The Two Most Important Tools Needed for Your Next Project

I painted this chair yesterday.

I found this chair 9 months ago for $35 at a Salvation Army.  I had big plans to make it all cute but then life got in the way and the idea of taking it apart to paint and or recover was too daunting so I let it sit in our bedroom. I didn’t know what I wanted the chair to look like when it was done, and I didn’t care to try to figure it out.  Yes, I know that someone likes it the way it is, I liked it too but I wanted something different– and ha ha, it’s  my chair and I can destroy it however I see fit.

Well, I did something this weekend that changed my attitude towards this chair.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. But, When I got home, I looked around my house to see who my first victim could be.  And I found this poor neglected chair. I immediately popped out the bottom cushion.  And after scratching my head and posting this photo on twitter I got the help I needed for the back cushion…

Oh the QUEENS of furniture came to my rescue.   There were others as well but I could only snapshot 4 in a row.  Basically, they all said the same thing, that back part is a BEAR to get out.  And since I wasn’t recovering the chair, just painting it, I decided to leave the back in and paint the chair just like that. I was in the mode of getting this chair done, NOTHING was going to stop me.

Lucky for me, the goal was not perfection.  The goal was pure imperfection.  It’s so much easier to paint something imperfectly.  I slapped a few coats of the first white paint I found {stop the world, call the paint police, I used eggshell wall paint}.  I was too impatient to wait for it to dry so then I grabbed my trusty sanding sponge block thing whateverthosethingsarecalled and went to town.  The more I sanded off, the better it looked.

I’m so happy with the results.  Why didn’t I do this months ago?  It took an HOUR?!  One measely HOUR.  What was holding me back?

Motivation and Inspiration were holding me back.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it, and I wasn’t excited about doing it.

The two most important things when you are doing a project are motivation and inspiration.  Because when you are motivated and inspired, you will find a way to make it happen.  You get creative, you have what it takes, you believe in yourself, it’s worth the trouble.  You could have all the {insert appropriate tools that Home Depot says you need for any particular project} ready to go, but without motivation and it’s more fun and creative sister, inspiration, you’ll never get the job done.  Don’t underestimate the power of motivation and inspiration.  And don’t forget to allow yourself to have the time to get inspired and motivated.

What has motivated and or inspired you to get a project done?

Can you guess what inspired me this weekend?


  1. I love your chair! I recently came across a Queen Anne Setee (pictures here: that I want to recover in soft marine vinyl to use as a kitchen table bench. It has that double gimp all around it and is diamond tufted everywhere. Your tweet inspirations have helped me figure out how to get started. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Looks fabulous. I’ve seen those chairs (although never for anywhere near $35! what a steal) and love them but Im always too afraid to tackle a reupholstery job. What luck that it was already in good shape.

  3. I am in love…….with that chair. I understand what you mean about the inspiration and motivation. I have a chair that needs to be redone, too….it needs new insides; don’t know what’s holding me back except that I am not sure where I want to use it…so I am not sure what I want it to look like……
    thanks for the inspiration!


  4. The chair looks great I love the paint job! I think you are preaching to me! I had a wallpapered kitchen missing strips in at least 4 places from various renovations this year and I wanted to pull the rest down and don’t know what held me back! Fear I’d mess up something that was already messed up?! Now the paper is half down (I’m a bit slow with a baby in tow) and I have to make a paint decision today – I think I work best when I just dive in and don’t think too much!

    As for the inspiration… I have a glider in my room that needs a make over and YOU have inspired me…. just with my fabric was as nice as yours (I need to make that over too) And I’d love to paint my dining room chairs – but that one really scares me!

  5. Your chair looks just charming! Sometimes it’s just the ‘getting started’ that ends up being the hardest part, isnt’ it? I know for me, I can hem and hah about how/when to conquer on new project. But, once I get over that hump, watch out – I’m on a mission!

    Good for you and thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Motivation and Inspiration are great, however one of my other most important tools for any redo is my MIL! :) She does any sewing that my generation has no clue how to do. She has all the tools that my generation doesn’t have the money to buy, b/c we spend it on t.v.’s And not to mention the time put in babysitting while I’m redoing!
    That chair looks awesome. Right now a large bookshelf and a coffee table sit in my garage awaiting their face lift. If MIL offers to babysit, I would be very motivated to get to them!

  7. The chair looks great!!
    I had a similar situation. I bought a $5 yardsale chair with hopes of doing SOMETHING to it. But it just sat there collecting dust for months until I found out I was pregnant. I think it may have been the “nesting” instinct….but I took it apart and planned on painting it white…using pink dot fabric for the nursery. I bought all my supplies and got started. THEN I realized I took on more than I could handle. The only thing I have ever reupholstered before was a bar stool, so I guess I thought I was some sort of professional! I got to ahead of myself without thinking it through…and i soon realized that it was a job for a “REAL” professional. So now it just sits there, collecting dust again until I figure out what I want to do. So sad about it all, really!

