New Life for Old Furniture

Want to update your living space without adding to your carbon footprint? If “reduce, reuse, recycle” is in your DNA, then bring new life to old furniture with paint and get a look that is uniquely you! I went to a furniture painting class and came home with a renewed love for a little plant stand that holds a piece of my heart.

Where to go

If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, check out a sweet little store, 21 & South. You’ll find gently loved furniture that has been polished to its original glory or painted into a work of art. You’ll find curio cabinets, dressers, sofas and dining tables, and everything between. And now Arlene and Carlos have added furniture painting classes to the menu!

Instagram screenshot – a fraction of what 21 & South offers

What to paint

When the opportunity for a one-on-one class came up I jumped, but I wasn’t sure what to paint. I have a little plant stand that I bought for .50 cents at a yard sale when I was 18 and just moved out on my own. It was pink and so shaky I thought it was a fold-up, so of course I brought it to dad to see what he could do. He stripped three coats of paint from it, stained and polyurethaned it, and added support to keep it from falling over. At the time, I was amazed at the magic dad had worked. Later, I was touched by the time and care he put into a .50 cent yard sale find for his daughter.

What my plant stand looks like now.
I love it!

That plant stand has been with me for 35 years, and while it’s look doesn’t suit my style any longer, it will always be in my home. Always. And so this is the piece I chose to paint. This is where I want to bring new life to old furniture. Yes, dad put a lot of work into stripping, staining, and finishing that piece. And guess what. As I was painting it, painting over his beautiful work with my own, it felt like dad was there with me. Just stopping by to give his signature nod and grin. Now, rather than sitting in a corner in the guest room, that little plant stand is front and center in my living room. Freshly painted and just my style, and still with memories of dad.

Check out the distressing – a new skill I learned from Arlene who walked me through it step-by-step

What to expect

If you sign up for a class at 21 & South, here’s what you can expect: a welcoming atmosphere, a patient teacher, expertise, and always good music. Oh, and to leave with a beautifully painted, distressed (if you choose), and waxed custom-painted-by-yourself gorgeous piece! I’ve painted some things before, but always wondered if I was doing it right. So if you want to learn how to properly bring new life to old furniture and enjoy the experience, maybe reconnect with the history attached to something you own, these are your people. Or you can buy something already painted–it’s what they do!