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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    Painting furniture...?

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    I have three big household expenses on the horizon: 1. Rip up the wall to wall carpet in my 1BR condo and get new floors. 2. Re-do all three of my closets with new shelves, drawers, hanging rods, etc. 3. Replace my bedroom furniture.

    The new floor project is stalled, as I'm having trouble finding something that I like. I've pretty much given up on cork (sadly), as I can't find any in a color that I like. So now I've moved on to looking at engineered wood, but most of it is "rustic" or "character grade." These are fancy names for "spending $$$ for a new floor that is already worn and cracked," and it doesn't fit my decor. I've found three possible non-rustic colors that might be okay, but I'm not ready to move forward with one of them yet.

    I had been thinking that the next project after the new floor would be the closets. In order to really appreciate all the work that's been done in my condo, I need to be able to do a better job taming the clutter, which means fitting more stuff into my closets in a way that is organized and easy to access. After that I figured I would replace bedroom furniture, which is really just a cosmetic thing. I've had natural pine furniture in that room for most of my adult life and I'm more than ready for something different.

    But -- the other day, as I was putting away the summer clothes and taking out the winter clothes, one of my two dressers broke. I got it more than 25 years ago at Ikea, so I can't complain, and honestly I knew it was on its last legs. Okay, if I'm going to replace one dresser then I also want to replace everything so I have new set of matching furniture, so I started to poke around online to start the shopping process. I began by looking at lots of pictures of bedrooms with light blue walls, since that's what I have, and decided that white furniture would be a good choice for my room, especially since it gets very little natural light. I plan to give away the remaining old furniture since it's in all good shape.

    However -- it's a small bedroom, and finding affordable new furniture that is decent quality and also the right size will be a challenge. In particular the other dresser that is not broken is the perfect size for one corner of the room. I started thinking that maybe I would get a new white bed, nightstands and one new dresser, but would keep the old dresser that fits in that corner and paint it a complementary color.

    Then I thought, wait a minute, maybe I should just replace the one dresser that broke, but keep all the other furniture and paint it white. That would mean painting the platform bed (headboard, footboard, side rails), two small nightstands and one dresser. It's all solid pine. Any finish on it is a light matte, no shiny varnish or anything.

    I have very limited experience with painting anything. When I first moved into my condo I tried to paint the kitchen cabinets, and mostly I just made a mess. Is it hard to paint furniture or could someone with zero DIY skills do a decent job of it?

    Someone at work mentioned "Annie Sloan Chalk Paint," which apparently is great for painting furniture with one coat and no sanding. There's a store near here that sells vintage goods as well as this type of paint, and they offer a class in how to paint furniture with it for $99.

    So I don't know, what do you all think? Should I give it a try -- either with the chalk paint or a different kind of paint? If I do, it would be a project for January-February, and I would definitely do it while the old nasty carpet is still in place, so I won't have to worry about making a mess. Then I would turn my attention back to the new floor project.

    Another alternative would be to try to find a handyman or other professional to paint the furniture for me. Less work for me, maybe less money than buying all new furniture (but then again maybe not), and a higher likelihood of a good paint job.

    So, am I crazy??
    Last edited by ny biker; 11-22-2016 at 03:50 PM.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    Not crazy at all! We have painted several pieces of furniture. It is tedious but certainly within the realm of the average DIYer.

    The furniture we've painted has all been raw wood, which we primed and then painted with a semi-gloss latex paint. Since yours is not raw wood, you should probably sand lightly first, then use a tack cloth to get off all the sanding residue. Actually, don't take my word for it, Google will be your friend on this -- or just ask at any home improvement warehouse where you plan to buy the supplies. The folks in the paint department at places like Home Depot and Lowe's are there to help with just that kind of advice.

    Also -- I really like the look of mixed-finish furniture, not a matched set. In our bedroom when we owned a house, we had a light oak armoire and dresser, white painted picket-fence bed (that's one of the pieces we painted), and a pale yellow LL Bean bedside table (farmhouse look). Our walls were light blue with white trim, and our quilt was in shades of light blue, white, and pale yellow. It looked really nice, if I do say so myself. We were going for a farmhouse look, but even for other styles, I think mixing furniture pieces is prettier than everything being all matchy-matchy.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,824
    Well I'm going for it. Last weekend I took a class in using chalk paint at the local store that sells it. They gave us each a small piece of decorative molding as well as an unfinished wood picture frame, so we could play around with painting, distressing and applying the wax that goes on after you finish painting. Today I bought a can of the white paint, a can of clear wax, and some brushes. On my way home tonight I'll stop at the hardware store for a few other supplies. Since we're expecting wet weather this weekend including possible ice tomorrow, it will be a good weekend to get started. I also found a store that sells unfinished wood furniture, and I'm hoping to go there on Sunday to see if I can get something there to replace the broken dresser without breaking the bank.

