Tags: master

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I was honored that the fabulous duo, Lindsay and Lindsay at Sadie and Stella asked me to participate in a designer series about favorite rooms. 

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Like most people would, I talked about my most recently completed room -  my master bedroom.  If you want to understand why I chose the layout I did and the process of it all, I cover this room in MUCH greater detail on this blog.  It’s a long one!  Check it out over at Sadie and Stella.

I had a few cool things happen with my blog yesterday.  Due to a suprise Young House Love post, I hit a record with well over 10,000 views in one day!  Definitley a record – by far.  Thanks for mentioning me, Sherry!  How exciting. 

I’m also working on my first series with a hand full of blogger friends.  Hoping it is something that you’ll be excited about!   I should be able to tell you more about it in a few weeks.

And… I am starting to prepare for some future giveaways!

The Big Master Bedroom Reveal!


The previous owners had the master bedroom like this.  (Keep scrolling down for the actual reveal.  Look for “The Big Reveal” graphic.)

master before

Then, we painted and threw our stuff in.

Warning: I know, the carpet in my master is terrible.  But, it came with the house.  And, we hope to replace it.  For this reason, I am not decorating around this carpet color.  So, do your best to ignore it for now. 

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Even without the lamps and with curtains, it still wasn’t right.


Very little attention was given to the room.  It was blah.  Just a thrown together mess.  Very incomplete.  It needed some attention and thoughtful design.

So, I started by making a story board that would set the tone and serve as a visual guide for the process.

We based the room off of this story board.


We painted a wing back chair from Craigslist, made some art, bought pillows, bedding, chandeliers, a sofa, cow skin rug, a bench, painted a table from Craigslist, tweaked the plan a couple of times….

And now…

Here it is finished!  (I apologize if lighting and color is off.)


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bedfromchair7  chandelier

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Hope you enjoyed it!   We are happy to have a finished room to rest in.

Note:  More on this room via a guest post at Sadie and Stella, about the process and the floor plan – why I chose what I chose and how it all came about.

Update 7/21/11:  For more updated photos see our home Tour.

Symbol Art – Tutorial

I just completed a series of three pieces of art for my master bedroom.  They are the symbols @, & and *.  It took me about 5-6 hours for each painting.

About 6 weeks ago, I saw an ad on Craigslist for a bunch of old Pei Wei table tops for $10 each.  The owner was replacing them all.  I bought 8 of them.  I knew I could do some sort of art on them.

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Some of them even had gum stuck to the bottom!  Gross.

So, I decided to make my first table top paintings for my master bedroom wall.

The original inspiration, which can be found in the master bedroom story board, was:


The inspirational aspect is the general blue color, off-white contrasting elements and the graphic nature.

I wanted something a bit more contemporary for the room, though.  So, I drew up a plan on Photoshop.  I wanted the series of three paintings that will go over the sofa in my master bedroom to look something like this.

master art plan

I went with a deep teal color in the end (mixed my own color) because I wanted the painted chair to stand out and nothing else to be as bright in the room.

I am sure there must be some short cuts or better ways to do this, but here is how I created the art.   Mistakes and all!

Materials Needed: 
- Canvas or wood.  (The tutorial will be about using wood, as I used old Pei Wei table tops that were 2 feet x 3 feet.)
- Paint brushes (I used several sizes including 1 inch, 3 inch and craft size.).
- Paint.  (I used Valspar sample sizes from Lowe’s as well as acrylic craft paints.)
- A drawing or plan of what you want to create.
- Paper towels.
- Sand paper if you are using wood that has a finish on it like I did.
- Paint pen for outlining the symbols.
- Optional:  pencil or tracing paper.

1.  Prepare the surface of the wood.  Sand down any clear coat finish that is present.  I used 200 grit sand paper.  Then, wipe off the dust you created from sanding.

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2.  I wasn’t sure how to create a template large enough for my art.  Ideally, you can print out an image and trace it with tracing paper onto the wood, but my printer cannot handle such a large image.  Rather than send it to a professional printer for printing or to prepare and print it on nine separate sheets of paper, I decided to freehand draw each image.

I started out trying to use a pencil.  It didn’t show well on the wood.  I then went to tracing paper.  Without an image to trace, you’re pretty blind while going at it that way.  So, I ended up just using a paint pen and drawing, knowing I could correct any messed up lines.  And, believe me, there were messed up lines.  The worst was the ampersand.  I’ll show it here.

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It’s pretty messed up, but work at it, it WILL get better.

3.  Start to paint inside your lines (if you know which ones are the right ones).

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I painted the white inside first.

