Making old new again

As Bajans we all love waking up to a renewed house for Christmas. Whether it means a good cleaning, sweeping, washing down or going the “full nine yards” and working in a different colour scheme, the results are the same — a fresh look for the holidays.

Sofa… before.

Again, this is an exercise that does not have to break your pocket unless you want it to. If you have some old items in your house that you would love to just switch up and give new life, consider re-upholstering that living room set, in parts if you have to leading up to the holidays. It does not all have to be done at the same time. Save a little here and there for that project and by the time December rolls around so will your “new” sofa or living room suite.

Three-seater sofa


Sofa… after.

We had a three-seater sofa that was once a drab, puffed back couch. With the right fabric and a little direction in the design, it was transformed into an absolutely breathtaking piece of furniture, using printed jacquard and plain blue scotch guard fabric. Gorgeous fluffy pillow cushions were added to the sofa to create an entirely different look. Your family and neighbours will never know this is your same old tired sofa – unless you tell them.

Armchair #1

An old broken armchair does not have to be thrown out; this one was restored by sanding and sprucing it up with wood stain. The loose floral cushions were replaced with an upholstered body done with a micro-suede fabric and accented with a red throw cushion, adding the final touch to a new modern look.

Armchair #2

If you have a sparse room and want to add furniture but can’t afford a full suite, hunt around at auctions and online marketplaces. You will be surprised what you can pick up for $100 or $200 even. This $100 gorgeous armchair in white was picked up at such an auction.

The fabric was carefully chosen to blend back into the colour scheme and then sent to be upholstered. Since we wanted to keep the entire design, all that had to be done was recover it — so a lovely chair, becomes an even lovelier refreshed chair for your living room.

Coffee tables

There is a saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Very often companies that import items in wooden crates and other containers have no use for such crates after they are done unpacking them. Two old tired and almost useless looking wooden crates, with eight two-foot pieces of treated pine can become a new coffee table.

Because the detailed writing on the crates is so exotic, you don’t want to lose that, so instead of paint, try pickling. Use plain white paint, thinned with enough thinners to create a wash effect on the wood. Once that is done and absolutely dried, rub it a bit with some sandpaper, no machine, just your hand to get rid of some of the excess white and make sure the writing is visible.

A little polish on the top and the legs and you have a do it yourself coffee table. Be careful the nails you choose because the wood is soft. Wood glue and nails will attach your crate to the legs and your table is complete.


The last item that can spruce up the room are lamps. You might already have some at home that you feel are getting a bit tired. Instead of tossing those lampshades in the trash, have them remade to suit your new style.

Once boring cream lampshades were brought alive by recovering the shade with burgundy burlap. Or if you choose not to go the recover route, explore your creative side. Plain cream or white shades and a little acrylic paint can transform a lamp. Here acrylics, a little water and an artist paint brush with a few deft strokes created this abstract effect.

You don’t have to be a painter to get it done, just willing to explore a little.

So now you have a room that is far removed from what was there before, reusing your old stuff and adding a little ingenuity.

All fabric used in the restoration of the items above was supplied by Abed’s & Co. Ltd.

The burgundy lampshades were done by Quality Lamps Inc.

The paints were supplied by Harris Paints.

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