DIY Upcycled Side Table + Planter

Side Table Finished Horizontal

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to start upcycling my deck furniture and accessories. While procrastinating, I secretly hoped the upcycle genie would come in the middle of the night and redo everything for me. Alas, no such magic occurred, so I finally went to work cleaning, sanding, priming, painting and staining.

Planter Close Up

After spending hours searching online and in stores for ideas, I found an outdoor pillow that would be the perfect inspiration piece for my deck decor. Unfortunately, those pillows are on backorder, so you’ll just have to wait to see how all my crazy colors tie together (I promise they will!).

The first project I worked on for my deck was a side table my father-in-law snagged for me at a garage sale. I knew this little table had potential, but my procrastination left that thing kicking around the house for a year. With summer peeking around the corner, I found myself craving a colorful, inviting outdoor space where we could entertain (sangria in hand) all season long. As I started planning this project, I knew this previously purposeless table would make an ideal accent piece for the deck.

Side Table Before

1. I started by cleaning off the dirt, grime and bugs. Then I sanded it down, making sure that I had a smooth surface to repaint. I knew I wanted a rustic look, so I didn’t worry about sanding down to the bare wood – I wanted the dark paint to show through a bit in the final project. Word of advice? Get a power sander. I bought a relatively inexpensive one last year ($30-$40) and it has saved me a ton of time and energy.

After sanding, I wiped it down again to make sure I got rid of any residual dust or dirt. Now, on to the priming.

Side Table Sanded

2. When my husband and I initially moved into my house, I bought two of the world’s largest buckets of primer. (I think I was a little overambitious in my DIY plans.) I applied the primer with a brush, but to make the job go a bit faster just use a spray paint primer.

3. The fun part – adding color! I used Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Cover Satin Finish Spray Paint in Paprika from Home Depot. This is a rather bright color and I didn’t want to be blinded by orange, so I painted it on unevenly, making sure that the white primer showed through in some spots.

Side Table Spray Painted

4. I still felt like I was staring into the core of the sun. I knew I wanted orange, but it needed something else to tone it down — to the dungeon of paint supplies I went (aka my basement). I grabbed Minwax Wood Finish in Early American that was leftover from a previous project. I very lightly applied some of the stain all over the table to help darken the orange a bit.

Side Table Wood Stained Close Up

5. Once everything had dried, I sanded down the sides, corners and a few other spots to make it look worn. I also tried to make sure I sanded where the spray paint was lighter and had caused that speckled paint look.

6. I wiped off any residue from sanding and sprayed the entire piece with a protective coating of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane in Clear Satin that I purchased at Home Depot. I honestly don’t mind if it gets weathered a bit since that’s the look I’m going for, but I thought a little protection would probably be a good idea.

7. The basket was the easy part. I simply spray painted it with Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Cover Flat Finish Spray Paint in White and finished it off with its own coat of Helmsman Spar Urethane protective finish.

8. I suppose you could just use the drawer of the table for storage, but after seeing these super creative planter ideas on Brit + Co., I had to make it into a planter. I added potting soil and pansies, since pansies make good container plants. (I also think it would look great with some type of vine.) The drawer already provided drainage for the soil, so I didn’t have to worry about drilling holes in the bottom of the drawer.

Flowers in Soil

This whole project took about 2 hours of active time, including all the cleaning, sanding, priming, spray painting, staining and sanding at the end. Just make sure you’re patient enough to wait for the various coats of paint to dry, at least to the touch. It’s worth the wait! I’ve learned the hard way that rushing only leads to repainting!

Side Table Finished Vertical

I love how this table adds a pop of color to my deck and I’m looking forward to it developing even more character over time as it braves the wind, rain and whatever else the Chicago weather brings our way.

I can’t wait to show you the great pillows and other accessories that match this piece! Stay tuned for additional photos (especially of the table actually in its spot on the deck) as I reveal more outdoor decor and upcycle projects!

Do you like bright colors like oranges and yellows, or are you drawn to neutral and soft tones?

Painted Pots + Succulents

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

I don’t have a green thumb by any stretch of the imagination. I tried to grow blackberries two years ago and they died within a week. Blackberries. They grow like weeds in the wild without any human intervention. Basically, it’s harder to kill a blackberry bush than it is to grow one. Yeah.

After that little mishap, I tried to grow herbs indoors. I watered them religiously, determined to raise healthy and happy plants. Within two weeks, they were being completely devoured by swarms of tiny unidentified white insects that appeared out of nowhere. If you have any guesses about what those creatures might have been, please let me know in the comments section as I still have no clue (even after hours of Googling).

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

After THAT, I gave up. It had been more than a year since I tried to grow something. Dave and I have always wanted plants in the house, so being the official horticultural grim reaper of Kentucky was a tough pill to swallow. I had all but committed to never attempt planting again when I laid eyes on the little beauties known as succulents.

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

They’re absolutely trending right now, but that isn’t exactly what drew me in. Succulents are the felines of the plant world. They require very little maintenance, they’re extremely resilient, and they’re SO pretty. I read up on succulent care, and the main points seemed to be: water them correctly and make sure they’re getting a decent amount of daily light. There’s quite a bit of wiggle room there — just what I need!

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

Armed with newfound plant-growing courage, I went to Lowe’s and adopted a happy little succulent family. I got a few terra cotta pots and drainage plates, and spruced them up with DecoArt Gloss Enamels Paint in White.