  8. Amen Nester! I have the evil twin sister to your beautiful chair. It is just sitting in my bedroom with a pink floral pattern. It haunts me at night asking for a facelift, but yet I continue to ignore it. Lovely blue and black bedroom with an ugly pink flowered chair hiding it the corner. Thank you for the motication, I’m off to the bedroom right now with a screw driver. Can you hear her screaming???

    • She’s not screaming unless it’s just a loud “THANK you so much, you love me, you really LOVE me!”

  9. The way you painted it is exactly how I would have done it. Most times I forget to put the newspaper underneith and end up scraping up the paint off the kitchen tile.

    If you still do not like the color of the fabric, try just taking off the cording. Put a small layer of batting over the fabric and staple on new fabric. I have tried both ways. I only remove if the chair is SO old that the foam is hard and breaking done, meaning, making BIG mess. Good luck, they chair already looks better with a new coat on.

  10. Motivation and Inspiration seem to hide from me. What I need is a DEADLINE

  11. Motivation and Inspiration seem to hide from me. What I need is a DEADLINE! -Either real or imaginary. A list works, sometimes, too. The hard part is persevering when the project is not going “just right.” I’ve got lots of half-finished paintings sitting around my studio. The chair looks great!

  12. What a great chair! I love it with the white, too. Yes, motivation and inspiration have been lacking here lately. I have had my thoughts with a client’s project so that could be part of it, but I do miss doing something for myself at my home. Plus, when the weather is so nice out, I feel guilty being in the house!

  13. Yes, I’ve never heard it put quite like this, but really what can ever get done without those “tools”!! The chair looks great, love the finish, and lucky you the upholstery was worth keeping. $35? Wow…Janell

  14. Maybe I’m just an old fossil. Please don’t hate me, but, I prefer the look of the original piece! I wouldn’t have painted it at all. I may have recovered it. I just think it looked very elegant in it’s original form (unless it was damaged somehow that isn’t readliy apparent to me). Most of the time I love your projects, but not this time. Just my humble opinion. I do applaud you for overcoming your procrastination.

    • Hate you–if we all liked the same thing that would be really weird. And Home Goods would always be empty. I didn’t like the color of the wood with the color of the fabric. And it was easier for me to change the wood color than the fabric color.

  15. Love the chair!! And I have been in desperate need of M&I lately! I seem to find it in the oddest places. Yes sometimes a blog post does it. But sometimes an item at a yard sale does it. A pic in a magazine. A bloggy challenge that motivates me to get off my rump (my blog post for today actually!). Funky Junk did a post today on flower beds that gave me even more M&I!!

  16. Company. You had company coming and that was your motivation. It’s always what works for me! (The chair is great!)

  17. Agree-motivation and inspiration. I get inspired all the time and have a list of great ideas. It’s the motivation that gets me. And time. I LOVE what you did and can’t believe it only took an hour.

  18. Having company…haha!

  19. DEADLINES. Set up a link party, invite the masses and be prepared to display your own stuff as the intro, and run after your projects. FAST. Works every single time. :)

    Your ‘after?’ To die for! Gorgeous! The white framework makes the fabric even richer!


  20. I too am working on a two chairs so ugly you may have to sheild your eyes if you look at today’s post.
    I have had them looking like this since Christmas.
    No more!

  21. Who says Twitter is pointless? It’s so fun to post a question and have helpful tweeps chime in with the answers. :-)

    Boy, it’s so true about motivation and inspiration. I can be stuck for a year on what to do in a room, but when inspiration hits, that’s when I can really run with something and get it done. My best motivation comes when I have out of town visitors on their way. I really should invite various friends and family members to come visit once a month so I could get more of my projects finished. Ha.

  22. Hooray for knocking it out–it looks so pretty! Isn’t it funny how much we dread something that really doesn’t take that long? I do that ALL the time!

  23. Hmmmmm, what inspired you, what inspired you.

    Are you moving? Or having a party soon? :]

  24. I need to be told my sisters are coming for a visit and it is AMAZING the amount of projects I can accomplish…I’m not joking..I work best when given a tight schedule. Give me a month..I’ll take two…give me a couple of days and I can finish it in 1day. Not sure where I get that from…….hmmmm…must have a talk with my Mom ;-)

  25. It’s GORGEOUS!!! Thanks for the push… I’ve got a LONG list of projects that I’m hesitating for various reasons… none of them very good… so thanks for a good-ole kick in the pants! :-)

  26. Beautiful! Ok, I’m new to this furniture painting/refinishing/glazing/distressing thing, so please forgive my question: If not eggshell wall paint, which type of paint are you ‘suppossed’ to use? I just finished my first mini distressed white painted key holder and did as you did….pulled out what I had on hand: the matching trim paint in the room. It was semi-gloss, and I worried it would be too shiney, but it looks great once distressed.
    Thanks =P

  27. I’m still holding my breath for the striped curtains tutorial. : )

  28. Check out her tutorial. Great instructions. Love the chair though!

  29. What a steal! Love how it turned out!! :)

  30. My next project is recovering my dining room chairs as well as adding some extra padding. I have been putting it off but I need to get it done. Any tips on recovering dining room chairs?

