I am so excited to finally share this night stand makeover project from this past summer. It was pretty easy to do and I learned a lot about using dark wax for the first time! I am very pleased with how the final product turned out and how I was able to reuse old pieces and not need to buy new.
Essentially it all started with upgrading our mattress and bed frame, which essentially kicked off a whole master bedroom refresh. The night stands we had were from a bedroom set from Sears (yes, that old!) and they didn’t even match our current bed frame. They had moved houses a few times and had water stains, scratches, general wear and tear. When initially planning our bedroom refresh, I had looked at buying new night stands, but could not find anything I loved. One day I thought about repurposing our old night stands, figuring I had nothing to lose and if I hated them, we could look into other options.
I wanted to keep it easy and I knew chalk paint could go over anything with minimal prep work and is fairly easy to work with (see my record cabinet makeover post here). We have an Annie Sloan stockist in town, so I was able to pop into the store to look at colours and ended up choosing the Pure White and French Linen Annie Sloan Chalk Paint shades to match our new grey/beige upholstered bed frame. I already had clear wax and brushes at home, but picked up some dark wax to bring out some brown tones in the piece.
With chalk paint you don’t need to sand or prep the surface of your piece before painting, but because there was a lot of damage on the top of these night stands, I gave the top a light sand. After this, I painted the top of the nightstand with one coat of the French Linen chalk paint. While it was still wet, I then very lightly painted over this with some of the Pure White chalk paint, using not alot of paint and a mixture of small and long strokes to make it look like a barnboard/wood grain texture. Once I was happy with how this looked, I let it dry and then started painting the rest of the night stand with the Pure White chalk paint. I ended up needing 3 coats of this to get the look I wanted (I did not want the distressed look, I wanted a solid, clean look). I let this dry completely and then was able to apply the wax.
My plan was to clear wax the base (everything that was painted white) and use the dark wax for the top to further enhance the “wood grain” look and bring out a bit of a warmer brown tone into the piece. What I learned was that the dark wax acts like a stain if you don’t mix it with clear wax first, and is very hard to blend. I was really unhappy with my first attempt at using the dark wax, so I ended up re-painting the top of the night stands (with the French Linen and Pure White chalk paint) and decided to give the dark wax another go after the paint dried. This time I used a paper plate and mixed a very tiny amount of dark wax with a big glob of clear wax and brushed it on in long and short strokes, blending with a cloth in long strokes (with the grain). In some places I used a bit more dark wax mixed in with the clear to bring out more texture. I also used clear wax on the rest of the night stand. Once I was happy with the look, I let the wax dry completely (about 24 hours). Note: I reccomend having two brushes for your wax colours: one for clear and one for dark.
One of the hardest things with this project was finding replacement hardware for the drawers. I really didn’t love the old hardware and wanted to replace the handles. With a combination of the ongoing pandemic and living in a rural area, I struggled to find a style and colour that I liked. I ended up settling for some simple handles from our local Home Hardware.
In the end, I am thrilled with how these pieces turned out. These night stands look brand new and fit with our new room decor perfectly. I also love that we didn’t need to buy new and could repurpose some old pieces! Chalk painting is not only for making things look antique, it can refresh old pieces and make them look new and modern again! You could easily distress this and add more dark wax for a more antique look, but I love the clean simple refresh on these.