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Distressed Furniture: Which Paint Distressing Technique is Right For YOU?

Distressed Furniture: Which Paint Distressing Technique is Right For YOU?

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in Blog, Distressing Furniture, Glazing Furniture, How To Tips, Milk Paint, Painting Furniture | 15 comments

Congratulations! You’ve painted a piece of furniture and you’ve done a smashing job. It looks great. But now you’re wondering what distressing technique is right for you? What’s going to give you the EXACT look you’re after?

Well… I’ve distressed my fair share of furniture over the last 3 years so today I’m sharing my thoughts.

Rather than write another “How To” tutorial (I have included links to prior projects if you’d like more info!) let’s focus on Which Distressing Technique Is Right For YOU … so let’s dive right in!

Simple Distressed Edges and Time Worn Areas

Do you want a beautiful finish with simple distressed edges? Definitely the most popular way of distressing painted furniture is simply sanding down the furniture’s edges, corners and areas where the finish would naturally wear with time. Good ol’ fashion sand paper is the way to go! You control how much paint is removed by the grit of sandpaper and the pressure applied. A #400 grit sandpaper or sanding sponge work nicely for a softer distressed look. And a #220 works great for a more pronounced look.  The cons of sanding – it’s dusty and a mask should be worn for your protection.

Authentic Primitive Chippy or Cracked Finish

Are you swooning over those authentic primitive chippy pieces that Miss Mustard Seed is so well known for? One of the easiest ways to get an authentic and gorgeous chippy or crackle finish is to use 100% all natural Milk Paint. This Chippylicious Dresser  is a great example… and the wonderful thing about milk paint is it does all the work for you!

milk painted dresser w numbered drawers

For the chippy effect, let the milk paint do its thing. For a crackle effect, just add heat while the paint is drying.  If you’re not into the unpredictable chippy finish, a bonding agent can help you control where the distressing occurs by acting as an adhesive/primer.

Old World Antiqued Finish

Looking to create a convincing antiqued old world finish? Dark wax or glaze will highlight and age details like it did on this China Cabinet. This distressing technique will immediately create depth and make your new paint job look old! Seriously, it will add years!


It can be used on an entire piece or simply to highlight your paint’s texture, grooves and decorative moldings. Wax and glaze work amazingly on ornate detailed pieces! You control the intensity of the finish by how much product you apply and wipe off… and also how many coats you use.

Two Toned Color Distressing

So you want to create interest with a color on color distressed piece? I did just that by painting this desk green and having some dramatic black show through.


Trying to get this effect by sanding is difficult. It’s too easy to sand through both colors of paint right down to the original surface.  By using a resist method (ie. using a Wax Puck or Vaseline) it’s easy to achieve this look. You control the soft or hard edge by using a soft rag or sand paper. The resist method can also be used on bare wood or stained surfaces.

Weathered Distressed Finish

If you love that light weathered distressed look, dry brushing is the way to go. Here’s my most recent restyle – a romantic Valentine’s Dresser that I used this technique on.

grey washed antique dresser

Dry brushing creates interesting lines and a transparent effect. This looks like a complicated technique, but it’s actually really easy!  It can be used over a paint color or applied over natural or stained wood. Use it on small areas of furniture like decorative moldings and details or an entire piece. Dry brushing uses very little paint, is quick to apply and just as quick to dry. It’s also easy to soften and change the look by sanding.

Wash &  Show Off Some Wood Grain

Want to add color to your furniture while still showing off some beautiful wood grain? White-wash, grey-wash, blue-wash…  I love this look! Here’s an example on a French Provincial Dresser I painted.

whitewashed wood dresser top

You can control how transparent you want your wash to be by the water/paint ratio and how many coats you apply. A wash adds depth and tone while giving an outdoor beach faded look. Like the dry brushing, it uses very little product and is simple to apply.

Wet Distressing

With the popularity of chalk paints, wet distressing has become a trendy option and the big benefit is – no dust. Here’s an example of wet distressing on this General Finishes Chalk Style Painted China Cabinet.

GF Chalk Style China Cabinet Review

I have to admit this is probably my least go-to method. Because I sand all my pieces for a professional finish, I already have sand paper in hand so I just go to it! However, you can achieve a soft muted effect by gently rubbing with a damp cloth.

