Whether you're redecorating one room or an entire house, finding furniture that fits your fancy and doesn't break the bank can be difficult. However, you don't have to purchase brand-new furniture to get the look you desire. With proper refinishing techniques and tools, you can revamp second-hand or antique pieces or spruce up furniture you already own.
One option is the innovative type of furniture paint known as Chalk Paint, created by British artist Annie Sloan and sold through her namesake company. A durable paint with a smooth, velvety finish that works on almost any surface, Chalk Paint eliminates the need to prime or sand the piece beforehand. Sloan introduced Chalk Paint to the European furniture world in 1990. The product became available in the U.S. in 2010 when Lakeview resident Lisa Rickert became the U.S. distributor for the company. Chalk Paint is now sold in 335 U.S. retail stores.
"It's a bit of a niche product," Rickert says. "We want to get it into the hands of people that are going to appreciate color and creativity and style."
Chalk Paint designs can be as simple or complex as you want them to be. A one-color finish consists of two steps: apply the paint directly, then add a clear soft wax coat that ensures the paint's durability. You also can paint over colors if you change your mind or make a mistake. This is good news for less experienced DIY-ers, who might find the 12-plus steps of latex paint refinishing a bit daunting.
Chalk Paint also provides ample opportunity to get creative. You can distress the paint with sandpaper, use a crackle or decoupage varnish, layer colors, or mix paints to create a unique hue.
"We want to emphasize the freedom of paint and the freedom of expression," Rickert says. "Through [Sloan's] products, there's no fear of messing up. You can always change your mind."
Rickert's website, www.anniesloanunfolded.com, lists upcoming workshops, which teach six different painting techniques.
"[Our goal is] getting people to think about color and style and design, and then giving them all the tools they need to accomplish that," Rickert says.
DIY: Multicolored Distress
What you'll need:
• Two colors of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
• Annie Sloan clear soft wax
• Pure bristle paintbrush
• Soft rag
Apply your base color and allow to dry. This shade will peek through your main color.
2 Apply your top color. Allow to dry.
3 Apply the clear wax with a cotton rag.
4 Distress with sand paper. While the clear wax is still wet, take some sand paper and gently distress the edges and corners — wherever the piece would naturally be worn down.
5 Touch up the areas you've sanded with clear wax to achieve a lasting look.
Hint: Apply dark wax on top of the clear wax to create a patina. A dark wax helps create texture and a more rustic feel.