Kim's Project: Tips for Buying Fabric Online and Refinishing Raw Wood

Kim's Project: Tips for Buying Fabric Online and Refinishing Raw Wood

Kim Lucian
Aug 23, 2013

The Style Cure has been a huge learning experience, and has greatly sped up my usual months-long process of making even the simplest update to a room. Because I won't be painting today along with the rest of you I thought I would share what I am working on, and what I'm learning along the way.

First off, thanks to an awesome friend of mine, I managed to procure a stump for my second nightstand. A pre-dryed stump, as it has been sitting in a warehouse for several months, making it ready to be refinished.

I want to maintain as much of the look of the natural wood as possible, so I'm sanding it gently for a smooth finish without losing any of the shape and character of the natural wood. I also don't want a particularly heavy finish, although I do want some protection, so I'm opting to skip the stain and just apply a few coats of clear satin polyurethane. Finally, I'm attaching some feet to allow the air to flow around it, give it a little height, and keep it from scratching my wood floors.

As for the headboard I'm building, I opted to shop for my fabric online. While I normally love to support local shops, I don't have easy access to a car and wasn't able to find what I wanted nearby. Shopping online granted me access to thousands of beautiful options without having to leave my apartment. That's not to say there aren't some downsides. Here's what I've taken away from the experience.

1. If you're shopping online, give yourself plenty of lead time. You need to wait for processing and delivery time both for swatches and your final delivery. Combined, they can really add up.

2. Pay attention to the descriptions and learn what they mean. One of the downsides of shopping online is that on top of trying to determine if the color is as represented, fabric can have a wide range of textures. A linen versus a cotton basket weave has a huge effect on the look and feel of the finished product. 

3. Order swatches. It's the best way to get an accurate representation of the color, texture and scale of the pattern in order to make a final decision.

4. Check the return policy, especially if you opted to skip the last step. A lenient return policy is a lifesaver when you order several yards of something and realize it's just not what you had envisioned.

5. Find out the direction of the pattern or grain. This is one I had never thought twice about in the store, but it can be close to impossible to tell from a website or even a swatch if the pattern or grain run edge to edge or the full length of the roll. This is particularly important with large upholstery projects or drapes. I had to call to check on my preferred option.

6. Be generous. Order a little more than you think you will need so you have a little wiggle room when it comes to your calculations and so you have something you can practice on.

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    • Kim's Interview: Strong Visual Impact
    • Kim's Treasure Hunt: City Culture & Style
    • Kim's Before Photos: Work in Progress Bedroom
    • Kim’s Floor Plan: Compact and Cozy
    • Kim's Paint & Pairing: Deep Blue + Mismatched Nightstands
    • Kim's Project Progress: Measuring, Ordering & Minding the Details

    (Image: via Kim Lucian)

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