Thrifty Chic DIY: Project Dream Closet

Remember when Mr. Big proposed to Carrie Bradshaw and instead of an engagement ring, she told him, “Just get me a really big closet”? My favorite movie moment, second to when she actually gets to see the closet that Mr. Big had built in their new apartment.

Of course, not all of us can afford a Fifth Avenue penthouse with a closet from Vogue. But sometimes we can get close enough. Yes, dear readers. Finally, finally, I have the closet of my dreams. More or less.

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I know, it looks a little dreary. Blame the photographer (me), not the closet!

I moved to Albany about two months ago, and I took the above photo when I first moved in. A closet big enough to fit my full size bed, and two layers of shelves all around. I actually want to meet the architectural genius that made the decision to give me a tiny bathroom in favor of a ginormous closet, just so I could give them a hug. (And I’m so not a hugger.)

I knew right away I wanted to make the most of this space and…well, organize the crap out of my belongings. Here’s how I did it on the cheap. (Well, cheap-ish.)

First, instead of buying a dresser, I decided to put my furniture/moving budget towards cheaper storage solutions that I could tuck away in my closet so my bedroom would be less cluttered.

One item that I already had – and have had since my college days – is a three drawer plastic organizer that I bought at Walmart for $17.88. They’re not as large as a standard dresser, but they can fit quite a bit. Another item I also already had was an over-the-door shoe organizer. I’ve had it for years and it has traveled with me from one apartment to the next. You can find a good, inexpensive one on amazon.com for $6.38. They’re meant for shoes, of course, but you can use them for anything, really (I use mine for scarves/hijabs and hang it over my closet door from the inside).

A few items I ended up purchasing for this specific closet:

Whitmor storage cube from Amazon.com for $22.47. I love these cubes. I have another set of six in my office area, but I bought the set of four for the closet. They’re easy to assemble/disassemble, and there is some flexibility with the dimensions. I kept it 2 x 2 for my closet, and wanted to use the top as a sort of counter space for my accessories.

And now for some cheap thrills: items that can all be found at Dollar Tree!

I picked up a few collapsible bins to go into the cubes to keep them organized and tidy, a couple of baskets to go below my hanging clothes, and a bunch of shoe boxes for stacking up my shoes and making the most of my shelf space. Lastly, I picked up a couple of expanding wall racks for hanging my jewelry.

One thing I wish I had done was buy all of my hangers in one color (white) to keep things looking cleaner, but I can live with it. (And I make up for it by organizing all of my clothes by color!)

 

Including the cost of items that I already had, this whole project would be a little over $70, which is still less than the cost of a decent piece of storage furniture like a chest or dresser, and it is so much more functional.

I am loving the end result, and find that dressing each morning, putting things away, and keeping my closet clean is just so much easier since everything I wear has a home in my closet.

Do you have a system for your closet, or have your own way of keeping things organized? I’d love to hear about it – I still have the rest of my apartment to tame. 🙂

 

Thrifty Chic DIY: Framed Artwork Under $10

These past few weeks I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my new place, much of which has consisted of getting creative with odds and ends I picked up at Dollar Tree. I’m going to detail two different projects, both of which will include secondary projects that recycle some of the leftover materials.

Project #1: Framed art using stickers/wall decals:

 

From Dollar Tree, I picked up a sheet of wall decals featuring mandalas (three on each side), six picture frames (for six mandala decals), and some teal gift wrap paper.

You’ll notice in the picture that the frames came with white paper frames inside, which I ended up removing for this project. I did, however, save them for another one.

From there, I cut the gift wrap to fit the frames, centered the decals as much as I could, and bam. Done. Repeat 5 more times.

I decided to save the white paper frames for my acrylic painting pads (also from Dollar Tree), since they were the perfect size (5×7).

So now I have frames for my smaller painting projects! (I know, I don’t have anything painted in there yet!)

Project #2: Up-cycling art prints:

I love some of the art you can find at Dollar Tree – I’m just not crazy about the frames, as they’re kind of cheap-looking.

I bought the above art and a larger frame for it, and also found some washi tape (again, all at the Glorious Dollar Tree.) I already had some scrapbook paper at home that I wanted to use for the background (another option is to just turn around the paper that comes with the frame and use the white background.)

After removing and tossing out the old frame, I saved the glass that came with it for another project.

From there, I cut the scrapbook paper to the right size, stuck it to the back side of the sheet that came with the frame, and then I put the print in the middle of the scrapbook page.

Because the scrapbook paper wasn’t long enough for the new frame, I added the washi tape to the borders.

Finally, I  decided to paint the frame brown (which I already had – $0.89 cents at Michael’s) because I thought it would go better with the color scheme (Ah! It doesn’t really show in the photo!)

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With the leftover glass from the old frame, I did a little paint project and decorated it using a stand that I also found at Dollar Tree.

With the one below, I actually traced the design from a mandala-themed coloring book using a permanent marker. From there, I painted in the colors (although in retrospect, I’m thinking it would have just been easier to color it in with markers).

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I love that I was able to do these on the cheap, and that I was able to put even my scrap items to use for additional projects.

Let me know what you think and if you’d like to see more DIY projects like these in the future! 🙂

 

Thrifty Chic DIY: easy furniture makeover

In preparation for my move to Albany and my transition into the (God, I hope temporary) impoverished graduate student life, I wanted to save as much as possible on furnishing my new apartment. I ended up asking my parents if I could take some of their old furniture that they weren’t using anymore and decided to spray paint them to give them some new life.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of photos to work with, as this was not a DIY that I was planning on posting (since, up until now, I didn’t have a DIY section on my blog!) In any case, I’ll explain my best and walk you through the process.

First, a “before” look at the old coffee table I took off my parents’ hands:

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(I also did an old, gross-looking side table, but didn’t take a “before” photo!)

Please keep in mind that spray painting is something that needs to be done in an open, well-ventilated area, preferably outside. Additionally, the paint dries much better when in moderate temperature (60s-70s F).

Cover your work area thoroughly with a tarp or old sheets, and wear some glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.

Using a can of teal spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum for the coffee table, and Krylon chalky finish for the side table. I prefer Krylon as it’s not as sticky!), I turned the table upside down and started with the legs. Be sure to keep the bottle about a foot from the item that you’re painting, so all of the paint doesn’t concentrate into one area.

When I finished the legs, I gave it about 20 minutes or so to dry up a bit, at which point I flipped the table back (on its legs) and painted the top and the sides.

Give about an hour for the paint to dry completely before moving it indoors.

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And here’s how it looks in my living room! 😀

 

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I used different brands for each project, but I’d say it takes an entire can of spray paint to cover a standard size coffee table.

If you’d like to see more quick, easy and thrifty DIY projects, share/like/comment on this post and let me know!