Do-it-yourself projects a cheap way to personalize your space


Moving into an apartment in Manhattan usually results in students inheriting quite a bit of old and used furniture to toss together for their new homes. However, all of these new-to-you, yet used items may not be the ideal furniture pieces to have on display. Many people take it upon themselves to put their own spin on “grandma’s furniture.” Ideas for sprucing up your not-so-lovely looking furniture can be found on places like Pinterest and other craft centered websites to help with the “Do It Yourself” initiative.

Based on a compulsive decision to try something new, I picked an old, beaten
and clunked-out bookshelf up off the side of the road and decided to fix it up. After some thorough Pinterest perusing, I came across an image of a DIY antique-looking table and decided to try to get that look on my bookshelf.

All it took was a pint of robin egg blue paint, clear wax, and some fine-grained sand paper. I started by sanding down the entire bookshelf until I was pleased with the way it felt when I ran my hand over it. Then, I simply coated the the shelves with the blue paint and literally watched the paint dry for a little over an hour. Once the paint was dry, I rubbed wax onto the entire shelf and wiped the wax off with a rag immediately after I had applied it. Then, all the instructions said to do was to go ahead and start sanding down the paint until I could see parts of the wood peeking through. Sure enough, it worked.

I antiqued all of the edges of the shelf and some of the flat surfaces. After I was happy with the amount of wood showing through the paint, I did another coat of wax to seal it off and make my bookshelf smooth and soft.

The great thing about this project is that I could not mess it up. If the paint dried
badly then I could antique that area and it looked like it was done on purpose. This was a great way to take this old bookshelf and turn it into a more personal piece in my room. It also added some good color to my space and is a great talking point.

There are many other things you can do to make your furniture pieces even
more personal as well. One idea is to cut down some scrapbook paper and use Mod Podge to adhere it to the back of the shelf. Or, if you’re in a time crunch and truly have no crafting abilities at all, a can of spray paint is a great way to transform an old piece of furniture into something to brag about. The one downside to spray paint is that paint runs, and an even coat is hard to obtain.

As far as wall art goes, football posters may not be cutting it for some. There
are thousands of websites with ideas for wall decor. One idea that’s great for apartments is to take 12 inch by 12 inch cork boards and cover them with different fabrics. I cut fabric to 14 inch by 14 inch squares and hot glued the edges on the back of my cork boards. It was very cheap. These boards are extremely useful because I can change out pictures easily, pin reminders onto my wall, and even hang necklaces from them with tacks. Even better, for all the people with strict landlords, these can be hung up with command strips, so there’s no need to worry about putting holes in the wall.

These two projects made it easy for me to personalize my space, but
there are thousands of other projects online that anybody — crafty or not — could create.