Reusing and repurposing old furniture is my favorite way to decorate my house. When I take a step back and look at a piece of furniture for what it could be versus what it is, I feel inspired. Walking into a commercial big box furniture chain does not have the same kind of appeal for me anymore. Finding pieces that need a little bit of TLC, ones that will shine with even just a small amount of work, are my favorites. When the project is finished, you not only have a journey to the finished product to share, but the pride in doing something yourself.
I am actually attempting to decorate our farmhouse with all pieces that we have discovered and redone ourselves, at least as much as possible. I think I will stick with purchasing new mattresses, because….yea, eww.
For quite some time, I had been looking for a furniture piece for our entry way. I knew I wanted a chair of some sort, where people could comfortably sit and take off their shoes when they came in the front door. Pews are really popular right now, and I am a sucker for them too, but could not find any at the right price. On a recent visit to my parent’s house, I once again noticed the antique buggy my mom had sitting outside in the weather, and for the first time thought, “EUREKA”!
The antique horse buggy bench had been floating around in our family for as long as I can remember. I used to assign myself “timeouts” just so I could sit in that seat. Don’t ask, I was a weird kid. I asked my mom if I could take it home and restore it and was happily surprised when she said yes!
Due to its age and layers of old stain, I wasn’t sure the amount of work it would take to restore. After some initial cleaning, I realized just how weathered the wood was. There was some concern regarding even being able to salvage it. However, a little time and sanding energy went a long way!
When it was time to paint it, I decided on a white wash finish. This decision was so the buggy could be decorated with different throw pillows throughout the seasons. The wood was so brittle and desperate for moisture, it quickly absorbed that initial first coat. Unfortunately, what I thought would be a one or two coat max paint job, ended up being four coats and a sealant. I am still very happy with the final product, but hope to see more of the original wood grain in my next white wash project!
Supplies You Need:
- Your chosen piece of furniture, obviously! I choose not to deal with laminate pieces, such as those found at IKEA, or particle board furniture. This may seem like common sense, but in the past it has caused me a ton of heartache trying to paint over laminate! Just don’t!
- A Power Sander. The one below is basically my best friend. She and I have gone on quite a few adventures together now and she never does me wrong! Purchasing options here: Power Sander
- I recommend using a power sander for the large pieces and areas, but you should have a couple of sand paper or sanding sponges for crevices and small areas where large sanders won’t fit. When it comes to sand paper grit, there is an important difference to remember! For removing old paint and stain, I recommend using 60 to 80 grit sandpaper. Use higher grit paper, such as 120 grit for finishing touches and smoothing.
- Depending on the piece you choose to white wash, I would also recommend purchasing a Dremel. This tool is also considered one of my besties. A Dremel sands the hard to reach areas of furniture, such as ornate pieces with carvings. She also is just overall handy to have around the house, as she is so versatile. I used the Dremel of all the metal pieces on the buggy, which helped save a whole bunch of time and energy! Due to its versatility, this is just a great tool to have around the house. Purchasing options here: Dremel Hand Tool
- White wash with your preferred color wash. I chose Miniwax White Wash Pickling Water Based Wood Stain.
- A pack of paint brushes. Purdy is the brand I am currently using and have been happy with their quality. Purchasing options here: Purdy Paint Brushes
- For my project, I needed some spray paint for the metal pieces. I chose flat black spray paint from Valspar, which did the trick perfectly! Purchasing options here: Valspar Black Spray Paint
- Clear sealant as a final top coat. I used Miniwax Polycrylic Protective Finish. Purchasing options here: Protective Finish
Steps to white wash:
- Wipe off furniture surface with a clean, warm rag to remove dust and dirt. Remove all metal pieces, including knobs, handles, or in this case legs.
- Sand all surface areas, including crevices and carved areas.
- Use a rag with hot water and mild liquid soap to remove all sanding dust and debris. Let furniture piece dry completely.
- Put first coat of white wash/color wash on your furniture piece. Let the first coat fully dry. Evaluate if one coat is enough for the look you want. If not, apply a second coat, allowing it to fully dry as well.
- Use finishing sand paper to sand any drops of paint or uneven areas. Use the hot, soapy water again to remove the dust. Let dry. Repeat as needed.
- After applying all preferred coats, use one coat of a clear sealant to paint the entire buggy. This will protect the piece and slow the wear and tear process.
- Brag to your friends about what an amazing furniture restorator (that’s a word, right?!) you are. Place it in your home and decorate to your heart’s desire! I’d love to see pictures of any projects YOU have completed! Post them in my comments now, or tag me on instagram! #wildflowersranch