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Convenient as it may be to pad your space with ready-made furniture, or find vintage digs on a curb, rolling up your sleeves and making DIY furniture is a whole new level of pride. Props to you for reimagining a tired old piece of furniture as something completely new or even going for a refresh with new hardware. Think of DIY’ing furniture as a scenic route to your dream decor situation—not necessarily easy (or quick), but well worth the journey.
“Design items or curated spaces cost more than most of us can afford, but that can be easily changed through DIY,” says Tel Aviv–based interior designer and avid DIY builder Micol Zanzuri. The process of experimenting with DIY design has taught her new techniques, introduced novel materials, and exposed surprise tricks so that now “there is no space that [she] cannot transform.”
To demystify the process of DIY furniture, AD assembled six stellar projects that are relatively easy to make—even if you’re a first-timer. Here, creators share step-by-step tips on how to recreate designer-worthy goods.
The white bouclé trend is still going at full speed ahead, but Hawaii-based content creator Miquelle Oliviera wasn’t ready to invest in buying an expensive new piece to get in on the hype. So she DIY’ed her own style by quickly reupholstering a curvy secondhand chair she picked up off Facebook Marketplace in a sherpa-style blanket from Target. The total cost for her DIY? A modest $30.
To DIY a bouclé-style chair, you’ll need:
Lay the blanket over the chair and start tucking and cutting the fabric to fit each curve. “I wanted this project to be as easy as possible, so I opted to not measure anything,” Oliviera notes.
Staple each corner and crevice to fit the shape of the original chair. If your chair has a non-removable seat cushion, you can staple the majority of the fabric to the underside of the chair and arm rests. Otherwise, you may need to ensure you have enough scrap fabric to wrap around the entirety of the cushion. Make sure the cushion fabric is tight and securely attached to the underside. Think of it as wrapping a present.
Kiel, Germany-based content creator Lena Werner, otherwise known as AllThePeachesPlease, is well-known for the whimsical DIYs that pepper her apartment—from trendy checkerboard tile tables to fabric headboards. One of her most impressive projects is this squiggly side table shaped out of plexiglass. It looks complex, but only requires a couple of materials and some patience. Werner says to take your time with these plexiglass projects: Heating up the sheets slowly and allowing everything to cool down even more slowly is what makes the furniture look professional.
Remove all plastic wrapping from the plexiglass. Mark the desired height of your table on both ends.
Start heating a strip-like section where you want the leg to bend with the heat gun, heating from both sides and slowly bending until the angle for a leg/tabletop is reached. “Leave about four inches of space between the nozzle and the plexiglass,” Werner says, “Using slow and steady up-and-down motion without holding the nozzle in any one place for too long.”
Work your way through the length of the sheet, heating strip-like portions and trying to always heat the width in sections to maintain the desired tabletop shape. Werner says to think of it like “folding a piece of paper and trying to keep the folds symmetrical all the way through the width.” She also recommends using clamps to hold the pieces of the table down while you shape the tabletop.
Hold in place or lean onto something to let cool. “Don’t blow cold air or water on it to speed up the process because it will get milky or develop cracks in the surface,” Werner says.
Dalia of DIY Dalia, a content creator based in Canada, crafted this oversized headboard to resemble a custom designer piece in her wide bedroom. “I wanted it to give a dreamy luxury villa vibe to my bedroom space,” she says. The two-piece design was so large that Dalia decided to split it in the middle. She shaped the edges with a slight curve for a “subtly calming effect.”
To make your own fabric headboard, you’ll need:
Draw a rough diagram of what you want, with complete measurements of everything. “I took my list to Home Depot and got everything precut there,” Dalia explains, which helped her avoid splurging on power tools and making a mess in her apartment.
Lay out the lumber pieces to make each side of the headboard. Make pocket holes and attach the pieces in places.
Attach the MDF board to each frame with wood glue. Allow to dry before starting the next step.
Cut the foam mattress pad topper slightly larger than the frame. Wrap the foam around the back, and staple in place. Make sure there are no air pockets. “This is how I achieved the slightly curved edges,” Dalia says.
Use batting over the mattress pad topper to create a smooth look. Dalia made two layers. Staple each layer in place. Since batting is prone to ripping, be gentle as you wrap it tightly around the headboard pieces.
Wrap the canvas fabric around the headboard. Dalia notes that it’s important to always keep the fabric super taut when stapling to avoid any bunching up or looseness on the sides. Though your own bed frame may vary in size and configuration, the sides of her headboard fit snugly behind her bed frame. She didn’t have to do anything to attach the two sides of the headboard together.
