 
Lay on a generous amount of wood glue over the entire tree frame. 
Line up the door with the still upside down tree frame. Then push them down and onto each other. 

Confirm all still lines up and then flip it all over, together. Double and triple check that things are lined up the way they need to be. With wood glue you have some wiggle room to… wiggle things. Use that time to make sure all is where it needs to be. I also used wood glue to attach the two wood planks to the top of the bookshelf. 
When everything is as it should be. Let the glue sit. I usually do overnight for wood glue. If you feel the need, use clamps or placing heavy things on this to make sure the glue adheres to all surfaces. 
The next day, after the door and the frame were all attached, it is time to add the door hinges. Screw in the hinges into the interior of the bookshelf. 
I had to improvise at this point in my project. The plan was to attach the door to the hinge itself. But, the door would not sit flush and the hinge could not attach in the way it should. I either needed a different door, that was thicker. Or add some more wood to the interior of the door. This is what I did. You can solve this problem by not using such thin door wood, or select better hinges. Lesson learned for me. 

Next, comes the door handles. Mark where you want them to go and then using a drill and drilling a hole into the door. 

Push the door knob through the hole and secure it. 
I got these beautiful door knobs from a secondhand store. I am in love with the color and thought they would bring a small pop of much needed color to this piece. 
This is it my friends! I have a new fall and tree inspired cabinet. In hindsight I would have done a few things differently. One, used a lighter gray. Two, gotten some legs for this. Even chunky and short ones would have worked nicely. Sometimes chunky and short legs are a good thing to have, look at babies with their adorable chunky legs. Chunky would have worked here. 

I do love the contrast of the dark and light. With the majority of my home being decorated in light tones it is fun to add some drama with dark pieces. 
I turned this beast into a beauty, a functional one at that! I put Dale’s french press, thermos, coffee and tea accouterments in here. Our usual morning cups for the family and our bowls. This is the new morning and coffee bar. It is so convenient and pretty. Having it right here in the dining room makes it functional, more storage and another small work station. All things that this family of 5 is always looking for. 

Of course I had to add a little pop of bright color. 

My four year old very sweetly and excitedly told me “I love the new zebra table!” Nailed it, exactly what I was going for. I do see the flaw in the color combo, but also see the beautiful contrast of light and dark. I am torn!

All set up and ready to be used, morning coffee and breakfast time!

This is always how I take my coffee and bagel, on a fancy tray while the morning light is streaming in. OK, I may have set this up to look a little more enticing. This cabinet will get used, but there will be cheerios in every crevice, possibly some coffee grains. Still all kept in a pretty tree inspired cabinet. 
No one wants to see that kind of reality, let me pretend with you this is how I actually do breakfast. how nice of a world that would be?

This extra work station will come in handy. For morning routine and breakfast, and also for entertaining. We have a very small kitchen that becomes easily congested. Because of that when we are entertaining the snacks go on the dining room table. This makes for a elbow to the face, or awkward view of some chest area if people are sitting at the table while others are trying to get their snack on. I can alleviate some of that by putting the snacks here. Now no peep shows happening. 

I do think this piece works really well with my farmhouse table that we made. It all has a rustic and unique element to it. 

Just to remind you this is what it looked like before. I love when I redo something and it looks nothing like the original. Unless you get a fancy all oak piece, then the original just needs to be cleaned up. This was wood wall paper at its finest. A complete gut job was basically needed to make it shine. I kept the walls, this was taken down to the studs and with a little addition I like to call doors. Turning this into a functional but fancy piece. 

Who is ready to see the other great furniture refresh projects? Me! I know what I will be doing for the rest of the day. No one needs clean clothes, dishes done, picked up from preschool. Mama needs to peruse the inter webs and all of these wonderful ideas and up cycles. I think my kids will understand.



  1. That turned out fantastic! I love the pattern you went with on the doors too!

  2. What a transformation…you really did a great job on this! Love how you added the pattern to the front of the doors!

  3. I seriously DIY projects like that. Great job!

  4. Love it. I love to find and recycle odd pieces of furniture. Wish everyone would save the landfills and not throw things that someone could use.

  5. WOW! That's amazing that you were able to turn that shelf into that. I just tossed one of those because I didn't think I can do anything with it. Now I'm regretting it. Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with.

  6. LOVE this! So pretty! and such detailed instructions! Great Job!

  7. What a great idea, Emily! This looks amazing!! 🙂

  8. that scroll saw is crazy awesome! Such a creative way to add beautiful storage. SO glad to be joining you on this furniture adventure 🙂

  9. Amazing craftsmanship! Great job with the table saw… Very impressive!!

  10. I really love what you did with this! Very impressive. You're quite skilled!

  11. Wow! Just WOW! I would have never thought you could take a basic bookshelf like that and turn it into something as gorgeous as what you made. That seriously is amazing and I love everything about it! Now I have to make one too!!

  12. Wow. This is such a great storage piece you created. All that detail! I don't think I would have taken on that task but man it's so worth it! Great job!

  13. So very well done! My father & grandfather were both wood workers & I so remember both using a scroll saw, and have often wish I had one of theirs for myself.

    • Thank you so much! That is amazing that you grew up around people that created, such a great example. We inherited this from a family friend and this was one of my first projects with it. I loved using it and now want to do even more with it!

    • Thank you so much! That is amazing that you grew up around people that created, such a great example. We inherited this from a family friend and this was one of my first projects with it. I loved using it and now want to do even more with it!

  14. this is beautiful!!!! my goodness! i love the knobs!

  15. Beautiful work! There is something wonderful about taking something old and giving it @new life!"

  16. Great job! Love it and the knobs are fantastic!

  17. Amazing work. Love this.

  18. I do love those knobs. And the popcorn buckets, I love those too! Everything looks great.

  19. That turned out so cute!! It could be used for so many things.

  20. it turned out so good

  21. This is fabulous! Way to go! The transformation is outstanding. And PS – your list of furniture had me lol'ing. My basement is the exact same!! haha

  22. OMG! Thats amazing! I want to be able to do this soooo bad! Give me some pots and pans and I'm on it! Wood and a hammer… and I might try to cook that too! LOL Seriously though I might have to follow you forever so I can figure out how to be more handy, especially since I'm a single mom

    • See, I am not a god cook. My husband Dale does most of the cooking around here. I can scramble some eggs like no ones business though. Thank you so much for your sweet words and support!

  23. Love how you have made it into your own, real brilliant work!

  24. My co-worker and I are going to try the whole upcycle thing this fall! I love that you have a year plan of doing one project each month. This piece turned out great. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the year unfolds.

  25. Wow, great work. Thanks for the visuals. Never enough storage space!

  26. This is so unique and beautiful! I'm super jealous of your fun woodworking toys! Excellent #furnitureREFRESH

  27. This cabinet turned out absolutely fabulous! I've been wanting a scroll saw FOREVER and this just reiterates the need for one. Well done Emily, I love it!

  28. Emily,
    Love what you did and love the contrast too! Can't wait to see what you do this month!

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