All distressing works well on imperfect furniture. The above styles can hide irregularities and flaws while giving your furniture a ton of character. I hope this helps you decide which paint distressing technique will give you the EXACT look you want.

What’s YOUR favorite distressing technique? Which of the above would YOU like to try? And ohhhh, if you haven’t entered the Bluestone House™ $150 Chalky Paint Giveaway yet – you can check it out HERE!

Happy painting…have a wonderful day.

Denise x


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Wash & Dry Dresser + Bluestone House™ Valentine’s Giveaway!!!

Wash & Dry Dresser + Bluestone House™ Valentine’s Giveaway!!!

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Blog, Chalk Paint, Distressing Furniture, Furniture Repair, Giveaway, How To Tips, Painting Furniture | 113 comments

Hi friends… hope you had a great weekend! I’m so excited because I have something special for you!

I’ve teamed up with Bluestone House™ to give you a chance to win a VERY generous Chalky Patina Paint Package {say that 5 times quick} worth $150!

First, let me show you how amazing this paint really is!

With Valentine’s approaching, I decided to restyle this gal – a romantic vintage dresser. She doesn’t look too dreamy in her before state but….

mississ-drsr1-sellers before pic

…I’m happy to say her canine mangled limbs and worn finish didn’t deter me from seeing her potential.

This girl’s shapely curved backboard and turned legs screamed feminine. The icing on the cake (and what I really LOVE) is the jewelry box on top.

This jewelry storage is perfect for all the blingy diamonds us ladies will be receiving on Valentine’s  Day – a girl can dream right? {big smile}

She had real potential to be a heart breaker… AND SHE IS… loooook at her now!

Antique Dresser Grey Washed in Bluestone House Chalky Patina Paint

To get this amazing finish I used the Wash and Dry Paint Technique. I think I just made that up – but I like it! I white-washed (or in this case used Bluestone House’s™ “Bluestone” so it could be considered a grey-blue-wash) and then I dry brushed.

Step by step:

  • Remove Hardware
  • Clean with TSP
  • Repair dog chewed damage with Bondo
  • Sand entire dresser and remove dust
  • Water down Bluestone Paint and use whitewash technique 2x
  • Use full strength Bluestone Paint and dry brush 2x
  • Sand and distress
  • Wax to seal/protect
  • Add original + new glass hardware
  • Line drawers with paper

Grey Washed Dresser Lined Drawers

Wash and Dry Painted Vintage Dresser

I won’t get into a full tutorial on grey-washing wood furniture because it’s the same technique I shared in my white-wash tutorial. But I always like leaving you with a little something, so here are a few additional tips I can pass along.

Tip#1: Washing furniture with watered down paint can be messy. Personally, I don’t mind if my work-space gets splattered because it’s a designated studio. (I’m working on my Jackson Pollock look-alike-master piece.) But, if you’re working in your home, it’s probably a good idea to protect your floors and surrounding areas. Seeing as I don’t want my hands to look like Jackson’s, I like to wear gloves and use shop towels rather than rags. The shop towels are easy to throw away once they get saturated – and it’s super easy to tear off a fresh one.

Wiping Off Grey Wash on Dresser Drawer

Tip#2: Use painter’s tape to cover the back of hardware holes on the inside of the drawer. This way if any paint drips into a hardware hole, the painter’s tape catches it and keeps the inside of the drawer spotless.

Tip#3: To dry brush, dip only the TIP of your brush into the paint and remove any excess paint on a paper towel. With a light touch, gently paint straight long strokes onto your furniture. I like to use a cheap chip-brush for this technique. The bristles of the chip-brush are uneven and this helps create interesting lines.

dry brushing technique w chip brush

Tip#4: With the wash and dry paint technique, you’re not looking for a perfect finish. Just the opposite actually. The paint will look uneven and streaky. Keep playing with the grey-wash and dry brushing until you get a look your somewhat happy with. Then, once you sand to expose the wood, it will take on a TOTALLY different appearance!