On the ampersand, my technique was to do well within the lines and then come back and do the edges.

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You can see the little drawing next to it.  That was the only thing I had to base it on.  So, I just drew and painted as I looked at it.   You can see all of the oopsy lines left over.

4.  Then, paint the blue.

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Again, I started in the middle first and then did the edges carefully.

Notice the Jersey Shore painting in the background of the photo above.  My “little sister” was painting that one.  Her idea.

5.  Obviously, this isn’t a step that you want to take, but once I finished the first coat of the blue, I changed my mind on the color.  I decided to tone it down.  I loved the original color, but I didn’t want anything in the room competing with my painted chair.  I just got messy and went over the white some, knowing I could fix it later.

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But alas, it still wasn’t the right color for the room.  So, we decided to do a deep teal.

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5.  It took two coats of blue and two coats of white in the end.   As you go, just keep correcting any issues that you notice with the shape.

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6.  Paint the sides black in order to make it look more finished and to cover up any paint that dripped over the edge.

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7.  Touch up, touch up, touch up.  Keep touching it up until you get it just right.

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I used a paint pen for some of my touch ups, but a brush was really just as easy.

8.  Add a clear coat to seal it.  I used a glossy brush on lacquer coat just to make it look more finished.

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My husband did the clear coat for us.  We chose to do it in the garage due to the strong smell.

9.  Congrats you have a new piece of art!

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Mistakes/ Things to Note:
On the asterisk, the tracing paper marks showed through AFTER we put the clear coat on.  Not sure why.

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So, we taped it off with the green frog tape (I recommend that specifically).  Then, sanded just the white part.  Repainted.  Resealed.

Stay tuned to see them in the master bedroom!  Let me know if you make this art for your home!

Update 11/15/11:  They now have a home in our laundry room.

Working on Master Bedroom Art–A Little Taste

Here is a little taste of what’s to come.  I’m painting a series of three.  I have two done as of today and am working on putting a coat of brush on lacquer on them.

Painted on a 2′ x 3′ table top from Pei Wei. Free-handed it.  More details and a tutorial will be posted on Tuesday.

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Should have the master reveal later this week, if all goes well with the art!

Got My Pillows for the Master!

Two good things.  My pillows arrived!  And, I hit over 100 followers!

I also just had my one month blogging anniversary.  Really fun so far!  However, I still feel kind of lost at times and am very much so still learning!

So, the pillows are great.  They look just like the photos on etsy. 

Amy at decoYellow on etsy.com did a great job!  Here is the photo of the blue and white chevron pillow from her shop.

FREE SHIPPING - Nautical Navy and White - Chevron Stripe Pillow Cover - Any Size - Any Color

I got two of these. 

Then, I wanted a felt lumbar pillow with a monogram on it.  I found one on etsy for $65.  We all know felt is not costly, so why would I pay that much for a monogrammed felt pillow that I could pretty much just make myself if I wanted to take the time? 

So, I asked Amy if she could make it.  Even though it wasn’t something she listed at her etsy shop, she said YES!  And, for less than half the price of the first one I found.  She was so great to work with!

Here it is:

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Looks great and I got to choose the font! 

So, the next pillow on my storyboard was…


The pillow made from Robert Allen’s vintage blossom fabric in jade.

Ordered it from Pillow Mio on etsy.

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And, now, here they are all together on my floor.

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The back pillows are 18×18 while the front lumbar pillow is 12×18.

The master bedroom is coming together.  It won’t be precisely like the story board, but it’s just for inspiration anyway.  Stay tuned – there should be a master bedroom reveal coming in a couple of weeks!

Painted Upholstery – The Process Revealed (Tutorial)

*NOTE -  There are other examples of painted upholstery (mostly from readers) on the Chairs page at the top of the blog.  In addition, there are other upholstery painting methods on that page, if you are interested.

I recently painted an upholstered chair and have been asked about the process.  Below are before and after photos:

And, here it is after 15 months.  Still looking great!

Why would I do this?  Well, after I learned that recovering a wing back chair for my master bedroom would cost $500-700 total, I decided that just wasn’t in my budget.  Not to mention, I haven’t seen any good fabric in this color anywhere (not locally)…

So, how could I do this cheaper?

I REALLY wanted a chair like in my inspiration photo.   Not exactly like it, but the general color and shape.


The wing back and the vibrant teal color were important elements of my master bedroom story board.


Then, I had an epiphany.  I remembered seeing a painted chair a while back.  So, I began to do a little research on painting upholstery.  After all, I could surely afford to buy a used chair and paint!

