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Step up the creativity

These practical and versatile stools are also super easy to make over.

Words and styling: Sarah Heeringa.
Photography: Amanda Reelick.

It’s no wonder Ikea’s sturdy little Bekvam stool is an enduring favourite. They’re cheap to buy, easy to assemble, and can be put to a huge variety of uses. Use it to reach high things, as a spare chair, or flipped around to make a child-sized seat and table. Elsewhere in the house the stool doubles as a split-level bedside table or bathroom organiser. Customise it your way to inject a pop of colour or as a calm spot to stack books or favourite plants. 

The Bekvam stool’s basic wood finish makes it simple to decorate with a coat of paint. For a hard-wearing finish use the waterborne enamel, Resene Enamacryl. For a semi-gloss finish, use Resene Lustacryl. When you’re ready for a change, choose another colour combo and paint it again. Here are three ideas for starters, but the possibilities are endless.

Bright as anything

Add a zap of bold colour to a white-on-white interior. I used the sharp fluoro orange of Resene Adrenalin. Bright orange makes a great accent colour, mixing the energy of red with the cheeriness of yellow to radiate intense warmth and happiness. Sand the stool as necessary and apply two coats for complete coverage. See right for more painting tips.

Props: Maiko Nagao Souls print in frame – Sienna, $199. Books: Be Bold – Interiors for The Brave of Heart, $49.90, Platters and Boards, $49.90. All from Good Thing.

Paint plus natural

Paint the frame and leave the steps bare. I used Resene Away We Go for a fresh green with a touch of blue. You can mask up the areas to remain unpainted, or simply use a medium-sized brush to paint carefully around the steps. 

Prop: Ashley & Co home perfume, $69. From Good Thing.

Double dipped

Create a smart bedside look by painting the top an interesting neutral and the lower half a flat black. Sand only as necessary to prepare the surface. Apply the lighter colour first and once dry, mark levels with a pencil and paint the lower half of the stool using the darker paint. Apply a second coat of the darker shade for full coverage.

Props: French Country Cushions, $99 each; Woden Liva Pony Slide in Leopard, $169; Madam Stoltz vase with painted face, $135; Onslo planter; Carrie LED lamp, $399. All from Good Thing.

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