Grey Washed Dresser Before&After Sanding

I love this finish! This wash and dry technique adds SO much interest! It’s distressed yet sophisticated. All the wood showing through adds warmth to this dreamy look.

grey washed antique dresser
whitewashed antique dresser

Wash and Dry Brush Technique on Antique Dresser

Antique Dresser-Washed and Dry Brushed

Close-Up- Grey Washed and Dry Brushed Antique Dresser

Romantic Vintage Dresser txtAntique Dresser Grey Washed in Bluestone House Chalky Patina Paint


And now for some Giveaway Fun! For all of you hardcore DIY’ers who get just as excited over Chalky Paint as you do bling! 😉

Bluestone House™ Valentine’s Giveaway Package Includes:

  • French Country 473ml/16oz
  • Bluestone 473ml/16oz
  • Moulin Rouge 236ml/8oz
  • Emma 120ml/4oz
  • Vintage Velvet 120ml/4oz
  • 100% All Natural Bee’s Wax 120ml/4oz
  • Small Brush
  • Sanding Block
  • Buffing Rags
  • Color Card

Bluestone House Valentine's Giveaway!

Here’s how easy it is to enter:

For 3 entries – Visit Bluestone House™ website and find a paint color NOT included in this giveaway. Come back to this page and leave the name of the paint color you found in the comments section. 

For 2 additional entries – Visit Bluestone House™ Facebook Page

For 2 additional entries – Visit Salvaged Inspirations Facebook Page 

You have 7 chances to WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is for Canadian and U.S residents only. For all my friends across the pond, I have something great lined up for you in the near future!

I’m so excited… good luck everyone! ~Denise

Fine Printy Stuff: The “Bluestone House™ Valentine’s Giveaway” is open only to Canadian and U.S. residents excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Must be 18+ years of age. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Giveaway runs from 12:00 a.m. (EST) Monday, February 8, 2016 through 11:59 p.m Sunday, February 14th, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be announced on Monday Feb. 15/2016 and has 24 hours to contact me to collect the giveaway prize. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By entering, all entrants agree to the Official Rules. 
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2016 Survey Results & A Big Thank You!

2016 Survey Results & A Big Thank You!

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Blog, Business, Random Chit-Chat, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Hi everyone!

Last week I posted a 2016 Reader’s Survey to ask about your interests and how Salvaged Inspirations can improve for you.

To all of you who took the time to chime in – THANK YOU!!!


2016 SI Readers Survey


Your feedback was enlightening and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and ideas. The survey was anonymous, so I couldn’t comment back – but believe me – I wanted to!

You were all so kind!  Even your constructive feedback couldn’t have been phrased more eloquently!

Here are the multiple choice results:

2016 SI Survey Results Question2 Question3 Question4 Question5 Question6 Question10

Questions 7, 8 and 9 were not multiple choice… but here is where you all touched my heart…I LOVED all your answers!

Here’s a summary in no particular order:

Question 7 – What do you like most about the SI Blog?

  • Clear step by step tutorials
  • Before & Afters
  • Curb-shopped Redo’s
  • Inspirational
  • Candid Product Reviews
  • Replies to comments and questions

Question 8 – What topic(s) would you like to see more of on the SI Blog?

More thrift store/curb-shopped furniture restyles and then home decor took the lead on this one. I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about sharing my private space. My home has been decor-deprived for years. So truth be told, I guess I’m a little embarrassed. Having said this, you all showing an interest just might be what I need to step out of my comfort zone. And because my home hasn’t been updated in a while – it’s certainly an ideal candidate for before and afters!

Question 9 – In your opinion, how can Salvaged Inspirations improve for YOU? 

This question was a little scary for me because it really opened the door for criticism.  But once again, all of you were super kind and thoughtful with your responses. Most of you said you’re happy with the way the SI Blog is and there’s no improvement needed – THANK YOU!

There were a few things that were mentioned:

  1. A few of you brought up the old theme. How it’s not compatible with some devices and how my big mug is in the way of the comments.
  2. Lack of product sources was also mentioned.
  3. More repair topics.

ALL great points! :)

In my spare time, I am working on installing a new theme. The thing is I’m moving at a snail’s pace so it may be time to hire someone to help me out with this. As for listing products used, I will make sure to include them in future posts. And let’s hope I find some pretty bashed up furniture so I can include more repair topics.

Thanks again to everyone who took time out of their busy day to participate.

I really appreciate it and will do my very best to keep Salvaged Inspirations fresh, informative and fun!

To show you how much you are ALL appreciated, be sure to drop in next week. I’m working on an exciting giveaway for you!!!

Happy painting…have a wonderful day.

