Using Shades of White Chalk Paint to Update a Vintage Sideboard
In this post: Have you got a piece of furniture that could use some freshening up? Here’s how I used shades of white chalk paint to update a vintage sideboard.⇒
How do you know when you’ve begun to gain mastery over a skill?
I think the first hint comes when you stop following the recipe so closely and intuition begins to take over. You gain confidence in your ability to go off-script and you start to get a sense of where to go next without strict directions.
This doesn’t mean leaving behind the rules altogether. But it does allow for improvisation and this is where the magic often lies.
I feel like I’ve entered this desired zone when it comes to painting furniture, no longer completely bumbling around and achieving a certain assuredness that opens the door to experimentation.
Finally, after completing my fourth piece of painted furniture, I feel like I found my voice.
White Chalk Paint Sideboard
As is often the case, I started with a cabinet that I was considering getting rid of. After all who takes a paintbrush to a piece of furniture they already think is perfect?
In this case it was a sideboard that I was never really in love with. I bought it years ago, in large part because it fit into a tight corner of my former dining room and was very much on sale. I probably could’ve used a wider piece in my current space, but I figured why not take a stab at painting the existing one first?
So it was with this free-wheeling attitude that I approached the project. I didn’t even empty the cabinet!
The goal was to end up with an antique white cabinet, so I knew I’d be layering a complex brew, comprised of several shades of white.
The paint I use is an awesome quality from Pure & Original’s Classico chalk paint line. It provides a lush velvety texture with a broad selection of colors and there’s no prep needed which makes everything much easier. I like to wipe down the piece to ensure it’s free of dirt and debris, but there’s no need for primer or sanding at all.
Step 1 is always to paint a flat bottom layer, generally starting with the darkest color. My base layer was a color called Old Linen, and although it looks very light above, I knew I’d be layering on even lighter tones. You can see the first coat did not afford a whole lot of coverage and even after the second coat, below, I was concerned that I was still getting show-through.
This turned out to be a blessing because it was, I think, as this point that I began to go off script. Leaving behind my pervious formula of 2 base coats, a lighter one next and a few highlights in a third color on top, I decided to go for a little more complexity.
My next layer, in fact, was indeed a lighter color, but I also began to play with some varied undertones. So next came Antique White, a color with yellow undertones, to play off the grey-green of the Old Linen base.
I also decided to break another conventional ‘chalk paint rule’, and that was to add some dark shadows on top. Perhaps this is the effect you get when working with dark wax, but I chose to use a shade of chalk paint in Soft Taupe instead.
You may note, this is the same color I recently used for the china cabinet in this very same dining room. The reason I didn’t start with it on the sideboard was to be sure the 2 pieces, which sit near each other, did not look too similar. I’m glad I used it in this way, instead of as a base coat.
This building on of layers is where I found my voice.
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I used a mix of techniques, both dry brush and wet wash, wiping away excess with a wet sponge. I’ve described this before as a bit of a dance, and I work with two hands applying paint with the right and wiping and blending with the left.
I added 2 more layers on top.
Next came Warm White, a white with pink undertones, which I used in part to soften the effect of the Soft Taupe shadows.
And finally I finished up with Sea Salt, the lightest of them all, to provide the top layer of highlight accents.
Once the layers were all dry, I added a coat of clear Classico Italian Wax, let it dry overnight and then buffed with a soft cloth.
While the wax was drying, I decided to address the hardware, which I might eventually replace but for now I decided to paint. I used Rub’n Buff Wax Metallic Finish in Gold Leaf, and painted it on loosely to give an antiqued look.
I believe the dining room is finally finished, although I’m already looking at the mirror above the sideboard and thinking it’s a bit too yellow.
Now that I feel I’ve hit my stride when it comes to chalk painting, can any piece of furniture in my home be safe?
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I really love this velvety look after completion. It is truly beautiful and I must try this look! I haven’t used the Classico chalk paint before so I will be on a learning curve. Thank you for sharing Jean
Thanks and I highly recommend it. It has a richness to it that I think makes it easier to paint with.
I can see that you were “in the zone” when you painted this! I’ll bet it almost feels as if someone else had done the work. That’s flow. Lovely.
Thank you Teddee, and it’s funny you said that because I always used to think that when I painted or drew a picture. I went to art school and worked for years as a fashion designer, but when I’d draw or paint I always said I had no idea where the ability came from. It’s just there… 🙂
You did a fantastic job! I love it so much more now. My favorite thing in the world is to take something awful and turn it into something wonderful.
Thank you and I so agree about enjoying the transformation… 🙂
It turned out beautifully! You have found your calling in painting furniture among other things you do. I too think the mirror is a little yellow next to that piece. Why not paint it to match! Love the flower arrangements you do so beautifully too!
It’s beautiful. Great work.
You did a beautiful job, but I love the original as well !
Thank you so much!!
Hi Lory, I hope this finds you safe doing well. I love your ideas. I hope you will be able to help me with this question. On one of your recent emails, you showed a table setting that had white dishes. All around the border were tiny leaves (the leaves were all the same). I was hoping you would be able to tell me what company makes them. I am absolutely in love with them and would like to put in an order. The dishes and leaves were the same color white. I hope you will be able to find them. If you could also send me a picture of them I would really appreciate it. Thank You. Stay safe. Gail
Thank you Gail! Is this the set you are referring to? If so, it’s on super sale right now: https://rstyle.me/+2JGTM8hLAhi9NsYg0DjfvQ
Hope that helps. If that’s not it, get back to me and I’ll see if I can find it.
Beautiful! The colors are so perfect for the look you were after. Did you play on a scrap board first or just dive in on the side board? I love the Classico line of paints and wax because they are so velvety smooth. I have the wax in white and have used it to tone down some when the paint color is off a bit. This helped and maybe you can use it on the mirror so you don’t have to paint it. It is such a lovely piece.
I really like your painted furniture. I am considering painting my dining room a combination of white and cream. I really like your paint colors on the walls, do you remember the colors?
Thank you! Yes, it’s Benjamin Moore Tapestry Beige. I use the color throughout most of my home… 🙂
My husband says he has to keep moving or I will paint him. It is true, I am always looking for something to paint. Just finished the legs of stools that sit at my island and I told him he better keep moving. Your dining room and its “new” pieces” are lovel
Haha! I SO get that!! And thanks for the kind words about my pieces… 🙂
You did a great job on this piece of furniture. It looks beautiful!
Thank you for the kind words!