Could you “shabby chic” this piece of furniture?

At Chic Freaks, we are always on the lookout for that next “starter find” — something that can be given a makeover, or perhaps a more substantial transformation, in the shabby chic style.

One of the great things about living in an urban environment is that there is a relatively steady supply of items that are no longer wanted, and can be picked up for free, or nearly free. And in particular, because our home has a special focus on “green” culture, there is an emphasis on reusing or repurposing old things.

This emphasis encourages people who want to get rid of something to try to find someone else who may be interested in taking it. Oftentimes, they post the item on Craigslist. Or they may simply drag the item out to the curb, or into the back alley, sometimes attaching a “free” sign to make things clear.

We think of this as an “urban ecosystem” at work. And while residents of a stodgier city might complain that the practice of leaving old things by the curb creates an eyesore, it usually works well. There are many people who are happy to pick up what someone else has discarded. Things do tend to get picked up. And sometimes, an item that would otherwise be thrown away in a landfill can be given new life by serving as the foundation for a great creative project.

This phenomenon also helps to offset one of the downsides of living in a vibrant urban area. Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, many people are making do with living in small spaces. Even the tiniest of local rentals (as in 250 sq ft) are requiring four figure-monthly rental payments, and the trend shows no sign of letting up.

Many of the “affordable” units are not exactly charming. So finding an outlet for creative expression that also yields stylish, functional furniture for very little financial investment, can really add to quality of life.

So that brings us to our game. From time to time, we will be featuring items that we come across, and asking the question: could you “shabby chic” this piece of furniture? What would you do with it? We encourage you to join in!

Some found items are obvious potential candidates at first sight. With others, the question of whether there is any potential is a bit harder to answer.

We tend to favor an open-minded approach to the shabby chic decorating style, especially when it comes to items that are free! It may take a creative eye to see the potential, but you could come up with a unique vision that is entirely your own, and make it happen! The end result could bring you more satisfaction than anything you could purchase in a store, and for pennies on the dollar. Or maybe you’ll think it over, and decide it’s best to pass altogether, and wait for the next find. After all, while the constraints can vary widely, almost all of us only have so much space. And if space isn’t an issue, time may well be — some of us tend to take on more projects than we get around to finishing.

Now, it’s time to introduce our next contestant!

shabby chic furniture piano project

shabby chic furniture piano project

So… what do you think?

(Apologies, readers, for the quality of the photos.. as you might expect, a cell phone camera is often used in our photos of found things, and the lens of this particular camera has gotten a bit scratched. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to see what you’re shooting in the sunlight.)

While it’s fun to imagine sitting down at this vintage piano to hammer out a tune (Gershwin, anyone?), or to imagine a scene from years ago in which a fun-loving group gathered around this instrument for entertainment, before its glory was quite so faded… it’s pretty safe to say that this old piano’s days of making music have passed.

As anyone who has looked into the cost of reconditioning a classic piano can tell you, it is pricey, even for a specimen much better preserved than this one. It is a very laborious process, requiring specialized skill and experience — kind of like reconditioning a classic automobile.

Some of you may look at this and think, what a piece of junk! But personally, I see some appeal in the worn finish — it’s already a good color to work with — and the vintage lines. The first thing that came to my mind was this project by Faylene:


Maybe the piano could become a desk, or a display case…

I’ll leave it to you to think of the possibilities — just as I left the piano where it was and continued on my stroll. Maybe there would be something else to discover around the next block — something that would be a little easier to move!