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$12 Rustic Media Stand Makeover

$12 Rustic Media Stand Makeover

My style has changed a lot over the years and this laminate media stand is one of the few modern (and low-end) pieces I have left. Well… apparently I have expensive taste because every media stand I found that I like costs a damn fortune. So, for now I decided to just do a quick makeover of the piece by swapping out the doors for more rustic ones that fit with the style of other pieces in my living room.

It always surprises me how some of my favorite DIY projects are the cheapest and easiest to complete! That definitely holds true for this super simple rustic makeover of my old laminate entertainment stand / media center — can you believe this makeover only cost about $12!!!??

Rustic media stand inspiration piece.
Rustic media stand inspiration piece… too bad it costs nearly $450.

Tools & Materials

This is what you’ll need:

Rustic Media Stand Makeover

modern media stand
In this tutorial I’ll be turning this modern media stand into a rustic one!

Measure existing doors

All I did here was remove the original doors from my media stand and make replacements for them. The dimensions of my doors are immaterial as I doubt you have the same stand as mine. So, just remove your doors and carefully measure the length and width.

Cut wood to length

Now, you’ll need to cut your wood to make the same exact sized door as the one you removed. Easy enough, right?

Connect wood to make a door frame

Attach wood to make a frame
This photo shows a “frame” from a different project, but it’s the same principal. Just attach the wood pieces together with screws from the back to make a frame.

This is where the Kreg Jig comes in handy, as I was able to put the pieces together and connect them using pocket hole screws from behind. To make your joints stronger, you can apply some wood glue as well. Just make sure you wipe any excess with a damp rag so that it doesn’t affect the way your piece stains.

Sand, Stain/Paint, Seal

Minwax American Chestnut Stain
Paint or stain your rustic media stand door frame.

Once assembled, I sanded the frame and applied the stain (I used Minwax American Chestnut stain). Since I used a stain with polyurethane, I didn’t need to seal it. If you don’t use a combo stain like me, you should also seal the wood after the stain dries. Or, if you are painting the frame, simply paint it and once it dries you’re done. If you are looking for some creative painting ideas, I recommend you check out my posts on making your own chalk-style paint or this really cool dresser makeover using chalk paint and dark wax. If stain is more your thing, you can check out my tutorial on how to stain wood in absolutely any color you want!

Cut, Paint & Attach Gutter Guards

InvisaFlow Metal Lock-In Gutter Guard
InvisaFlow Metal Lock-In Gutter Guards make a great screen for a rustic cabinet

Ok… now that we’re done painting/staining and it’s all dry, we’re going to attach the gutter screen to the inside of the frame. Measure the opening and cut the gutter screens a little bit longer and wider (about 1-2″) than your measurements. I used wire snips which made this way easier. If you want to paint your screen now is the time. Using spraypaint would be my recommendation for getting this done quickly.

To attach the screen to the frame, simply staple along the screen into the frame from the back. You don’t have to go crazy here… just a few staples to hold it into place should be fine.

Add Hardware

rustic cabinet hardware
Find some rustic cabinet hardware to use for your makeover.

Next, attach any new hardware or take the hardware from your old doors and transfer it onto your new rustic doors. You can find rustic cabinet hardware online, in the big box stores and even in the craft stores. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can even scour flea markets and vintage stores to get some unique pulls & hinges! You can purchase the 4 drawer pulls pictured for less than $20.

Hang your new doors

Hang your new doors
Attach your new doors to your old media stand to complete the rustic look.

After attaching the hardware you should be able to simply hang/attach your new doors to your old media stand. And… that’s it — you’re done!

Wrapping Up

Like I said, I love these types of projects that don’t cost a ton of money, take very little time and have a big impact. Although I’ll probably replace this new media stand at some point, at least for now spending $12 to update the one I have is money well spent. I’ve considered painting the rest of the media stand as well using some chalk paint, but I really don’t think it needs it.

If you have any questions or end up using my ideas to create your own rustic media stand, I’d like to hear from you in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

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Read this before installing DIY Faux Shiplap Walls

Read this before installing DIY Faux Shiplap Walls

Do you love Fixer Upper? Do you feel like you are channeling Joanna Gaines’s energy and know that your world will be a better place if you could just stare at some shiplap on the walls of your own home? Great. Keep reading to find out how to get those “easy” DIY shiplap walls installed without getting divorced or ending up in a puddle of your own tears when it goes terribly wrong.

Faux Shiplap - start at the top and work your way down

Why did I do this project?

