Highlight Details Without Distressing

10 Materials
10 Hours
I'm not a big fan of distressing or adding dark wax to painted furniture (it looks dirty to me - sorry wax fans!). I wanted to do something different.

I picked this lovely buffet up at auction. It fit perfectly in my living room and could hold my TV until I decide to buy a wall mount.

It wasn’t in the best condition. I rebuilt one of the front legs, filled a deep gash in one of the doors, cut new guides and stops for the drawer and gave all the wood a good scrubbing to remove years of grease and grime.

I wanted a nice grey to compliment the french style of the buffet, picking Behr Magnetic Grey ("Gray" in the US). I always add Plaster of Paris and water to turn it into homemade chalk paint. It’s easy to use, no priming required and I love the look and feel wet-sanded chalk paint produces.

*Wet-sanding: evenly run a damp cloth over uncured chalk paint finish to remove “chalky” feel and create a smooth finish, soft to the touch
Chalk paint can be completely or partially removed with a wet cloth if it hasn’t cured; curing (100% dry, permanent application) takes five - 10 days, depending on number of coats / thickness of coverage.

Two coats of grey were applied but it needed something to highlight the details. I finally decided to try outlining every edge and curve with white. Why not? I searched Pinterest for a similar application but couldn’t find anything with a similar finish. Without a sample of the completed look, I was taking a chance it would turn out absolutely awful.

As they say, no risk, no reward.
Here are the curves on the drawers. It took a steady hand (which I don’t have) and some trial and error (yay easy to remove chalk paint!) but once I figured it out, I thought it highlighted the best features and looked pretty cool.

APPLICATION: Using homemade, extra-thick white chalk paint (made with double Plaster of Paris), select a small sponge-brush and/or a small detail-brush, and add paint only to the tip of your brush.

Note: If you have steady hands and accurate paint application skills, you won’t need to follow this part. I have a CNS tremor causing me - especially limbs - to shake, making detailed work difficult. Holding the brush in the following manner gave me the control I needed.

Hold the brush vertically using a closed fist (tip pointing up, like you would hold an ice cream cone) then run the brush horizontally along the straight edges, reapplying paint as needed and wiping any excess away with a rag. This helps maintain an even line width.
For the inside door trim, I dipped my finger in paint and in one steady stroke, applied pressure along the creases, removing any excess with a rag.
I had to go back and forth with touch ups, applying grey. Then white. Then Grey....
Finally, I added a wood appliqué to the middle panel for a bit of flair.

Hardware was sprayed with metallic silver and entire piece protected with polycrylic.
What colours would you have used?
What do you think? There is a lot of storage space available and it fit in really well with my blue/green/white living room. I am very pleased with the result :)

Added: Thanks to several great suggestions below, I will be hiding the boxes in the drawer and centering the TV or hanging it on the wall.

Thanks again for all the lovely comments! icon

I left the wood showing inside the buffet to display the solid wood construction and wood grain.
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Clair Seyler - woodpaintcreate.com
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3 of 12 questions
  • Lynn Lynn on Feb 16, 2019

    I love that ! It is absolutely beautiful ! How long was start to finish time ? Including the repairs? Amazing !,

  • Chrissy Chrissy on Feb 16, 2019

    I love the way it turned out. That piece of furniture looks 100 percent better.

    Success !!!!

  • Adrianna's Essentials Adrianna's Essentials on Feb 21, 2019

    Looks absolutely wonderful! Great color selection, classy! And yes I want to try this. Not sure how to mix the plaster of Paris, fo u add it to a regular paint?

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2 of 151 comments
  • Loretta Loretta on Apr 01, 2022

    Love this. I’m usually iffy about painting real wood but this looks great. Very impressive

  • Aud62616903 Aud62616903 on Jan 09, 2024

    Very smart and how brave to attempt the white outlining - which absolutely makes it.