DIY: Make Them Modern

Pull Grandma’s hand-me-downs out of the attic and update them for the 21st century with these how-tos from HGTV Magazine .
By: Jessica Dodell-Feder

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Before: Passé Bed Frame

This set of head- and foot-boards was outdated and worn out. Click through to see what it looks like now.

After: Fresh-Looking Four-Poster Bed

Paint the frame with high-gloss latex paint, working on one carved section at a time and then moving on to the flat surfaces — it’s a good trick for keeping paint even. Let dry. Paint: Portia by Mythic Paint

Before: Fuddy-Duddy Seat

This old chair was entirely upholstered, so we called in an expert. After removing the fabric, our upholsterer plumped up the seat cushion with batting and foam. Click next to see the finished result.

After: Jazzed-Up Desk Chair

The chair was re-covered in a lime-green geometric-print cotton with navy linen trim. The upholsterer also swapped out the wood legs for a base on casters. Fabric: Shakes Artist Green Contemporary Fabric by Premiere Prints, $8.75 per yard,; Warsa linen in navy (piping), $9.75 per yard,; Base: Base with casters, $85,

Before: Obsolete Telephone Table

We nixed the door to make an open cubbyhole, and turned this vintage piece into a totally modern workstation. Continue on to see how.

After: Totally Updated Telephone Bench

Remove the door by unscrewing the hinges, then fill in any holes with wood putty. Paint the frame with flat latex paint, and let dry. We had an upholsterer create a new cushion using a 3-inch-thick foam insert and cotton fabric for the cover. Paint: Wet Pavement by Valspar; Fabric: Retro Basics Fire Clown Stripe Yardage, $10.75 per yard,

Before: Tacky Bookends

You might be tempted to pitch these colorful birdies, but a few coats of metallic spray paint add instant polish.

After: Glam Bookends

Coat the bookends with a high-shine metallic spray paint, working one light coat at a time. Let dry, then use a heavy-duty superglue, such as Gorilla Epoxy ($6,, to adhere each bookend to a 1/2-inch-thick clear acrylic block, available at craft stores (look for “stamp blocks”). Let dry. Paint: Premium Metallic in 18-karat-gold plate by Krylon

Before: Old-Fashioned Dining Chairs

We know just how to breathe new (bright!) light into the life of these boring chairs. Click next to see the new “set.”

After: A Sunny Set of Mismatched Chairs

Unscrew the seats — save the screws for later — and paint the frames with semigloss latex paint. While the chairs dry, remove the fabric from the seats and discard it. Cut new fabric to each seat’s size, adding a few inches all around. Lay fabric on the ground, print-side down. Center the seat, cushion-side down, over the fabric. Wrap fabric taut over the seat and, using a staple gun, staple it to the underside. Trim excess fabric an inch beyond the staples, and screw each seat back on. Paint: Chickadee by Dunn-Edwards; Fabric: Sultan/Peacock cotton, $21 per yard,; Acrylic blocks: 4" x 6" stamp blocks, $8 each,

Before: Dowdy Doilies

It doesn’t get much more grandma than a fabric crocheted doily, but you’ll be hard-pressed to recognize these after our makeover.

After: Sweet Wall Art

Paint a pre-stretched canvas pale pink, and let dry. Dip the doilies in liquid fabric dyes, following package instructions. Leave some in the dye longer than others to get brighter colors. Drip-dry, then iron flat. Stick them to the canvas using a spray adhesive, like Scotch Super 77 ($17, Paint: Apple Barrel craft paint in light pink, $1,; Dye: Liquid dye in petal pink, fuchsia, and tangerine, $4 each,; Canvas: 20" x 24" Artist’s Loft back stapled canvas, $16, Michaels stores

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