After a day or two of getting my ducks in a row as far as a plan was concerned, I purchased this chair on Craigslist.

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It was in perfect condition.  Well built.  Great lines.

I began the painting process.  First on a pillow as a test, though this post is about the actual chair.

Materials needed:
1 Quart of latex satin paint in the color of your choice (I just got word that though Valspar called it latex, this paint is acrylic.  It’s also good to note that others have tried the whole process with just latex, just acrylic craft paints and even Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It does not seem to matter.)
1 Spray bottle full of water, ready for refills
1 Paint brush
Fabric medium (equal to the amount of paint that you use)
Acrylic craft paint in the color of your choice (It should match the color of the Latex paint should you want to use my exact method and do the final coat in acrylic craft paint.)
Sand paper in super fine grit

1.  Make sure the chair is wiped free of dust and debris.  Clean it well.

2.  Mix 1:1 parts of paint and fabric medium.

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I used Ocean Soul by Valspar.  Below is a more accurate depiction of the color used:

Below is the textile medium that I used.  It is by Delta Ceramcoat and I purchased it in 8 ounce containers at Michael’s.

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Fabric medium keeps the fabric from getting too hard.   Note:  Some fabric mediums require that you place an iron briefly on the fabric (or a hair dryer) after the paint dries.

I didn’t use much paint – maybe 1/8 of the quart.  I mixed mine in an old cup.  A little goes a long way in this phase, as it will be very watered down.

This will be your base coat.

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3.  Water that paint/ textile medium mixture down.   Mix in about 1/2 the amount of water as paint.  (1 part water to 2 parts paint.)  Stir.   It should look more like a stain than a paint.

4.  Remove all seat cushions that are not attached from the chair or other furniture item.

5.  Spritz (fine mist) the part of the chair you will start with first with water.  I started on the seat cushion first.  Don’t be shy, you want the fabric wet.  Rub the water into the fabric.

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Sorry about the pics!  I was new to blogging when I posted this!

6.  Brush on the paint slowly while blending the best you can.  Work the paint into the fabric.   Don’t be afraid to use your hands.  Always make your last stroke with the grain so the fabric lays in the right direction as it dries.

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Note:  I tried it on a pillow first.  If you have a pillow or if there is an underside of a cushion, start there and see how it goes.


The watered down coats should give you light coverage, almost like a stain.  It will also act as a primer.

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7.  Do two coats this way.   Each should be VERY thin.  Water it down even more if you have to.  Let the first one dry fully before beginning the second.  I let mine dry overnight.

It will look worse before better.  This is after one coat.


8.  Don’t worry, your arm won’t fall off.  It is tiring, though, so you won’t mind resting between coats.

9.  Sand any particularly rough parts.   Sand lightly with a fine grit sandpaper.  In the direction of the grain, if possible.

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10.  Once my chair was dry, I chose to spray painted the legs in a glossy white.

Below is the chair before the legs were painted, with two coats of paint on the upholstery.

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After the legs were painted.

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11.  Now, it’s time for a final coat using the acrylic paint.  Mix it 1:1 with the fabric medium, like you did with the latex paint.

Note:  It is not necessary to do an acrylic coat.  You can use latex if you prefer.  I just got word that the Valspar paint that I used is acrylic.  However, most say that acrylic has more pigment.  Either way, you want a third coat and you will want this coat a little thicker.  

I mixed this in a cup as well.  But, this time, be more generous with the paint and dilute it less.  I’d do a full cup of paint, this size. (See below.)

Add just a few thimbles of water to dilute it a little.

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I had to mix my own color since the acrylic paints didn’t come in the color I wanted.

Spray the fabric with water again, just like you did on the other two coats.  It simply helps it blend and go on more smoothly.

Paint this layer much more generously.  This will be the layer that will cover the chair more completely. Don’t glop it on, but be generous.  It should provide full coverage unlike the base coats.

12.  I thought my chair needed a little bling, so I added some nail head trim on the arms.  I got the spacing right by folding a piece of paper and taping it so as to laminate it.

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Then, I simply hammered them in!  Nothing to it.

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13.  Congrats, you have a new chair!

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And, here is a look at it in my master bedroom!

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Is it crunchy or stiff?
It started out as a velvet fabric.  It is not soft like velvet anymore, but it is also not hard, crunchy or sand papery.  It’s like a stiffer rougher fabric, similar to painted canvas.  If you rub it in the direction of the grain, though, it’s not bad at all.  If you rub it in the opposite direction, it’s more rough.

Does the paint come off on clothing?
Not at all.  I tested it out and even wet it and sat on it.  No problem.   Similarly, if you paint a t-shirt, the paint doesn’t rub off.


