Before and After Furniture Makeover in Turquoise


The best decorating advice I have ever received was not from a big name designer, magazine, or book, but someone who I found was always right. That someone was my mom.  She was passionate about making a house a home and I remember more than once hearing her say – Don’t decorate a room all at once.  Let it evolve.  You will be so much happier and will  enjoy the room for many years to come.

I follow her advice when I decide what I am going to do to each room in my home. There is no rush to get it done – I have lived with hand-me downs my entire married life.  I don’t need the newest, best, or greatest – just what makes a room comfortable, light, and pretty enough, will do– no cookie cutter perfection – just a casual, comfy place that has good light to read by, a place to put feet up, watch TV, and a surface to place a drink.  Pretty comes last, but I will admit – it is the most fun!

I have been enjoying the fun part the past week helping my family room layer by layer evolve to the prettier stage.

Country Living Family Room

Image: Country Living

A few years before I started blogging, I was planning to do an overhaul of the family room.  I had stripped the room of its décor and left only the big pieces of furniture.  I painted the walls in a soft white color, then Ed lost his job and I just stopped. The expense was not necessary. The room was comfy and fulfilled our needs just as it was.  Wants went out the backdoor.  Since then, I have collected many images of how I want the room to look.  This room(above) is a bit formal, but I love how all the colors are mixed on top of the white backdrop and unobstructed windows.


Image: BH&G

Another photo of the type of look I am trying to achieve in my family room.  Love the pink throw – that is a big – WANT!

Before and After Furniture Makeover

sideboard before


This sideboard is a hand-me down from my mom and dad. I have had it for about 4 years. As you can see it has traditional styling with a country twist, has beautiful lines, and is in perfect shape. Even though it is beautiful piece just as it is, the orange-y brown color doesn’t excite me.  Since the layers of the décor in this room have been grounded in white, it is time to add the pops of color to get the room closer to my vision.  This piece will be the first big color infusion. It is also the first thing you see as you enter the room and I want it to invite people into the room with a big smile.


sideboard after


It adds an entirely new energy to the room – exactly what I was trying to achieve.  All done with the power of paint and some new hardware.


There are still more layers of décor to add, things to change or remove, but the room is starting to have a personality again.


When I put the original pulls back on after painting, they were too dark and the styling was too traditional.  I loved the label pulls that were on the library file drawers I recently redid in my studioffice.  I went in search to find something similar to use on the sideboard.  I found these brass label and drawer pulls in the Van Dykes Restorers catalog after seeing them on Pinterest on a dresser that Destiny from A Place For Us made over. I wanted un-lacquered brass, but they were sold out until July. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I opted for the bright brass and aged them myself to tone the brass down down a bit. Here is the link to the post on how I aged the brass.

how to cover the unfinished back on a piece of furniture

The sideboard was designed to go against a wall. The back is made of a stained plywood board.  Since I use it as a sofa table and the back shows a bit,  I also needed to address a way to improve how the back looked.


before: In the top photo you can see how the back of the sideboard used to look – dark brown and blah!

during: I found beadboard wallpaper on clearance at Lowes and bought a roll to cover the back. Very easy to do – took less than 20 minutes as the wallpaper was pre-glued and I just needed to wet the back, book it for a few minutes to get the glue released, and then applied it to the back. I needed 3 pieces to cover. I used a mat knife to trim the excess.

after:  Pretty Beadboard backing!


Once it was painted the same color as the rest of the sideboard it no longer is an eyesore.  Someday – maybe lamp cords will be a thing of the past.

I made Chalk Paint using the Calcium Carbonate Powder recipe to paint the sideboard turquoise.  Using this recipe over the non-sanded grout or Plaster of Paris DIY chalk paint recipes has one advantage – it does not harden at all after being mixed.  If you are painting larger pieces and need more than a small amount of paint – then I would suggest you use the Calcium Carbonate Power.


I made the paint color by mixing two colors of turquoise paint I had leftover from previous projects.  Glidden Peacocks Plume and Valspar Seafarer were the colors I mixed 50/50 in a bucket to come up with the color.   I used two coats and let the paint dry.   I then added a white glaze over it to add more lightness and depth to the color.


