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My House: A Basic But Happy-making Ikea Hack

As Ikea hacks go, giving one of the Swedish homeware giant's classic Frosta stools a paintjob is as simple as they come. But sometimes simple is what's required – especially in my house where colour and pattern can get a little carried away together.

I found this sorry looking stool on the way back from a dogwalk, sitting sadly outside someone's house with a note saying 'take me'.

I've got into a habit of painting everything black lately (more of that anon) and thought I should deviate. The stairs in our house are painted several different colours, I'm kind of tiring of them to be honest but the effort it took to paint five flights, even though they're very small flights, hasn't yet faded and so they're staying.

Bear with me: this is relevant because, to rein in the visual chaos that's easy to get when you're a bit of a collector, as I am, I find a house palette is a helpful thing. And my stairs pretty much dictate that palette. (That they might be the chief cause of visual chaos is something best unsaid until there is energy to repaint them.) Anyway, here they are.

I have a box full of all the paints used for them. There was quite a lot left in the tin containing the blue of the bottom stair. So that was the stool's destiny. First some sanding.

I had actually been going to paint the top, but its clean, smooth paleness was so pleasing once sanded that I wanted to keep it exposed. Legs it would be then.

By the way, yes the garden tiles are filthy. They got a good wash after these photos, but they never look close to pristine. I have made peace with this.

It looked pretty good with white primer and I was nearly swayed, in my trying-to-be-more-minimalist enthusiasm, but also a little cold. The blue is a rich, warm blue. Greek island blue.

Annoyingly, I opted to mask everything off carefully rather than simply unscrewing the legs. The masking actually took longer and turned out to have been a waste of time as I couldn't pick all the tape off afterwards and the messy bits, even though they were underneath the stool, really bothered me. So off the legs came.

Back to the sander. I picked off all that paint I'd put all over the screws, too.

I wasn't sure what to do with the top – Danish oil, perhaps?

The garden table you can see in the background further up has been oiled and it looks great, but it's an outdoor table and I like it being a bit richer in colour in that context. I tried wetting the stool's surface to see how the wood changed colour and considered some kind of limewash to highlight the paleness, but what I had in the cupboard, and what I thought would let that nicely exposed birch ply shine through the best, in fact, was matt varnish. I painted it over the tabletop and over the legs, to protect them from chipping (and getting ruined when I spill tea over them).

And now here it is in its new home, picking up the blue in the Dutch wax cloth DIY valence (it's stapled to the top of an ugly divan base) and looking happy next to the bright yellow Parker Knoll, revamped by Jay Blades, now of Jay and Co, which you can read about here.

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