Many a homeowner has a few old pieces of furniture lingering, unused, in the garage. Maybe they don’t fit with the décor anymore or maybe the set has just seen better days.
Regardless, options exist to spruce them up, especially in the world of junkers, who take the adage of “reduce, reuse, recycle” and apply it to furniture or other household items.
“For me, it was taught as a way of life,” says Darla Bush, owner of Past Perfect Too, an antique store in Lawton.
Bush says she grew up “dirt poor” and was taught by her mother, Juanita Faye Williamson, to use what others would probably throw away to decorate the home.
“If my mother wanted a new shelf, we didn’t have the money to go out and buy one,” Bush says. “We would just paint what we had.”
The same went for household décor.
“We would make the prettiest displays using old Coke bottles or rusty cans with wild flowers,” she says. “It’s funny – now that type of decorating is en vogue.”
Past Perfect Too has become a haven for anyone who loves vintage, up-cycled, refurbished, painted, antique and eclectic goods for the home. Many vendors sell their wares there.
“Our shopkeepers use a little paint and a whole lot of know-how to transform sad pieces into glorious heirloom keepers,” Bush says.
From full dining room sets to one-of-a-kind statement pieces, junkers find great satisfaction in saving furniture from the landfill and giving it a new life. Bush says the Facebook market place, Craigslist, thrift stores, flea markets and even a quick scan of local streets on trash day are all prime for picking.
People begin junking for reasons as varied as their creations.
“I started painting furniture after I became an empty-nester,” says Amy Rhoads of County Rhoads, a store inside Past Perfect Too.
What started as a part-time hobby has turned into a profitable full-time job, she says.
A retired second-grade teacher, Janie Batt of Cottage Creations, also inside Past Perfect Too, has painted furniture for eight years.
“I always refer to myself as a second-grade artist,” she says. “I love to do art, and some of that finds its way onto my furniture.”
But isn’t it bad to paint furniture?
“People ask us that all the time,” says Blaine Pinard, owner of The Restoration Station in Oklahoma City, which restores, repairs and refinishes all types of furniture. “The answer is no. Feel free to have your antiques and family heirlooms professionally painted.”
For those itching to start their first do-it-yourself projects, Pinard has some advice.
“If you want to get started in furniture, simply pick up your first piece on the side of the road,” he says. “Side-of-the-road finds are free and the easiest way to practice sanding, repairing and finishing furniture with little to no investment – other than your time.”