Cedar chests are an unsung hero in bedrooms and living rooms everywhere. Not only do you get cavernous storage for blankets, toys and whatever, are a functional bench AND, they can add some real style fashion -with a little paint. This one made me very happy to makeover using colors focused on flexibility for any color room. Classy, bougie, savage.
Bench Cushion Cover
I strategically bought the cover fabric first and then used it to select paint color.
I avoided selecting a too trendy pattern. Why? Because I wanted staying power for this piece. Styling too trendy or specific can lead to a kick to the curb in a short time. My hope is to offer an update that will last in the “still love it after all these years” category.
I also stayed away from styles that seemed grandma dated and old. Cedar chests already get a bum wrap for being dated in the first place. So, I concentrated on solid colors with lots of texture. Selection further narrowed down the color to this creamy beige neutral for decorating flexibility and staying power. The wow factor that made this one a slam dunk choice is its texture. I fell in love with the soft cozy comfy feel of these teeny tiny pillows. Found at JoAnn’s, it was expensive and it was on sale – double winner!
Paint Color Strategy
Choosing paint color is the number one hardest part of restyling furniture, hands down. It has to be trendy but but not too specific. It has to be attractive to many people not just a few. Like why is the ivory colored farmhouse hutch still not sold? Sometimes I just can’t understand retail.
The main paint color is narrowed down by creating a styling vision ahead of time such as glaze effects, dry brushing, decoupage, distress or stencil. Distressing is almost always an attractive option however the fan and raised frame panel details caught my eye to highlight them using dry brushing. That idea directed me to a paint color a few shades darker than the fabric color. That way there, dry brushing highlights would pop. The exact color in my brain could not be found in a pre-mixed chalk or milk paint so, I fell back to making a terrific DIY chalk paint recipe that opens up my color choices. Rustic Oak by Magnolia Homes found at my local ACE matched the fabric and my vision.
Style Treatment Effects
Dry brushing is my pre-planned choice to highlight the raised fan and panel frame details. I use a cheap chip brush and newspaper. I take a dab of paint on the brush and brush most of it off on the newspaper. What is left, you would hardly say is any, gets brushed on the top of the raised details ever so gently and sparingly. Getting carried away is easy that is why you also see dry brushing on the fake doors and bottom skirt!
However, the inside panel frame section took an empty-needs-something look. Using transfers and stencils is ruled out because of the difficulty to get it right. It’s very hard to maneuver them inside a frame. Decoupage would be a perfect technique there. After “trying on” the decoupage paper designs on hand I head back to JoAnn’s.
No flowers or specific images again. Something nondescript, so I choose script! It has a timeless and trendy feel. Combined with the dry brush highlights, it gives this piece an edge.
“Eye-Liner” Final Paint Technique for Dimension
This is the first use of the eye-liner technique to provide depth dimension to detail. It is a darker version of the Rustic Oak base color by adding a bit of black to it. Liner is applied using a thin craft watercolor brush on the inside corners. It’s a thin straight stroke. I’ll continue to work on this technique blending and smoothing it better. In the meantime, it really enhances the whole piece. It gives it some oomf!
Hardware With or Without
The piece came with drawer pulls installed on the fake drawers. As usual, I went about my business choosing a color or metallic spray paint. The pulls looked much better with hammered gold paint.
Before thoughtlessly re-installing and poking holes in the decoupage paper I took a pause to decide, does the hardware really enhance the look? I thought, not really but the tug-of-war was strong to install them anyway just because they are original to the piece. I phoned a friend. She agreed, with the hardware, the piece looked dated and returned to being a grandma piece from the 80’s. No bat wing drawer pulls, please.
So this is the finished re-styling of a dark gloomy looking cedar chest, ready for the next generation home. Sold at Windy Hill Market 217 N Jackson Street, downtown Jackson next to Pedal & Tour.