Little House of Four

Monday, February 27, 2017

An Honest Review: Why I Prefer Poly over Wax

A few years ago I got the bright idea to paint over our black/brown IKEA VEJMON side table with an antique white chalk paint followed by clear wax.  As the famous Julia Roberts once said, "Big mistake, big, huge." I loved the brightness the white paint added to our living room, but after a few months it was already showing major wear and tear.  Needless to say, the table got a makeover this weekend and I was sure to seal it with poly instead of wax.

Painted side table sealed with poly

Before I get to the makeover I wanted to take a minute to compare the pros and cons of wax and Polycrylic.

POLYCRYLIC: Clear, ultra fast drying and durable protective top coat.
WAX: Hardens and seals furniture giving it a gloss or buffed appearance.

DURABILITY:  Polycrylic hardens to a durable, wipeable finish and is good for high traffic pieces.  Wax is only a semi-permanent finish and may never harden, making it better suited for show pieces.

WEAR: Wax scratches and stains easily and will wear over time where poly has a much harder finish and is scratch resistant.

FINISH:  You will get an even finish with both products. Poly may leave brush strokes where wax will leave a buffed, smooth finish.

WIPEABLE: Poly is easy to clean and can be wiped down without damaging the surface of your piece.  Wiping furniture that's been sealed with wax is likely to damage the finish and remove the wax.  You'll see in a minute how I damaged our side table trying to wipe up spills and remove stains.

COST: Minwax water based Polycrylic (the brand I use) is about $18.00 for a quart while wax can be upwards of $30+ for less product.

DRY TIME: Wax will dry in a few hours where wax can take days to fully cure.

COLOR: Dark wax allows you to age a piece of furniture where a glaze must be used with poly to to get a similar look.

It really depends on two things.  How much wear will your furniture receive and are you willing to invest time in maintaining the finish of the piece.  Wax can leave a beautiful finish, but it is not permanent and will need to be reapplied often.  After the disaster of my side table I personally like and would recommend using poly over wax.   There's absolutely nothing wrong with using wax, I simply prefer using poly for it's durability. 

Now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at my chalk painted side table.  I painted it about 3 years ago using an antique white chalk paint and clear wax.  It looked good for a few months, but then it slowly started to stain and show wear.  You'll quickly understand why I prefer to use poly AND why I rarely show this view on the blog.
Painted side tabled sealed with wax

Painted side tabled sealed with wax

 The table doesn't look too bad from far away, but up close was a different story.
Stained and damaged side table sealed with wax

Damage rom waxed side table
The wax had no chance against the abuse of my kids.  Everything and anything they spilled on the table left a stain.  You can see where I tried to wipe off something that was stuck on the table and it completely wiped off wax and paint.  Yeah, not good.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this table has been sitting like this for about 3 years.  This weekend I finally had enough and repainted it with a few coats of black milk paint.
Black milk paint
This is my first time using milk paint and I thought the coverage was great and the paint was very smooth and easy to apply.  I got pretty much full coverage with one coat, but ended up doing two then distressed and sealed it with Minwax water based Polycrylic.
Painted side table sealed with poly
I actually like the white better, but since we'll be replacing our worn out sofa in the near future I went with black.  I think it will be a nice contrast against a light colored sofa.
Painted side table sealed with poly

(The stacked ball lamp is from Target.  I changed the chrome to gold using spray paint and gold leaf Rub 'n Buff)
Side table sealed with poly
Wax can definitely give furniture a beautiful finish, but when it comes down to it, durability wins.   

Why I prefer poly over wax


Friday, February 24, 2017

Five Friday Finds: Stylish and Affordable Bar Carts

I wasn't planning on updating our dining room, but everything just kind of snowballed after I decided I wanted a new light fixture.  I shouldn't be surprised.  I've been updating and decorating our home long enough to know that one thing always leads to another.   The idea of simply replacing the light fixture lead to a new rug,  painting the vintage server,  replacing the wine cabinet and new art for the walls.    