It all started when I began searching for cool ways to update my bathroom to make it fit my evolving style. I started pinning bathroom ideas and inspirational photos, and I noticed that I was gravitating toward dark/rich colored walls.

Who knew?

I’ve always been one of those bright and airy kind of gals. But… when I stumbled across this photo of a dark blue wall with a reclaimed wood headboard I just fell in love.

Navy Blue Walls with Reclaimed Wood Headboard
How lovely is this navy wall mixed with the beautiful reclaimed wood headboard? Photo credit: Setting for Four

Dark walls for non-mansion dwellers

Let’s be honest. Painting a room in your house super dark blue is all well and fine if you live in a mansion. But I don’t. And I’m assuming neither do you.

Most of our houses/rooms are small. Painting a room this color without a wall full of windows would look like complete ass. Why? Well, because dark colors actually absorb the light in the room, while light colors reflect it. If you don’t have a lot of natural light and paint a room dark, it ends up looking and feeling like a cave.

I don’t want to shower in a cave.

So, after finding some more photo inspiration I decided that adding white wood paneling would give me the lightness the room needs, while still letting me have the dark navy color I really wanted. Any kind of paneling is great for breaking up a space… bead board, wainscoting, and of course, shiplap.

But let’s get real. Real shiplap is out of my budget. That’s where the DIY faux shiplap walls came into play.

Will this look like real shiplap?

Yes… but don’t invite the shiplap police over

I freaking hate the word “faux” by the way. These walls look like shiplap. And if you love Fixer Upper, you’ll love these walls. But they aren’t the real-deal shiplap. So don’t go inviting the shiplap police over to assess them. Because you will fail and be thrown into shiplap prison. I hear the walls are concrete there, and you won’t be happy.

But seriously, for any normal person, this will give you the look of shiplap, without a lot of heavy lifting or prep work. And you can tell your friends that they are real if you want to. Just make sure they aren’t undercover shiplap police and you’ll be fine.

Here’s a quick photo overview of my DIY faux shiplap wall installation. It turned into a bit more than just installing shiplap… decided to give the whole bathroom a facelift.

Product / Material Links

This is not a tutorial… it’s better

I’m going to get real again. I’m not going to write a huge how-to tutorial on DIY faux shiplap walls. Why you ask? Well, you can google it and find like a million other posts. I didn’t invent this. Nor do I feel like writing something other people have already written.

So, I’m going to direct you to my favorite tutorial instead over at Sawdust 2 Stitches. Read what Corey has to say. She has good step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.

But wait… don’t go yet. Make sure you read my post too. Why? Because after following this tutorial, I have some more recommendations. Some things that, man, if I had to rip the whole thing down and start over I would TOTALLY do it this way.

Haha like I would ever try this project again. Maybe. Not in the near future, though.

Anyway the rest of this post is good stuff. And if you learn from my mistakes it should save your relationships or marriages and/or sanity.

What do I mean by “this project isn’t easy”?

I read several blog posts with titles reading “EASY” DIY Shiplap Walls. What I think, is that the posts should say “EASIER DIY Shiplap Walls”. The only thing “easy” about this project is that it’s easier than reclaiming real shiplap from some other house or building, removing the nails, sanding and repairing it, all before you can install it in your own home.

I honestly don’t think this project is easy. Personally, I tend to see those “easy” posts and think…

“I’m an intelligent human being, and this person with this mommy blog thinks this is easy, so if I can’t figure it out I must be a complete moron.”

And then I go on to try the project and feel like an even bigger moron because it came out all crapped up. So I would preface this project by saying it’s more in the “intermediate” skill category.

How do you know if you are an intermediate DIYer? Here’s an easy test: If you don’t own or have access to a miter saw, pneumatic nail gun, and orbital sander, I’d say wait until you do before you try to tackle this.

Shiplap Wall Prep Tips

Ok, so you have your power tools, and you’re ready to give this a go! Great! Here are some tips to get you started. After doing this project myself, I realized that I was so excited to actually see the shiplap on the walls, that I kind of skimped on the prep work. I think that you shouldn’t.

Get the plywood cut at the hardware store.

I got the 24×48” pieces of 1/8” ply cut at the big box store. They sometimes aren’t happy about doing it, but they will if you ask nicely and slip them a five dollar bill (shhhh).

Just be aware that if you are getting the wood cut into 6” strips that you will get seven 6” strips and one strip that’s between five and size inches. Make sure you put that one off to the side and use it for the bottom where your walls are [probably] crooked. Don’t use it in the middle by accident.

