Friday, January 25, 2013

Adventures in Dumpster Diving

I moved back to Tucson a bit ago, but I feel like I am still trying to organize myself and my décor in a way that I like. The one thing I have noticed is that I really need more furniture. In true grad student fashion, the few pieces of furniture I have are hand-me-downs or something I got at a severe discount. Because I am a grad student, I have learned how to live by a very strict budget, but I have learned how to turn budget living into one with my own style and aesthetic.

Exhibit A: The dumpster chairs

That's right. I found these chairs on a little dumpster diving adventure I took with my mom. We drove by the dumpster near my neighborhood and spotted the chairs. We gave one another that look of mutual agreement that the chairs sticking out of the dumpster deserved another chance at life and without a word, we piled them into the back of my car. Of course, we giggled like schoolgirls the whole way home.

Once I had decided how I wanted these chairs to look, I had to create a plan of attack. First, I had to remove the cushions. Three of the four had this weird minty green fabric that was filthy and nasty. I started to remove the fabric from the seat cushion base only to find that there was maroon vinyl underneath. It took me a while to get it off, and I cut myself more than a dozen times trying to pry the staples off. Luckily, I was able to bribe my neighbor and friend, Jose, with some beer and he helped me pull the seat covering off in a flash.

Second, I had to cover the seat cushion bases with new foam, batting, and fabric. I opted for this damask print that I love so much. The Jo-Ann Fabric store on my side of town is getting ready to move, so they have had everything majorly discounted, which is how I was able to get the foam, batting, and fabric at a very wallet-friendly price. (The chair, in the picture below, with the amazing detail on the back, cost me $3.99 at the Goodwill outlet in Nogales, AZ. I haven't finished it yet, but I will share it when I do).

Third and fourth, I had to sand and paint the chairs. 

Fifth, sand the chairs again to give them that weathered distressed look. Sixth, attach the seat cushions and voilà! The dumpster chairs have a whole new life in my house!

It took me three days to complete the chairs from start to finish, but I really like the way they turned out. Aside from these four chairs, there are two others that I need to finish, then I think I will have all the seating I need.

Before and After
Have you ever salvaged a piece of furniture from the dumpster? I would love to hear about it!

Until next time!



Liz said...

Wow, I really love what you did with the chairs! Great job!! Liz

Gerushia's New World said...

What a lovely transformation. I have never been dumpster diving, but I have refinished and restyled a lot of chairs. It's a job but well worth the work in the long run.

I really love the fabric that you chose for the seat covers.

Gerushia's New World

Laura said...

those are gorgeous!

cb said...

Go you!!! Those turned freakin awesome!!! You are amazing!!! I love them so much! Ihope you have dumpster drives in the future cause these reaaly turned out awesome!

Jennifer said...

This is SOOO cool! I've done my fair share of "dumpster diving" as well haha! I think it's the artsy type of person who is called to it ;) Have never refurbished something though, you did an amazing job! said...

Oooo AHhhhhh!

Just kidding.