Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A Dressing Table Makeover



Incredible, isn't it, the way paint and new handles can totally change the look of a piece of furniture? It always surprises and pleases me. In a parallel life I'd be a furniture restorer (wouldn't that be brilliant?) but I'm not so I get my kicks tinkering with things around the house. 


As I mentioned before, I recently painted my dressing table. I've had it for many years and didn't much like it, as I found the pine too knotty and orange, and the metal handles weren't to my taste. But it's such a good, useful, solidly built piece of furniture with nice dovetailed joints, and there was plenty of life in it yet. It just needed some attention. This is the dressing table in it's "before" state, and please try not to look at the chaos that surrounds it in the garage. Many of the wooden drawer edges had fallen off over the years and the top badly needed sanding as it was grubby and scratched.


I decided to pull all the edge pieces off to give the drawer fronts a cleaner look.  


Then I removed the handles, filled the holes with wood filler and gave it all a light sand.


Then came the painting. I wanted to try using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint* as I've heard so much about it and was curious to see what it was like. My initial preference was for the more modern looking Pure White but according to my research (google and asking my Instagram friends, extensive stuff) the coverage is poor, so I used Original, which is a kind of milky white. Chalk paint is attractive because of it's "no need to sand or prime" claims, and it's true, you can just slap it on. But this piece of furniture just drank up the paint and the one litre tin felt like it wasn't gong to be enough. In the end I left the drawer insides patchy and made sure the visible parts (top, drawer fronts and side panels) had as many coats as possible. They had four and I think one more would've made the finish better as the knots still show slightly in places. I sanded lightly between coats as the finish of the paint is pretty...chalky. Then came two coats of wax which I applied with a brush and buffed with a cloth. That was a serious arm workout. 

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'm won over. I think for the amount of time I spent on this, I could've sanded, primed and painted this with some oil based eggshell paint and the finish would've been much smoother. Perhaps if I'd painted it a darker colour that would have made my task easier. But if you like a more rustic, country look to your furniture you'll love this paint, plus the range of colours is gorgeous.

Anyway, now for the fun bits. I lined the drawers with that wallpaper I found at the tip. I love it SO much, and every time I open a drawer I catch a glimpse of it.



Then the handles. I spent hours looking at handles on pinterest and browsing online but I needed a lot, so they had to be cheap. In the end I bought a packet of ten plain wood handles from B&Q for about £10 and painted them. 


I used two coats of the same colour that we have on the bedroom wall (Princeton Blue by Valspar) followed by a quick coat of clear matt varnish. I'm so pleased with the effect of the blue against the white. And what a difference two small handles makes compared to one in the middle. 


Have you used chalk paint before? I'd be curious to know what you painted and what you thought of the finish. 

Overall I am very happy with how this project turned out. The best thing is that I feel like I've rediscovered a piece of furniture I'd really lost interest in. I mean, I've had this dressing table since I was a teenager! It left home with me and it's seen a lot of use over the last twenty years; getting ready for work, for a night out, trying to do my make-up while jiggling a griizzling baby on my knee at the same time...we're old friends, that dressing table and I. 

I'll leave you with a photo of our bedroom looking calm and tidy in the afternoon sun.



*This is not a sponsored post.

60 comments:

Jennifer said...

It looks so good, Gillian. I really like the blue handles, it's a perfect touch (and cheap and easy to achieve!). I haven't used chalk paint but I have used milk paint. We used it to paint a nightstand my husband built for our daughter. I have very few nice things to say about the process and I think it's very similar to chalk paint in some key ways, so I can sympathize. He did all the sanding and there was a fair amount of swearing so I think he'd agree too. :)

Amy at love made my home said...

It looks great! It is amazing how a few changes can make something look totally different. I think that removing the drawer trims has had a really big and really good effect on how this looks. I am torn about the chalk paint. I like the idea of not having to sand and prime and so on, but the things that I have that I would paint are all very dark, so I am sure that I would have to do so many coats of paint that like you I think a good eggshell would be better. That said, I am sure that a lighter piece of wood to start with or using a darker colour paint would be great wouldn't it. It certainly refreshed your dressing table really well and it is good that you will have many more years of use from it! xx

The Creative Academic said...

It looks brilliant Gillian. You must be so pleased with the end result and seeing it in situ. I really like your finishing touches - the handles are great and I love the lining paper for the drawers. What a great find! Such a lovely piece of furniture has been given a new lease of life! hope you enjoy using it daily xx

Chrissie Crafts said...

Magnificent! I love revamping old furniture with a lick of paint - and what a difference those new drawer knobs make! Cxxx

Julia said...

It looks amazing, Gillian! It doesn't even look like the same piece of furniture. I love the blue knobs aganist the white paint!