Plan your shiplap around outlets and light switches.

Ok, so you’re adding anywhere from 1/8-1/2” to the thickness of your walls. Which means, your outlets and light switches will have to be pulled out of the wall a bit so that the little metal lip rests on top of the wood and you’ll still be able to access them.

Well, that won’t work if the lip of your outlet lands in between the shiplap boards in one of those recessed/groove areas. Make sure that the top and bottom of your outlets have plywood to rest on.

And, while you are at it, measure how close you need to get the plywood to the outlet in order for the lip to catch on your wood. Going too far away from the opening could land you in a groove and you will be so sad.

Paint the wall first.

Yeah… this is probably a no-brainer. But, unless you have a paint gun and can spray both the wall and the shiplap once it’s installed, you’ll need to paint the wall behind where you are installing this.

Or, put up some pieces and see what your existing wall color looks like behind it. You may like the contrast and save yourself some time!

Sand the plywood before installing.

This is probably the #1 tip I have for you. Usually when getting the wood cut at the big box store, they are using a crappy, worn-out blade. It left a lot of my pieces with a tattered edge. I thought I wouldn’t mind this so much, but once I started putting it up I hated it.

I wish, wish, wish that I had sanded the edges first. This would have saved me so much time, because after it was installed I was trying to get in between my little 1/8” gap with a sander to smooth out those edges. It took forever… and I got tired and cried. Don’t be like me.

Paint the front AND EDGES of the plywood before installing.

So… I read this somewhere and I was so proud of myself for taking the time to paint the edges before installing. Once the shiplap is installed it’s a huge pain in the rear to get a brush into those gaps in order to paint them.

Unfortunately, I did not sand, so after everything was installed I had to go in there with a sander, thus sanding off the pre-painted edges of my wood. So, after sanding I had to go back in with a tiny brush and touch up all those little edges. It sucked. This is the second time I cried during the installation.

Figure out your corners.

Ok… so how are you going to meet the corners of the plywood together? Are you going to run it all the way to the edge of the wall, then butt the next wall up against that? Or are you going to leave a little gap there and cover it with some molding?

DIY Faux Shiplap Corner
Make sure you know how you’ll handle the corners before you begin as it will change your measurements. I chose to leave a little gap and put in a nice piece of dark blue molding.

That’s really up to you, just make sure you know what you’re doing first, because it’s going to change the measurements you’re going to use. You don’t want to end up cutting all your wood long, then having to re-cut it. That sucks.

Installation Tips

Ok great. We are all prepped and ready to go! And you are way ahead of the ball game here because you now haven’t made many of the mistakes I already made. You should be ready to install your “faux” shiplap now. So… here are a few more tips to get you through the installation process.

Use a big level.

Make sure that you are going in a straight line. It’s deceiving using a level sometimes. And it’s really easy to just kind of eyeball it and not realize that the bubble is a tiny bit off. If you have a long stretch of wall to cover, the tiniest slant up or down is going to rear its ugly head. So, you’ll need a nice, long level for this project.

The worst part? When you get to the next wall, your plywood wont line up with the other wall and it will look mismatched.

The second worst part? When you get to the bottom of the wall you’ll have to make a slanted cut in order to accommodate for your installation not being level.

Making a slanted cut down the length of a board sucks… even if you have a table saw. So… take some extra time to do this properly. Repeat after me, “avoid slanted cuts at all costs.”

Start at the top and work down.

I debated on this for awhile but finally decided to start at the top. I think it was the way to go, although it’s not a deal breaker. I just know that my walls are not perfectly level and I had some baseboard heating to deal with. It just made more sense to have those quirky pieces at the bottom rather than in the center of the wall.

Faux Shiplap - start at the top and work your way down
It’s easier to start installing your faux shiplap at the top and work your way down.

My outlets and switches are also higher on the wall, so it made sense to start closer to these areas to make sure I had the spacing right. I should note that I only put the faux shiplap on the bottom half of the wall.

Glue the backs of the boards.

I didn’t want to do this… for obvious reasons, like, “what if I want to take it down? It’s going to be a nightmare to rip adhesive off the wall.” Well… when I installed the shiplap and used the nail gun to secure it, I got some gaps. Perhaps if you use thicker plywood than I did this wouldn’t be as big of an issue.