    • Arlene, they are so EASY. Just get great fabric and a staple gun–cover right over the fabric. I haven’t added extra padding before {must you?} but I bet you could just add that right over the old fabric too.

      You could do them all in an hour and a half I bet.

  31. I liked it before, but I LOOOVEEE it now! It looks so fresh and summer~y!!! Fits your summerizing to a t!

  32. I agree and had a similar epiphany!! ( )
    I love your chair and I really love how it didn’t take long to make a huge difference! (:

  33. Love that chair, and the fact that you found it at a thrift store even better. I have painted more than one piece of furniture with all of the facric on it…. yeah yeah all you perfectionist gasp! But hey just like you I love painted furniture and so does the wife hence why I like it, hey I have not been married for 31 years and not learned something LOL. But the chair looks great, and goes to show everyone that with an hour, some paint and a I can do this attitude we can change our worlds, errr homes.. Love it though thanks for sharing! Blessings Curtis and Sherrie

  34. I got inspired to finally decorate our master after 1 1/2 years of doing nothing to it from another blog and the paint color (on House of Turquoise). Glad I waited though!

    Love your chair!

    I agree with Gussy…are you having a party?? :)

  35. it’s LOVELY! it looks absolutley non-perfectly perfect!

    Are you gonna be in a magazine? ;)

  36. It looks great! :) Love the distressed look!

    I get motivated when I know we’ll be having company…I always get a rush of energy to get projects completed. :)

  37. I like the contrast of the fabric and the white painted wood. Here’s to not procrastinating! I got some art painting done that I’ve been putting off too.

    I’ve been quietly working on some new products. ;-)

  38. I absolutely love the chair! Way to go on the “just do it” attitude.

  39. ahhh….so much better. I cant get enough of white, distressed, painted furniture :)

  40. I don[‘t know about you, but people coming to visit always inspires me!

  41. Looks great! I really like the contrast of fabric to the paint.
    My motivation to get our house in some kind of ship shape is the fact that the charity truck is coming on Monday! Our bedroom is almost finsihed!


  42. LOVE. IT. is there anything better than chippy white paint?? no, there is not.

  43. I’m afraid that’s definitely true for me! no inspiration=no motivation=clutter

    However, I’m glad you got over the hump and found a way to make the chair work! And with eggshell wall paint too! Sweet.

  44. Oh the chair came out beautifully! Great job!

    -RedAries @ Aries at the beach

  45. I am guessing you went to a store, or a home tour, or stayed at an inn….there you saw gorgeous things that someone had redone (like yours) ..and maybe they had very high price tags on them. This motivated you to do yours in an hour with no money spent and have something just as nice. Just a guess.

    • Terry, you are the closest guess yet. But not quite!

      • ok..I am going to guess a bit more specifically and maybe crazily. Were you one of the guests at Ree the Pionner Womans recently ? Did you gain inspiration there?

  46. Woman that is just too too true! Hubby and I lost motivation half way through painting the kitchen cabinets last week. It took all we had to keep from making stupid mistakes out of a desire to rip our eyeballs out. I’m excited about your chair. Good work! :)

  47. Love the chair! Who doesn’t?
    Just got back from the beach, and it inspired me to “lighten” things up in my home. I found the perfect little sign at a place called Tallulahs on Orange Beach. It was just what I needed to get started.
    Got home Saturday, and before I unpacked, I started re-arranging furniture. My husband doesn’t understand. But I bet you do! Cuz you’re my kind of gal!
    I just posted about the sign yesterday if you want to take a look.
    If you think painting a chair with wall paint is bad…I don’t think it is… I go to my tiny bottles of acrylic paint (that I use for canvas paintings) and spray paint ALL of the cotton-picking time!

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  48. Motivation and inspiration is what drives me to paint a room at 10:00 at night! When the mood strikes, you need to take advantage of it while it lasts! The chair looks fantastic – I love it!

  49. What has motivated and inspired me? YOU! In all of your imperfect glory!

  50. I love painted furniture. It looks fab.
    I need more motivation and inspiration myself {this is part of the reason I recently started blogging}. I hate being in a rut. I call it ‘craft inertia’. Sometimes if I just start something small, it gets the ball rolling on a project. Thanks for the inspiration!

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