DIY Chalk Paint Furniture for Beginners

When we moved to Charlotte last spring, I was in a bit of a limbo. I had graduated pharmacy school, but I didn’t have a job yet. Most of my job applications got deferred until I got licensed to work as a pharmacist, which meant I had to pass my board exams first. I got bored with studying fast, so that’s when I got the idea to repaint my old, beat up desk. It would be my first furniture paint project, so I taught myself along the way. There are several tutorials out there on how to paint furniture, but based on my research and through my experience with this project, I came up with my own quick and easy “how to paint furniture with chalk paint” lesson.

I was surprised at how easy it was, y’all! I recommend starting out with a small piece of furniture that you are ok “messing up.” You don’t want to paint your $1000 Pottery Barn dresser just because you are tired of the color. If you don’t have an old piece of furniture, run by Good Will or Habitat for Humanity to get one for cheap.

I chose my black desk (originally from Target – similar) because I figured if it turned out horrible then it wouldn’t be a loss. I’m sure glad it turned out the way it did because now I have a pretty mint green desk to sit at while I write my blog posts! Plus, it ended up being the foundation for my office space that I recently spruced up (read more here).

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What you need:

  • Furniture
  • Chalk paint (or Latex paint)
  • Clear wax
  • Paint brush or foam roller
  • Wax brush
  • Fine sandpaperimg_9042

*Side note about paint brushes: I used a wax brush to paint and wax. You aren’t really supposed to do that, but it worked fine for me! Just be sure to rinse well with warm water between using the paint and wax.*

Step 1: Clean

Remove all hardware and clean your piece of furniture with window cleaner (Windex). This removes any oil or gunk that may prevent the paint from sticking.

Step 2: Paint

*I chose not to sand or prime my desk before painting it even though many tutorials instruct you do to so. If your piece has an old layer of paint or has a rough surface, go ahead and sand it first.*

Paint your first coat with the paint color of choice. I chose Martha Stewart Vintage Décor Paint because I’ve had good luck using her acrylic paint for mason jars (another DIY to try). You can also use a latex paint. Do not glob the paint; it is ok if it does not fully cover the first coat.

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Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint in Antique Sky
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First coat

Lightly sand between each coat (allowing at least 3 hours to dry first). This helps create a smoother finish. The last coat needs to dry for at least 24 hours.

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Second coat

Step 3: Distress

Use fine sand paper to gently distress the piece to your liking. Sanding blocks are really useful for using over large flat surfaces. I used more pressure sanding over the corners and edges to achieve a distressed look (Skip this if you prefer a matte look).

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Step 4: Wax

Once you are satisfied with how the piece looks, it is time to wax. Waxing seals the paint and prevents further chipping and peeling. Do this in the same manner as the paint. Wait 15 minutes before buffing and shining with a soft cloth. One coat should suffice, but I opted to wax two coats on the surface of the desk where I anticipated the most wear. I like ArtMinds clear wax from Michael’s, but Martha Stewart also has a clear wax if you wish to pair it with the chalk paint.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Allow the finished product to dry for 24-48 hours before moving indoors for use.

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Click here for office details

I would love to hear about some pieces that you’ve repainted! I’m on the hunt for another project myself:)

Thanks for reading! I hope y’all have an awesome weekend!

-Summer

*Contemporary Charm participates in several affiliate advertising programs. Clicks and/or purchases made through links on this blog may provide me with a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions on this blog are always my own.*

Willow, Our New English Springer Puppy

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I felt the need to deviate from my typical home décor theme to share this “milestone” with y’all. We picked up our new puppy, Willow, last Saturday (an 8 week old English springer spaniel) and she has straight up worn me out, y’all. In light of that, I want to take a quick minute to praise all my mommy friends out there. Y’all seriously ROCK! [And speaking of mommies, one of my besties from college, Lindsey, has an amazing blog that y’all ought to check out! She shares some heartfelt (and some hilarious) stories about mommyhood.]  This pup plays, barks, and jumps for hours on end and then puppy snoozes for a measly 10 minutes — ON REPEAT. This new puppy mom can barely keep up. When she is not attempting to chew the furniture, eat my toes, launch off the porch, or terrorize her big brother Drake (our 110 pound yellow lab), she is whining at the bag of puppy food on the counter as if she didn’t just eat moments before. She’s too smart for her own good! I’ve been sleeping with one eye open this past week and I’m one tired girl. I can only imagine what it must be like to have an infant or toddler, so props to you mommies out there! I commend you for your services. Lawwwwd knows I can barely handle being a puppy mom right now.

