Bedroom Furniture Makeover- Part One

A couple of years ago, I treated myself to some new bedroom furniture.  Brand spankin’ new from a local furniture store. Prior to that I’d had the same furniture since birth.  I kid you not. It had been painted, stripped, stained, and re-done probably at least five or six times over the years and so, I finally caved and bought some black modern looking furniture. I’m not sure why I did this.  Years of denial and self-sacrifice must have made me crazy.  I was into modern furniture at the time but I really hate the look of matching bedroom furniture.  I’ve always thought it looks like you’re sleeping in some kind of furniture show room when you get it home.  Regardless, I bought the set….headboard, two end tables, a tall dresser and a long dresser with a mirror.  I paid a whopping $800 if you can believe it.  I was clearly going through one of those phases where I had more money then brains.  Now we can play “Find the puppy” in the photo below.  🙂

Headboard, night tables, and Miss Daisy at our old house.   Ignore the date on the photo.  It’s way wrong.

I liked it well enough until I had to move my room to the basement where I was confronted by the matchy-pooness of the set (I made up a word!) and the blackness of it.  I’m so over dark wood to begin with but in a room with two tiny basement windows and no natural light it felt like the furniture was going to swallow me whole.

Not loving the basement bedroom thing to begin with but I really couldn’t take looking at window wells so I just covered the window with a temporary shade.  Not that temporary, I guess.  It’s been five months.

Any hoo….The basement bedroom is long and narrow and with the headboard adding about eight inches to the length of my bed, I couldn’t even walk around the bed to get to the closet.  Here is a shot of the room and the furniture looking out to the future play area.  Ignore the paint samples on the wall….I still don’t know what I’m going to do down here.

And a photo looking into the room.

The first step was getting rid of the headboard.  It got broken during our last move and was so noisy that when I rolled over at night I often woke myself up.  Buh-bye.  There’s no room for much of a headboard so I’m thinking of painting one on the wall behind the bed.  Something along the lines of this way cute painted wall from Do Something Creative.

As for the rest of the furniture, I’m on a much tighter budget thanks to my two little fellows so I’m going to have to make something out of what I’ve got.

And that’s where this story goes a little off the rails.  Maybe a lot.

You know my love affair with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint?  And how it’s supposed to cover everything?  Ummm…..not so much.  Not cheap, laminate/shiny paper covered press board from a furniture store.  Remind me to never EVER buy anything new from a furniture store again.  Stupid fake wood crap!

Because this is what happened when I decided to put Paris Gray on the top of the dresser.

What the freakin’ heck????  And if I bumped it at all, even after drying for days, this is what happens….

Actually, I’m betting I could have just wet a cloth and wiped the paint off.  Not impressed.  This is the top after four coats.  I still went back and spot touched the bleed through parts.

I’m stumped.   So if anyone knows what this is all about I’d be happy to hear from you.  Especially if you know how to fix it.  Thus far, I’ve used an unheard of four coats, some sanding and two coats of wax and I finally got the top of the dressers to a semi-okay place.  The paint finish is bubbly and uneven and I didn’t dare sand it much more than I did because I feared it would peel right off even with the wax.

There you have it, folks.  The top of the crappy dresser is fully complete in Paris Gray with a good solid two coats of wax.  It’s a crappy picture but I think you get the idea.  I’ve been working away at the rest of the dresser but that’s for another day.  I would love some feedback about what went wrong here if anyone has any ideas.  Because right about now I’m feeling like a bit of a fraud.  I mean, I’ve been throwing ASCP at everyone and everything I meet.  Anyone?

Linking up to my regular parties in the hopes that someone will know what went wrong….thanks, y’all.

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  1. I just finished redoing the furniture piece from hell (the post will be on my blog tomorrow) and used Zinsser's Bulls Eye Primer for All Surfaces. It worked really well. I painted on top of it using a kitchen and bath paint for one part and a paint and primer in one for the other part, and then coated the whole thing with varnish. I don't know if it'd work with chalk paint but it might be worth a try.

  2. Saw you at Tatertots and Jello.
    That is frustrating, isn't it. I have never used chalk paint but my guess would be either the paint was not mixed well, or there was some oil or film on the top of your dresser. Did you scrub it down before trying the chalk paint? Keep trying. It will look great and really lighten everything up!

  3. Ugh! I was going to suggest a really hard core primer, too…maybe an oil based. I know I've seen tutorials online about how to paint laminate…maybe google can help you out here? Nothing worse than putting all that effort in and not being happy with the results!

