I was speaking with one of my European paint suppliers a few weeks ago, not long after the Italian lockdown had begun. “How are sales being affected,” I asked rather tentatively. “Like gangbusters!” she said. “We can hardly pack the boxes fast enough” It seems that endlessly staring at four walls had spurred a frenzy of Italian redecorating. Colour was suddenly the antidote to uncertainty and Italians were slapping it on walls and furniture with abandon.
And why not?
Colour and the mood it emits throughout our environments has a direct effect on our behaviour and ability to cope in periods of prolonged stress. If painting a whole room is just a bit too much, why not tackle a smaller project and paint a piece of furniture? Find a colour that inspires you, select a piece of furniture and give your room a focal point that will uplift you each time you pass through it.
Painting a piece of furniture may not seem like a big decorating gesture, but multiply the joy of being greeted by a beautiful splash of colour throughout one day, then one week and ultimately a month or more and you’ve just multiplied your potential for happiness many times over. It’s the little things we can do at the moment that will give us the emotional fortitude to keep going and come out the other side, so be the change that drives the things you CAN control and steer your attention away from those you cant.
With this in mind, I turned my attention to the barn renovation. Work has ground to a halt since the lockdown, so I seized the moment and gave this armoire (found at a charity shop for 150 Euros) a new lease on life.
My choice of paint for furniture projects like this one is Autentico chalk paint, in this case, their handsome hue, Code Blue, teamed with Brut in the central area. For other stunning options, CLICK HERE.
Chalk Paint Step 1
Dust your selected piece of furniture, and if it’s grubby or greasy, give it a wash with some hot soapy water and allow it to dry. Remove any flaky bits of paint if its been previously painted and give it a light sand if needed.
Chalk Paint Step 2
Apply the first coat in a criss-cross pattern and avoid the temptation of applying the paint too thickly. Autentico sell a great range of hand made brushes and it’s this very individual hand-painted effect that gives chalk paints their beautiful patina so be free; express yourself and don’t be held back by a compulsion to apply the paint it very straight up and down strokes. The paint needs to bond to the timber so don’t worry if it looks a bit sparse and streaky in places. This is completely NORMAL. You may look at your rather ugly piece of furniture after the first coat and wonder what on earth you’ve done, but trust me, it WILL look GREAT. Now, go and make yourself a bite to eat (this is a super easy lockdown meal) while it dries and repeat after me, “all will be well, all will be well…” I promise!
Chalk Paint Step 3
Now its time for coat number two. Apply it in the same criss-cross pattern, again, don’t overload your brush with too much paint. It’s at the end of the 2nd coat that your ugly duckling will begin to look a bit more swan-like, but if you feel it needs a third coat, then go ahead and apply another. I did a partial third coat on my armoire just to even out the overall opacity. I also painted over metal hinges, which I rub back with a cloth at the end to reveal the details, but not entirely. You can also rub back paint from corners and detailed areas where regular use would have created a patina over time if that’s the look you’re after. There are no rules with this kind of project. Have a play, and if you don’t like it, simply paint over it again.
Chalk Paint Step 4
You can leave your piece as it is but my recommendation is to wax it. This will provide a protective barrier, that will help to reduce grubby fingerprints and stains. It also darkens the colour slightly, or, if you want to be a bit more creative, you can have a play with the range of Autentico’s coloured waxes which are great for creating a more vintage look. I often use their dark brown wax on details and corners. Simply apply the dark wax with a soft cloth and then rub it back with a clean cloth. You can also experiment with a mixture of clear and dark wax which is what I do. Just remember, that darker waxes are for creating a patina, not for the entire piece. On this armoire, I opted for clear wax only, which I applied with this brush. Allow the wax to dry then buff with a soft cloth by hand.
Et voila! That’s it. One armoire done, an entire kitchen yet to finish, but now’s the time to celebrate the little things, so get painting and embrace the transformative effects of colour. You’ll feel amazing!
Stay safe and warmest wishes to you all from the bunker.
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