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  • Writer's pictureKatie

Home Office Transformation - Furniture Makeovers

One Room Challenge - Week 7

Last week was probably the biggest transformation weeks of them all with the slat wall installation! What a dramatic feature it gives! If you didn't see last week's post about the truly one-of-a-kind slat wall, you can check it out here along with all of my ORC posts that you may have missed!

And as soon as you are done with this post, please also immediately head over to the One Room Challenge Blog to see all of the amazing participants and their project journeys! I mean, seriously, there is so much talent out there! It is so inspiring!

So this week my focus was primarily on the furniture in the space. I was on a pretty tight budget for furniture but I needed all new furniture including a ton of storage pieces! As an interior designer, I have a library of so many flooring, fabric, wallpaper, etc. samples that I needed to add a ton of storage for. I would have loved to do a built in, but since this is a small bedroom of my 3 bedroom home, I felt like it doesn't make sense to build something in and basically eliminate the possibility of it being a bedroom in the future, since we really don't plan on living here forever!

So to keep the furniture budget friendly, yet still mesh with the design, and most importantly, be unique pieces, I figured I would have to modify some of them to give them the look I really wanted! And I see furniture hacks online all of the time so I figured I would try one of my own as well!

Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment - Detroit Interior Design

My plan was to have 2 bookshelves and a low dresser against the wall behind my desk for my storage wall. The dresser would sit under the window and would provide a low platform under the window for me to use to set my sample boxes or utilize the natural light for flat lays and so on. It would be flanked on either side with taller bookcases that gave a combination of shelving to bring in pretty things for visual interest, but also hidden storage for keeping everyday use items, like my paint fan decks! My desk will go right in the middle of the room facing the door (which is on the left side of that wall). My window is really too high up to look out and I like having the natural light pouring in over my shoulder. Lastly, on the right side of the wall that my desk faces, will be my reading corner with a chair, lamp, and table. This is the corner that has the super unique chevron slat corner!

I found some super cute stuff at Target, one of my favorite spots for inexpensive furniture that still looks good. Will it last forever? Eh, probably not. But, will it last long enough? Yes, probably. So my reading corner and desk area were all set. I really wanted to focus my attention on the storage wall.

Bookshelf - Detroit Interior Design

The first things I got were 2 of these black Threshold Carson 5 Shelf bookcases. They look pretty sharp, but a little on the traditional side for this office. Also, they are 100% black. And if you remember, so is my office. This is kinda what I wanted but I wanted to add a pop of color with these, especially since they would be in either corner which gets the least amount of light.

My plan for these was to replace the black backing of the open shelves with natural wood. I purchased a 4'x8' sheet of 1/4" sanded birch plywood. This is the same species of wood I used for the chevron slat wall. I had the sheet cut in half at Home Depot to two 4'x4' pieces so they were easier to work with. I then just ran them through my table saw to make 5" wide pieces. To make the edges of each piece a little more defined, I used my orbital sander and rounded the edge a bit.

I stained them in Varathane "Natural" Premium Wood Stain and put a coat of Varathane's Water Based Polyurethane in Matte just to help protect the wood pieces from scuffs and marks since they would be in the back of my shelves. I used the black backing that came with the bookcase and glued each of my pieces to with Liquid Nails. Once dried, I screwed it to the back with the provided screws. I then changed out the boring knobs with some fun, leather pulls and Voila! A bookcase with a little more character and more fitting to the contemporary design of the space.

Having the natural wood backing adds a little bit of brightness to the otherwise dark corners. Everyone keeps telling me, "Oh, you can't do an all black room in that small of a space, it will be so dark" or "I would NEVER paint a room black, it is so dark." Well, this is why you have a design plan. You can have a bold and dark room, even if it is a small space with limited natural light, if you have the right things in the room that add brightness and balance out the dark paint. This natural wood is part of what does that!

LED Strip Lights - Detroit Interior Design

Since the shelves get shadowed from the new lights added into the room, I got these battery powered, LED strip lights to help light up the shelves and give them a more even lighting! And they turn on with a remote! Thanks Amazon :) You can see it is a really big difference in how much the shelves are shadowed with and without the lights added!

So now to the tedious project. Sorta like the wall, I figured this would take a little time, but it wouldn't be too bad. Yeah, I was wrong, it was super time consuming. I think I might do it differently if I did it again. But that is ok, I do absolutely love how it turned out. So here is my Ikea hack! I will share a full tutorial for this in there near future so stay tuned!

Ikea Tarva 6 Drawer Chest - Detroit Interior Design

I started with the Ikea Tarva 6-drawer Chest. As you can see, it is basically a run of the mill low dresser made of pretty cheap knotty pine. But it is made to be painted or stained. And my plan was to do a little bit of both, plus some additions along the way. First I painted everything but the legs in the same SW Black Magic color I used for the walls, but this time in a Satin sheen for a little bit more protection and washability. The legs were stained the same natural color as all of the other wood in the room.

Now it was time for a little bit of flair. I wanted to give a nod to the chevron corner wall I just finished up so I decided to do a chevron design on the drawer fronts. Using 1/4" square dowels, I planned to glue pieces to the drawer fronts in a chevron pattern meeting in the middle of the set of drawers. Sounds easy enough right? Well... it isn't that it was hard, it was just incredibly time consuming!!

So I had to cut each piece individually. I was using a 45º angle for my chevron. That way, I could used my framing/speed square to line everything up. When I bought the wood dowels, I also bought a 3/4" square wood dowel as my spacer. I thought this spacing looked the best. In hindsight, I would have made the spacing wider. It still would have looked really sharp but would have taken half the time!

For each drawer, I had to cut each wood dowel on my miter saw. These are so thin and dry, many times the saw would split the wood and many pieces went flying across my back yard. I'm sure it would have been cleaner to use a miter box, however, I don't have one. I don't think it would have taken much more time to manually cut since I had to recut so many pieces that split on the miter saw, even with a brand new, fine tooth blade - so if I did this again, I think I would use the miter box to cut.

The really tedious part was gluing these pieces to the drawer. I tried liquid nails on the first piece, but that was far too messy so I switched to wood glue. I put a little strip of wood glue on the piece, lined it up with the 3/4" spacer from the previous one and also up against my framing square to verified it maintained the 45º angle, and clamped it down. I went through and tried to clean up as much glue that squirted out as I could with a damp paper towel. I was somewhat limited in how many pieces I could do at a time since I only had 6 clamps and you had to put on on either side. So it was slow. Luckily wood glue dries pretty quick.

When I moved on to the next drawers, I made sure I was lining up the pieces so it looked like they were continuous from one drawer to the next. Once everything was FINALLY all glued, I painted all the drawers in black 2 more times. I wanted the chevron design to be noticeable, but not in your face. I painted a coat of Varathane Water Based Polyurethane in Satin over everything (multiple coats on the top of the dresser) for added protection. Last step was to add drawer hardware. I went with an edge pull since I knew it would be hard to attach anything to the front of the drawers with the dowels now attached. I also really like the simplicity of the edge pull.

And finally, she was done! And I love her! What a difference, I really don't even think it looks like the same piece of furniture! I would love to know what you think of the furniture updates I made to make this budget furniture look like one-of-a-kind pieces! And stay tuned for next week, the FINAL REVEAL of the whole room! I am soooooooo excited to share it with you (and to finally be done)! See you next week!

Happy designing + DIYing!


Check out Week's 1-6 of my One Room Challenge transformation here:

Check out the ORC Week 7 Blog for all of the other participants here!

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