  4. I love this post. I have had some issues with ASCP in the past too. As for painting over laminate, I swear by Zinsser Cover Stain Oil Based Primer. I use it one everything that is NOT wood. If you really want to start over (Ahhhh) you might try this. It comes in a spray and can. A bit pricey but worth it. If you use the can, use a sponge applicator. If the job is small enough I use the spray. I painted my laminate dinning table black by using this primer first and have had no problems (almost 2 years).
    pictures of the table on this post on my blog:
    come visit me 🙂 (I am visiting from Overflowing)

  5. Oh that's so frustrating! Why not sell the set you hate on craigs list and start fresh with some new "old" pieces? I'm not a fan of our matchy matchy set either and I often want to just ditch it and find some really great pieces on craigs list to redo! So my advice is to run from your problems ha ha…good luck:)
    Confessions of a Serial DIYer

  6. Hi I'm glad I saw this post! I have some crappy furniture and I had thought I might try giving it a light sanding to rough up the surface a little first, before painting. Not sure if this will work or not!

  7. Geez.. I had the same problem with ASCP….I could actually wipe it off with a rag. I have always used Zinnser Bulls Eye Primer in the past with Awesome results. I jumped on that ASCP bandwagon and spent a ton of money, only to have to remove it. 🙁 You can buy the Bullseye in a waterbase if you need to paint in the house. I did my cheapo endtables with no scratches in over a year. Good luck : )

  8. Use Zinsser like Deborah said. I'm currently working on an armoire (sp) that has the picture of fake wood on it. I google searched and many people recommended priming with Zinsser and it does seem to work well…no sanding required…however, you may need to sand the chalk paint.

  9. I tried cece caldwell chalk paint on a laminate coffee table. It didn't bubble like that, but it did scrape off pretty easily. We painted our laminate kitchen cupboards last year and I used a great primer called Gripper, and so far they are holding up great.

  10. Primer is definitely the way to go; you would have saved yourself a lot of paint. I have used it sometimes with ASCP when it didn't seem to give good coverage. I have also use it on ceramic tiles and it worked great. The only downside is you will get a white undercoat when you distress.

  11. Hi Jenna!

    I am SO sorry to hear of your troubles! I know you have used Chalk Paint® for a while and love it! You have done some lovely projects with it and do beautiful work! As you know, Chalk Paint® does stick to just about any surface, but there are a few exceptions or times when a little bit of prep work would be needed. As you mentioned, some of these inexpensive furniture pieces mass produced in China have very "plastic" finishes to them. They are actually manufactured with a modified polyurethane finish that penetrates into the pressed wood fibers and is designed to be tough and durable and are, as you mentioned, fake wood. We have run across a very few minor exceptions when the paint will not adhere (this is very rare). But sometimes, especially with laminates/melamines, there is some minor prep work. During our Chalk Paint® workshops, we teach a section on when you do need to do a little bit of "surface prep," (kitchen cabinets, laminates/melamines, bleed through, etc). For this type of furniture, you can lightly scuff the surface with 220 grit sandpaper to give the surface some "teeth" for the paint to adhere. An application of Shellac may also help, but there is no guarantee that even the shellac will bond with this underlying finish. We always recommend to do a little test patch on these surfaces too. Unfortunately, with the internet there is a little bit of a misconception about Chalk Paint being a "coat of steel" and a miracle that will adhere to Everything. It is a wonderful, fabulous product and will adhere to most anything with little to no prep, however it is a decorative paint. I would recommend you reach out to your stockist, I know she will be more than happy to help you out. You were asking for feedback, so I hope this helps. Feel free to contact us directly if we can help in any way as well.

    Amber and Brad Unfred
    Shades of Amber
    Chalk Paint® stockist in Colorado

    • Thank you so much for the feedback and information. I've already done the drawers and will be posting that article soon. Even with sanding, I had a really hard time. Next time I'll be trying either the Shellac or the Zinsser Primer.

  12. I have no solution, but I know what you mean about crappy furniture. I think we are at a point of going more expensive, but REAL instead of going cheaper and paying for it later.

    And how nice was it of the Chalk Paint people to respond!

  13. Amber is right, with Anne Sloan paint you don't have to use primer most of the time. But then you get the odd piece that has a high gloss finish on it and the paint will just not stick. If the piece has a varnish or lots of furiture polish the paint will not stick. I just had such a piece and the ASCP adhered to most of it but the top and one side of the dresser it bubbled and peeled and I was not distressing this piece so i was not happy. I had to sand it down and prime the piece, then it was fine. Good luck, Tobey

  14. I too agree with Amber. Chalk paint is wonderful but its not perfect. I have painted pieces like yours but always clean, sand, & then prime before chalk paint. I love that soft, vintage look on my pieces so that's why I use it otherwise I would just use latex. I'm sorry you had so much trouble. Thank you for joining us at Transformed Tuesday this week.

    Peggy~PJH Designs

  15. Since these pieces are not wood, I would recommend a bonding primer like Glidden Gripper from Home Depot. You would not normally have to prime but you will save lots of the expensive ASCP if you do.

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