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Five Furniture Makeover & Flipping Life Hacks

What is UP my friends and fellow busy bees. So, here’s something about me: I absolutely love scrolling on TikTok, and I probably do it more than I should. But one of the great things is that you can learn so many new things in such a short amount of time on TikTok, as long as you’ve trained your algorithm to not show you the bullshit. I have learned so many new things since I got on TikTok back around 2020, and one of my guilty pleasure style of videos is the life hack videos: cleaning life hacks, cooking life hacks, fashion life hacks, home decor tips, the list goes on and on. And then it makes you feel like your time hasn’t been a total waste while you’ve been scrolling because you’re actually learning pretty useful shit, you know?

So in the spirit of life hacks, today I wanted to bring you some quick wins by letting you know about 5 furniture flipping tips and tricks that you can take with you into your week and know that your time here today wasn’t wasted. Whenever I’m using one of these hacks or I think of one as I go about my day I like to add them to an ongoing list I have to use as inspiration to make content for Instagram or TikTok and I thought bringing some to you here, where I can provide a little more context and describe them more in depth, might be fun. If you like this style of post in comparison to the longer ones that are more of a deep dive into one topic, let me know! Send me a DM on Instagram @MelDidItHerself or shoot me an email at because I’m sure I could whip up a few of these bad boys every now and then if I hear that you guys enjoy them!

The first tip has to do with planning out your projects– for those of you who are visual learners, listen up! There are times when I really want to be able to see what a design would look like on a piece before I get started on it so that I can know it will look well-balanced and flow nicely on the piece, because it’s a huge bummer to do a bunch of work on the piece and get it nearly completed only to then realize something about it looks off. There are more complex softwares out there like Photoshop that you could pay for and learn how to use to get more realistic mock ups done up, but I picked this tip up from my local furniture flipping friend Michelle from Laforest Living and it works great for me. You just take your before photo of the piece and then open up your Instagram stories and import the photo there. Grab a paint swatch off the website of the brand you’re using, or multiple swatches if you’re doing a more complex design, and bring those into the same Instagram story. Then you click Draw and can use the paint dropper function to snag the paint colours and then draw over the sections you’re thinking of using that colour on. It’s definitely a little more messy of a mock up, especially if you’re using your phone and are working on such a tiny screen, however I find that it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly when something looks a little weird in a design so it does the trick for me!

For furniture flipping life hack number 2, let’s talk bleed through. If you missed it, I have previously done a full blog post dedicated to discussing what bleed through is, why it happens, how you can prevent it, and how I would recommend addressing it if you discover it in your makeover. So if you’d like to go back and check that out for a more detailed run through, check out this post. However, I failed to mention this handy tip in that blog, which is a sneaky way to deal with super pesky bleed through on a piece– use black spray paint to spot treat it and stop the bleeding from happening. Now, I probably wouldn’t recommend this in lieu of priming your entire piece and maybe not if you’re planning on painting the piece stark white just because it would likely take quite a few layers of primer and paint following the spray paint to mask that spot to make it look flawless. However, if you’re working on a piece and find that there’s some little spots that, for whatever the reason, keep pushing past that primer, try this. grab a can of black spray paint and spot treat those areas, let it dry thoroughly (maybe give it two coats if you want to be super safe) and then once dried, go back in with your primer all over those sections and let it sit. IDEALLY, the bleed through will be gone. You’re welcome and good luck!

And if you’re someone who really loves hearing about these helpful hacks and creative tips for your furniture flips, as well as love seeing pretty painted pieces and rad refinished relics, I highly recommend signing up for my Friday Furniture Focus newsletter! I send it out every week jam packed with furniture facts, furniture fixes, share who’s pieces I’m furniture fangirling over, introduce you to furniture artists and their businesses so you can get to know more about them and their work, and so much more. Sign up here and keep an eye on your inbox for all that great stuff.

My third tip for your furniture makeovers is for those of you who are like me and find it SO annoying to have to drill new hardware holes on your pieces after filling the preexisting holes because doing the proper math to get them perfectly aligned, level and centred just seems like rocket science for some reason. I actually did pretty well in math in school but for whatever the reason, either I lost the knack or just make it way more complicated than it needs to be when I’m trying to figure out where to drill the holes and then start second guessing myself. If this rings true for you too, you need to get yourself a cabinet hardware jig! I have one from Kreg that I got at Home Depot, it was $35 and it was worth every penny for me for how much easier it is to determine where to drill the holes. You just adjust the bolts on the jig to the distance you want the holes to be from one another, find the centrepoint of the dresser length- and width-wise, adjust the jig so the centre aligns with that spot and then mark your holes. SO quick and simple, 10/10 recommend!

Now.. I have spent many an hour handsanding the edges of furniture pieces trying to get it stripped back to its bare finish. It’s a great workout, sometimes you can really get into the groove and dive deep into a great playlist or a podcast while you’re plugging away at it and time seems to fly by. But other times, you’re sweating, effectively sanding off your fingerprints and cursing it wishing it would end and that finish would just get the fuck off. Sound about right? Well you can officially save your fingerprints and save your agony because I have found a product that helps get all those curved edges off quickly. You can definitely use a foam pad on an electric sander, which is something I do with mine from Surf Prep sanding, or what I have been using recently that really speeds up the process to get most of the finish off before I finish off with the foam pads or hand sanding lightly is my contour scraper set that I picked up. It has 6 interchangeable blades so it can fit so many different shapes and sizes– concave, convex, short, long, flat, you name it. Super handy to be able to just scrape the finish off and then be able to quickly finish off the surface with sanding quickly so it gives you a great surface to stain or add whatever finish you have planned. Here's the one I use if anyone is interested in checking it out.

The fifth furniture makeover hack I have is for those wood furniture pieces that you pick up that are actually in pretty great condition for how old they are, but they’re just looking a little dull and worn and perhaps there’s some light surface-level scratches on it. Instead of having to completely strip or scrape or sand the piece down and then stain and then apply a finish to it (which sounds pretty quick and painless but as you probably know, can take days to accomplish), you can try out a product from Howard’s called Restor-A-Finish. I’ve talked about this on my social media before, it’s such a handy product, I love it so much. You just apply it to the existing finish, I use a shop towel to apply it, and it penetrates and restores the finish making it look moisturized, removing any of those scuffs and surface marks and it makes it look essentially good as new. If you have deeper scratches, it obviously isn’t magic so you’ll need to address those, but for pieces that are just looking for a little oomph it’s amazing. It comes in 9 colours and finishes: neutral, maple-pine, golden oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, dark walnut, dark oak, and ebony brown, so you can always find one that closely matches the finish you’re trying to restore. Such a great, easy hack to have in your toolbelt, two thumbs up for Howard’s Restor-A-Finish.

And something you may not know about me… I love little motivational messages. They literally always get me fired up, and I keep a running list of ones that are especially catchy or speak to me in the Notes app on my phone. So I’m going to end every blog post with one of those that I have noted down over the years, in hopes that you leave our time here each week feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to take on whatever comes your way that week.

So this week’s Mel’s motivational message is: Don’t be afraid to be seen trying.

Alright, that’s it for now, I appreciate your time, and I’ll catch you guys next week!

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