Most people following this blog are not there to learn about DIY or home decoration I know.

My health has been great and I have gladly nothing report about it. I do miss writing blog posts and the area I am most prolific these days is home decor. I spend a lot of time thinking about my flat decoration and how do things myself.

Two reasons I like the ‘do it yourself’ approach.

  1. It’s cheap. I mean when you see how much some of those trendy furniture go for sometimes, it’s enough to make you weep.
  2. I get to do it exactly how I want it and to fit the tiny flat I was able to buy a couple years ago.

When it comes to decor, I have quite an eclectic taste. I like to mix old and new, distressed and pristine, unique and off the shelf. I don’t want my flat to look like a magazine photoshoot. It needs to be functional (due to the small size), cosy and with my own stamp on it.

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and YouTube. I don’t buy home decor magazine as they often offer unrealistic settings and never to fit my size of budget or room size. Also I don’t really care about what’s in unless it means it makes what I like more readily available.

One of the trends of late that I do like very much is the ‘industrial’ look which is basically about using rougher, unfinished pieces. I do like that very much.

Another thing to know about me is I like things. Lots and lots of things. Knick-knacks, books, dvds, more books, photos, craft project and materials, video games, more books…I have stuff everywhere and there are absolute no built-in storage in my 37.5 sqm pad (which I used to think was tiny).
When I first moved in, I did a lot of searches for small flat decor and layouts etc. Unfortunately, many of these blog posts, videos and pins are done by US based people and what they call small is nowhere near the same as European based people. Still you sometimes catch interesting ideas.

Anyway, this is not about that. This post is about my latest endeavour in the ‘do it yourself’ realm.


I wanted a funky bookshelf made out of wooden crates, like that one (left) but to fit my space and in a different colour. So I trawled through many, many links and photos from Pinterest and YouTube and finally I was ready to give it a go myself.



Sadly I couldn’t ‘salvage’ those crates from shops as pretty much everyone uses cardboard or returnable plastic cases these days but my go to shop (Ikea – don’t shudder) stocks some plain pine ones for about £9 for the big ones and £5 for the small ones.
So for the model above, it would cost £72 + cost of varnish and paint…It’s not that cheap for a bookcase but it depends what you are after. My space wasn’t large enough for this layout of crates. I went for 4 big + 2 x small ones for a total of £46 for plain pine boxes.




I didn’t want to keep the plain look and I also didn’t want a brown wood look like the picture above. I wanted more a ‘left outside to weather’ look. I went to Homebase near where I live and spent 20 mins staring at all the stains hoping to magic away the Ebony one which was the only colour missing 😦
I then went to wood pain section but I was worried that it would provide too much coverage as I still wanted to see the wood grain through. So I went online and checked if I could water the paint down for that look…Internet said yes but I still was nervous about it and paint isn’t cheap so to avoid being stuck with a massive pot for nothing I bought 3 x tester pots of the Culpinol Black Ash wood paint.


First, I mixed the Black Ash wood paint with water (1 part water for 2 part paint) to thin it out. I wanted to see the grain of the wood. I had Googled the process and had found few people doing it with normal paint so I had hoped it would work. It did.

Then using a sponge (one of the big yellow ones you find in DIY shops to clean your walls before painting) and cut a small rectangle from it. I didn’t want to ruin the whole sponge. I dipped the sponge in the mixed and started rubbing it on the crate, following the grain (NB: I should say that you should most definitely be wearing gloves for this part. I used old Marigold ones I had). This is the tedious part but I was thrilled to see the crate changing from shiny new pine to weathered grey…Exactly what I wanted…

Et voila, the finished product in situ

I am absolutely in love with them and planning to do some more. One note: I chose not to glue them or screw them together at this stage as I am still deciding if I am keeping this layout and I don’t have any toddlers barrelling around (although I do have a curious cat)…Once you are happy with the layout and sure you won’t change it, I do recommend that you either glue or screw the boxes together to avoid accidents. What do you think though?