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On the other hand, she is the sweetest little cuddle bug. She suckles in her sleep and I about die of preciousness every time. She runs full speed across the yard and tumbles while trying to stop because she’s still working on her motor skills. She is so stinkin’ cute! But, she is also the reason I’m so behind on the blog. It is just too difficult to get anything done with her around. (Picture this: I’m speed typing while she naps on my feet. I’m trying not to move or make much noise because she will be up and at ‘em again in the blink of an eye. Does this sound familiar to any of y’all? Haha) I’ve been trying my best to get some better pictures of her, but she is constantly nose-to-the-ground and running all over the place (I know y’all know what I mean)!

Thanks for reading! Back to the usual blog content tomorrow;)

-Summer

Stylish Desk Accessories and Accents for Your Home Office or Work Space

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[ Desk (similar) // Chair // Lamp ]

For me, doing work at home seems a little more enjoyable when you have a pretty office space. Last summer when I was studying for pharmacy boards, I decided to repaint my black desk a mint green in an attempt to get more excited about studying (it kind of worked). After I passed boards I had no desire to sit at that desk anymore, but now that I’m blogging, I really needed a place to “do work” other than the couch. So, here I am back at the mint desk, but this time I added some adorable accessories and accents to complete my workspace retreat.

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[ Trinket Trays // Scissors ]

Trinket trays. Instead of fumbling through drawers for a paperclip, sticky note, or earphones I’m utilizing a stylish “catch all” for convenience and organization. These diamond trinket trays from Plum and Post are absolutely adorable. I love the different colors and the crisscross pattern on the bottom. Since they come as a set of three you can use them all over your home! I’m thinking bedside table for jewelry, bathroom counter for lip gloss, or entryway table for car keys. The best part…they are on sale now for only $7.80!! Be sure to check out the other trinket tray shapes/styles they have here.

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Frame ]

Inspirational Quote. We all need that pick me up from time to time and there’s no perfect place than right on your desk. Remind yourself why you are awesome; you deserve it! You can get free printable quotes and other pretty pictures from Fab ‘N Free or download my “Follow Your Arrow” creation by clicking here. Be sure you top it off with a chic frame like this one! It’s only $15 and I love the Aztec print! Plum and Post has several frames on sale right now, so pick the one that best suits your style. You can never have too many frames, right?

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Clock // Owl ]

Functional Décor. I’m all for [what I like to call] functional décor. Wall clocks are great statement pieces and, what do you know, they tell time, too! This whimsical clock was just what I needed to hang above my desk. It would look great in a bedroom or dining room also.

Ok, how cute is this owl?? I thought he looked perfect next to the clock. Since he is made of wire, you can use him as a “pinning board” so to speak. Use paperclips or clothespins to attach reminder notes, business cards, or even pictures. You know where else he would look great? A nursery! Did I mention he is only $4.40?

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Pretty pencils and gold scissors. Basically, it is all you need to conquer the world. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Oh, and chocolate. A lot of chocolate.

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Most of the items mentioned above can be found at www.plumandpost.com or use the links provided. Plum and Post is a home and garden company that carries the cutest pieces of furniture, bedroom décor, and other interior accents all at a very affordable price! If you love this stuff, be sure to check out my Instagram and Facebook page to see how you can enter to win $25 off your purchase! 

What are your must-have desk accessories? Comment below!

Thank you, Plum and Post, for sponsoring today’s post!

-Summer

*Contemporary Charm participates in several affiliate advertising programs. Clicks and/or purchases made through links on this blog may provide me with a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions on this blog are my own.*

Amazon Fixer Upper Look-a-Likes

I may be a little late on this one, but y’all, Amazon has saved my life. They have anything you could ever want or need and for the best price out there! I even started ordering dog food from there to save myself the trip to PetsMart. My point? Amazon also carries a TON of home décor items and furniture, which got me thinking: why am I not utilizing this more for decorating?? Since I’m on a big Fixer Upper kick (read more here and here), I thought it would be fun to round up some Fixer Upper look-a-likes from Amazon. Most of the items were inspired from the Magnolia Line and various Fixer Upper episodes which, of course, reflect a farmhouse decor style.

