when ryan and i bought our condo 4 1/2 years ago (the one we’re renting out now) , we had no furniture to our name. like many youngins , we headed to ikea and target for most of it (and don’t get me wrong, i still go there now for some things). one piece we picked up was the ikea lack tv unit. i didn’t like it very much at the time, but ryan was impatient to get our cable box and dvd player off the floor, it wasn’t hideous and it was cheap. since then we’ve acquired a receiver and record player, neither of which fits or works inside the unit, and i like it even less. which is my first issue–it’s not big enough for the things it needs to store, nor does it conceal anything. ideally i would have a dresser-like piece with doors to conceal everything.
my second issue is the black-brown finish. black-brown was my favorite wood finish, and we have lots of it in our place – coffee table, couch, bar, dining table, expedit bookcase (used for storage in the kitchen) and of course the tv unit. while black-brown/ebony is still my wood finish of choice, lately i’ve been wanting my space as bright and airy as possible, which in my mind means white, white and more white, some grays and metallic accents.
i have plans for the coffee table (make a large ottoman), the dining table (ryan to build a farmhouse table) and couch (new one, preferably larger and gray). but since the tv stand it is still functional (for the most part), is the least offensive of all the furniture that needs to change and i have lots of projects and other stuff to buy, i wanted to give it a quick, cheap fix for now. i couldn’t magically make it bigger and have doors, but i could fix my second issue with paint (the god of quick, cheap fixes).
the first step was to clean and then prime it. since it’s laminate, and laminate is very shiny and slick and notorious for not taking well to paint, i used oil-based primer (zinsser, left over from my dresser redo).
i did two coats of primer to be safe.
once it was dry i sprayed the table with several light coats of spray paint, making sure to keep the can about 10 inches away and always moving. since i wanted a glossy, factory-like finish, i tried out rust-oleum’s lacquer spray paint.
i went through two cans and it wasn’t covered evenly. i needed to buy at least another can, which was devastating because the city of chicago does not sell spray paint (and yet there’s graffiti everywhere, so let’s not inconvience diy-ers anymore chicago, huh?). the table dried before i could make it out to the suburbs, and i saw that the finish was…not good.
i’m not sure what or where i went wrong, but it was only shiny in some spots, and in other spots it was rough. not coolio.
i sanded it all down so it was smooth again.
plan b was a rust-oleum’s enamel paint.
the enamel paint went on very smoothly, and though i saw brush strokes at first, it was like magic and it evened itself out (similar to nail polish). i did learn that a thin coat is better, since it spreads, especially on the vertical surfaces.
cue the orchestra and angels singing, two coats later i was much happier with the end result (one coat would have probably been fine). white and glossy, ooh la la.
i wasn’t done yet though. i bought a nailhead trim kit, in french natural finish, which isn’t as fancy as individual nail heads, but is a whole lot easier and cheaper. i can barely draw and cut a straight line, so i didn’t trust myself nailing hundreds of nails in a straight line. instead of nailing in each nail head individually, the trim kit has the heads on a roll and you only need to nail in every fifth head.
i learned the hard way that the head edges were pretty sharp.
to attach the trim, i unrolled a section and carefully placed it where i wanted it, making sure to have fabric underneath the trim–just after the section i was nailing–to protect my paint finish. once i was sure it was even, i placed a nailhead in position, held it in place with needle nose pliers and hammered it in with my mallet (if you have the benefit of a willing helper, it would be easiest for one to hold the nail in place and the other to hammer it in).
at the corners i snipped off the trim with the “wire cutter pliers” at a real nailhead, or soon after.
i then used the individual nail(s) to cover the gap to the corner.
it isn’t perfect, but you can’t tell unless you’re looking for it.
i love the little bit of glam, classic, custom touch it adds.
though the ugly electronics don’t blend in as much, and i still would like a whole new unit, i am loving my interim, cheap solution. it’s so much brighter, yes? i do wish i had a solution for the cords though. such an eyesore (and between the before and after there’s two extra ones, no idea why. great).
though i wonder if i should add more trim, like my photoshopped idea below.
i do have some nailhead trim leftover, but i’m not sure it’s enough (thus my two simple lines currently) so i would have to order more. yay? nay?
quart of enamel paint: $10 (with at least half left over)
nailhead trim: $24.65 ($13.50 + $11.15 shipping & handling)
total: $41.65 (including spray paint that didn’t work so well and leftover paint and nailhead trim)
bonus! i wanted to share two painting tips i’ve picked up along my diy-painting-way:
-if you get oil-based paint on your non-painting clothes (i guess i am not the neatest painter after all, lesson learned), use dish soap. rub it in with fingernail or brush, rinse and repeat as needed. i can’t guarantee results, but it did work for my small spot.
-i forgot where i first saw this, but to help keep your paint can clean and gunk-free, hammer a nail into the inner rim of the can in a couple places. paint will drain back into the can instead of pooling in the rim. nifty.
have you painted anything lately? there’s quite the satisfaction of giving new life to something you already own.