DIY Furniture Transformations

Make the most of your furnishings by repurposing pieces into custom creations that look good and work hard. With these simple, affordable ideas, you'll be able to transform your ordinary furniture into fresh finds for your home.

By Leslie Marshall

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DIY Side table
Tray Chic

    Couple an adjustable-height stool with an oversize tray to create a chic side table. Apply construction adhesive between the stool top and tray to permanently connect the objects.

Bookcase Buffet

    When it comes to creating posh pieces of furniture for your dining room, think outside the box. Convert bookcases into a custom store-and-serve buffet. Using wall anchors, hang a pair of bookcases horizontally while placing a third on the floor directly below. Mount the middle bookcase at counter height so it can be used as a serving station for cocktails.

Head of the Table

    Stylize your dining area seating by combining an upholstered headboard with a seat-height bench. Use anchor bolts to hang the headboard a few inches above the bench. Finish by adding a comfortable cushion and throw pillows.

Work Space Savvy

    This remarkably roomy desk unit is a source of hideaway storage and desktop space. Attach a wood countertop to rolling drawers using metal L-brackets. To secure the shelf, fasten straight brackets to both the countertop and shelf.

Pillow Talk

    You'll have sweet dreams with this homemade headboard made of floor pillows. Shop for floor pillows that are of equal width of your bed when placed side by side. Stitch several plastic rings (sold at sewing centers) in a row to the back of each pillow near its top edge. Install nails or screws on the wall above the bed to hang the loops.

Sitting Pretty

    Take your tired, throwaway bed frame and change it from to junky to funky. Cut the footboard in half vertically and fasten one half to each end of the headboard using screws and wood glue. For the seat and front rail, cut pieces of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and attach using screws and wood glue. After sanding, priming, and painting, stylize the settee with nail head trim. Use a foam pad and batting wrapped in a colorful, patterned fabric for a comfy cushion.

Bench Basics

    Convert a bookshelf into a storage-friendly bench. Turn the bookshelf on its side and add panels to each end. Add wooden furniture feet. Paint the piece to complement the colors in your space. Throw a cushion on top and it's complete.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

    Pamper your pooch by building a bed made from an unused side table. Remove the top and doors, then cut away any support pieces. After sanding rough edges, apply a fresh coat of paint that will complement your space. Finish by placing a fluffy dog pillow inside.

Cool Stools

    Assemble your own makeshift library by stacking repurposed stools. Paint the three pieces in coordinating colors. This is a practical and affordable way to house your favorite reads.

Nifty Nightstand

    Craft a small, ordinary dining table into a nifty nightstand. Mimic egg-and-dart molding around the apron of the table using clever paint techniques. Start by tracing evenly spaced arches around the bottom of the apron. Dip a curved-bristle brush in brown acrylic paint and drag it around the pencil mark. Dip a round artist's brush in water, removing excess water with a paper towel. Brush to remove areas of the wet brown paint to create shadows and dimension.

Raise Your Glass

    Alter a simple armoire to create a storage-packed buffet. Cut the doors in half and move the hinges to make room for a beverage bar above and storage cabinets underneath. Winery-inspired shelves create more space to house your favorite drinks. For a touch of elegance, add crown molding and scrolled bottom molding. Finish with a fresh coat of paint.

Craft Station

    Transform a rolling kitchen cart into a fun and functional craft area. A wood block countertop and drop-leaf side panel provide a durable work surface. The cubbies underneath are a perfect place to store boxes and bins of supplies.

A Fresh Start

    Transform your waste-of-space entertainment center into a handy, hardworking laundry station. After applying a fresh coat of paint, install a hanging rod in one of the tallest sections to function as storage and a place to drip-dry delicates. Baskets offer organized storage for ironing supplies and other necessities. A lazy Susan keeps cleaning supplies within reach.

Table Talk

    Fasten a frame, a candlestick, and wooden plaques together to build a bedside table. Attach the plaques to the bottom of the candlestick using screws and wood glue. Spray-paint the base and the empty frame. Add your own flair by placing fabric or paper inside the frame, then attach to the top of the candlestick.

Stackable Storage with Style

    Enhance the style and storage of an entertainment center with stackable storage cubes. Assemble this unit by screwing together two 15-inch open cubes and one 30-inch cube with drawers. Sandwich the assembly between two 3/4-inch pieces of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) using screws. Align the pieces on the sides and back, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang on the front. Finish by fastening eight metal legs.

Mirror Magic

    Large mirrors with fancy frames can break the bank. Save the money and construct a custom frame by building your own around a mirrored closet door. Incorporate a piece of paintable textured wallcovering to the inset panel above the mirror. Try adding decorative trim or molding for an extra design motif.

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