HOW TO LIGHTEN DARK FURNITURE

Posted by Ashley Robustelli on

It is so simple to turn light furniture darker, but how do you take dark furniture and lighten it up? In this blog post I will show you exactly how! This is my most popular DIY project to date. Y’all love it and can’t get enough!

The video tutorial can be found here on my Instagram page. It is saved in my story highlights. Look for ‘DIY Furniture’.

Here is a list of required supplies. These are versatile – you do not have to stick with these brands (they are just what I already had).

I used: Valspar Chalky Finish Paint in Kid Gloves (cheaper equivalent to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White), Minwax Penetrating Stain in Special Walnut, and Minwax Spar Urethane in Clear Satin.

You will also need a paintbrush (I used a 2″ angle brush) and a roll of paper towels.

This method does NOT require stripping of ANY kind! Isn’t that amazing?! The dark undertones actually help to achieve the beautiful beige finish. So don’t worry about stripping down any coating or coloring!

First, completely dust and wipe down your furniture. You want it to have a clean, smooth surface. Don’t use Pine-Sol or any other product that will leave an oily residue. Just a cloth with water will do. I also want to note that since you’ll be using paints, stains, and polys with fumes, I would recommend that you complete this project outdoors, in a garage, or in a shed. You’ll want a nice clear day without any wind (don’t want to risk any dirt or bugs getting stuck on your piece).

Once your furniture is clean and ready, take your paintbrush and apply 1 coat of white paint over the entire piece. Don’t forget edges, feet, backs, bottom of shelves, etc!

It’s important that your brushstrokes are all in the same direction. Avoid painting ‘against the grain’ or painting in many different directions. You want long strokes in a singular direction. In the end, your strokes will create an effect that looks like wood grain. It’s pretty cool!

Note that the white layer does not need to be opaque – it’s OK if the dark is still visible. An example can be seen in the photo. Your entire piece should have this coating, and you’ll only need one layer.

Chalk paint dries very quickly, so once you are done painting your piece you can quickly move on to the next step without waiting for the paint to dry.

Next, you will apply one layer of stain on top of the white paint layer. I used another 2″ angled brush for the stain layer. Again, It is important that your brushstrokes are all in the same direction. This will be visually pleasing and create a comprehensive piece.

You’ll add a layer of stain on one section only at a time. For example, I applied stain to the top of my bookshelf only then quickly moved on to the next step.

Next, you’ll take 1-2 paper towels (folded) and gently wipe the stain. You don’t want to wipe it away – you just want to wipe away any excess. If you wipe too harshly, you will take off the white base layer and the original tone of your piece will come through. This step may take some practice!

You will want to wipe the stain immediately after you apply it to a section – do not wait for the stain to dry. The light layer of stain + base coat of white will create a beautiful beige tone! And like I mentioned previously, your brushstrokes will look like wood grain.

Repeat the staining + wiping steps with each section of your piece until it is covered. Once you’ve done this, allow it to sit and dry for 24 hours (make sure it is in a safe place where it won’t me touched).

After one layer of paint + one layer of stain, your piece should look something like this!

Isn’t that beautiful?!

But we aren’t done yet! Once your furniture piece has dried for 24 hours, you can move on to the sealing process.

Note: you can also add an additional layer of stain if you’d like!

Once your piece is dry, you can seal it! Apply a thick coat of the clear protective poly. If your coat isn’t thick enough, the beautiful finish that you just created could easily scratch off. So make sure it’s thick, and even consider applying a second coat.

Again I used a 2″ angled paintbrush to apply this poly. And again, you’ll want this to dry for 24 more hours so it can set properly.

Once it’s dry, your piece is DONE!

I highly recommend you watch the video tutorial on my Instagram profile. You are able to watch me transform my own piece of furniture and listen to my explanations along the way. It will only further your understanding of this process! Look for ‘DIY Furniture’ in my story highlights.


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