I ended up nailing the sh!t out of some of the pieces to try to close the gaps. It kind of worked… but not 100%. If I had to go back I probably would have used adhesive to glue the wood to the wall… at least in the places that looked like they were bowing outward.

Know that you’ll have to repaint the wall.

Even if you are like me, and painted the front and sides of the plywood before installing, just know that you’ll have to give it another coat of paint afterwards. Buy enough paint to do this.

Then, while you’re installing it you won’t have to worry so much about the imperfections because you’ll know you’re going to paint another coat at the end. It will make your day brighter and you’ll be less stressed about it being perfect.

Trim/Molding Tips

We are almost there. The shiplap is up and looking awesome! Now it’s time for some molding. This will really finish things off, right? You’ve got your miter saw and your expensive pieces of molding and you’re ready to go (my molding pieces cost more than the whole wall… yikes). Read these trim & molding installation tips before you get started.

Buy a little extra molding.

Yeah, I know it’s expensive. But you’ll probably screw up or need a piece or two to practice with. So don’t be a cheapo like me and make sure that you have enough to cover yourself. Making trips to the hardware store this late in the game will suck the life out of you.

Paintable caulk is not the be-all-end-all.

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve read that said… oh yeah don’t worry about the corners and stuff because paintable caulk will cover all the mistakes. This is true, to an extent.  

But… don’t think that you don’t have to know how to cut corner molding. That 1/4” gap that you left will not just magically disappear with this paintable caulk stuff. It will look like crap and will drive you insane. So… spend the time making practice cuts until you have your corners as close as you can get them. Don’t heavily rely on the “magic caulk” to fix everything. It won’t. 

Oh, and keeping a little bowl of water with a balled up paper towel in it to wet your fingers as you caulk is KING. Seriously try this when you are caulking.

Fill in the nail holes.

Well, unless you love the unfinished look that the nails give, I’d recommend filling in most to all of the nail holes. Use that fancy caulk to cover them. It will look more finished.

Paint colors

Navy walls (BM Van Deusen Blue), white faux shiplap (SW Alabaster)

I know someone will ask me this, so I’m going to just tell you know.

There’s tons of great colors out there, though… so don’t let me persuade you.

Wrapping Up

So, today we’ve learned that blog posts reading “Easy DIY Faux Shiplap Walls” are misleading. They should be titled “Easier than Real Shiplap DIY Faux Shiplap Walls.” This is a really fun project, and I don’t want to discourage ANYONE from attempting it. Not my intention at all. I think we are all capable.

But, if you asked my honest opinion I would say that this is an intermediate project, and not one you shouldn’t take on without a miter saw, pneumatic nail gun and an orbital sander. Just follow all of my helpful tips for prepping, installing, and trimming out your shiplap and you’ll have a beautiful DIY faux shiplap wall in no time.

Just kidding… this took us 8 weeks because Clyde and I both work full time and have lives. And… I thought it was going to be done in a weekend like those “easy” blog posts said it would.

Newsflash: it’s going to take longer than you think. But it’s going to be great. And the next time you watch Fixer Upper you can yell at the TV when they make all of this crap look so easy. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions or more tips to add! I’d love to see your projects!

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Bright Furniture on a Budget – DIY Furniture Makeover

Bright Furniture on a Budget – DIY Furniture Makeover

After I bought my home, I was hit with the harsh reality of how much furniture really costs. I mean… I just spent ALL of my money on my home. Now I have mortgage payments. Crap. How am I ever going to afford the bold, bright furniture to make it look nice?

I have been there… trust me. And I know that the LAST thing you want to do is drag all your IKEA furniture from your apartment into your beautiful new home. It doesn’t work. And… it makes you feel… a little sad inside.

Well, don’t be sad my friend. Because I’m going to show you how to get TONS of character out of old, hand-me-down furniture. With a small budget your house will be brimming with bright furniture with so much charm and character you’ll never want to leave! Don’t blame me when that happens though 🙂

How to Get Bright, Bold Charming Furniture on a Budget

That’s a question I’ve probably typed into Google like… a zillion times. Well, I’ve finally taken the plunge and I’m never going back. I seriously want to paint every piece of furniture in my house using this technique. it’s so EASY…. and so FUN… and the results are AMAZING.


Bright & Bold Furniture on a Budget - BEFORE

Start with an old piece of furniture

This is mine. A hand-me-down dresser I was using for extra storage. It’s actually my childhood neighbor’s bedroom dresser that I swiped up when they were getting rid of it. The dresser itself is in amazing shape. But… it’s just old and not… pretty. It’s not real wood, it’s a veneer. This type of furniture is perfect for this project.

