The last time I painted a piece of furniture was my senior year of college. My childhood bedside table travelled with me from apartment to apartment, and I wanted to give the chipped white paint a refresh. This was 2008 and pre-Pinterest so I had no idea what I was doing.
I made all the mistakes:
- I had no idea what type of paint to get (the paint store was less than helpful)
- I was looking for a bright aqua or turquoise color but ended up choosing a baby blue color
- I sanded half-heartedly
- I painted it outside on my apartment’s ground-level porch and someone came by mowing the lawn, so it got grass all over it
- I didn’t let the paint dry long enough and set a (huge, tube) TV on top of it, which chipped off the new paint almost immediately
- I wanted to replace the hardware but couldn’t find anything that matched the pre-drilled holes, so I gave up
But that baby blue side table still travelled with me from Mississippi to California to Tennessee!
Seven years later, I finally got over the trauma of that experience and got the itch to do some painting again. I picked up a couple wooden tables at neighborhood yard sales and just needed the motivation to get started.
This time around, I have Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, and a million online tutorials at my fingertips. I was watching Bower Power’s IG stories while she was repainting her bed with Rustoleum chalked paint and finally decided to go for it. There are a ton of different chalked paint brands out there, but what sold me on Rustoleum is that it doesn’t require sanding or finishing, which makes it the perfect project for an amateur such as myself… so I went out and bought the exact same shade, plus sandpaper and paint brushes, the very next day!
Everyone loves a good Before and After, right? Let’s jump right to the chase!
A closer look at the Befores:
First, my little blue nightstand.
2. A side table that I picked up from a neighbor for $5. It’s missing a trim piece on top but it was a good candidate for a painting experiment.
3. Another side table that didn’t really have a place. I’ve had this one for years and it’s floated from room to room, but it felt too dark for the living room.
4. My favorite yard sale find! A little table and four chairs for my future crafter.
I worked on these tables during naps over a couple of weeks, then took a month-long break and picked up the paintbrush again to finish up the last table. I had to buy another gallon for the last coat but I allllmost made it with just one!
I did some distressing on each side table and I’m still not exactly sure if I like the final effect. Is it distressed enough? Or does it just look like I did a bad paint job? At least I’ve got that extra almost-full gallon if I decide to do touch ups later.
My cats were my painting buds and kept me company… and mostly avoided rubbing against wet paint. A few progress shots because you know I love those:
And now the Afters, in their new homes!
My faithful childhood nightstand went back in the guest room, no longer baby blue.
The two side tables live in the living room now, replacing mismatched tables. Using the same paint makes them look like they belong together.
And last but not least, the little table for Amelia. I mentioned yesterday that I might add some stenciling to the top. I’m still thinking about it!
But for now, it’s ready to go in her new nursery! (Now, just to put that together…)
I learned a few tips along the way, so here are some handy dandy pointers if you’re an absolute amateur (just like me!).
You can just assume I learned each one of these the hard way.
- Open the paint can with a flathead screwdriver, close it with a hammer (Yes, it took me several frustrating minutes before Googling and finding this tutorial)
- No matter what the can says, you’ll need two coats. The first coat is just a base, so don’t worry if it looks streaky.
- This is a great nap time project! I would do a coat during one nap, then the second coat during the next nap or after bedtime
- It’s OK to leave the paint brush and paint for a couple hours with a bag over it to keep it from drying out. But if you have to leave it overnight or longer, clean out your brush or it will get too crusty to use again.
- Paint the hardest-to-reach places first.
- Chalked paint is low-fume, so it’s OK to paint inside (especially if it’s starts to rain…).
- Buy more sandpaper than you think you’ll need, because you go through it quickly.
- I picked up a ton of tips on paint companies’ Instagram Stories. Each video is only 10 seconds long so it feels super doable and not as intimidating as a 10-minute Youtube tutorial. Some of my favorites: mmsmilkpaint, anniesloanhome, the.mountain.view.cottage, and the one that got me started: bowerpowerblog