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CENTRAL IDEA: 4 TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR OWN FURNITURE AND SAVING BIG MONEY
We didn't grow up in DIY homes. Our Dads didn't spend every Saturday in the garage tinkering and building with tools. It wasn't a part of our upbringing.
We fell into DIY by necessity. We had NO money to buy new furniture or decor the first 15 years of marriage. We had a lot of debt and very little wiggle room in our budget. If we wanted something fun to decorate our home, we had to thrift it or make it!
Almost 8 years ago, we paid off all our consumer debt fast and then leaned into our mortgage. We wanted to have that monkey off our back as soon as possible. The problem? Our home hadn't been remodeled since the 90's. I'm talking honey orange trim for days!
Oh, and we had the furniture to match! Good times.
Slowly, we have gone room by room painting and updating everything ourselves with cash. I saw higher end furniture pieces I liked and we started experimenting with making our own furniture. Turns out, Brad loves to create things! He fell in love with woodworking (YEAH!). We were on to something.
Five years later, we have created a ton of furniture and home decor pieces around our home. We made them for a fraction of the cost to buy new. Making your own furniture and home decor isn't as scary as you think. JUMP IN! Try something new.
Ten years ago, we were voted least likely to DIY. Promise. So if we can do it, you can too! We have 4 tips for you if you are ready to DIY furniture and home decor. It's not scary. We can show you how.
1. GATHER UP SUPPLIES
In order to start making your own furniture and home decor, you will need to purchase some tools and supplies. I will warn you, some of these tools are expensive. It will cost you some money upfront, but the rewards years from now will be worth it!
It is important to learn as much as you can before operating these tools. Always read the instruction manual before operating power tools. Watch a few Youtube tutorials and understand what you are working with. Safety first friends!
If you are really tight on cash, ask around to some of your friends, family, and neighbors. They may have some tools they don't need anymore! You could purchase or barter with them for a deep discount. Craigslist and garage sales are also a great and frugal way to accumulate tools. Shop around and take your time!
We bought one machine at a time when we had the cash to pay for it. We used birthday money or bonus money to pay for something we wanted. Brad had al list of tools he wanted. We slowly accumulated each of these things over 5 to 7 years.
Here is what we recommend.
It is important to note, all the wood we use for our projects comes from big box home improvement stores. They usually carry everything you need to build. They will also make cuts for you for a small fee! Be sure to ask. Occasionally we will source wood from a local mill for special projects. This isn't necessary, just a fun thing to do once in while.
2. TRY A LOCAL WOODWORKING GUILD
Take some time to learn about your local woodworkers guild. A woodworkers guild is a local organization that supports and educates woodworkers. Every guild is different but here in KC, our guild has a beautiful shop and numerous tools available for you to use.
Our local guild is fairly cheap to join and is open throughout the week. They offer classes in all kinds of woodworking projects. Their main focus to educate and support woodworkers in every stage. You can store your current project in the shop while you work on it. You can always ask questions and get feedback if you need!
Our membership is worth the cost. Our guild is centrally located in the city, so Brad can pop in and work on a project when he has the time. We are always on the lookout for classes he may want to take and projects we can work up in the shop.
A local guild may be a great option for you if your budget is tight and you don't have money to purchase the tools you need. You may have a guild near you with every tool you need! Do a quick google search and see what is close by!
We have our home workshop in the garage which is great for the Fall and Summer, but Winter is a different situation. Our Winters are usually cold and snowy. Working in the garage is cold and damp. Having a warm shop with every tool you can imagine is worth it for those long winter months. We are grateful to have the option!
3. GET TO KNOW ANA WHITE
Ana White is a blogger, woodworker, maker-extraordinaire. Her projects are all over Pinterest. You've probably seen them!
Her website is a treasure trove of projects for your home, big and small. If you are new to DIY projects for your home, Ana White is where you want to go! Even if you are a pro, I would recommend her site. Please note: for her projects you will need a Kreg jig, miter saw, and a power drill. You can't do her projects without those tools.
She has great pictures and full tutorials. Each of her projects comes with a shopping list and cut list. Grab this before you go to your local hardware store.
All of her projects are modern and beautiful. You can change and adapt many projects to your style. In fact, I don't think we've made ONE project of hers exactly as she said. We change things up here and there to support our lifestyle! That is the beauty of making your own furniture!
We love this sofa table. We don't have a foyer in our home. You walk in the front door and step into our living room. We needed a place to drop your bag and store shoes. This piece is solid and stylish. It is similar to a piece Pottery Barn sold a few years back.
Brad built this jelly cabinet over winter break. We use it in the dining room as a coffee cabinet. The storage is great and is the perfect height for our Nespresso and coffee things. It is rustic and functional.
We have so many new projects brewing all the time at our house! I have my eye on some planting boxes for this spring. Maybe one by the front door and a hanging window box? I still haven't decided. We also need a new t.v cabinet in our basement. I am thinking we will do an Ikea hack like this or make a new cabinet like this. I'll keep you posted!
4. USE PINTEREST
Pinterest is a great resource for DIY furniture ideas. We get 99% of all our furniture ideas here. The great thing about Pinterest is that you can find posts on how to build things as well as tips for what NOT to do. Many bloggers share their DIY failures to help us all learn!
Open up Pinterest and search "DIY home decor." You will get a flood of good ideas. The more you pin things you like Pinterest will start automatically adding those things into your feed. SO PIN AWAY!! Don't just lurk. Be active. Slowly you Pinterest will "send" you more ideas that fit your taste in your feed.
I also search Pinterest for knock off plans from popular home stores. For example, last winter I needed a new dining room table. I love Restoration Hardware tables, but we don't have a Restoration Hardware budget. Can anyone else relate?
A few minutes on Pinterest and I found plans for the exact RH table I wanted. We were able to customize the dimensions based on our kitchen. I found a stain similar to the look I loved on RH website. We ended up making a $3800 table for under $100!
We also used Pinterest to learn how to faux ship lap our kitchen. We used the Nester's tutorial. I love this method! It was hard work, but totally worth it!
In the meantime, we have curated a fun feed of DIY Furniture and Home decor ideas over on Pinterest (see above). Many of these things we have tried and made. We have small projects and big projects. We have outdoor spaces and indoor decor ideas! We look to include it all! Follow long below for the fun!
Okay friends, let make furniture! Gather your supplies and don't forget to use Ebates to get cash back! Start your own Pinterest furniture dream board. Let us know if you have one! We want to follow along and see your great ideas.
Feel free to comment below or email if you have any questions, ideas, or comments! Happy building!