Bronwyn said...

Lookin' good, Gillian! It's amazing what a coat or two of paint can do. I re-did a buffet for our kitchen last summer. I used a light blue AS colour and I still absolutely love it! I think I may buy a can of the red-ish shade and give a few pieces of furniture some paint-love this summer!
www.queenbcreativeme.blogspot.com

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh. Would it be too teenager-y to "squeeeeeeal", lol? I absolutely adore it!! I'm personally so tired of painting, but will never tire of seeing the transformations paint makes. Which is good, I still have plenty of painting left to do!! I am enjoying seeing you make your home more and more your very own!

Librarian said...

I love it! One wouldn't guess this is the same piece of furniture as in the "before" picture. You've done a great job, and I do not doubt you'd be a much sought-after furniture restorer in that parallel life you mentioned :-)

driftwood said...

great transformation!

Julie said...

Wow it looks so different. Taking the moulding off the drawers has made it look so much more modern. My favourite bit is the wallpaper in the drawers though - I love that wallpaper! x

mags said...

Gosh what a lot of work, the result is amazing though, especially the blue handles, love it xxx

Lulu walkingonsunshine said...

What a change ,i love your dressing table .
Your bedroom is so adorable
Good job
xxox
Lulu

Lisa said...

It does look so different, a lot of hard work went into that, glad that at the end of it you have a new piece of furniture which you love.
My sister made her own chalky paint which she has used to paint a few pieces of furniture, I like she got the idea from pinterest and then you tube.
Lisa x

Jo said...

Just right to put some lippy on before you go to work soon. I am glad you talked about 'that' chalk paint because I wanted to paint my new sewing cupboard but I couldn't face it with all the decisions it came with but your comments have made me think I need a big chunk of time to do it and possibly a primer and eggshell would be the way forward. What colour who knows! Jo x
http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/taking-stock-or-stocktaking.html

Gillian said...

I love your dressing table make-over. I was just thinking yesterday how much I love blue and white together. In fact, I'm dressed in blue and white today! Anyway - back to the dressing table. I only got one for the first time about 6 years ago and I love having it. Don't know how I managed so long without one. I have only used eggshell paint for furniture and often wondered about the Annie Sloan paint. I read somewhere that there is a new version of it that has the wax included. I'm not sure how that would work. It sounds like a lot of hard work to get a result but it does look very well.

Penny said...

What a transformation! A lot of hard work by the sound of things, but well, worth it, it looks fab! X

❤Coco Rose❤ said...

I love a good furniture make-over. I'm with you on not being 100% convinced on chalk paint. I used some recently, not Annie Sloane I might add but the alternative by Rust-oleum. I didn't find it went on as I had hoped, and when I went to put the clear varnish on, it gave it a really yellowy tinge to the finish. I don't really know what I expected, but I think, like you say, the effort of all the coats and the waxing afterwards, I think just sanding, priming and painting in a wood paint would have been as quick. I might try it again and give it the benefit of the doubt. Your dressing table sure looks lovely....and the paper lining......oh......dreamy.........xxx

Tales from my lens said...

OMG I soooo love that dressing table & the draw lining is divine. The chair & lamp are fabulous. It looks like a picture straight out of an interior magazine!! It must make your heart skip overtime you go to bed. I have heard chalk paint is a bit hit & miss. I have a very large mirror to paint, but I think I will use wood paint instead. Enjoy that beautiful room xx

CJ said...

What a lovely job you've made of it. Restoring old furniture makes me inordinately happy, I know exactly what you mean about doing it as a job, it would be fab. I really love the insides of the drawers as well, the perfect finishing touch. Can't believe you found that wallpaper at the tip. Your lucky day! CJ xx

Anonymous said...

What a lovely job you have made of it. I really admire the time and effort you have put in. I wish I had more vision to do something like that. X

Gina said...

I have used chalk paint but it was on a dresser that I wanted to look deliberately rough and worn so found it was perfect for the job.

Michelle :: a frugal homemaker said...

A beautiful transformation. The blue and liner gives it a pop. I love how you have accessorised it too. A lovely finished project and an interesting pictorial walk through. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This looks great and just right for your new bedroom. I've just painted an old knotty pine bedside cupboard using up (at £4 a go it's good not to waste them!) two tester pots of Farrow & Ball tester pots in Pale Powder and Borrowed Light. I cleaned with wire wool, lightly sanded and applied two coats of paint layering the two colours separately. I then waxed using my usual beeswax polish and finally buffed. I'm really pleased with it and think my finish compares very favourably with the shabby chic furniture I see for sale. It didn't take very long either, I did it outside on a sunny afternoon interspersed with gardening jobs. My effort was inspired by Nicole at My Garden Diaries.

