Do you have an old, tired looking piece of furniture at home that you would love to make useful and pretty? Do you need to add an extra piece to your home, but don’t have the budget to splurge on the bright and modern piece of furniture you dream about? Well, this might be a good solution for you!
We needed a small storage unit for our entry way, for things like keys, purses, scarves, etc. We wanted a modern piece, that will stand out from the gray walls and white tile (while I am a fan of monochromatic looks, I prefer more contrast in my own space). Our options were- a) get an expensive piece that we are in love with, but break the bank, or, b) get a cheaper piece and fancy it up ourselves.
We went with option B. After week of going through every thrift store in our area, and not finding a piece to our liking, we folded and made a trip to IKEA. After much deliberation, we picked the Brusali TV bench, as it was narrow enough to fit the space, and cheap enough to fit our budget. I assembled it without the backing piece, to save on paint.
Our next challenge was- how to paint over the ugly dark laminate finish? Spray painting was out of the question, as we don’t have a balcony or any outdoor space, so it had to be something relatively clean and low-fumes. Painting with regular latex paint was an option, but has to be preceded by long steps of prepping the piece, and sounded a bit daunting. After hours of googling and youtubing, I landed on using chalk paint, as it saves some of the sand-prime-sand-paint process. According to what I was reading, chalk paint is self-priming, and can stick to pretty much anything, even completely smooth and non-porous surfaces like glass- sounds promising! I read a few personal accounts of people who successfully tried it, and figured it would be worth the shot. I picked up a container of Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in Treasure.
And let the painting adventure begin! I did not sand or prime the piece prior to painting, and just started to slather it on in long strokes using a synthetic paint brush. Here is a before shot:
Some of what I was reading online recommended sanding between layers of paint, to even out the surface texture and minimize brush strokes. I was too lazy for that, and didn’t really mind the look of brush strokes. If I wanted it to look perfect I would have spray painted it! The chalk paint that I was using had pretty good coverage, but I still needed 3 coats to get an even finish. The 8 oz container I got was just enough for that! Chalk paint dries very quickly, and by the time I was finished the first coat, the spot where I started was already dry and ready for a second coat, which made the process go by very quickly. Here is what it looked like after the second coat of paint:
Since Chalk paint is porous, it needs to be finished, or sealed, in some way. Most sources recommend applying the corresponding wax, but my local store was out of stock. I also wanted the finished piece to have a shiny glossy finish that is very durable, so I ended up choosing a polyurethane varnish in clear gloss by minwax.
I did two coats of that with the same synthetic paint brush, straight from the can. Some sources recommended diluting it with water to make it thinner so that brush strokes are less visible, and to give it more of a self-leveling quality. They also recommend sanding between coats, and doing at least 3 coats. As you can probably tell by now I wasn’t following any of these recommendations anyways, and I think the end result looked perfectly fine. The poly dries very quickly too, but I gave it overnight to cure before touching or putting things on it.
I am really happy with the color, and how it looks in the space! I also love the glossy shine that I got with the poly coat, and actually don’t mind the brush stroke look at all, I think it almost makes it look like a real piece of furniture made of real wood, rather than MDF covered in a thin film of laminate pretending to be wood.
This process would be perfect to do over a weekend, and since it is fairly low fumes, was fine to do indoors. I can see this working perfectly for an old piece of furniture that just needs to be woken up a bit and freshened up, for a totally different look. Its amazing the difference paint makes! Do you have a piece that needs a fresh look? Or a thrift store find with great bones that needs to be modernized? I hope you give this process a try, and let me know how it goes! ❤