barb blairbefore & after basics

before and after basics: let the good times roll

by Barb

Today on Before & After Basics, it is all about good vibrations and power combinations. Think peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, cookies and milk and Barbie and Ken. Each of these combinations is good on its own, but oh so great combined with the other half! This is exactly how I feel about pairing casters and furniture. Obviously the furniture was great on its own, but add a little pair of modern casters, and this piece moves from” a little drab,” to “I have to have” with the twist of a screwdriver. (And the fantastic blue knobs don’t hurt either!) There is a limitless array of casters available, so feel free to get super creative! Remember to have fun and think outside the box; sometimes massive casters on a little end table are exactly what the decorator ordered! — Barb

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • casters
  • furniture piece
  • drill
  • drill bit
  • screwdriver
  • screws
  • measuring tape
  • pencil


1. When you purchase your casters, make sure they are the right size for the piece you are working on! There have been a few times when I have bought some really cool casters only to find out that the base was wider than the base of the piece I was putting them on. So learn from me and measure the space to ensure the casters will fit. Also make sure that the base of the piece will complement the casters and that you don’t need to add some wood first to customize the base.

2. Flip the piece over and place the casters where they will be attached. Measure and make sure they are flush and even. This can easily be done by just “eyeing” it, as I am famous for doing, but for those of you who feel the need to measure and be exact, by all means measure!

3. Once you are sure of the placement for the casters, trace the holes with a pencil, so it will be easy for you to drill your holes.

4. Drill your pilot holes. This is super important when dealing with wood but especially old wood that is subject to dryness and vulnerable to cracking under the pressure of the screws. Use the smallest drill bit, as the goal is to make a small entry hole for your screw. Check your screw size with the drill bit to make sure you do not drill the hole too big for the screw.

5. Place the casters on the piece and screw all of the screws, making sure they are nice and secure.

All done! What do you think of your crazy cool casters? Pretty awesome, right?

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  • So awesome. And practical, too. As a girl who has lived alone, I appreciate anything that allows me to shift furniture easily (and clean underneath it).

  • I love wheels on most anything but especially love the funky contrast with chunky furniture…it’s like they’re on tip toe instead of just plopped down in a room. Tip toe is always more exciting.

    BTW, saw you in Southern Living…you go girl!

  • Nice! Another great tutorial! My question is… what if you have an old piece that comes with antique casters already? Can you remove those and replace with cool funky ones instead? I have an old dresser/mirror combo with narrow legs and 3 out of 4 casters work. One is cracked in half. I want to take them off and leave it as is but cool casters would be the bomb if it’s an option.

  • okay, I love all of your posts;-) but this one is just so cool. I would have never thought to have put casters on THAT piece–and it looks SO GOOD!

  • Thanks ladies for he love on this project! :)

    Susan, I have been in that situation plenty of times before , and unfortunately you are limited to the size of the leg on many of the antique pieces. There are many styles of casters available out there and sometimes you can find just the right fit, but for those little antique turned legs or squared off legs the base of the caster can’t be bigger than the leg and it gets tricky. You either have to modify the leg or replace with the same size casters.

    xo Barb Blair

  • oh, awesome! thank you SO much for pointing that link out! i have been on the hunt for some colorful ones to add to an old military trunk that i got at an estate sale…this is perfect! the hardware stores just don’t understand how many of these things they’d sell if they offered them in fun colors like these!

  • Love it! I too have a new love affair with casters. Did a neat trunk turned Coffee Table with giant ones. Love that you “eyeball” it too. Must be something about being creative and not wanting to follow all the rules. As always, you inspire me!

  • This is such a great update of old to new…I love the mixed media. Industrial castors, traditional paint finish and contemporary knobs. I am going to show this in my next blog for our customers! Thanks.

  • I never realized this before your post, but you showed how casters are a great way to give “feet” to a piece that is normally flush with the floor. I see a lot of used furniture that I’d like to re-do, but I like the look and airiness of something off the ground and haven’t wanted to build or add on feet. The casters are such a great way to do that, and so easy! Thanks Barb, now I have a way to transform more furniture!

  • Wow, I have the table that matches that chair that I painted in a baby blue and white combination!

    The other color I thought of painting it was that exact grey. It looks fantastic!!

  • you can also buy the kind of casters that old dressers have. what you get is a kind of molly bolt thing – like a tube – into which you put the pin caster. so you have to drill a larger hole into the bottom of the leg (for instance) to insert the holder tube, and the the caster pops in. this is instead of the plate casters like barb’s photos.

    you can search for “pin casters” to get a look at that type.

  • Barb, I find all of your columns to be so interesting, including this one. I am also a big fan of milk paint and was thrilled that you featured it in an earlier column. That said, is the chair next to the featured dresser stained or milk painted? Would you mind providing a little bit of information about it? Thank you.

    • Kathryn, This chair is actually painted with latex paint , distressed and then stained.

  • I LOVE furniture with wheels. First, it is empowering… little ole me can move anything on wheels. When I’m at the thrift store or a tag sale and I see wheels, I’m definitely taking a closer look. This is a great tutorial though, because now I can add casters to some of my current pieces. I was rearranging my office the other day and put everything on washcloths at each corner & pushing–not attractive OR fun!

  • Hi Barb,
    Thank you for this wonderful story and pictures! I love the aqua touches and the industrial casters! Being in the furniture business myself (Select Home Furnishings), I sometimes battle with putting together the best accents with the gorgeous furniture our guests select. Reviewing blogs like this has always sharpened my tools as a Design Specialist. Keep up the great work!

    Thanks Again!