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1. Measuring cups // 2. Candlestick // 3.Clock // 4. Boxwood plant // 5. Wire basket // 6. Scale // 7. Decorative ladder // 8. 3-tier tray // 9. Kitchen canisters
  1. Colorful measuring cups. Joanna loves to use colorful bowls and dishes to display on open shelving or behind glass cabinets. How cute are these measuring cups?
  2. Candlesticks. Candlesticks are a complete no-brainer. Put them on a dining room table, shelves, entryway table, or anywhere.
  3. Wall clock. Clocks are something I like to call functional décor. They make a great statement piece and they also tell time. Win, win! 😉
  4. Boxwood plant. No matter what style your home is, it can always use some greenery. Boxwoods are simple, clean, and pretty. Succulents are another great option!
  5. Wire basket. Joanna is all about making a space functional, so why not organize your pantry, craft room, or playroom with stylish baskets? If you aren’t a fan of the wire, go with a wicker basket or a galvanized metal bin.
  6. Kitchen scale. This adds the perfect rustic touch to your kitchen décor!
  7. Decorative ladder. The ladder from the Magnolia line is metal, but I love this one because it is made out of reclaimed wood! Organize your throw blankets or use it in the entryway or mud room for jackets and scarves.
  8. 3-tier tray. A tiered tray is perfect for displaying beautiful cupcakes or keeping fresh fruit within a hand’s reach (ok, but I prefer the cupcakes).
  9. Kitchen canisters. Personally, I like having my baking essentials and coffee (ain’t nobody got time to fumble through cabinets for that!) easily accessible on the kitchen counter.

If you really want to step up your Amazon game, consider purchasing Amazon Prime. It is totally worth the $99 annual fee to get FREE 2-day shipping (sometimes free same-day shipping…say what?) and get the bonus movie/tv show library (similar to Netflix). Get a free 30 day trial using this Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial” target=”_blank”>link.

What are your favorite things to buy on Amazon? Who loves their Prime account? Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow to see how I finished off my office space with some adorable desk accessories and accents.

-Summer

*Contemporary Charm participates in several affiliate advertising programs. Clicks and/or purchases made through links on this blog may provide me with a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions on this blog are my own.*

Making the Perfect Bed 101

How to Make the Perfect Bed

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Growing up, I hated making my bed. It just didn’t make sense to me. I started making my bed voluntarily when I was 22 or 23 because with the stress of pharmacy school I found that having my room clean and my bed made up created a more tranquil environment and it was an aspect of my life that I could control (whoa, let’s not get too deep here). Even if I don’t have time to make my bed look fancy, simply straightening up the sheets and pulling up the blankets makes all the difference in the world! I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t make my bed everyday, but in my spare bedrooms I want it to feel inviting and cozy for my guests, so I always have the beds looking polished. However, there’s more to making a bed than just throwing on the sheets and a comforter. Here’s a crash course:

Sheets. You may think that sheets don’t matter since they are the bottom layer and can’t be seen. I would encourage you to try a sheet with a pattern or a pop of color. I love these Threshold sheets from Target. They are so soft and I’m always getting asked where they are from! They come in several different patterns and are on sale now! I prefer to keep the sheets pulled to the top and tucked in neatly on all sides of the bed.

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Blanket or quilt. This is a step a lot of people leave out, but it is a vital component needed to create a layered look. I would go with a solid, neutral color here. Feel free to choose a nice texture though! Again, Threshold has this affordable quilt (also on sale!!) that comes in gray (shown) or cream. Another great option is a simple, knit blanket. I like tucking this layer in on all sides (along with the sheets), but folding down at the top to show the pretty sheets underneath.

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By tucking in the sheets and quilt, you are able to show off the bed frame! If you don’t have a frame, you can let the quilt hang long or get a bed skirt.

Coverlet, Duvet or Comforter. I’m guessing you already have this piece of the puzzle. Personally, I like to fold it (in half or in thirds) and lay across the foot of the bed. Comforters are easy (no assembly required), but duvets give off a “fluffier” look. This gray and white comforter is also from Target (surprise, surprise). Now, you’ll start to see the layers come together!img_8815img_8813

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I’m a big proponent of mixing and matching colors and patterns. I love the diamond quilt in combination with the striped comforter.

Euro Shams. I didn’t use euro shams on this bed because I don’t want them to cover up the headboard, but generally speaking they will match your duvet, comforter, or quilt. They serve as the base to your pile of pillows and are typically the largest of all the pillows.

Standard/King Pillows. These usually match the sheets and are the ones you rest your pretty head on at night. You have two options: stand them upright and layer them or lay them flat and stack them.

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Stand and layer
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Flat and stack (I prefer this)

Throw pillows. My favorite part!! Check out my previous post about throw pillows, how to mix and match, and where to buy them. I love Motif Pillows on Etsy. Their pillow covers are beautiful and I love all the fabrics!

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Throw blanket. This part speaks for itself. Just throw it on and you’re done!

