How To Distress Furniture by Erin Mulvany

Distressed wood and distressed furniture are an easy way to make your home more cozy, achieve that farmhouse look and add character to pieces you own. While distressed furniture is beautiful, it’s not always the easiest to find unless you have the time and energy to go to antique shops, garbage sales and search the ends of Craigslist. 
The process to distressing furniture is fairly simple if you already know what piece you want to change. I have two end tables in my living room that are wood, but a little boring. Adding a pop of color is going to make them stand on their own and add that touch of flair I like to see in my furniture. 

You’ll need to sand your piece of furniture very lightly if it hasn’t been finished with a varnish. If it has been varnished, you’ll need to put in a little more work before you begin with your base coat. Wipe the piece down once you have sanded it so remove any excess dust – you don’t want the dust clumping in your paint. 

Paint the whole piece with the color you’ve selected. Chalk paint colors are great for getting creative and mixing colors, it also makes distressing super easy.

Once that base coat is dry, start sanding off that would look naturally distressed like corners and edges. Less is always more in this process, you don’t want to go crazy and end up sanding the entire piece all over again. Once you’ve completed your sanding, wipe the entire piece with a tack cloth. 

You may apply a finish if desired depending on what piece of furniture you’ve used. 

Whether you’re distressing a coffee table, side table or other random piece, make sure you’ve picking colors that go with the room. While we all love the fad colors of the season or that shade of green that pops out at you at Lowe’s, make sure it has a place in your house. 

How To Paint Upholstery Fabric by Erin Mulvany

Do you have a spot in a room that still needs something, but a West Elm chair is not in your future? Join the club. While we have West Elm taste on an Ikea budget, you can still achieve a balanced, expensive looking room without spending your entire tax return. Painting upholstery fabric can turn that dumpster diving chair or couch into a work of art you’re proud to display. 

If it’s a couch, chair, love seat or some abstract piece of furniture, if it has wood on it you’d like to upgrade, it’ll need to be painted. I’m really into chalk paint, but if I have paint lying around from other projects that matches, I’ll use that.  Before you paint, make sure the majority of the fabric is covered to avoid excess paint splatter and more work covering it up later on.

After your paint has dried, you can begin to work on the fabric. For the fabric paint, I used Annie Sloan Coco chalk paint. Mix your paint with water together at a 1:1 ratio. 

Let it dry between coats, overnight works if you’re on a busy schedule. Three coats should be enough depending on the color of the chair and the color of the paint you’re using. Once all the painting is done and you have your desired colored, take a 400-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the fabric. Seal with Annie Sloan clear wax to lock in the color! 

Have questions for Erin? Simply comment below and get her help on your project! 

How To Stylishly Organize A Bookshelf by Erin Mulvany

We’ve all seen on Pinterest and Instagram those perfectly orchestrated bookshelves and coffee tables. We look at the photo, at our bookshelf, back at the photo and back at our bookshelf. Theirs is so simple, yet commands an interior design touch. How the hell do they do it? Well chances are they hired someone to stage the photo, but getting that stylishly organized bookshelf is easier than you think. 

Declutter & Dethrone

With my clients I have found two common issues: too cluttered or too organized. You want to find the happy medium between a hoarder and a perfectionist. You want to give your bookshelf life while maintaining a level of minimalism. Get rid of old, unattractive books like that photography book you’ve had since college that you still haven’t read or Twilight, that can go straight in the garbage. Also purge yourself of those pieces that may have sentimental value but lack ascetic value. We all love Back to the Future, but those figurines are not bookshelf worthy. Be ruthless; take no prisoners. 

Backing The Bookshelf


Create a backdrop for your bookshelf by inserting a pop of color to the back of the shelves. I am currently in love with the use of ceiling tiles to add depth and shine to any piece, instantly making it look more expensive. Whether you’re putting our signature color or adding a pop of grey, going darker is the preferable option.

Organizing Your Objects

Using a zig zag approach, place your largest objects first. Once you are satisfied with your shelves, add in smaller objects. Group clusters of items by odd numbers and add depth by spacing them from back to forth. If you have too much stuff and not enough space, use identical boxes to place excess knickknacks you may have that you cannot part with. After all is said and done, take a step back and view your masterpiece. If it looks out of wack, make sure you have the ratio of 1/3 of accessories to 1/3 empty space. 

Behold that beautiful bookshelf you have organized for yourself. These tips can also be used for a coffee table, desk or armoire. If you’re still having issues making the perfect spacing, contact us or post your question down below for Erin!