At Kooky Blue you'll find a truly individual range of shabby chic furniture and vintage paint, along with home accessories & gifts. We specialise in up-cycling second hand furniture and stock a unique range of both vintage and hand-painted, shabby chic furniture.
If you're thinking of having a go at upcycling furniture, you're not alone! Chalk paint has made it easy to transform old, unloved items of furniture into gorgeous, unique pieces for your home.
I'm lucky enough to spend my days upcycling furniture in our little shop, which is filled with unique vintage finds and hand painted pieces. One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is “where do you find your furniture?”
So here are a few tips on where to start looking for your next upcycling project.
Pick a Style of Furniture
Firstly, you'll need to decide on the style of furniture you like. This could be modern, retro, ornate, traditional, rustic..... There really is something for everyone, but if you're not sure then there are plenty of places to look for inspiration.
My favourites are Pinterest and Instagram – a constant source of ideas and inspiration.
Whenever possible I will always look for a good solid piece of furniture in reasonable condition. This will certainly make life easier and means your finished piece will stand the test of time. Try to just look at the shape of the piece and the detail on it that you'll be able to bring to life with a paintbrush.
Sometimes seeing past the unattractive colour, ring marks, stains and dirt can be a hard ask, but if you're able to do this you can often pick up a bargain that others will overlook!
So, where to start looking?
Firstly, put the word out with friends and family that you're on the search for unwanted, solid pieces of furniture. You'll be amazed at what will come your way once word gets out and this is, without doubt, your cheapest option. If you hear of anyone clearing out a house, get down there and offer your help!
Aside from family freebies, other sources of reasonably priced upcycle projects can be found at your local car boot sale and charity shop. There's hours of happy rummaging to be had here and some true gems to be discovered.
Then there are auctions. Such fun, but DO set yourself a price limit. It's so easy to get carried away or (where my other half is concerned) become rather competitive! If you have a local auction house they will be able to let you know when their next furniture auction is.
I'd advise going for a good look around before the auction, so you can pick out any suitable pieces and decide how much you're willing to pay. If you're unable to make it to the actual auction you can usually bid online or just leave your bid with the auctioneer.
I'm a big fan of online auction sites. Probably the biggest range of second-hand furniture you'll find, but do shop with caution. Ask questions or view before buying if possible. It's so easy to end up paying for something which is not what you hoped it would be and if you have a competitive streak (like someone I know) it's very easy to pay too much!
Fancy Skipping the Hard Work?
Most important of all, be sure to pop into Kooky Blue where we have everything you need to get started. We've done all the hard work for you with a basement full of furniture just waiting to be painted, a gorgeous range of chalk paint and a wealth of upcycling experience we're always happy to share with you.
The cold days are coming to an end and spring is finally on the horizon. The perfect time to introduce our brand new collection for Spring/Summer 2017 at Kooky Blue.
We’ve been busy hunting for some beautiful new home accessories, furniture and gifts to brighten up your home. It’s that time of year when we sweep away the cobwebs of a long winter, throw open the curtains and enjoy the warm sun of a spring day.
We wanted to find some furniture and accessories that can help to give your home a fresh, airy feel for the new season, so we’ve picked out everything from cushions to everlasting flowers to add colour to any room.
Our spring launch event takes place at Kooky Blue this Saturday 18th March, so don’t forget to pop in and have a look.
We can’t wait for everything spring has in store. Look forward to seeing you in the shop on Saturday.
Deep in the cold, dark month of February is when my thoughts turn to the upcoming Spring shop displays. Ever the optimist, I like to kid myself that the warmer weather is just around the corner and a bit of Spring planning certainly helps with this delusion.
My plans for new shop displays always start with colour. I get far too excited over paint colours and colour combinations (not sure that's normal?!) and like to keep an eye on what's on trend for the new season.
So, here are my hot tips for Spring 2017...
When it comes to Spring colours, this sounds rather obvious I know. Having said that, green is very on trend this season.
The fresh, zesty 'Greenery' was chosen as the Pantone colour of the year, which is always a good indicator of what will be popping up in the shops once the sun starts to shine through the clouds.
We have plenty of pots in store right now, ready to give your home a lick of colour. That’s if I don’t use them all myself first.
Again a very 'Spring' colour, but yellow is everywhere at the moment.
There's no better way to introduce a bit of sunshine into your life than with some uplifting yellow accessories or furniture.
You might think that going all out with the yellow furniture can be a little over the top, but a beautiful statement piece can really lift your room, so don’t be afraid to take the plunge.
We’ve stocked up on plenty of the gorgeous mustard yellow ‘Dijon’ Vintage Paint colour from Grand Illusions. One of my favourites in the range. This subtle shade is a perfect touch of sunshine.
Shades of Grey
I can't talk about current colour trends without mentioning grey. It's still, very much the neutral of the moment.
Grey would look fantastic with zingy spring green and is a perfect partner for mustard yellow. It's increasingly being mixed with darker wood for a rustic, industrial look.