If you don’t have a piece like this, you can use one of your IKEA end tables… or scour Good Will, CraigsList, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace and the like for something really cheap. Just make sure that it’s in good shape so you don’t have to spend time making repairs to the veneer or wood. Trust me on this… this project is super fun and easy, but if your furniture isn’t in good shape, it won’t be so fun.

furniture after 1 coat of chalk paint

Lightly scuff your furniture then paint

Chalk paint can be applied to any surface to make a durable finish. The best part is how little prep work there is! They actually don’t even recommend sanding the surface first… but honestly if you have a high varnish, slippery surface your are better off doing a quick sand before you start. Wipe it down, then begin applying the chalk paint.

You can be pretty sloppy with this. I’m the sloppiest painter ever… and it came out nice for me. The biggest thing is to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies.

I applied 2 coats of paint to my dresser and drawers to get most of it covered. You don’t need a super perfect finish, like I said… just make sure you get most of the surface covered with a layer.

Bright & Bold Furniture on a Budget Collage

Sand & Distress your newly bright furniture (Optional)

Ok…. the color is bright. I bet if this were you, you’d be having a freaking heart attack right now. I agree, this color is ugly…. BEFORE the final step. My experience has been to pick gaudy colors for this technique. Those candy colors that are too bright to put on the walls…. a shade or two too saturated.

Once you’ve got your piece painted, let it dry overnight, you can sand along the edges of the piece to remove some of the paint to create a distressed look. The best way to do this is the think of the places the piece would naturally wear over time… near the knobs and handles, along the edges where someone may touch it or set something onto it… and also along the “detail” parts that you want to highlight.

I skipped this step… for the most part… except for getting a couple huge gloppy pieces off (messy painter). So, you don’t have to do it but a lot of people do distress before waxing.

Wax and buff your furniture

This is the fun part. In order to use a dark wax or a black wax, you first have to apply the clear wax. Annoying, I know. But this will seal the piece so that the black is way easier to work with. Luckily I’ve found a time-saving secret to avoid this… mix the black and clear waxes together!

Grab a spoonful of the clear wax and a spoonful of black wax and mix them together in a cup or on a paper plate. Make sure they are mixed together well, and then you’ll only have to apply this wax once. If you choose to do them separately, make sure that you put the clear wax over every square inch of the piece, then wipe the excess with a rag.

Then, you’re ready to apply the black wax.

Rub your waxing brush or rag into the can of black scary goodness. Then just rub it into your furniture right over the paint. I started at those “Distressed” areas… inside of the detail parts and where I wanted the wax to be darker. Then I took a rag and just rubbed the black into the whole piece. 

It dries quickly so I wouldn’t recommend leaving it on too long like you would with a stain. You’re better off applying and wiping within 2 minutes — so make sure you work in small sections. 

If you have a spot where you think you applied too much dark, don’t worry…. just take some of the clear wax and rub it over the black wax. It acts like an eraser and it will simply remove all of the dark from that area. Apply and work the wax around until you are happy…then buff it until it’s shiny and there’s no residue.

Bright & Bold Furniture on a Budget AFTER
Bathroom vanity in chalk paint and black wax.

Here’s another project I tackled with chalk paint. On my bathroom vanity, I used a very pale blue and then distressed using the same technique with black wax. It’s not as bright and bold as the green dresser, but it really makes a big impact. Read more about it here.

Spray Paint the Hardware (Optional)

The last and final, again optional, step is to spray paint the hardware. I just soaked my hardware in some paint thinner (whatever I had laying around)…. and dried it. Then I used a can of “oil rubbed bronze” spray paint to freshen up the pulls and hinges. It really made a HUGE HUGE difference and I’m so happy I did it.

Wrapping Up

So, that’s it! What a quick and easy way to add some charm and character to your new home! Other than waiting for the paint to dry overnight before applying the wax, this project can be done really quickly… within a couple hours over the weekend!

Just lightly sand your piece, then apply your chalk paint. After sanding and distressing key areas of the piece, apply a black wax mixed with a clear wax to the entire piece. Rub off, buff your piece, and be AMAZED at this beautiful result.

I am still staring at mine, wondering how it looks like there’s so much texture and antiquing to a plain old veneer dresser. It truly does work, and it looks incredible. It’s really one of those can’t screw up projects. Let me know if you have any questions. And I’d love to see your furniture makeovers in the comments!

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