Denise x


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Painting Fabric with Chalk Style Paints: Granny Chair Makeover

Painting Fabric with Chalk Style Paints: Granny Chair Makeover

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Blog, Chalk Paint, How To Tips | 42 comments

Last week I posted the start of my Granny Chair Project and I’m so excited to share the results! This salvaged chair was a little different for two reasons.

1.  This was my first time painting fabric and I had no idea what to expect.

2.  This chair is for my OWN home and I can’t remember the last time I painted a piece for ME.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to restyling furniture for clients and/or for sale. Because this throwaway chair was an experiment for my decor, I’ll be totally honest, I took a carefree approach… or should I say half-a$$!*… and just had some fun!

Why am I telling you this…

You may be on-the-fence when it comes to painting your fabric furniture.  I promise you this post will be SUPER ENCOURAGING! If my lackadaisical efforts painting this granny chair can turn out THIS AMAZING, imagine how gorgeous it would be if it was done 100%! I’m really L-O-V-I-N-G this chair!

Painting Fabric w Chalk Style Paints!!!

What I should have done… but didn’t…

Sand Legs & Arms – Rather than sand the arms and legs prior to painting, I just started painting. General Finishes does recommend sanding prior to applying their New Chalk Style Paint. But I’m happy to say GF Bone White worked it’s magic and adhered beautifully.

General Finishes Chalk Style Paint

How To Paint A Fabric Chair

Mask off Areas – Instead of using painters tape to mask off the areas I wanted to keep clear of paint, I painted over the fabric. The Cardamom Brown was dark enough to cover the Bone White once I started painting the pink fabric.

Painting Fabric Chair-1

Spray Fabric with Water – Instead of using a spray bottle to dampen the material before painting (which I’ve read on numerous blogs) I just dipped my brush into some water – then into the paint… then painted the fabric. Worked perfectly!

How I Painted My Fabric Chair

Painting Fabric - Salvaged Inspirations

Apply 2-3 Coats – Instead of applying 2-3 coats of paint onto the fabric, I painted one coat, sanded, and called it a day. It looked and felt GOOD! It may have benefited from an additional coat but I was so pleased with what I saw (perfectly imperfect in my eyes) I went ahead and waxed. If I ever decide to paint a dark fabric light, or a fabric with a bold pattern, I’m sure more than one coat of paint will be needed.

Take-A-Ways & Tips From A Novice:

Tip 1:: To paint under and around the welting, lift and maneuver the fabric as best you can. All I did was pull back the material as far as I could- then paint.

Painting Around Piping On Chair

Tip 2:: Water IS needed whether it be sprayed on prior to painting, watering down your paint, or dipping your brush into water and then the paint. The paint needs to sink into the fabric so it can kind of ‘dye’ the fabric. If the paint was used full strength on the fabric, it’s my guess it would sit on top and end up cracking with use.

Tip 3:: With ANY furniture project, use appropriate size brushes for the task. I used a small brush for the piping/welting and to get into all the nooks and crannies. A large brush for the larger surfaces of the chair.

How I Painted My Fabric Chair3

How I Painted My Fabric Chair4

Tip 4:: The watered down paint requires at least 24 hours to dry between coats and/or waxing. This is important because you don’t want to seal in any moisture. This could cause problems down the road.

Tip 5:: Sand between coats with a 220 grit or higher. After I sanded, the fabric felt MUCH softer.

Sanding Fabric w 220 Grit Sandpaper

Tip 6: Wax to protect. Rub in really well. It doesn’t need to be buffed to a shine unless that’s the look you’re after. I used Trewax which is a trusted floor wax. I figure a wax that can stand up to shoe scuffs and being walked on should be able to withstand a soft derriere. {yup, no buns of steel here!}

Waxing Painted Fabric - Chair Makeover!

How Much Paint was Used?

I used slightly more than half a pint of General Finishes Cardamom Brown Chalk Style Paint. This was one coat but gave great coverage. Two full coats would have been a full can I’m sure.

What does it look and feel like?

This was MY big question so you’re probably wondering the same. I’ve heard many bloggers describe the look and feel like leather or faux leather furniture. I would describe the look and feel like canvas or an outdoor fabric. It doesn’t look OR feel as stiff as I imagined it would!

The Feel Of Painted Fabric!

Will I paint fabric again?

