Thursday, September 16, 2010

Repurposing Furniture

By: Andrea Schuch

Sometimes to get your client to spend on that great piece that will make the room, you need to help them figure out what to do with the furniture that is currently in the room – and they don’t always want to get rid of it.

I just experienced this with my own home. I shampooed the carpets in my downstairs a few weeks ago and to do so, I moved everything out of the rooms and into the kitchen for a brand new start! Of course, as a designer, as soon as I started doing this I began thinking about where I could move things. I have a very small house and with that come very small rooms. I have been very grateful for some hand-me-down pieces for the dining room. Since the dining table is so large, I have hated having even just the buffet in the dining room since we moved in two years ago. With all the furniture in the kitchen, now was my chance to change the layout. I decided to use the buffet as a sofa table behind the sofa in the living room. This made the space so much easier to use (along with a few other changes) and I received many complements when I hosted family over this past weekend. With these successful changes, my mind starts racing on what else I can do…

Turns out, repurposing furniture pieces is huge in the blogs lately, with articles written on Decorology http://decorology.blogspot.com/2009/05/great-furniture-repurposing-ideas.html and She Knows http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/814405/guide-to-repurposing-furniture-1. You can find ideas on these sites for using cabinet doors for trays or doors for headboards. It is really something designers have done for years – think about how many sofas have been reupholstered and tables refinished to match a new d├ęcor. I also refinished my childhood day bed a year ago to go in my Cape Cod style guest room. There’s even a blog dedicated to making IKEA furniture into one-of-a-kind pieces – IKEA Hacker http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/. All these sites are also great for ideas of how to use a client’s existing furniture for something you may not have thought of before – like chicken coops for a French-country kitchen storage look.

There’s always the piece that client’s do need to get rid of (hopefully that they’re replacing with some magnificent piece you’re selling them). There are plenty of things to do with that also – besides the trash. Assuming the piece is in usable condition there are websites like Craigslist www.craigslist.org and Freecycle www.freecycle.com where pieces can be sold or given to others at no charge. Goodwill is also an option, when you do donate to a charity you can use the donation receipt to write off on your taxes.

In the end, if your client sees you are trying to help her in areas where she may not want to spend a ton of money, she tends to trust you more on those great splurges!

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