    I'm thinking of painting the two nightstands a different color, not white. The walls are light blue, so a darker blue or light gray might be nice. Or a pale pink, since the bathroom nearby is pink. But I'll decide that after the other furniture is done. Overall I want a beachy look for the room. The drapes, duvet cover and rug are sandy beige.

    If it goes well and is not too tedious, there are a few pieces in the living room that are candidates for painting, too. We'll see.

    Also it turns out that I know a couple of people who have done a fair amount of furniture painting with chalk paint, so there are people to ask if I have problems. And the folks who work at the store are also available if I have questions.

    I hope as enthusiastic about this after I do the first dresser as I am right now.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,099
    Good luck!
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    Cool-o. Is the point of using chalk paint and wax to get a more interesting finish than just using plain semi-gloss paint?

    I just finished painting our "living room" furniture in our motorhome (platform sofa and dinette benches). After priming the raw wood, I painted them in a semi-gloss black. Had to use three coats of the black to get them fully covered, but they look good (to my eye), and since DH built the furniture, we saved a bundle of $$$.

    I think your color scheme sounds great. I love beachy themes!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    186
    i use chalk paint all the time so may I let you in on a big secret? You can make your own for dirt cheap with a little bit of calcium carbonate and any paint you choose. I get my calcium carbonate at the local ceramic supply store. It's also known as "whitening" and it really is inexpensive. Also, no need for expensive special waxes and brushes. I use Johnson's paste wax and whatever lint free cloth I have on hand. Also, even though it says you don't have to do any prep you really do. A light sanding followed by a wipe down with a tack cloth will go a long way towards a nice finish. Unless you like your surface to have chunks in it from imperfections that were allowed to remain. I prefer a smooth surface even on my distressed pieces.
    2008 Specialized Globe Sport
    2009 Specialized Sequoia Elite

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,824
    Thanks FlyingScot. I do know a couple who make their own chalk paint and use it to fix up furniture that they get from yard sales. Apparently they make a good return on the investment. I thought about making my own but since I'm doing several big pieces in the same color, I decided to go with the name brand so I wouldn't have to worry about pigment differences from one can of paint to the other. Also I figured the wax brush will be easier to use on the relatively large surfaces that I'm painting. It's not the least expensive route, but still a bargain compared to the cost of a whole new bedroom set.

    I painted the first dresser over the weekend but haven't waxed it yet. I need to do that tonight or tomorrow. Overall it came out nice. It's not perfect but I"m okay with that. Given how bad I am at DIY projects, I'd say it's a resounding success so far. I am still figuring out how much water to add to get the right consistency, since the paint is pretty thick out of the can.

    On Monday I bought the new dresser to replace the broken one. I got it at a small, local store that sells both finished and unfinished furniture, all solid wood. It wasn't cheap but it was less than I would have paid for a comparable finished piece at any of the other stores I looked at and I think it was a good investment. I also got a good price on new brushed nickel knobs to replace the wooden ones on both dressers, though I'm toying with the possibility of returning them in favor of some white and silver ones that I saw at World Market last night. Anyway I want to paint the new dresser this weekend.

    I'm still not sure what color I want to paint the nightstands. Gray or blue or ...?

    To answer your question, Emily, the chalk paint has a chalky, matte finish, though the wax adds a bit of gloss. The benefit for me (and many other people) is that sanding and priming are not generally required. Though I hear what FlyingScot is saying about sanding and I think I will need to sand and/or use some wood filler on some of the living room furniture if I decide to paint that too. But my bedroom furniture already has a smooth finish for the most part. There was one knot on top of the dresser I've already painted that could have used some filler, but otherwise it was okay.

    This is the website for the paint I'm using:

    http://chalkpaint.com/

    And some "inspiration" -- that Giverny side table looks nice, maybe that's the color I'll use for the nightstands.

    https://www.anniesloan.com/inspiration

    https://www.anniesloan.com/inspirati...rny-side-table

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,636
    I like! Especially that side table blue -- almost a bluebird blue. I have been out of the home decor scene for so long I really didn't/don't know much about chalk paint, but it does look and sound nice. My DH doesn't like anything distressed, but I do.

    Thanks for sharing your project. I hope you'll post a photo when you're done -- I'd love to see it!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

 

 

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