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Throw blanket from Crate and Barrel

Viola! Now you havethe perfect, polished bed! Where is your favorite place to buy bedding? What are your tips and tricks? Share them in the comments! Thanks for stopping by.

-Summer

*Contemporary Charm participates in several affiliate advertising programs. Clicks and/or purchases made through links on this blog may provide me with a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions on this blog are my own.*

Home Goals 2017

Does anyone else love the “goals” hashtags? Such as… #homegoals #decoratinggoals #lifegoals #squadgoals or simply #goals I’m not sure why, but it always puts a smile on my face and I find myself using them all the time. Anyway, instead of making a list of New Year’s resolutions, I started to come up with a list of #goals for my home this year. It’s really more of a to-do list, but I think it will help me get the ball rolling on some projects I’ve been looking forward to. I can’t wait to share my progress with y’all throughout the year, too! So here it is: Contemporary Charm’s #HomeGoals2017

Goal 1: Have an awesome vegetable garden. Last summer, Kevin and I took a stab at gardening. We built a raised garden bed (ok, Kevin built it), bought some small plants, and took some unsolicited advice from the garden staff member at Lowes. It was so much fun to watch our plants grow throughout the summer, but we clearly had no clue what we were doing. We had the most success with our cayenne pepper plant, which produced peppers like crazy! Kevin eats them plain (hot!), but I used them in guacamole, salsa, and even sautéed veggies. He uprooted the whole plant and made a home for it inside this winter because he loves it so much (it’s kind of cute). The cucumber plant, on the other hand, was a little monster. It grew in every which direction, taking down our poor squash plant, even swindling around blades of grass in the yard. No one told us it was a vine. #fail Nonetheless, it produced several cucumbers that we got to enjoy. This spring, we have plans to move the garden bed into a sunnier spot in the yard to hopefully have better success with growth and producing fruit. Any and all gardening tips are welcome!;)

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Goal 2: Decorate the upstairs living space. I’ve never shown y’all our upstairs common area. The reason being that we just have odd furniture in there and it doesn’t really serve a purpose yet (other than the fact that we have my old school Super Nintendo hooked up and we play it on occasion). I want to establish a purpose for the room and make better use of it this year! Some ideas I have for it are:

  • Game room – we don’t have children, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to play!;) Since we already have the Nintendo hooked up, it might be fun to get a foosball table or shuffleboard to have for entertaining guests.
  • Man Cave – Kevin has his taxidermy and sports paraphernalia in his office, so I’m not sure that he needs additional space for his “man stuff,” but I’m willing to consider it!
  • Sitting room/additional living – I know, this is kind of boring, but I think it was the builder’s intention for the space to be an extra living room.

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This is the way the room was staged before we moved in (not my furniture). Like I said, now it has our old couch, a TV, and a couple of side tables, but I want to spruce it up! I would love to hear your thoughts/ideas for this space, so I can start tackling it in 2017!

Goal 3: Complete the laundry room. In one of my first posts I talked about turning my small laundry room into a makeshift mudroom. It’s been great so far!  However, I would love to install a functional shelf above our washer and dryer to round everything off.  Here are few of my inspirations…

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Cherished Bliss

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Angies Roost

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Thrifty Decor Chick

Goal 4: Create an outdoor living space. Our house has a pretty neat covered back porch, but the space is too small to hold our dining patio set and rocking chairs, so we want to extend it by adding a concrete or paver patio at the base of the stairs.  Kevin wants to screen in the back patio, but my vote is to keep it open and airy. That’s a discussion for another day though;)

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What are your #homegoals for 2017? Share them in the comments below..I would love to hear them! Thanks for reading:)

-Summer

Where to Buy Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Line

We have Joanna Gaines to thank for the emergence of farmhouse décor, rustic accents, and of course shiplap. The viewers of Fixer Upper loved Joanna’s style so much that she created her own line called Magnolia so that we could bring her personal touches into our homes. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to visit the famous Magnolia Market in Waco, TX, you can still get your hands on some items from the Magnolia line! Here’s how:

*Side Note: I visited Magnolia Market last month and still wasn’t able to bring home all the beautiful things I wanted due to shipping cost. However, the trip to Waco was still well worth it and I highly recommend going! If you missed my post about my visit you can read it here.*

Visit the Magnolia Market Website:

After visiting the Market myself, I realized that the online selection was limited in comparison. However, the most popular pieces such as the signature magnolia wreath, cotton stems, metal script wall expressions, and many other must-haves are available. You’ll have to visit the market to taste one of the yummy cupcakes from the Silos Bakery though!;)screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-10-12-27-pm

 

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Signature Magnolia Wreath // Photo Credit: Ashley Wilson/Getty Images
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Cotton Stems // Photo Credit: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images
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Handmade Metal Quote Sign // Photo Credit: HGTV

Find Retailers that Carry Magnolia:

Many local furniture stores are starting to carry Magnolia! For those of you that live in the Carolinas, Rug and Home will be your best bet. I stopped by the Rug and Home in Asheville, NC, to check out what was available and was pleasantly surprised with the selection. I found everything from a window frame, serving trays, rugs, pillows, and other accents. Other locations are: Gaffney, SC and Kannapolis, NC (near Charlotte).screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-10-19-56-pm

Some snap shots of Magnolia items found at Rug and Home. I’m loving the unfinished window frame!

