• Jen Nickel

DIY Furniture

Quality furniture that's budget-friendly and eco-friendly

A solid wood bunk bed from Kijiji refinished for my little princess' room

In the early years of my marriage, my husband and I moved around quite a bit. We were poor (relatively speaking) students moving from apartment to apartment, as we moved to different cites to finish school and work placements, and start our careers. Since we didn't stay any where long, we didn't settle in or put much thought into our space. We lived with a mish mash of hand-me-downs - my oma's floral loveseat, my college futon, an aunt's dining room table - and our one new piece of furniture, a beige leather sofa gifted to us by our family.

When we purchased our first home, we didn't have much to spend on furnishings, but I was determined to make our house feel like a home

And so was born my journey of DIY furniture. With no experience, but some motivation and creativity, my husband and I tackled a number of projects for our home - refinishing our solid wood dining table, creating a simple upholstered headboard, and a building a custom coffee table for the living room. We discovered the "As-is" section in Ikea and often came home with shelves or table tops that we used in our projects, like a built-in desk and extra storage in the kitchen. These first projects didn't always work out perfectly, but there's no better way to learn than hands-on experience. Fast-forward to today, and DIY-ing furniture is in my blood. My home today is still filled with custom-made or refinished pieces to fit the style of colour scheme of a particular room or to serve a specific function. Not only do I love the creativity I can express, I love being able to give new life to a piece of furniture that was headed for the dump.

Refinishing furniture isn't just better for the budget, it's better for the environment.

There are so much cheap furniture out there, much of it made out of particle board and plastic. This kind of furniture breaks easily, is unrepairable, and is treated as disposable. And the manufacturing processes to make these cheap plastic petro-chemical products are detrimental to the environment. The cost to our wallets for these products is low, but the cost to the environment is high. When higher-quality furniture is out of the budget, refinishing a second-hand piece is a great option. You can often find second-hand higher-quality furniture pieces that are well-constructed and made of solid wood at thrift stores, flea markets, and online on sites like Kijiji. Refinishing and customizing this furniture to fit your space is a solution that works for both the budget and the environment.


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