shabby chic DIY: upcycling old or vintage furniture!

I love hunting for old pieces of furniture! I never buy shabby chic distressed furniture -I've always found old pieces and done it myself (it's more fun and a lot more affordable) 

I found an old pine bathroom cabinet for £3.. a perfect DIY candidate! the technique works on all pieces of wood furniture, I've upcycled wardrobes, dressing tables and chairs in the past. 

lots of people have asked me how I've distressed my furniture so I thought I'd do a little tutorial for anyone who's curious to try it themselves!
start out with your pieces of wooden furniture, whether it's a chair, table etc
the most important part is sanding! I use a small electric sander to rub down larger furniture but something small can be done by hand with regular sandpaper! this part is really important as it removes any varnish and provides a 'key' or grip for the paint to adhere to.
once you've sanded you need to apply a coat of primer (I've taped off the mirror on my cabinet so it doesn't get covered in paint spatter) let the primer dry before you paint the wood! 

you can use any colour paint on your furniture, I've opted for a pale grey/blue. I use eggshell paint as it leaves a lovely chalky matt finish perfect for shabby chic furniture! (farrow and ball are my favourite eggshell paint manufactures and you can find them in most homeware shops or just google eggshell paint to find stockists)
apply as many coats as necessary and leave the paint to dry. 
the next step is to distress the furniture (this works best within the first 12 hours of the paint drying!) take some sandpaper and lightly rub along the edges to remove some of the paint and expose the original grain.

think about where the furniture would naturally age from wear and tear (mostly around the edges) and concentrate on these areas!

you can give your furniture a lick of clear varnish or furniture polish to protect it when you're happy with the effect.
I lined the inside of my cabinet with some ditsy print paper from paperchase and painted the inside of the door with some blackboard paint! now I can leave soppy chalk messages to my other half when he goes to brush his teeth in the morning (I'll pause here so you can contain your nausea)
that's it! not too tricky it just takes a little time but once you get the hang of distressing and repainting furniture it becomes addictive!

it works really well on bedroom dressing tables and old chairs, if you spend time rummaging about car boot sales you'll probably see lots of old pieces perfect for a make over!

I hope this has been helpful to a few of you! it's a rather geeky post but something I love to do when I get a free day.. 

back soon!

caroline x

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  1. This is a seriously cute DIY -- I love the chalkboard idea too! xxx

  2. I'm obsessed with blackboard paint, and this is so perfect!


  3. I love this idea, especially the inside! Definitely on the 'to do' list of the summer! Paige xo

  4. This looks amazing, so so lovely! Such a great idea! xxx

  5. well done, this looks lovely! x

  6. Looks gorgeous, I love the finishes effect! xxx

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD 

  7. Love this, its such a good idea and doesnt look too hard to do!

    Leanne @ Leanne-Marie | Beauty, fashion & lifestyle. x x

  8. Extremely cute! I never seem to be lucky enough to find any pieces of old furniture to turn into something special. Or maybe I'm not looking in the right places. xo

  9. The finished product is so lovely, it would look perfect in my bathroom! xx

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