One Person's Junk Is My Treasure

**This post was originally shared on Art Is Beauty**  

When the weather changes people are usually spurred on to start doing their spring cleaning.  This usually results in a trip to the local thrift store or a yard sale to get rid of unwanted items.  Where I live spring cleaning means people putting their unwanted treasures on the side of the road for free.  It seems there's an unwritten rule here that if you put something out by your mailbox or at the end of your driveway it's up for grabs.  I drove by one of these free treasures for two days before I finally stopped to pick it up.  Someone had placed what looked like a huge coffee table at the end of their driveway.  When the hubby saw it by the side of the road,  he said there was no way he was stopping for yet another coffee table.  I knew he was right, but I couldn't stop thinking about that table.  So when I had a day where I was in the car on my own, I drove to the house with the free table.  I figured it was at least worth a look.   When I got out of the car I realized this was not a coffee table at all, instead it was some sort of cot or day bed.   I didn't have one of those sitting in my garage at home, which meant I had to have it!  It was fate, right?  I began the daunting task of trying to put this 6 foot long by almost 3 foot wide bed, cot or whatever it was in the back of my smallish SUV.   I think I'm strong, but this was a bit heavy and super awkward to be putting in the car by myself.  After a lot of struggling and sweating on the side of a busy road, I got the day bed into the car  However, the door wouldn't close all the way.  I should mention here that I really need a truck!  Thankfully I was only a few minutes away from home which meant the door not closing all the wasn't a big problem.  When I drove up to the house with that day bed in the back of the SUV, I'm pretty sure my hubby rolled his eyes and sighed, but hey I'm used to that kind of response!

I had about fifty other projects I needed to work on that were far more important than this one, but I had to get started right away.  I was officially obsessed!  Anyone else get this way?  When I bring home a new project I want to start on the new one right away, not one of the others that are waiting for me.  I'm like little kid with a new toy!  I was so obsessed with starting and finishing this project that I forgot to take any pictures.  I'm usually good about taking at least a few pictures of things while in-progress or one picture of the before, but this time I didn't take any!   I was woman on a mission.  This time my description of how nasty this bed was before I started will have to do.  The day bed was a mess with cob webs, ugly paint and grime.  It needed a major cleaning before I could start making it pretty. 

After I was done cleaning, I made a trip to Joann's to buy enough fabric and batting to finish the project.  I bought a fabric I loved and the other supplies I needed and rushed home to get to started.

First thing I needed to do was paint the legs of the bed.  The day bed has wood legs and supports.  The legs are a bit mid-century in their shape and angle, so I'm guessing this piece is from the 50's or 60's.   I painted the legs in Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan in my favorite Old White.  I gave the legs and supports two coats of paint then sealed them with Annie Sloan soft clear wax.  

Now it was time upholster!  At some point someone had attached a board to the top of the bed.  I think at one time there might have been a mattress attached, but when I found it there was nothing but wood.    Underneath the wood board were metal springs and burlap.  The board, springs and burlap were all in good shape so I decided to keep them as is.  I glued 3 inch foam that I cut to size with an electric knife on top of the wood with spray adhesive.  Then I added two layers of batting on top of the foam and secured it with more spray adhesive.  The size of the day bed meant it needed a lot of fabric, close to 6 yards.  I attached the fabric underneath the sides of the bed using my staple gun and then I was finished.

When I called the hubby out to the garage to help me flip the bed back over we were both amazed!  I honestly have this reaction every time I finish a project.  When I start a piece I usually have a vision of what it will look like in the end, but actually seeing the end result blows me away.  It's amazing what a little paint, fabric and hard work can do to transform something that was once a discarded piece of junk.

I knew from the beginning I wouldn't sell this piece (surprise!).   I had a place already picked out for it  in my office.  The day bed is about the size of a twin mattress.  Since we'd recently switched the guest bedroom to an office it would be a good substitute for a guest bed in a pinch.  

Here's the day bed all dressed up and in it's new home.

In the vision I had for this piece, I saw lots of pillows and mixed patterns.  I had a few spare pillow inserts and pillows around the house, but I needed a few more.  I went to Home Goods and Pottery Barn in hopes of finding what I needed and found exactly what I was looking for!  (how often does that happen?!)

The circular mirrors I bought several years ago and the window pane I picked up free on the side of the road.  

To transform my free window paint into art, I cleaned it up and added some prints.  The bird prints I purchased at an estate sale for $.50.  To attach them to the glass I used spray adhesive and held them down with a heavy book until they were dry.  The whole process took about 15 minutes.  When I was done, I had a unique and inexpensive piece of art to hang on the office wall.

While I was at Home Goods looking for pillows, I saw a lamp on clearance that I'd been in love with for awhile.  I could hear the hubby's voice in my head saying, "Melody,  you really don't need another lamp!"  However I ignored that little voice and bought it anyway. (in no way am I suggesting it's OK to  ignore your husband...wink, wink)  I knew the lamp would look perfect on the side table I was going to use by the bed.   The table really wasn't a table at all, but rather a stool I bought at an estate sale for $3.  I was a great height for a bedside table.  I painted the stool/table in Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint® by and then added some Old White as a wash to the top.  

I love this little blue smile pillow.

Here you can see the mid-century legs.

I'm really happy with how the day bed, the window pane art and stool/table turned out.  I love my office.  No one has slept on the bed yet, but I did sit on it and I thought it was very comfy.  

I had a lot of fun working on this project and now when I walk into my office I really do 'smile' like it says on the little blue pillow.  The office feels more cheerful and relaxing now that I've added this cute little day bed.   

I'd love to hear about your experiences with free junk!  I know I'm not the only one out there who stops on a dime to grab these treasures.  What's the best thing you've scored for free while out on a drive or on a walk?  

Thank you to Karen for sharing her blog with me for a day!

Thank you for reading,



  1. I love your post! No, you are NOT the only one who stops for free treasures! We do it all the time! We've made some awesome pieces from furniture people were about to throw out!

    1. Thank you Jennifer! I love a great roadside find :-)

  2. Your office looks just great. I love the daybed. Love that you find free treasures! Hope you are having a good week- xo Diana

  3. I love it Melody - I have a few upholstery jobs waiting in the wings.
    As for roadside finds and junk shop bargains - I have a garage FULL of them - so much so, that when we recently moved, I had to sell some in their original state to try and reduce the load - I still filled 2 600cubic foot shipping containers with my rescued/salvaged/waiting for makeovers furniture, tools, paints and other crafty, junky bits and pieces.

  4. It’s amazing to learn that such beautiful objects are actually unwanted by their previous owners, isn’t it? Well, fortunately, you found them and have turned your room into something lovelier. I especially love the stool and the blue pillow!

    Anthony Bath

  5. Yeah, spring makes us a pretty much busy to bring our things into a new look and beauty. I found so innovative idea how you made the uses of unwanted thing or free treasures from the driveway. It's really cool and creative thought. The bed adorned with colorful bedding items looks really wonderful. I actually was interested to browse some contents related to Office cleaning melbourne service but your renovation made me super impressive. Love your awesome project.

    1. . In the vision I had for this piece, I saw lots of pillows and mixed patterns. I had a few spare pillow inserts

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