Anonymous said...

A great restoration project, the blue handles look great against the white. I have not used chalk paint before but my friend has just about painted all her old furniture with it and swears by it, she has been so impressed. I have a project in mind to try the chalk paint on, an old dining table, I'll let you know how I go.

Sopa Azul said...

Congratulations Gillian, you did a great job!!! Hugs :))

Jacqueline said...

Chalk paint is new one on me but I think you have made an excellent job revamping your dressing table. it looks so different and so good.

Marion Ogden said...

I love your 'new' dressing table. The blue wooden knobs look lovely against the white background and they give the whole furniture a completely new look. Well done! X

Col | Hello Olive Designs said...

Wow, it looks amazing! I love the contrast between the handles and the rest of the desk. You should give yourself a pat on the back! x

Heldasland said...

Fabulous job, I love Ms Sloan's paints . Isn't it so satisfying to reuse, recycle furniture. I inherited a lot from my father in law it sits in our lock up. We rent our family house out and live in a flat in London with no space and I long for the day I can we move back into our real house and I too can do the anne sloan everywhere , lol

yummeryscrummery said...

Oh, what a lovely job you've made of it! I love the little blue handles, how sweet they are! This little desk would look so sweet in my studio :)

Curvywitch said...

Reduce, reuse, recycle and restore = gorgeous. I love the drawer paper, what a brilliant contrast to the neutral exterior. Fabulous job. :-)

Jean said...

What a great makeover. I haven't use chalk paint but I've heard similar tales of the amount of time it takes. Love, love, love the wallpaper lined drawers - great find!

Heather @ my little red suitcase said...

What a great transformation!...perhaps a little hard work with all those coats and waxing.....but you've got try it once, and the drawers are just spot on with that paper, a real joy to look inside now! X

VeggieMummy said...

Wow! You've inspired me - I've been meaning to give the old AS paint a go for a while now. I have a rocking chair in the loft that R bought when L was born but it's a horrid orangey pine. I feel the time has come for a transformation! Love those blue handles too. xx

Anonymous said...

I'd heard that chalk paint was great because it didn't need undercoating, etc, but if you need to use several coats it does take the shine off (so to speak!). Your dressing table is transformed! Brilliant! I've a couple of pieces of sad furniture that could be similarly up-cycled. You've inspired me to get on with sorting them out. Thanks Gillian. Sam x

Jane said...

I used AS paint to give new life to a nest of tables. The finish was a little patchy and no doubt down to my lack of technique, but I only noticed this after I'd waxed it. Your dressing table looks great, a real transformation and that wallpaper was an amazing find. Enjoy the rest of the week.
Jane xx

galant said...

Love it LOVE IT LOVE IT! That looks a really super piece of furniture now, lifted out of the ordinary by a coat of paint. I'm all for painting pine. Pine was a cheapish wood (often known as deal) that was always painted. The vogue for 'stripped' pine has come about only in recent times (since the 1950s, I mean by "recent" . I've never used chalk paint before, but I love eggshell paint. Currently I'm on the look out for an old coffee table to renovate (in eggshell) for our bed sitting room. I won't be doing the renovation of course, I have 'staff' aka husband, to do that (he doesn't know this yet, but he soon will!)
Margaret P

Jayne E said...

I love Annie Sloan paint! I've used it lots, but I do like a rustic look and realise that the chalky, non-smooth finish isn't to everyone's taste. I've never had to use more than two coats on anything though. A good tip to get better coverage is to leave the tin slightly open overnight before you use it. It thickens the paint up a bit and you can then wet your brush to achieve the consistency you want, as you paint.
Your dressing table looks beautiful, and I love that wallpaper too.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you put some serious time into that! It looks great and it is wonderful that you are giving it a second life instead of discarding it. Well done!

SaraJ said...

You're so clever! Love the wallpaper too. Glad it all worked and came together. X

Eilidh Lindsay said...

Your desk looks fabulous - a great transformation!
I am not entirely convinced about chalk paints either. I have been revamping my childhood bunk bed for my 2 eldest and was attracted by the no priming etc. The first coat was very patchy and then when I tried to apply a second coat it started lifting off the first coat resulting in clumps of paint! Not really the finish I was going for! I contacted the company via the website and they did get back to me quickly advising me to water down the paint for the second coat. Not got round to doing it yet as I got a bit annoyed by it all! Hopefully when they are finished they will look as lovely as your desk.
Eilidh

Tabitha Metcalfe said...