In my search for the perfect wine cabinet replacement I stumbled upon a few stylish and affordable wine carts that I wanted to share.  Can you guess which one I purchased???

Affordable and Stylish Bar Carts under $160.00!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Double Duty Decor: How to Effectively Hide Toy Clutter

Building, creating and decorating is my thing, organizing is not.  Walk into my home on any given day and you are bound to find piles of papers, laundry in the living room, craft projects on the dining room table and toys that are not where they belong.  My home is small and it's no secret that I'm not the most motivated organizer.  I would much rather spend my evenings blogging and creating projects over doing laundry, putting away dishes and tidying up the house.  Unfortunately, this results in unnecessary stress so I'm working hard on keeping our living and dining rooms organized and toy free with double duty decor. 
We keep a lot of toys in our basement, but since we spend most of our time in the living room that's where most of the toys end up.  I lost the "no toys in the living room" battle years ago, so instead of fighting with the kids to take their toys to their rooms or the basement I buy furniture that's pretty, functional and perfect for keeping toys hidden.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Modern Farmhouse Dining Room: Painted Vintage Server

While my husband was away enjoying a relaxing weekend trip with the guys I stayed home and cared for a very sick little girl.  I always tease my husband that he picks the best times to go away.  Granted, everyone was healthy when he left it never fails that I end up single parenting at the worst times. Friday night was going as any normal night would until I was awaken at 1:45am with the words I dread most, "Mom, I just threw up."  Let me just say, when you are not prepared to be sick you end up with a major mess on your hands.  Thankfully, I have great neighbors who kept our little guy occupied on Saturday while I cleaned carpets, washed sheets and cared for our sweet little girl.  When she finally was able to sleep you can bet I jumped at the chance to do a little painting project for the dining room. 

Painted vintage server
You would think painting a piece of furniture would be pretty straight forward, but not when you're trying to pick the perfect gray.  I ended up grabbing every gray, white, cream and black chalk paint I owned in search of finding the perfect gray paint color. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Five Friday Finds: Can't Miss Deals From Target

It's Friday and I've got five new fabulous finds to share!  
FIVE FRIDAY FINDS: Can't miss sales from Target!

A couple of this weeks finds are items I've recently purchased (hello, gorgeous bar cart and rug!) and others simply caught my eye.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

$5 DIY: How to Make a Wood Bead Garland with Tassels

A few years ago my grandmother was downsizing and I was lucky enough to receive a bunch of her unused craft supplies that she no longer needed.  One of the many items I received was a huge assortment of wood craft beads.  I'm talking large beads, small beads, round beads and everything in between.  Determined not to let them go to waste I decided to make a simple DIY wood garland, but I didn't want to make just any wood garland.  I wanted to make something a little different, so I added simple jute tassels. 
Easy wood bead garland with tassels
This is seriously the easiest craft project I have ever made.  You only need 3 supplies, it takes less than 10 minutes to make and the total cost is less than $5.00.  It doesn't get any easier or cheaper than that! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

New Mudroom Rug: How to Pick the Perfect Rug

Happy Monday!

I'll be the first to admit that my decorating plans don't always go as planned.  Trial and error sometimes works best and that's exactly how our new rug ended up being perfect for our mudroom rather than our dining room.  I hoped to use this gorgeous rug in our dining room, but sadly it wasn't right for the space.  Not willing to give up on the bold pattern I rolled up the rug and dragged it to the mudroom. The moment I laid it out I knew it was perfect for the space!  The contrast and pattern is exactly what the space needed and it tied in perfectly with our light walls and dark doors.  It just goes to show that plan B can actually be better when plan A doesn't work out. Bold and patterned rug in the mudroom.
Choosing a rug takes time and there's a lot to think about.  To help make the decision making process a bit easier I'm breaking down a few "rules" and tips for picking the perfect rug.