Exploring another love of mine today. The art of Shabby Chic. There’s nothing I like more than a good mooch around a second-hand furniture store. Agreeably there often isn’t anything worth having but occasional there’s a little gem hiding at the back somewhere just waiting to be ‘shabbied up’
Recently a little Store opened nearby selling all kinds of wonderful shabby chic style items from vintage metal signs to bunting and quaint little chairs and stools. Mostly painted in the romantic colour palette synonymous with Annie Sloane and that which I love. Our home is a converted barn so this style fits perfectly for us.
Next door to said shabby chic shop is a bigger second-hand shop full of grand old dressers, wardrobes and sideboards. Amongst all of those was a beautiful large bookcase in a dark wood and with an imposing air about it, albeit a little scruffy around the edges. We have been looking for a bookcase for a while and this one seemed to have our name on it! The price was £125 but some haggling necessary of course. We haggled the price down to £100 including delivery which for a solid bookcase seemed reasonable.
Immediately I began thinking about giving it a new lease of life with a new colour and style. I’m usually drawn to creams and duck egg colours but lately I’ve been leaning toward pale grey and blush tones so for this old beauty it was decided two-tone greys. Light for the outside and a darker shade for the inside, this gives a bit more depth. Chalk paint of course.
For other upcycling paint projects I have used the ‘Queen of shabby chic’ Annie Sloan’s chalk paints. Since this paint was Annie’s invention it seemed the obvious choice. That said, l was wandering around B&Q one morning and discovered Rust-Oleum Chalky finish paint. Since then I’ve since used it a few times, it’s a little less expensive per tin around £14.99 so went with that again this time. It’s more readily available for one! The colours we chose are Winter Grey (pale) and Anthracite for the dark.
If you’re unfamiliar with Chalk furniture Paint it’s a great invention which is highly pigmented, water based, with low odour. You can paint directly onto any wood or metal, no undercoat or prep needed other than cleaning the item first. I used white vinegar which I have in a spray bottle from Willkos. It’s quite a soft paint and once dry it’s easy to sand to a smooth finish. I then get my little pot of Annie Sloan soft dark wax (which I’ve had for ages ) and an old water-colour type of paint brush (borrowed from Lilymay) I go into all the corners, nooks and crannies to give that all important ‘worn’ look. I love how this method gives it an almost 3D effect. The panelling on the back of this bookcase blended in after I’d painted it, but with a little dark wax in the corners and along the edges you can see here below it just brings it alive.
I gave our bookshelf two coats of paint and I followed with two coats of Rust-Oleum finishing clear furniture wax and Buffed to a lovely sheen. It’s a little time-consuming particularly as the paint is a chalky finish, rubbing wax into it requires some elbow grease. Worth it though as this will protect the painted surface and improved the general look.
We love our new bookcase, I’m sure it will be rearranged often as I dig out more of my books from storage, plus with Lilymay’s ever-growing Harry Potter collection it’s sure to get plenty of use.
If you would like to see the colours I used or the full range of Rust-Oleum colours available have a look at B&Q
Have you ever given a piece of furniture the shabby chic treatment? I’d love to hear about yours.