Anyone can have the same old IKEA piece, but there are options for giving yours a second wind. Erika Ver of Peony and Honey—a Cleveland-based DIY content creator—was inspired by AD’s IKEA Billy bookcase transformation and got busy with her own revamp of a Koppang dresser for her guest room. It’s spruced up with a fresh coat of paint, some semicircular wood to give it a luxe feel, plus some modern pole wrap for texture that encircles the original wood. “My most important mission with creating a dresser for my guest room was making it look way more expensive than it costs,” Ver says. “After having transformed lots of IKEA pieces in the past, I knew I could create something fabulous from one of their dressers. The Koppang dresser was just the right size, price, and basic enough to hack.”
To pull off this dresser revamp, you’ll need:
Once you assemble the dresser, you will notice that the top protrudes a little from the sides. To make the dresser into a smooth box shape, you'll need to add an MDF panel to each side to make the top flush with the sides. First, cut the MDF board to size, then screw the panel to each corner. Alternatively, you can skip the MDF panels if you cut off one inch from each side of the top piece. You’ll want to do this before assembling the dresser.
Using a circular hand saw, cut the wood table tops into four 16½-inch wide semicircles. “These will serve as the ‘bones’ to support the rounded sides of the dresser,” Ver says. Use metal brackets and screws to attach two to each side of the dresser at the top and bottom. “To accommodate the pole wrap, you’ll have to adjust the width of your semicircles,” she cautions.
A miter saw works great to cut the pole wrap to the height of the dresser. Wrap it around the semicircle edges. Once you determine how much pole wrap is needed to go around the sides, use a box cutter to cut the pole wrap along the slats. Nail the pole wrap in place with a brad nailer at the top and bottom. Now your dresser has rounded sides.
To add pole wrap to the drawers, cut each piece to size and use the brad nailer to secure. “The only tricky thing is lining up the pole wrap vertically across the whole dresser,” she advises.
Fill in any cracks or uneven surface with the wood filler. Make sure you tackle the top of the dresser, where the semicircles meet the pole wrap. Then, use the orbital sander to ensure a smooth finish. “Once painted, no one will know you added width to the dresser,” Ver says.
Prime and paint the dresser. “I like using B-I-N enamel primer by Zinsser on all IKEA furniture because it helps paint stick really well,” Ver says. She chose Magnolia interior paint in Pecan Grove in a satin finish to coat the dresser. A foam roller worked great for the top and a paint brush ensured that the paint got into all the nooks and crannies between the pole wrap.
Add new hardware. “You can go through the original hardware holes in the drawer fronts by drilling through the back of them, or you can create new holes that line up with the pole wrap, which is what I did,” Ver explains. She chose spherical, polished brass knobs from Baldwin to achieve a luxury look.
An entry table is often one of the first things a person sees when they set foot in your house. Content creator Amanda Walker of Dwell Aware—a DIY content creator based in Dallas—wanted to welcome people into her space with a design that “combines a luxury look with a rounded shape and organic feel.” She added, “Some of the materials and construction methods are a little unconventional, but I love the result!” Plus, with materials netting out at $30, she had plenty of freedom to experiment.
To recreate this entry table, you’ll need:
Cut the piece of lumber in half, making a 40-inch long top. Attach both pieces together by making pocket holes and securing with screws and wood glue. A good clamp makes the process easier to ensure the wood is lined up.
Cut the round timber piece into eight 32-inch legs. Sand the legs with a power sander. Don’t forget a face respirator, since you’re working with pressure-treated wood.
Add the wood glue to the top portion of the legs. Place the top over it and add weights to help set the legs in place. Triple-check that the legs are aligned before the glue sets. A level is your friend. “It was difficult to get the placement right on the legs,” Walker says, “But once I did, the wood glue dried very hard and the legs were stable.”
Water down white paint to create a whitewashed finish. Walker used Behr’s Ultra Pure white paint. Once the paint dries, at least two hours, apply a matte polycrylic for a durable finish.
If you’ve been hankering for a bare-bones, Donald Judd–style daybed, Zanzuri, the interior designer behind YouTube’s Fashion Attack, has just the formula for that. She created one for a living room makeover where the budget was only $179. The objective was to make something stylish but functional for guests, and the minimal padded couch is just that.
To assemble one of your own, you’ll need:
Cut all the slats of wood to size (or order it precut). Connect the wood pieces exactly as if they were a puzzle and secure them in place by drilling them together with screws. Optional: Reinforce the legs with 2-inch-by-4-inch lumber pieces (cut to size) for additional support.
Sand the untreated wood, focusing on the corners.
Cut the foam into two wide sections for the cushions, and two narrower sections for the back of the daybed. To sew the covers, first wrap the fabric around the foam, then secure with pins. Carefully take the foam out and sew along the seams on a sewing machine. Zanzuri also added zippers.
Place the double-sided adhesive hook-and-loop tape onto the bottom of the daybed. Two strips per cushion, and one strip for the back cushion.