If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know my husband and I recently relocated from Paris to London for work. When I moved in with my then-Boyfriend now-Husband a few years ago, I rented out my flat fully furnished so I pretty much only had clothes (and shoes and makeup and craft supplies…) since he already had lots of furniture.
When we decided to move to London, we knew this was our opportunity to have our very first own place together; one that we’ll have chosen and decorated together. So we gave away most of his furniture, and only brought a few things with us like the Ikea bookcases we had housing our shoe collections. We also brought our car and scooter, but that doesn’t count 🙂
Apartment hunting in London was significantly easier than in Paris: I ended up choosing the first flat I visited! I only visited a few others to confirm my choice, but I knew right away that the first flat was the one. It came unfurnished with the exception of two beds and kitchen appliances, so we pretty much had to buy everything new, which is both exciting and terrifying. I’m always keen for a good ole room makeover, but furnishing and decorating an entire flat? So, we set aside a budget and I got on Pinterest months before the actual move-in date to start brainstorming. The flat isn’t big, but it’s got some interesting features. It’s around 65m2, two bedrooms, and an open kitchen leading onto the living area. All that is pretty standard, but wait for it… both the bedroom and living room lead out to a huge (everything is relative…) terrace! I’ve never had this much outdoor space (other than when I was a kid) so needless to say I’m very excited about working on the terrace make-over! But for now, the priority has been working on the inside.
Of course we’d like to get everything from cute little shops and high-end stores, but we have a whole apartment to furnish quickly and our budget is limited. So, off to Ikea we went! About 6 trips later, we finally have most of the major things that we needed, and we can focus on the fun stuff: decorations and customizations. Since so many things came from Ikea, I really want to try to customize as many things as possible to make our flat look a little bit less like we just chose it right out of the Ikea catalog!
That’s what’s so great about Ikea though – many of their products are easily DIY-able, so you can turn an inexpensive element into a unique piece of furniture! That way, no one will look at it and go “I have the exact same one!” when they come over 🙂
One of our first Ikea DIY’s was to improve the Bekvam stool. It’s a great little sturdy stool, and we use it as a side table and bookshelf. I’m pretty obsessed with them, so don’t be surprised if I add another tutorial soon! It took all of my willpower to not paint it gold as I’m obssessed with gold spray paint these days! I settled on a more reasonable wood varnish (maybe add white-dipped legs in a few weeks? I know dipped furniture is very trendy right now but it’s trendy because it looks goooood!)
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bekvam stool
- Wood varnish
- Paint brush
- Cardboard, large cloth or plastic to protect your area while painting
- Prepare your painting area by setting down a sheet, some cardboard or plastic. You’ll want to do this outside for best results and to avoid the fumes!
- Choose a wood varnish color that you like – I chose Antique Oak from B&Q
- Apply 2-3 coats (or until you get the desired shade) to the entire stool.
- Allow to dry for at least 24 hours before decorating.
Note: Jonathan had already put this stool together when I got the bright idea to re-do it, so I just painted it without taking it apart. If I were to be using spray paint for the whole thing, then I would have definitely disassembled!
More of our Ikea customizations will follow, so keep an eye on that! Have you re-done the Bekvam stool too? If so, I’d love to see photos & descriptions in the comments section!