I used a coffee can to mix the glaze mixture using:

4 parts Valspar Clear Glazing Liquid
1 part white paint
Optional:  1/4 – 1 part water – just a little to thin the mix if needed


Working on one area at a time, I brushed the glaze/paint mixture on very liberally, waited a few minutes and then dragged another (dry brush) through the glaze and wiping the brush in a rag to clean off the glaze, so I could repeat the brushing off process.   In the photo above – the glaze was just applied – I have not dragged the dry brush over it yet.   Once you do – the white color will lessen. You can drag a dry brush over the area a few times to get the look you are after.  I wanted subtle.   I repeated the process until all surfaces were covered.


After the glaze was added, brushed off and dry – (wait at least 24 hours) I sanded all the edges with medium grit sandpaper to age the surface.

Many readers ask me how much they should sand a piece before painting. I sand everything before painting it with fine or medium grit sandpaper.  A quick going over with the paper attached to a sanding block is all that is needed to rough the surface a bit. It only takes a few minutes, but will help with lasting adhesion.  When distressing – it is up to personal choice how much aging you want to add.


I then added one thin layer of Fiddes & Sons paste wax, let it dry to a haze, and then buffed it with a soft cloth to bring out the shine.   I like this wax – it costs more than Johnson’s, but goes on like a dream and does not smell as much.  Johnson’s smells pretty intense, especially if you can’t work outside.


If you look closely at the doors, you can see the white brush strokes of the glazing coat that was left on.  Any glaze or colored wax will add color depth to the painted finish.    You can do the same thing with Liming or a white wax over a clear wax coat.


The new label holder drawer pulls add character and make the sideboard look more like a one-of-a-kind piece.



a few details…


When painting furniture with doors, I sometimes don’t paint the inside of the doors. If it was summer and I took this to my garage to paint, I would have removed the doors and painted both sides. Since I had to paint it in my family room, I decided to tape around the lip on the back and just paint around the edges. When the painters tape was removed, the insides of the doors, looked nice and neat with the outer edges painted only.


I bought the glass knobs for the doors at Lowes. They had silver centers that I spray painted gold using Rustoleum Metallic Gold spray paint so they would match the drawer pulls.


The new lampshades were a “find” on a recent trip to Target.  They are from the new Threshold line.  There were just two of them sitting all by themselves on the shelf. They had my name on them, so I had to bring them home :)



Paint is truly a DIY decorator’s best friend. It is amazing how it can transform a space so quickly and affordably. It literally can change a room in only a few hours.    Now I gotta tackle painting my “mollifier” in the room.   More to come on that soon.



  1. Jenny says

    Hi there! thanks for posting this. I have a SUPER NOOBIE question. Why would you want to use chalk paint over a regular latex paint? is that what you recommend for distressing or you also use it for other things that you would paint, such as kitchen cabinets….thank you in advance!

    • says

      Hi Jenny – Chalk paint differs from latex in the finished look of the piece. It is all about preference. I think the wax coat is what makes it look beautiful.It adds depth and patina and makes the piece look like a quality piece, not just a piece of furniture that was painted. It distresses beautifully. Regular latex sometimes gets a rubbery sticky feel to the finished surface, chalk paint does not. When you try to distress latex, the paint rolls off in shreds. With chalk paint, the paint comes off smoothly. I did not use it to paint my kitchen cabinets, but you can. You can use it to paint anything, but it does need to be waxed or polyed to protect it unless you want a very flat aged look. I think it is the best way to paint furniture.

  2. Diane C. says

    Hi Diane, thank you for a most informative, easy to understand website!
    I have a breakfast table that has a white wash finish on the legs with a honey oak finish on the top. I would like to paint the honey oak top to black. I would like to have it look soft, not too shiny. Kind of the sheen that your piece above has. Should I use chalk paint and wax (or poly)? And if so, should I use calcium carbonate? If I use chalk paint, do I need to sand or prime beforehand?
    Or should I go the traditional route with a satin acrylic latex paint? Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Diane -

      Since I have discovered chalk paint, I use it on all the furniture I make over now – except on pieces I spray paint. You can’t go wrong going the traditional route of sanding, priming, latex, and poly, but I think if you use chalk paint, your table finish will have much more depth and character. I like using calcium carbonate powder because it creates the smoothest mixture. I sometimes add more of the powder (1-2 more tablespoons)to my mixes than called for just to make sure they have great adhesion – especially for a table top. I always sand the surface no matter what type of paint I am using. You do not have to prime if using chalk paint. If using chalk paint – know that is will take up to 30 days to cure. You can use it during that time, but full curing does take time so be gentle on your piece the first few weeks after painting.