Find Look-a-Likes

As much as I love this line, I have to admit that there are plenty of similar products out there. With the lack of widespread availability, I highly recommend taking advantage of retailers that are catching on to the Fixer Upper style. Before the Magnolia line was created (circa Fixer Upper Season 1 and 2) Joanna utilized many recognizable brands such as Target and Wayfair. I also recommend visiting the HGTV website and exploring the Fixer Upper photo galleries. Some pictures allow you to “shop the post” to find similar furniture, wall decor, and lighting that are shown in each picture. Super convenient!

Where is your favorite place to find Fixer Upper home decor?

-Summer

Steals and Deals on New Furniture

Happy New Year, y’all! I hope everyone enjoyed spending time with their families and friends over Christmas. I had a great time in Dallas with my family and spent NYE at home in Charlotte with some good friends. It was perfect!

Over the weekend, I made some big girl purchases that I’m eager to share with y’all. Kevin discovered a local furniture store and we stopped by on a whim, not expecting to get anything. A truckload later we made it back to the house with our new furniture. Oops…BUT, I have really great reasoning behind each purchase (duh).

Entryway Table

The entryway to our home is HUGE. When we viewed the house for the first time, it was staged with furniture to aid with the selling process (y’all know what I mean). The table used in the entry was 90” long (dang!) I knew our petite 30” console wasn’t going to fill the space, so this was a piece I’ve been on the hunt for.

I fell in love with this table at Crate and Barrel, but was hesitant due to the price tag ($1099).

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I thought about utilizing a 15% off coupon on several occasions, but never mustered up the guts to get it. I’m glad I didn’t because we found this beauty.

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I added wicker baskets underneath for extra storage.

Look familiar? A 71″ long bluestone top console with a pine base and distressed finish. Literally it has the same dimensions, same materials, same everything (except a few minor details) as the table at Crate and Barrel. The best part: it was only $595 – almost half the price of the other table! This goes to show that with a little patience and some digging, you can have beautiful, well-made furniture at an affordable price.

Dining Room Server

Not long ago, we purchased our dining room table from Macy’s. We opted not to get the matching server in hopes of making the space a little more unique. We wanted something brighter since the dining set is a dark stain. I also wanted a piece with clear, glass windows to showcase pretty dishes and china (one day). Again, I’ve seen several I like, but none at the right price point…until now.

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Cape Cod kitchen island
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Next on the list: fill those cabinets!
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Harvest white paint with distressing

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$725 for this solid mahogany buffet (compare to this $1050 similar buffet on Wayfair). I love the versatility of this piece! This beauty is technically a kitchen island. Yep, it’s functional from both sides (drawers, cabinets, etc). It can also be used at a TV console, entryway table, or bedroom piece. For now, I’m loving it in our dining room!

A Small Side Table

In the master bedroom, we have a lounge chair that we never use. Actually, it usually gets piled high with pillows and clothes (guilty as charged). I wanted to make the space more functional, so when I saw this side table I knew it would be the perfect piece to turn my piled up chair into a quiet reading nook. It even has a pull out shelf…how cute!

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Eton 2 drawer side table
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lounge chair // basketweave pillow // lamp and shade

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At first, $135 seemed like a lot for a small table, but considering that places like Pier 1 sell similar tables of much lesser quality (like this one) for $100 or more, I decided it was a good deal. I can’t wait to curl up by the window with a good book!

About Bramble furniture

Great quality furniture!! Find a retailer that carries it here. Be warned that the price points at my local store were significantly lower than the retail prices found online. Always do your research! Most pieces can be customized to any color (but may take up to 6 months to receive). We took these pieces right off the showroom floor instead of waiting for a new one to ship. That was just my excitement getting the best of me. Hehe:)

Thanks for stopping in!

-Summer

*Contemporary Charm participates in several affiliate advertising programs. Clicks and/or purchases made through links on this blog may provide me with a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions on this blog are my own.*