If you have living room furniture that’s dented, damaged, or just drab, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to give your home a new look. Try one of these easy techniques to put those dings and scratches to good use and transform your shabby tables and chairs into shabby chic.
Scuff It Up
The most basic technique is simply painting and sanding. Start by sanding all surfaces to ensure the paint adheres properly, then coat them with a few layers of your desired color. When the final coat is almost dry, use sandpaper to scuff the corners, edges, and any decorative elements that stand out from the surface. When deciding where to sand, think about the areas where an old piece of furniture would receive the most wear. If the piece you’re working on is particularly shabby, you probably have a good idea of where those spots should be. After scuffing to your satisfaction, you can choose to coat with a layer of sealant to stop the distressing process, or leave it alone and let it gain even more character over time.
Use Your Medicine Cabinet
Believe it or not, one of the best tools to achieve a shabby chic look on your living room furniture is plain old petroleum jelly. That staple from your grandmother’s medicine cabinet is a perfect resist to give paint the appearance that it has been wearing away for years.
Before using the resist, prepare your undercoat. You may choose to stick with the original color or coat with a completely different shade. Next, apply a layer of petroleum jelly to corners, edges, and anywhere you want that bottom color to show through. Finally, paint over everything with your topcoat and let it dry. Once the paint is dry, use a rag to rub off the top layer anywhere the petroleum jelly was used. The undercoat should show through, creating the illusion that the top color has worn off over time. If you want to finish with a coat of glaze or sealant, be sure to clean the piece thoroughly beforehand. Any remaining petroleum jelly will continue to act as a resist to additional materials.
Take a Trip to the Craft Store
Craft and hardware stores carry any number of specialized products to help you achieve the shabby chic look you desire for your living room furniture. Crackle medium creates a dramatic effect that isn’t easily achieved using other methods. Apply the medium over your undercoat of paint, and when a second color is applied on top of the medium, it will shrink and crack, allowing the first layer to show through.
Glazing medium is another useful product which can be mixed with a dark colored paint to make a transparent glaze. To give your furniture a beautiful aged patina, brush a thick layer over the entire surface and immediately wipe off with a cloth so the color remains darkest in the corners and cracks.
With these do-it-yourself techniques, any item can be given new life. The shabby chic look celebrates the quirks that well-loved furniture acquires over time. If your favorite chair is looking down in the dumps, don’t throw it out. Make it new again by making it look old.