There's also a growing trend for darker shades of grey and even black. A classic piece of furniture painted black can look absolutely stunning and very classy. I think we've sold more black Vintage Paint in the last three months than we did in the previous three years!
Adding This Season’s Colours to Your Home...
Remember, you don't need to spend a fortune to update your home.
Even a small pot of paint can add a splash of colour and our fabulous chalk paint can be used on anything from baskets and plant pots to lampshades.
Pop into the shop for some inspiration and to pick your own favourites out of the range of 33 Grand Illusions chalk paint colours.
I'm often asked how I got started with what is now a life filled with chalk paint and upcycling.
Since we opened the shop back in 2013, I’ve taken on more Vintage Paint projects than I can remember. While the early ones were definitely learning curves, I’ve always loved painting furniture and helping our customers to realise their own vintage and upcycling projects.
Fast forward to today, and it’s safe to say I’m still hooked on upcycling.
For me, getting hooked on upcycling started with a huge challenge, with plenty of bumps along the way. Here’s how I got hooked on upcycling...
Taking on a Challenge
It all began a few years ago when we moved to a large, Victorian, rather dilapidated house which could only be described as a 'project'.
I have to say that what had seemed like a rather romantic plan to create our dream home in the country when we put in an offer in the middle of summer, soon turned into quite the opposite.
A few months spent living on a building site in the freezing winter was anything but fun and the house quickly ate up our renovation budget.
When we finally got around to furnishing our new home we were definitely working on a budget. However, I really didn't want to fill our lovely home with cheap flat-pack furniture. A rummage around in the garage revealed a few bits of solid furniture which had seen better days, so I picked up a paintbrush.
Vintage Paint Project No.1
So began a quest to create something beautiful out of furniture previously destined for the tip.
First attempts were far from lovely until, with a bit of research, I discovered chalk paint.
What a revelation!
No sanding, no priming, and that gorgeous shabby-chic looking furniture was suddenly achievable for the price of a tin of paint. I was hooked!
From Hobby to Shop
What started out as a way to try and save some money became a hobby... and now a career.
My little shop in Ossett has been open over three years now. Packed with hand-painted and vintage furniture, together with the full range of the fantastic Grand Illusions vintage chalk paint and loads of inspirational ideas for your home.
I never tire of creating something beautiful out of old, unloved furniture, with the added bonus that by upcycling you're not only saving money but also doing your little bit to save the planet.
What's more, I can honestly say I haven't bought a new piece of furniture for our home since. There's no better feeling than rescuing someone's unwanted furniture, destined for landfill. Transforming it into the perfect, unique piece for your home.
If you’ve got your own vintage or upcycling project in mind, feel free to get in touch and we’d be happy to help.
Thanks to everyone who came and made our Autumn/Winter stock launch a great success. We had a great day seeing all of our customers, both old and new. The countdown to Christmas has begun at Kooky Blue this month! We have loads of new decoration and gift ideas in the shop, and if you haven't popped down to see us since our Autumn/Winter launch, there's no better time to visit.
The lovely soaps and bath melts in our Wild Olive range always make popular Christmas gifts. In fact, we've now extended our range to include some fantastic new hand creams and wax melts. They're sure to be big hits this year, and the Mango hand cream is a personal favourite.
For that extra special someone, why not fill one of our gift boxes with your choice of items from the shop. We have everything from soaps and candles to hearts and decorations, so there's plenty to choose from. We'll pack your gifts and finish with some gorgeous red ribbon for just £1.50 for a small box and £2 for a large one.
We look forward to seeing you all in the shop in the run up to Christmas.
Our shop has been open for a few months now and the painted furniture has been going down a storm. So I thought it about time to start writing a blog, giving you an insight into just how it's done. This is my first post, but I'm hoping to keep you updated every few weeks from now on.
We've had a pine monk's bench lying around for a while now and have just never found a good reason to paint it (truth is I wanted it for myself). Then this week we took delivery of some fantastic new cushions and I just knew the monk's bench would be perfect for them.
The first job was to decide on a colour and I chose Country Grey Chalk Paint as all of my cushion designs contained a bit of this colour. After giving the bench a good clean and watering down the paint to the consistency of single cream to give a smoother finish, I began by applying the paint (there's no need to sand with chalk paint). I started with the detail & moulding, making sure to fill any corners and crevices.
I then applied two coats of paint to the bench, using smooth strokes and working quickly as the paint has a fast drying time.
Once the paint was dry, I decided to distress some areas of the bench in areas where it would usually pick up wear and tear. This gave the bench a more shabby chic look. Although the distressing added a lot of character to the piece, I decided to paint over the mouldings in Old White to accentuate the detail. Holding a piece of paper over the centre of the mouldings allowed me to apply the paint freehand using an art brush.
Now all that remained was to wax the bench with Clear Wax. This darkens the colour slightly as the wax is absorbed into the paint to provide a protective finish. I always use a cloth or rag to apply the wax and then another cloth to remove the excess.
I'm really pleased with the way the bench has evolved during the painting process and the bench is now on display in the shop, looking fantastic adorned with cushions. Resisting keeping it for myself is now even harder.
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