  3. Jennifer says

    The beadboard wallpaper idea is sheer genius! I had recently purchase a buffet to use backed up to the sofa (it’s a great room, so the dining table is right there too – but no wall to put a buffet.) I had been contemplating what to do about that couple of inches that you could see of ugly backer board when I stumbled across your Fall Home Tour, which led me to click away on your blog and voila! The perfect solution! The only sad thing is I have to wait 24 hours to paint! Thanks for being brilliant :-)

  4. Kathy Nielsen says

    Hi Diane, I just love this website. I go to you almost daily with questions and problems. AND you answer right away! Anyhoo….I have a round table painted with latex paint (black) and I painted white roman numerals on it (so it is a clock face)with latex paint and it looks to-o-o- black and stark white. How can I subdue the starkness of the table and give it a more artistic shabbiness to it? Thanking you in advance..I remain dumfounded!

    • says

      Hi Kathy – the easiest thing to do would be to distress the finish and then put a layer of white glaze, lining wax, or clear soft wax over it.

      Put medium grit sandpaper on a sanding block. Sand in a horizontal direction only across the table to distress the face of the clock. It will look better than sanding in all directions. Also distress a little around the edges of the table. Distress until you like the look. To further soften the look you can mix clear glazing liquid with white paint. 90% glazing liquid to 10% paint. It will be a transparent white stain to go over the surface. You brush it on and let it dry. You could also try liming wax to go over the surface to soften the stark look. Clear soft paste wax would protect it. I would experiment on a few scrap piece of wood to figure out the best way to get the look you are trying to achieve.

  5. azm says

    Thanks very helpful. I have too just unemployed. Have taken up crafting and futniture painting to keep me busy.
    Your tips have been very helpful. Pictures very informative visually. Great to see the looks. Thanks very much. AZM

    • says

      I hope your unemployment does not last too long. Being creative is the best way to stay positive. Who knows, you may be able to sell some of your pieces and create a business out of it. Best of luck with your projects.

  6. says

    I completely agree with letting a room evolve. We have been in our current home for 10 years and I have been letting my living room evolve for a long time. It is finally coming together, but it took 10 years for me to figure that out. Love the sideboard, and I really love the library pulls. What a fun switch up!

  7. says

    LOVE the beautiful look you made from this project! I have a furniture piece I would like to redo (first time for me), and plan to use the chalk paint just like you did with the turquoise sideboard. However, in addition, can I paint a latex over parts of the chalk paint, before waxing (i.e. – would latex stick to chalk paint without some other process beforehand, like priming)? I would like to add a pattern to the piece in latex…unless you recommend using all chalk paint for the piece…Thank you in advance for your help!

    • says

      Hi Janelle – I have never painted over chalk paint with a design painted in plain latex, but I think that using plain latex or craft paint over chalk paint will adhere fine since the chalk paint finish is very porous. The only problem that may happen is if using wax to protect the finished piece and not poly, the wax may take differently to the two paint finishes, I would use flat latex and then this should not be a problem. If you have gathered all of your supplies, do a test on a scrap piece of wood to determine if the wax goes over both paints evenly.

      • Janelle says

        Thank you, Diane! I appreciate your advice, and will do what you suggested. Keep up the beautiful painting!

  8. Paige Wells says

    Diane, I have a question. I finished my desk. I loved the yellow chalk paint and then did the glaze. I tested an area 4:1 glaze to paint and thought it was too white so I did 5:1. I dragged as much off as I could but it is way too white. I lost all my bright yellow. I wanted it the same depth as your turquoise. (Subtle Glaze.)

    Would it work to lightly sand the glaze and then add yellow paint to the clear glazing liquid and glaze on top of glaze? I hate it so light. At certain times of day, it looks white or at best a baby nursury. Room is hot pink and green. I was trying to add a yellow to pop like your turq piece. THANKS!

    • says

      Hi Paige – Every application can yield different results when you are painting with layers of paints, stains, waxes, and or glazes. I usually do a test on a scrap piece of wood to make sure what I am adding is what I want. All is not lost with your desk. In fact – some of my dissapointments have tuned into favorites with a little bit of tweaking. To answer your question – yes you can add the yellow paint to the glaze and go over the desk to bring out the yellow more. Test it on a small area first to see if you need to add more or less paint to get the look you want – then proceed. It is also Ok to add a few layers – it will add patina.

  9. P.B. says

    Thank you for the time you have taken to write all the how tos. Your piece is so very beautiful and one-of-a-kind! Happy painting for 2014!

