Brown No More! How I Incorporate Hand Me Down Familiy Pieces Into Our Fun Updated Style
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
When you have three sets of family members moving the same time you are, if you're as lucky as Alex and I were, you'll have more random furniture pieces than you know what to do with. Unless you're me, then you have a vision for them all.😆
Welcome to my end table makeover! First I want to point out, it's a miracle I have photos of this transformation at all. This was one of my first projects and I wasn't so concerned with taking pictures. It's a good thing I was keeping my mom in the loop and snapping pictures to text her. It's also a good thing my iPhone stores photos from messages.
Deciding How to Restore Family Heirlooms
From the "hey don't paint that" to the "they're great the way they are" comments, it can be hard for a family member to see their piece other than perfect. Sometimes a gentle reminder that they were sitting in a basement collecting dust for 10 years with no one looking at them or remembering they exist helps reconcile the issue. It got a bit heated if you can't tell.
Depending on the condition and significance of the pieces as well as who they are from, refinishing old furniture hand me downs can be touchy. My hubby's grandparents had sold their family home some years ago to move into a newer condo. They stored several of their old pieces at his parent's house and when they also decided to move, there were end tables and book cases and beds oh my! Alex's sister had her heart set on two end tables that had been their grandparents so he and I took the others. We had no idea that the following year, they would also pass down the bed frame and headboard that MADE A MATCHING SET! (I was and still am so pumped!) These are all now in our Key West inspired guest bedroom and it's a beautiful set. We also found out that this set was the first they had purchased when they got married, over 50 years ago! No pressure not to screw them up, right?
Going Against The Grain, Literally
So Alex and I probably couldn't have decided on a more striking color for these plain brown end tables. I went to Lowe's, grabbed the prettiest turquoise I could find, Valspar Aqua Ocean , and made my own chalky paint. Had I known at the time these were the most important piece of furniture bought by the grandparent's, and I will hear about them for years to come, I probably would've went a little less bold but hey, it's only paint. I started off by sanding the tops and sides of the tables using my cordless Black and Decker hand sander which came in this kit. I chose this kit specifically because of the easy to charge battery pack and small size. Once the tops and sides were sanded, I used a small piece of 150 grit sand paper to remove any imperfections from the legs. Using a wet rag, I wiped the entire piece down and used my shop vac to get in any crevices.
The Less Paint, The Better
Dry brushing and layering will be your best friend when using chalky style paint.
It took me doing these tables to realize, when using this style of paint, less is in fact more. I got a bit carried away on the legs and had to sand a few parts down to remove the spots where paint had run. I knew on these tables I wanted full coverage, with none of the wood really showing through but it still only took two coats, that's how good this paint can cover! I'm so glad I got pictures of the first coat and again, after the second.
Just When I Think I'm Done
This truly was my first endeavor using chalky paint so I had no idea how to finish my project. I painted these, carried them up to my second floor spare bedroom and thought I was good to go. Then I realized, they felt rough. Like pretty darn rough. I put a photo frame on the table and realized how easily it could stick and possible scratch the top. I searched the internet for tips and realized I needed to put some protective coating on top. I searched and searched the internet for how to protect my piece and one thing stuck out above all, wax. I went to Michael's and purchased black wax as I wanted some antiquing to my piece. This wax was pretty liquid and I wasn't sure it was what I needed so when Alex and I went to a local fall festival, I went to a cute little shop - Junk Money Paint Company- and asked their owner what I should try. She sent me home with her own all natural, no animals harmed in the making, furniture wax - Monkey Shine- and my projects have been forever changed. I chose to mix the clear Monkey Shine with the dark wax I already had to get a unique finish and I am so happy with the outcome! I definitely wanted an old world look to this piece and I think I pulled it off. These end tables sit proudly in our guest room and I couldn't be happier!
Tell me what you think! If you're fixing up old hand me down furniture, snap some pics and send them on over. I'll be featuring pictures here and on my Instagram.
Until Next Time,