question: i have seen so many before & afters that have been transformed by a good paint job. i want to jiffy up a piece with color, but want it to end up looking well-worn. one example is the hutch in this post. i’ve heard of sanding, but am afraid that would look too contrived. how else can I achieve this look? -trina
answer: hi trina! a distressed look can be achieved many ways- here are some of the most popular: crackle glaze (applied over a base coat of paint), sandpaper (rubbed on areas that would typically show signs of wear and tear), liquid paint remover (can be brushed or applied with a towel), manual distressing with objects (using a chain or other rough objects to physically wear a piece. this can really damage a piece though so i don’t suggest it normally, but some people love it). but my favorite option is the wax method. all you have to do is: clean your furniture, apply wax (you can even use a crayon) over portions of the furniture you’d like to look distressed, then paint over top. once the paint is dry you can use a light piece of sandpaper or brillo to remove the paint on the wax portions. it will have a hard time sticking to the wax so it will easily come off. barb from knack adds:
“in my opinion, the best way to get it is to use an orbital sander with 120 grit or finer paper on it. an orbital sands much rougher than you can hand sand and takes off more paint. if you want it to look less contrived than you need to look at it as a canvas add more paint in the corners or edges, take away some in the middle, etc. you can also dry brush on a couple shades lighter (or a light gray) in places to simulate the weathered look.”
here are some more great ideas online.
question: my boyfriend and i like the idea of taking our shoes off when we enter the front door (which has no foyer, just bam! and you’re in the living room). any suggestions as to how to keep shoes (only a few pairs) organized and not too eye-catching? -jessica
answer: hi jessica! as someone who shares the same problem as you, i figured i would tackle this question. my apartment door opens right into our living room and almost hits the couch it’s so close, so storage for shoes, coats and rain gear can be tough- and pretty unsightly. but here are some solutions i love:
- j-me horizontal shoe rack: slim, modern and great for just a few pairs (here‘s similar pre-made version and a diy version)
- baskets/containers: if you don’t mind having your shoes a little visible, using this or this as a storage spot for shoes can look pretty cool. there was an image in dwell magazine years ago of a guy who used a planter to hold his collection of vans and it always made me want to try it
- bissa shoe cabinet: i have seen these wallpapered, painted, stained and even decoupaged to match rooms. bonus points for hiding the actual shoes
- hanging storage: if you have a closet in the room, consider hanging options to keep things totally out of sight
- upholstered storage seating: this is my favorite option and one i use at home. whether you diy one or buy a pre-made upholstered storage bench/cubes, you’re left with extra seating for the living room and a place to stash shoes and winter/rain gear.
[have a design question you’d like answered? just shoot us an email right here with the title “dear d*s”. if you’re asking a specific interior design question please include a picture of the space in question and your budget for any new projects.]
CLICK HERE for jenny’s living room redesign question after the jump (SHE NEEDS YOUR HELP!)
question: help! are your readers up for a challenge? i think i have the most challenging living room to decorate and arrange – i could use some advice. it is the pathway into the house, to the kitchen, and to our bedrooms. it is also 12 X 15 which the size also makes it a little challenging too. here is the current layout w/ photos (more pictures here!). any thoughts from the readers? -jenny
answer: what do you guys think? this might be crazy, but i’d love to see a faux-foyer set up. so that when you walk in, there’s a folding screen to your left (behind which hooks or a coat rack live) and then a smaller couch placed about midway through the room, facing the fireplace. but, behind the sofa i’d love to see a console table that runs the length of the couch, so that when you walk in you see perhaps 2 lovely lamps and a plant, and maybe some decorative (but functional) storage baskets beneath the console for books, magazines, etc. i didn’t see a tv in the shots, but if one is required, you could mount it above the mantle (assuming it’s not in use) or mount it to the right of the mantle where the pictures are- and perhaps create a gallery wall on the right side of the room. but this is coming from someone who still can’t get the right layout in her living room 2 years after moving in. what do you guys think? just leave your suggestions and ideas below….