vintage ~~ reviving old furniture with chalk paint

My house is full of old stuff.  Antique and vintage furniture is everywhere whether salvaged, bought or gifted.  I like having the old and worn around me–it gives me comfort and makes me smile.  I love things that have history.  Chips and cracks add character.  Eclectic chic is how I roll.  But sometimes that “old stuff” is just begging for a makeover.  As in the case of my nightstands.

Just over a year ago, while helping my parents shop for antique furniture for their living room, my husband and I fell in love with an art deco bedroom furniture set that had to come home with us.  So it did.  Well, being that I am a total sentimentalist (emphasis on “mental”), I had a hard time parting with the furniture we had–which was an old set handed down to us from my parents.  This particular set had been in their bedroom when I was a kid and I had strong ties/memories to it.  I was happy to adopt it.  And I didn’t want to say goodbye to all of it.  In the end, we decided to sell the dresser and nightstand but we kept the vanity…which became two nightstands.

Old Old:


New Old

Old old vanity become two New old nightstands (yes, my life sounds complicated)

How clever and frugal of us, non?  However, these pieces did not match the “new” art deco ones so I had planned from the get-go that I would paint them…eventually.  Well, eventually finally happened.  I have a friend that is HUGE into chalk painting.  He is a dedicated Annie Sloan chalk paint follower.  He chalk paints everything!  And I mean everything (except his dogs–thank goodness).  I spent an afternoon with him and his wife and received a helpful crash course on how to chalk paint.  A few days later, I had painted those nightstands AND parts of my vanity.  The goal was to bring all the furniture pieces together in some sort on congruous harmony even though the styles and lines of the furniture differ greatly from one another.

Before/After New Old Nightstand:


The pink vanity/desk was a new addition to the bedroom.  I was using it as a desk in an upstairs office.  However, as I have mentioned, there are big changes happening around Bliss House and I had to either make room for it or sell it.  It was way too cute to sell (obviously).  And I believe I have already made a case for my sentiMENTALity.  Truthfully, a vanity in the room was a good idea anyway–I needed good light for doing my make-up (the bathroom light is horrid!).  So this is all a good thing but adding it to the menagerie of orphaned furniture pieces made the room look confused.  Enter Annie Sloan’s “Graphite” paint.

Before Old Old Vanity:


After New Old Vanity:


By painting the nightstands and the top of the vanity in the graphite then adding some silver gilding for accent, I think I achieved a more harmonious look for the room.  I also re-framed a pretty rose water-color picture into a black/silver frame to pull more black into the room.

Here’s a “pano” view from my iPod (first time doing this):


Of course Mr. Rockefeller thinks all of this coördination and change had to do with him…having his People’s stuff match his kennel.  Whatever.  He just thinks he’s top dog because we recently upgraded is bedding to a feather bed.  King Rock.


If you haven’t tried chalk painting, I encourage you to try it out.  It is a super easy and quick way to liven up an older piece of furniture.  Here are a couple of links for more information about the technique:

Annie Sloan

Shelley’s House

In general, Annie Sloan paint is expensive but a little bit goes a long ways.  I bought a quart, did all three pieces (2 coats) and still have 2/3rds of my paint left.  And don’t forget to wax!

Have you tried painting furniture?  Any big Spring projects are your list?



21 thoughts on “vintage ~~ reviving old furniture with chalk paint

  1. I love what you’ve done here Heather! Last year I went to a class on Annie Sloan painting techniques and I liked the fact that you don’t have to prep the furniture first. I loved the theory of it all so much that I haven’t actually moved on to the actual ‘painting’ part of it yet (except for what I did in the class). I should get a move on – so lazy. Dying to know what changes are afoot for you. Rockefeller looks gorgeous, as ever, on his new bed. x


    • Good grief, SK! You sure have been doing some stealth like lurking. Great to hear from you, ma chere. I am simply amazed by this paint and what it can do–and what I don’t have to do in order for it to do what it does (whoa). Have you seen it painted on fabric? Very interesting look. Let me know when you wind up painting something!


  2. I love Annie Sloan paints. I have only used it on decorative shelves, so far. But I have a set of night stands that might need a conversion now that I have seen yours. Love that vanity, by the way.


    • Merci! I have really happy how everything turned out. Maybe down the road I will change out the hardware on the nightstands to some type of art-deco, bakelite pulls, but for now I can live with what I have.


  3. I’m not good with painting or have furniture to paint, but I have a good eye for decor and you have the perfect everything for your vintage french chic home. And I think it most proper to have a vanity in the bedroom. You have a chinese silk kimono or something similar you wear when you powder puff your nose, yes? It’s hard for a man to resist the ultra feminine act of adding a little frosting to the face he adores most in the world.


    • Awww…shucks. Praise indeed. I like the silk kimono idea. I do have a beautiful 1940s or 50s, full length quilted robe that looks pretty glamorous. Perhaps I should wear that more often. One problem…it is ivory and I would probably slop it up in no time. ; )


  4. WOW – the changes here are amazing and you did a fantastic job!! I LOVE the nightstand redo – what an update! – and the cute cute vanity looks really sharp! I have read much about chalk paint but don’t really know what the benefits are, and I haven’t tried it. But two things: I too have B&W toile bedding that reverses to a B&W stripe, and if I haven’t told you the story that “Bliss House” makes me think of, remind me. Can’t remember if I commented on it or not. Great post, as always. Will get back to you soon. 🙂


    • You. must. try. chalk. paint. It is so super easy and it dries really fast so you can get a piece done quickly.

      And OF COURSE you have B&W toile that reverses to stripes. I would expect nothing less. Great French minds…

      I don’t believe you have told me the “Bliss House” story…please share.


  5. Fantastic job … your vanity table – wonderful … You have a lovely bedroom …. so large. Furniture are just like us girls … we need a little bit a paint now and then.


    • It is a nice sized bedroom…but I still don’t have my own little boudoir! I like your furniture analogy…good one.


      • Thank you so much …. just a little touch up *smile and the older we get the more we need, at least that is what we think. Have a lovely weekend.


  6. Oh gosh! I just made it over here to see your painted furniture and saw the link to my blog. How sweet of you, thanks! I totally get the MENTAL part of sentimentality. Bill would be the first to tell you that! I love your pink vanity and the night stands and goodness it’s wonderful to know someone else in the world that doesn’t mind, appreciates even, the imperfections that come with having a history (that’s sort of my take on getting older myself, actually). Love the wood floor, the French toile / ticking bedspread, the throw pillows…and the fact that your doggie sleeps on a feather bed! Brilliant!


    • You are welcome for the link…my pleasure. I am so happy to know someone else gets the “mental” part of sentimental. It can be a bit overwhelming. As for Rockefeller’s feather bed, it is simply an unused feather pillow. But sssshhh. He obviously doesn’t know that. ; )


  7. Pingback: vintage ~~ kitchen desk | chez bliss

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