- A smoother fabric makes for a more consistent color.
- The final paint layer is very important.  It will give the consistent deep color.  Be sure not to overdo it on the first two coats.
- Go light on seams.  Water this down and don’t overdo it.  Work it in to those areas.  Don’t be afraid to use your hands.
- Sand down any particularly rough spots.
- For a more leather-like finish, you could try a glossy paint or a wax finish.
- It seems to work fine with latex paint only or just acrylic paint.  See my second painted chair (acrylic only) and the readers pale pink chaise (latex only).
- You’ll find that the better shape the fabric is in, the better the paint will go on and the less stiff it will be.  The arms on my chair were a tiny bit worn compared to the rest of the chair.  As a result, they are a little rougher now.  I do think that in time, with use, it will all even out in texture, though.
- It’s not a chair to cuddle in.  It’s not super plush anymore.  However, you will find other painting methods that are a little softer on the Chairs page of my blog.
- Someone made a good point – it’s a little like the concept of the velvet Elvis paintings.
- Best practice is to do a pillow first if you have one or the underside of a cushion if it is possible.
- I strongly suggest that this is tried on a chair that you would otherwise reupholster or get rid of so nothing is in jeopardy of being lost.
- It is perfect for a photography prop!
- See other painting methods on my Chairs page.  There are many examples there.

Hope you enjoyed this step by step look into the process!

PLEASE let me know if you try this – I’d love to see photos!

I am constantly updating my blog with examples of painted upholstery.  In fact, I added a new Chairs page that shows examples of painted upholstery on one page with links to posts.   This is the best way to see other examples.  Feel free to comment  with any thoughts or questions.

Update 5/31/11:  My second painted chair. Textured, no velvet and I did acrylic paint only.
Update 6/18/11:  Reader paints a pale pink chaise.  Latex paint only.
Update 8/8/11:  It does not seem to matter if you do latex or acrylic.  The main thing is to do thin layers and to spritz the fabric with water.  Work it into the fabric, don’t let it just sit on top.
Update 5/17/12:  The intro to my series on Simply Spray upholstery spray paint and an update on how my two painted chairs are holding up.
Update 1/6/13:  A reader wrote: “I have to say that Martha Stewart Fabric Medium was way easier to work with than the Ceramcoat Fabric Medium I started with. Also for me, the coats I did with satin latex paint did not nearly cover the original color as well as the acrylic paint. I think in the future, I might use acrylic paint only mixed with the Martha Stewart medium. That mix was a lot thinner and easier to work with than the latex paint and Ceramcoat.”
Update 6/18/13:  We’re still using it today in our master bedroom.
Update 7/1/13:  I just got a comment saying the Valspar Signature paint line is actually acrylic paint not latex.  Good to know!

P.S.  I am not selling anything.  I make no money off of posting on painted upholstery – I just offer information to my readers.  It would have helped me as I was researching and deciding what to do, so I want to offer it to others.

If you choose to follow this tutorial, it is at your own risk.  I am not responsible for the outcome, nor do I claim that it works perfectly for everyone.  I show fails as well as successes on my Chairs page.  I have only tried it on the two particular chairs that I own and am sharing my experience in hopes that it inspires and helps you. 

Final Reveal of Painted Upholstery Chair!

It is complete!!

If you have been following along on the painting of the upholstered wing back chair, here is the final reveal of the chair.

Since the last post about the chair, I painted the legs white, put another coat of paint on and added nail head trim.


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Cost:  $60 for the chair, $15 of fabric medium, $15 of latex paint (only used 1/4 of a quart), $15 of acrylic paint, for a total of $105.
What do you think? 

We’re loving it! 

On Wednesday I will be taking you step by step through the entire process.

Sneak Peek at Lighting in Master Bedroom!

So, we went with the silver chandeliers that I talked about a while back in a post.   A photo from Overstock is below!


Ready for just a small sneak peek?  I won’t keep you waiting.  The photo below was taken before they were completely finished being hung!  (Click image for a bigger image.)

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Only the right one has PART of the crystals on it at this point. Like I said, this is a sneak peek.  :)  

And the view from the door…. so you can see the seating area with one of the chandeliers in the background.   (No crystals on it yet in this pic.) 

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And, note, the chair was not yet fully painted in this photo.  See the post from earlier this week to see how it turned out when I painted it with regular house paint.

And, yet another note… the master bedroom is still in the process of being decorated.  We are still waiting on various elements to be delivered.  Things are sitting around on the bench temporarily. 

We love the silver chandeliers!  Do you (based on the very little bit you could see)?