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

I painted the tops of the drainage plates, and only the outside top half of the pots. I love the “dipped” look of the pots, and I really love the uneven hand-painted lines. If you prefer cleaner lines, you can easily tape rings around your pots and peel them away after the paint dries.

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

I did 9 pots and 9 plates in about an hour. By the time I had painted my last piece, the first ones were dry so I could begin potting. I added a few spoonfuls of Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, & Citrus Soil to each pot, and then moved the plants into the pots, filling the sides with soil as needed. I tried to leave the soil loose because succulents can drown if they’re packed in tightly with no room to drain, which is also why more rocky/sandy (cactus-specific) soil is best. If you only have regular potting soil on hand, all you need to do is mix in some small pebbles or sand and it will work fine.

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

There are so many beautiful ways you can decorate with these. I decided to create a little set with a stack of magazines, some upside down bowls, mugs, jars and an old candle tin on my favorite chest from Arhaus. I wanted to display the plants on random levels for a casual and organic feel.

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

Truthfully? They will shine just about anywhere.

Here’s to many happy days weeks months (knock on wood) with these little guys! If disaster strikes, I shall give up planting for GOOD.

Painted Pots + Succulents - offbeat + inspired

Do you have a green thumb or are you familiar with my lack of gardening success? Are you a succulent fan? I’d love to hear about what you’re growing right now and how you decorate with your greens! Please share in the comments below!

White Paint from DecoArt
Succulent Plants, Pots and Drainage Plates from Lowe’s
Decorative Bowls from FindersKeepers Market
White Chest from Arhaus Furniture

DIY Painted Arrow Vase

DIY Painted Arrow Vase - offbeat + inspired

This project is perfect for a dreary day in desperate need of something happy and bright. I’ve got a small collection of boring dollar store vases stashed under the sink, and with a fresh bouquet of yellow flowers patiently awaiting their rightful place on the breakfast table — I decided it was time for a little upcycle!

Keep reading!

Introducing: offbeat + inspired on “Brit’s Picks” by Brit + Co.!

Brit + Co.'s "Brit's Picks" Launch!! - offbeat + inspired

We have very (very very) exciting news to share with you today! The fabulous Brit + Co. has just launched a new program called Brit’s Picks — a curated list of their favorite DIY and food blogs featuring collections of top projects and recipes from those blogs. They introduced Brit’s Picks just yesterday, and guess who’s on the roster? WE ARE!!! Along with some of our absolute favorite blogs of all time, we made the list and we are thrilled! Only 25 blogs were chosen for the kick-off, so we are beyond honored to be a part of this exciting venture!

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Painted Kitchen Utensils

A few weeks ago, some of the girls in my family had a craft day at my house. Despite the fact that I have tons of craft supplies and my garage is filling up with roadside furniture collections I’ve been promising my husband I’ll redo at some point, I was at a bit of a loss trying to find some craft inspiration for that day.

Wooden Spoons 3

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Coconut-Lime Soap

Yesterday morning, I looked out the window while I was getting ready and decided, “You know what? It looks like flip-flop weather!” I’m not quite sure what got into me, but I got dressed and was completely convinced that I would get to work and everyone would be wearing summer attire.

Coconut Lime Soap 3

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Perfect Heatless Curls With A French Twist + A Video Demonstration!

Perfect Heatless Curls with a French Twist - offbeat + inspired

My lovely sister (R) recently relocated to the happy little city of Lexington, and I could NOT be more thrilled about it. She’s staying with us while she gets settled in, and clearly all we’ve been doing is our hair. That’s not entirely true, but whenever she’s doing her hair, I’m kind of hovering in the doorway asking her to explain her genius methods! She always has new tips to share about hair health and styling, so I asked her to demonstrate this great heatless curling technique, and she obliged. We even filmed it!

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Gifting Your Homemade Soap!

Gifting Your Homemade Soap! - offbeat + inspired

I LOVE soap making. The process is so relaxing, lathering up with a homemade bar is so satisfying, and the entire concept is so healthy! There are so many benefits to making your own soap from scratch. Using it yourself is wonderful, but equally wonderful is gifting it.

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Honey-Walnut Milk Soap

Honey-Walnut Soap

I started making soap this past fall, and since then I’ve enjoyed researching recipes, ingredients and techniques. I love experimenting, and when my first soaping mishap turned out to be fixable, I realized making a mistake wasn’t that big of deal – so why not try some new things? After taking a break over the holidays, I decided that one of my first crafting tasks for 2013 would be  a new soap recipe. I wanted to experiment with ingredients I’ve never used before, so I worked on creating a milk-based soap.

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Christmas & Creme Brulee

Christmas & Creme Brulee - a story + recipe! from Offbeat & Inspired

I can’t believe Christmas is over! It certainly snuck up on us this year. I say that every year, but it really snuck up on us this year. Confession: we didn’t even put ornaments on our tree! (Ducking and hiding.) We went to the tree farm about a week before Christmas, cut down our very first live tree since we got married, ooh’d and aah’d over how perfect and majestic it looked towering in our living room, draped it with some white twinkle lights — END SCENE. We even had a pile of ornaments sitting on the table waiting to be tucked into those glorious branches and it never happened. We’re the worst tree parents EVER.

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