Every couple of years we save up and make small upgrades to our downstairs apartment. For the past couple of weeks most of our free time has been spent putting up crown molding, painting and cleaning. We also replaced a couple rugs and bought some new furniture (stay tuned to see how we revamped one of the bedrooms on a budget!). We also recycled a couple of nightstands left behind by a previous tenant and gave them a new look with Chalk Paint™ By Annie Sloan.
If you’re been following the blog you know that grey is my favourite colour so it’s no surprise that the apartment was repainted in shades of grey. In the north bedroom, which doesn’t get a whole light of light, I chose Benjamin Moore Paper White (one of my new favourite shades) for the walls but that meant the yellow finish on our inherited nightstands no longer worked. Plus, even thought they had some great detail, the finish was a little TOO smooth and perfect. Chalk Paint™ By Annie Sloan in Paris Grey was the perfect shade to compliment the walls and a bit of light distressing together with added texture made them more visually interesting.
I heard about Chalk Paint™ for a while before stocking it in our shop but initially I resisted because it seemed TOO good to be true. No sanding or priming? I wasn’t convinced. But on most projects it really is that easy. The only prep on the nightstands was a light cleaning with water and white vinegar.
Before painting, I also took off the doors, hinges and hardware. That way I could get into all the nooks and crannies, minimize drips and make sure all the surfaces had an even coat of paint. This probably took longer than the actual painting but was totally worth the professional finish. TIP: When you remove hardware from doors or drawers (especially on kitchen cabinets) make sure to mark where it came from. It will make putting your piece back together so much easier!
Annie Sloan makes a wonderful array of brushes for both smooth and textured finishes. I happened to have another synthetic bristle brush handy and it worked just fine.
The first coat took about twenty minutes to paint on and about forty five minutes to dry. In a hour, my pieces were ready for coat number two. TIP: The first coat dries very flat so on the second coat I usually add a couple tablespoons of water to the Chalk Paint™ to help it flow out better.
After the second coat of paint was dry, I took the nightstands outside for light distressing with 180 grit sandpaper. Annie Sloan recommends waxing your pieces before distressing. It’s practical advice since the paint is very powdery when sanded and makes a huge mess that’s difficult to clean. A coat of wax will bind up the sanding dust and make it more manageable. However, I was planning on experimenting with another sealer.
The amount of distressing is a personal preference. I like it light so I gently sanded the edges and corners where furniture would have natural wear and tear.
After cleaning off the sanding dust, I put down a coat of General Finishes High Performance Clear in Satin. Annie Sloan makes a wonderful soft wax that’s easy to apply and gives long term protection but in reality, not everyone wants to use a wax so I wanted to try an alternative. High Performance Clear is a water based sealer which dries quickly to a crystal clear finish so it’s won’t discolour your new paint job. Like with any waterbased paint or varnish, you have to work quickly to avoid brush marks and use a synthetic bristle brush for easiest application.
Fifteen minutes later I was done with the sealer and the nightstands were left to dry. An hour later, they were ready to be handled and put back together. Just remember that even though your sealer will dry very quickly, it won’t CURE (or reach it’s full chemical hardness) for a couple of weeks. To avoid damage or water marks, use a coaster or place mat to protect your finish.
How do these nightstands look in our updated bedroom? Stay tuned to see how we made small budget friendly improvements to give our space a new look!
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