Hi Gillian - I'm a long time reader of your lovely blog and I'm delurking to add my thoughts about chalk paint. I've used the original stuff and although I love the fact that it can be painted straight on to stuff without any prep (I am such a lazy painter!), I also found that you need a great deal of it to get any decent coverage (I know they say you can water it down, but I found that it then went streaky). It's not cheap either if you're painting a large piece of furniture, so I did a bit of research and had a go at making my own version. I bought a bag of plaster of paris from an art supplies shop and some cheap own-brand white paint. I poured some of the emulsion into a paint kettle, added some of the plaster, stirred it really well until it went thick (the consistancy of double cream) and then had a go at slapping it all over a very shiny, orange pine coffee table. It stuck perfectly to the surface just like the original chalk paint did. I then went over the diy-chalk paint with a coat of ordinary emulsion in the colour that I wanted and finished it off with a coat of quick-dry matt varnish. The coffee table is still looking lovely over a year later (even though it regualrly had feet propped up on it!) and I've also painted a desk, a chest of drawers and a tv unit the same way. The only caveat I'd add is that you have to use the paint on the day that you mix it up otherwise it goes slightly lumpy and you must give it a good stir every now then whilst you're painting. Your dressing table looks lovely and I love your new house. The green wall with the pink pictures is stunning!
Tabby

Mereknits said...

I think you did a fantastic job, I just love it.
Hugs,
Meredith

Pati from London said...

It looks lovely! I used the White one recently to paint a small IKEA kitchen shelf and I must admit that the end result was ok (not amazing). I find the chalky finish a bit odd, though...(ie. It doesn't look very professionally finished, if you know what I mean). In the Annie Sloan shop they told me to put wax at the end but as I was using white I tried the wax in a corner and it made it look a bit yellow, which I wasn't too happy about. The man in the shop told me they rarely use white as the main colour and they tend to mix it with others To create the different shades of blue, green, grey etc.... I am going to use the rest of the can to paint a proper piece of furniture for my son's room and will mix it with grey and see what happens when I wax it..... Will let you know.... Pati x

Annie Cholewa said...

Oh my, that is superb, lovely job m'dear! But chalk paint. ... I'm making a sign to ward off evil here ... it's wire wool, primer, and a good quality eggshell all the way for me.

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

Such a wonderful job and I am completely in love with the paper from inside your drawers, it's fabulous. I keep meaning to update my Ducal furniture in the same way. If you do decide on a change of career, perhaps I could be your first client? ;)

S x

Rachael Jess said...

It's absolutely fabulous I love it!

Daisy Jones said...

Wow i love it and your serene looking bedroom too!
best Daisy j x

Natalie said...

What an amazing transformation, it looks fab! I'm glad you posted this as I've never used Annie Sloan and have been wondering if it's worth the effort. I think I might try a small project before I try it on a larger piece of furniture. xx

The Chimney Pot said...

wow what a transformation! I agree with the Annie Sloan and the 'chalky' finish! I tend to use Annie Sloan as an undercoat to save the sanding time and then do coats of eggshell and this gives a lovely finish and no need to wax or varnish either xx

Lucy Clarke said...

I've used Annie Sloan many times and find it very thick, I always add Water to it and give it a good stir and this helps massively, I recently tried rust-olem chalk paint and this is actually much better not as thick, dries quickly and is cheaper. The dressing table looks great!

Anonymous said...

I have used a water based product called Zinsser bulls eye 123 to prime previously glossed wood without sanding, it bonds straight to the glossy surface. I've then used my preferred water based undercoat and topcoat as per usual, with a great result - no sanding, no fuss, and not too many coats needed! Might be worth a try. I used an American product called gloss off to clean down the gloss paint first - but this was probably not needed. Your dressing table looks really lovely, worth all the effort in the end.

Jan Doling said...

Wow! What a transformation, it looks incredible. It sounds like very hard work though but the end result is worth all the effort I am sure. xx

Alison said...

It looks great, Gillian. What a transformation! I've never used chalk paint before, its good to read of your experience of it xx

the linen cloud said...

Your dressing table looks wonderful Gillian but as I said on IG I'm not a fan if the AS Paint. Eggshell all the way for me. Bee xx

Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland said...

I only wrote a post last night about my telephone table, I am an Annie Sloan fan. Your 'new' dressing table is lovely xx

Nook London said...

It looks amazing! Well done!
We love the country rustic style and how it looks with the pistachio chair and the copper vase. Lovely combination.

Katie said...

absolutely love this! so brilliantly done, and that wallpaper - our tip is never such a treasure trove, or maybe I just don't look properly!

Kate-Em said...

It looks fabulous, such a great job. I really like the look of your bedroom, it looks calm and colourful.

Keira @ Dekko Bird said...

Loving your finished piece Gillian and the overall decor of your bedroom, the blue you've chosen is stunning with the moden yellow chair k x