Home: Barb Blair helps with a DIY furniture makeover

Before you toss that hand-me-down dresser, Barb Blair suggests you try giving it a paint job. In her new book, “Furniture Makeover,” the artsy designer and founder of Knack Studios arms aspiring DIY-ers with knowledge, courage and easy-to-follow instructions.

“One of the biggest things I hear from people is, ‘I’m so afraid to do that to this piece,’” says Blair. “That’s what I tried to dispel with the book. I wanted to take away the fear of painting furniture. It takes some time, yes … but it’s not rocket science.” Here, she shows us how to spruce up curbside mirrors.

Why should people reimagine an old piece of furniture?

So many people come to me and say, “I’ve had my grandpa’s or grandma’s [furniture] in storage for 10 years.” And then they see my book and say, “Oh, that’s the exact same piece I’ve had in my attic.” And if it’s your grandpa’s piece and it’s sitting in your attic, you’re not enjoying it. If you bring it down and DIY it and stick it in your foyer or bedroom and love it, by all means do it.

Some tips before you get started:

• Use a medium sanding sponge to sand down whatever piece you want to paint, whether it’s a dresser, stool or desk. “I prefer sanding sponges over paper because they’re easier to hold,” says Blair.

• Hit up the Oops paint section at Sherwin-Williams or Home Depot for cheap options. “They always have a section where they mixed the wrong color of paint or the customer didn’t like the color once it was mixed, and so a gallon of paint is around $5. Some of my best colors come from the Oops pile.”

• “I am pretty particular about my paintbrush,” confesses Blair. She uses Purdy nylon brushes for latex paint. “They’re really soft and they make a huge difference.”

• If you’re doing a big job, Blair says to roll the flat surfaces with a foam roller. “It’s absolutely seamless and smooth.”


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