  10. Brenda from Texas says

    Found your blog via Pinterest and I am obsessed with this DIY chalk paint! Hoping to start on my own project soon, thank you for your posts and how – to’s! Very helpful! xo

  11. Judith Vee says

    I chose a very white paint (chalk) but I hate it . I wanted a creme white & now that it’s done ( hubby helped me) he does not want us to re-do :( can I simply go over the waxed pieces with creme? Or do I have to sand? Or is there an easier way? Or better way ?
    Love your style! Judy

    • says

      Thanks Judith -

      It is said that chalk paint can go over everything – even wax. I like to always be on the safe side though. I would run 100 grit sandpaper over the surface to remove some of the wax. Clean it well and then you can repaint with chalk paint. Let it cure a few days before waxing.

  12. says

    Diane, your piece is beautiful! I love the color you chose and the white glaze really added depth and softness. I paint funky bright colored furniture most of the time, but I am starting to use more chalk paint. It is so much easier than sanding and priming. Thanks for posting such a great step by step tutorial! Carolyn

  13. Kaylene says

    Hi Diane, I just found your website and I have a question. I just painted my dining table with DIY chalk paint (really light gray, almost off white). I’ve heard mixed reviews on how I should proceed, because I love the shabby chic look. I have not yet distressed it and have just been trying to read up on different reviews. I was wondering could I distress and then mix glaze like you have but with dark paint instead of white seeing as how I already have a light base color and then wax it to seal it? I would really hate to have to redo, so just trying to explore options on what may look best. My vision is to have a white base, and antiquing glaze effect over top to slightly darken it but just slightly and then seal it with wax.

    I apologize for this post being long, but I’ve mostly seen people chalk paint, wax, glaze and nothing after glaze to seal it. Being that this will be my kitchen table and I will have to clean it up I would like the method that will work best in the long run. Please help and thank you in advance.


    • says

      Hi Kaylene -

      There are two ways you can go about giving the white base an antiqued look. 1. Go over the finish with clear wax first. Buff it and then add a layer of dark wax. Laying clear wax on the surface first allows you to move the dark wax where you want it. If you just use dark wax right over the chalk paint, you won’t be able to move it around and it may end up looking uneven.
      2. Use antiquing glaze. Once the chalk paint is dry, apply the dark glaze over the surface in circular motions. Have a second rag ready to wipe it off, leaving the amount of darkness you desire. If you add too much, quickly remove it with a wet cloth and start over. Once you have all the glaze on, let it dry. Apply clear wax over to protect and bring out the patina. If you want a more rustic looking piece – sand to distress after the clear wax protection coat. If you want a more polished finish, sand to distress before you add the clear wax to protect the finish.

  14. Karen says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! We just painted our kitchen a nice yellow and have dark wood cabinets from when the house was built in 1979. This color and style is perfect!! I have just discovered your site and I am so glad I did. For whatever reason I have a small inhibition about decorating, it’s like I have an afraid to try any of my ideas syndrome. I over think it until I think myself right out of doing it. Thank you for your post and I am excited to check out the rest of your work:) You inspire me to make my home more ME:)

  15. carol says

    Hi Karen
    I have just finished chalk painting my dining room table and chairs. I have also glazed them. I ordered some Fiddes wax in clear. My questions:
    how do you apply the wax? Do you use a stencil type brush(as I have seen) or a rag. Also, how long do you let it dry(to a haze) before you buff it out??
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • says

      Hi Carol -

      I apply the wax with old lint free T-shirts. I don’t use brushes. I just dip a section of the rag into the wax and then rub it on the surface in a circular motion. Add more wax as needed to cover the surface. A thin layer is all that is needed. Use another old lint free T-shirt to buff. Just apply pressure in circular motions on the surface until you see a sheen come up. I usually repeat the process to get a higher sheen. The more you buff the more shine. The key is only adding the wax in thin layers. It takes some muscle, but when you see the sheen come up, you will smile at how nice it makes the painted finish look. Fiddes and Sons can be buffed right after you apply it. No haze will develop. With Johnsons Paste Wax – a haze will develop. I wait at least a day before I wax, this allows the paint to fully dry.

  16. carol says

    Hi Diane
    Did you see the question that I posted before the apology? :-)
    Sorry to bother you if you are still addressing this!

  17. Brenda says

    I don’t seem to find how you trimmed the gold? I know this should be obvious but can you give the details? Did you add the trim before or after your sanded? What brand of paint?


  18. Rebekah says

    Hello! I am intrigued by your glaze recipe! What is “Valspar Clear Glazing Liquid” ? Thanks!

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