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GUEST BLOGGER: Tips and Tricks for Upcycling Furniture

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Published March 28, 2019

We are so excited to have a very special guest blogger write for us this week! Annie with Simply Chic Furniture is a new customer to Mills Floral and we have become fast friends over the phone and Instagram. So it was an easy decision to have her be our first guest blogger and have her discuss her journey, her business and give you guys some tips on how to upcycle furniture. Everyone give a warm welcome to Annie!

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Simply Chic started as a need for an inexpensive table to set a birdcage on, right after we got married in 2010. After just paying for a wedding, and a security deposit on our new 800 square foot granny unit, our funds were a bit tight to say the least. I found the cutest table online and painted it white to set the birds on. The birds made a huge mess and were constantly chirping in our little place, so we decided to rehome the birds and sell the table. I painted the table and put it up for sale, and to my surprise, it sold quickly to someone who lived over 50 miles away and was about to lose their job. I enjoyed the painting process so much and the selling was even fun too! It was always a dream of mine to have my own store, a dream that became a reality in May of 2018. At Simply Chic, we sell some vintage and antique home décor, new home décor, gifts, and of course, upcycled furniture and the ability to come in and discuss redoing a piece you already own, or something in the store. Custom painted furniture has been the basis of my business since the very beginning and is something I take great pride in.

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Before I had the store I would search Craigslist and FB Marketplace regularly to see if there were any good pieces for sale in my area that I could refinish. I also was frequenting estate sales and garage sales for quality pieces. Now that I have my store I get asked if I want to take furniture for free, sometimes it’s good stuff, sometimes not. I look for solid wood pieces, no laminate or pressboard, my favorite pieces are usually antique or vintage. A piece of furniture has to speak to me or be unique for me to want to take it. Space at home and at the store is limited, so it has to fit the style most of my customers know me by.

If you are just starting out and have never painted before, the most important thing you can do is prepare your piece correctly before painting it. I have been painting for 8 years and I am disgusted that some paint lines are being sold as “no prep”, meaning, no prep work is required before applying the paint. Not prepping your piece correctly will give you an uneven painted surface, or worse, your paint won't adhere and may start coming off the surface. So to prep your piece, you need to sand and clean your piece before painting, this gives the paint every opportunity to stick, and will give you a flawless finish. An important reminder, never forget to wear a mask when sanding because old varnish and polyurethane is dangerous to inhale.

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One of my favorite tools in my arsenal is my Festool random orbital sander. I used to spend hours upon hours sanding with a regular palm sander or belt sander to remove finish from tops of furniture, but now that I have my Festool sander, it basically obliterates all the previous top coat and stain, and brings it down to bare wood in minutes. I have realized time is money, and investing in tools that will get the job completed faster is the way to go.

Another tool that I couldn’t live without is my HVLP paint sprayer. HVLP stands for High Volume Low Pressure. It has been a game changer for me because I am able to paint pieces quicker and get them back into the hands of my customers so they don’t have to wait weeks for me to finish their furniture. A full bedroom set used to take me 2 weeks to paint, distress and seal, now with the paint sprayer I can get it done in 2 days. Like I said before time is money and customers will keep coming back if they like the quality of your product and the turnaround time.

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My store is a mixture of old and new items, so when I'm looking to buy products for the store, I follow two general rules: 1) Would it be something I decorate my home with? 2) Is it trendy and something that I see often on Instagram/Pinterest photos. Having the mixture of old and new gives the store a uniqueness that I am looking for. The most important thing to have though is florals. If I didn’t have any of the beautiful flowers or wreaths I purchased from Mills Floral my store wouldn’t look so bright or cheerful. Customers gravitate towards the cotton stems the most because a lot of times, it reminds them of where they grew up.

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Annie is soooo talented and we loved collaborating with her this week.

If you would like to follow her, she just redid her website www.simplychicfurniture.com and launched her online store, so now anyone in the US can shop and have merchandise sent directly to their door. She is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/simplychicfurniture and Instagram @SimplyChicFurniture805

You guys go give her a follow and check out the beautiful photos of her amazing, unique pieces.

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