A Makeover in Real Time: Give your Dark Wood Furniture an Aged Finish

This is another post in my Makeover in Real Time Series and apparently my “real time” = suuuuuuper sloooooow.  As I am writing this, I cannot help but think about the scene in Old School where Will Ferrell gets shot in the neck with a tranquilizer dart and talks all low, slow and exaggerated …that’s about the pace I’m taking with our master bedroom makeover…I may even be slower.  And well, that’s just life for me right now.  The whole reason I wanted to do this in real time was to, in short, keep it real.  I definitely wish that I could take a week or weekend and completely overhaul a room…I mean they can build an entire house in 7 days on TV!?!, but that’s not real life for me.  So, if it takes you many many months to makeover a room, you are in good company. 😉

Today, I’m going to show you how I transformed our dark espresso furniture and gave it a weathered “aged” look.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

Do you have a room full of dark furniture and want a way to “lighten” it up that is simple and easy?  If so, this tutorial will be right up your alley.  This was such an easy update that I decided to start it at 9pm one evening.  I was using Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint so I knew it would be dry in around 20 minutes and with chalk paint there is no need to sand or prime.  Pretty fabulous in my book.  I did let coats of paint and wax dry overnight, but you don’t necessarily have to.

I used Country Grey because I really wanted that creamy gray weathered look.  If you are just joining me here is the before pic of the bed.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

You can see it had a shiny almost black dark wood finish.  The headboard is made up two leather sections separated by a wood piece.  I know it’s a little tough to see in this pic, but you get the idea.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

I used this Aged Driftwood Oak finish from Ballard Designs as my inspiration.

Ballard Design Stool

Pretty, right?  It kind of has that Restoration Hardware look to it, too.  First up, I covered the entire bed frame in a thin coat of Country Grey.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

Then, after that coat was dry to the touch, I applied a second coat.  Don’t worry too much about trying to get it perfectly even…I personally think this finish looks better when there are irregularities in the paint that create texture.  Those areas will look especially cool when you get the dark wax on there, too.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

To achieve that aged look, I used Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax in clear & dark.  The soft wax serves as a top coat and also helps protect the furniture.  I applied the clear wax first, with my wax brush (you can also apply it with a cut up white t-shirt) all over the piece and used an old white t-shirt to really rub it into the finish and wipe away any residual wax.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

Once that first coat of wax is dry, I applied a second coat of clear wax the same way as the first except his time, I worked in small sections.  You work in small sections because you immediately go over this second coat of wax with a dark wax glaze.  To make your dark wax glaze, take Annie Sloan’s Soft Dark Wax and simply mix it with mineral spirits.  I tend to mix about 1 part mineral spirits to 2 parts dark wax.

So, like I said before, working in small sections, I applied a second coat of clear wax and then took a brush and painted over the same area with my glaze making sure I worked the glaze into any of the cracks and crevices.  You can play around with how long you let the glaze sit on the area before wiping it away with the t-shirt.  If you wipe it away and it’s too light, then let it sit for a longer time period or mix more dark wax into the glaze.  If it is too dark, wipe some clear wax onto it with your brush or t-shirt until it lightens up.  Continue to work in sections, repeating this process until the entire piece of furniture is covered.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

lol…I just noticed the banana and lego dude under our bed…boys…;)

If you want the distressed look, you can start sanding down any areas at this point.  I was going for a lightly distressed look so I used a fine sanding sponge, however, if you want it more heavily distressed, try a medium or coarse sponge. ***If you are heavily distressing a piece, you may want to apply one more final coat of clear wax over everything to even out the finish where you sanded.***

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

Once your wax is no longer tacky to the touch (sometimes it can take 24-48 hours), then you can lightly buff the entire piece with a soft cloth to bring out the subtle shine in the finish.

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

The wonderful thing about chalk paint is if you distress too much, apply too much glaze or make a mistake, simply take your paint and start over on the area again.  It’s alright to make mistakes when you are working with this paint…which is one of the reasons I adore it!

How to take your dark furniture and transform it into an aged weather finish: A tutorial by Scout & Nimble

***As you can tell in the after shot, there have been a couple of other changes in this room since my last MIRT post…bad blogger award goes to me! but I’m hoping to catch you all up to speed in these next couple of weeks***