Chase Away the Winter Blues: White is Always Bright for DIY Delight

During the winter doldrums, sometimes we feel a little down due to the cold weather and short daylight hours.  One way to shift your blue mood is to tackle your next DIY project using bright white. 

Any Goodwill-found, thrifted piece always looks vibrant when painted with white.  This hue looks great in any setting and reflects light making your whole space look refreshed.   

Add elegant accessories and cut flowers for a design to raise your spirits even on the bleakest days and darkest nights.  Given the remarkable deals you get when pick up items at Goodwill, you’ll feel better, too, knowing you honored your budget and our planet.  Don’t you feel better already?  After completing this week’s blog project, I know I do!

Here’s how you can create your own bright piece, too:

`1. Pick up a perfect piece for pennies

Goodwill always has unique furniture pieces that are ideal for any room in your house, condo, or apartment. 

To make this kitchen area functional and fantastic, a bar-height table was picked up for it.  Bar height is 40 to 42 inches, while a more traditional kitchen or dining room table is usually 28 to 32 inches high.  The higher table helped the space to immediately feel more modern.  It also provides a standing workspace when not being used for eating meals or entertaining family and guests. Its sleek yet traditional construction was sturdy and solid for sure. 

What space in your place could use some brightening up?  Whatever your furniture needs might be, look for solid wood parts and pieces for long durability.  If it has interesting details, even better. 

If you are considering refreshing your kitchen/dining space and you find a table you like, consider pairing it with mismatched chairs to be painted in white too.  The color will connect the various items and make your space feel inviting and whimsical at the same time.

2. Start with sanding

  • With a medium to coarse-sanding paper or sanding block, give your table a once or two over to rough up its current finish.  Don’t worry about stripping of the entire paint or stain but ensure you are making its current surfaces ready to be painted.  This step will create a lot of dust, so consider wearing a mask and/or work goggles. 
  • When finished, use soapy, warm water as you wipe down your piece with a cloth or rag to remove the dust and dirt.  This will create the perfect blank, clean canvas.

3. Roll and brush on the brightness

  • Place your to-be-painted piece on a drop cloth to protect the floor and to help ensure a quick cleanup. 
  • For my table transformation, a bright white color was picked in a semi-gloss finish.  Both the color and finish will make the final piece reflect light; satin and semi-gloss will allow easy clean-up between meals or projects.  From my perspective, a gloss finish will look too shiny and will also show any flaws and imperfections in your piece.
  • A small-sized roller was used to quickly apply several coats. 
  • A slim paintbrush helped to fill in the gaps.  
  • After the first coat of paint has dried completely, place your table on its side and roll/brush on coat number two. 
  • Repeat this step by placing the table on the other side and adding another coat.  It is always helpful to approach your project with the goal of adding multiple light layers rather than one thick layer to hide the original color.  Thinner coats allow you to have a smoother, better-finished look by avoiding runs and drips. 

Once your piece has had several layers and it looks good to go, consider rolling on an additional layer or two on the table’s top.  Since this surface gets the most use, the extra paint will help to protect it for a long time. 

4. Select some seating

Goodwill usually has interesting chairs on hand at good, low prices. 

A pair of metal, silver bar chairs with a very industrial look were combined with a pair of French-country ones with cane seats. 

I love the juxtaposition of the modern, urban feel married with the timeless, more romantic look.  The white and silver look great together and play up those tones found throughout the kitchen space.

Expert Tip:

Sometimes you get lucky and find a matching set of four, six, or eight chairs to place around your table.  However, you are more likely to find solo or pairs of chairs.  Therefore, consider collecting mismatched, single chairs.  Paint them, too, in a bright white so they immediately feel connected to your table.  This look is always whimsical and welcoming.

Be sure to measure each chair’s height so they are the same, if possible.  Bar stools fall between 28 and 33 inches, so you will want those who gather to be seated at the same height.  Kitchen chairs are typically between 28 and 30 inches.

5.  Acquire attractive accessories

Now that your table has been painted and is fresh and bright, it’s time to address its top.  Goodwill always had great vases, bowls, dishes, plates and decorative items to allow you to express your own unique style.  Fresh flowers are a wonderful way to warm your spirits as they remind us Spring is around the corner—even as the snow piles up outside.  

Find a vase you love and fill it with your favorites.  Keeping with the focus of this blog, white tulips were arranged in a sleek, clear glass vase.  It was placed on a silver tray (which matched the metal chairs) with a fun floral design on it.  A small white ceramic pineapple, a symbol of hospitality and generosity, and a glass Eiffel Tower statue complete the elegant vignette. 

Show us how you turn your winter blues by upcycling items with bright white.  We love to see how you take pieces and give them a new look and lease on life. 

Thanks to Finding Your Good for all the ways you brighten up the lives of others and our community!

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Tim Kime

Artist, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, and connector. He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates, offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating, and motivational speaking. He is also the Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops. These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, and part goal setting.