Furnishing tips for your daughter’s first rented flat

As my youngest daughter prepares, with great excitement, to move out of our home into a rented flat in south London we have been scouring second hand shops for furniture bargains. She didn’t want to go down the standard Ikea route, preferring to create her own style with a shabby chic twist. So our aim was to find some cheap furniture items with character and potential.

Her first purchase was a mirror for £20, with a gaudy gold frame.

After rubbing it down she painted it with undercoat to hide the awful gold. Then I dug out my some tubes of artist’s acrylic paint, and we mixed up a pale blue shade with some household emulsion. Being impatient, we only waited until the undercoat was touch dry before panting on the emulsion, and so as the emulsion dried on top a slight crackle glaze appeared which looked even better.

The shabby chic look requires a bit of ‘ageing’, waxing and rubbing down, so we decided to use Annie Sloan dark wax to age it, and clear wax to give it warmth and depth and a bit of protection. We applied both soft waxes with brushes, as a cloth would have absorbed too much wax, and then she buffed it with an old soft cloth.

Two evenings later, after a layer of clear wax, some dark wax applied sparingly to the mouldings, and another coat of clear wax, here it is: one rather chic and not so shabby mirror. Not bad for £20.

Since then we have moved onto this bedside table, and she is now looking for shelves and a chest of drawers. Its been incredibly satisfying and is by far the cheapest way for someone on a low wage to furnish a house. here are the next projects – a bedside table and a storage box.