YES! I won’t be painting any high traffic chairs or couches because I have no idea how durable painted fabric is. And quite honestly, although it looks great, it’s not as soft or inviting as an upholstered piece. Now that I’ve tested it, I’m eager to paint a wing chair in my office. I’d really like to try a DIY Chalk Paint Recipe and/or fabric medium that gets mixed with latex paint. Ohhhh, the possibilities!!! :)

My last takeaway… and maybe the most important!

I’ve put off decorating my home because I don’t really know what my style is anymore… and I imagine everything to be perfect. My lesson is things don’t need to be 100% perfect to be beautiful. I really enjoyed experimenting with this chair and I’m SO HAPPY with the end results!

Granny Chair before Painting the Fabric

General Finishes Chalk Style Fabric Painted Chair-1

Chalk Paint Queen Anne Chair

Painted Fabric Chair - One Coat

Chalk Painted Fabric - Queen Anne Chair


General Finishes Chalk Style Fabric Painted Chair


General Finishes Chalk Style Fabric Painted Chair-2


Painting Fabric w Chalk Style Paint


Painting Fabric w Chalk Style Paints-1


I’d love to hear what you think? Have you ever painted fabric before? If you have any tips or questions, leave me a comment below! :)

Related Posts ~

Salvaged Granny Chair Turns Hip – I Hope

General Finishes Chalk Style Paint Review

Pro’s & Con’s Of Painting Salvaged Furniture

Happy Painting and have yourself a great day!

Denise x


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Salvaged Granny Chair Turns Hip… I Hope!

Salvaged Granny Chair Turns Hip… I Hope!

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Blog, Chalk Paint, Painting Furniture | 26 comments

Hi everyone!

Let me start by thanking all of you who took the time out of your busy schedules to fill out the SI Blog 2016 Survey!

Thank You!

WOW… you guys are amazing and I’m learning so much! It’s been an eye opener and reading all of your comments… oh my heart! 

Most days I sit behind my screen while editing photos and/or writing these posts and believe me, it can be isolating. So hearing all your feedback and even more importantly FEELING all the warmth, encouragement and insight means the world to me. Your feedback is REALLY appreciated.

I’ll leave the survey up and running until Monday for any of you who may want to share your interests and thoughts on Salvaged Inspirations!

Oh, and also – let me know if you’re interested in seeing the results of the survey. It’s all anonymous so I won’t share individual comments, but I’d be happy to post the stat results and give you the low down.

Now onto my Granny Chair! :)

You may remember me posting this chair on Facebook when M-M-M and I curb-shopped her on our way home from a sushi bar. I asked you FB friends what type of chair this was and someone replied “a granny-chair”. I think it may be a Queen Anne or Chippendale or something… but I’m sticking with granny-chair because it makes me smile.


Okay so here’s the truth. We all know I have NO PROBLEM curb-shopping furniture. But when it comes to upholstered items, ummmm, I admit I’m a little leery. We’ve all heard those scary bug stories right…so I’ve missed out on some pieces that could-have and would-have been stunning…like the red chair that MMM found on the streets of Toronto!

But for whatever reason I took a chance on this one. My guess, saki-bravado takes the credit for this salvaged piece.

To be safe, it’s been airing out in my garage since October. Then I gave it a good vacuum and cleaning.  Probably months of airing not needed – but better safe than sorry!

Painting Chair

Now for my disclaimer. I’m not a fabric painting expert.

It’s been on my to-try-list for over a year but this is my VERY first time painting fabric. My inexperience is already VERY apparent because I honestly thought I’d have a complete fabric painting review published for you today…along with some pretty ‘after’ pics.

The truth is, painting fabric takes longer than you think!  It’s a process because the fabric takes so long to dry!

Here’s a sneak peek.

Painting Fabric Chair

I’ll finish this girl up over the next day or two and then share my thoughts on fabric painting come Monday.

I’m really curious as to how it’s going to look and feel since I’ve heard and read different results!

Any of you painted fabric before? Have any tips or advice?

Have a great day and Happy Painting!

Denise x


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SI Readers ~ Tell Me What Interests YOU!

SI Readers ~ Tell Me What Interests YOU!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Blog, Business, Random Chit-Chat, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Hi there everyone… Happy Monday!

I have some exciting new things in the works. There will be some changes coming to the SI Blog in the near future. I originally thought I could revamp this website on my own, but I’m quickly realizing I’m not a coding guru. My time is much better spent {or should I say more safely spent} with a paint brush in hand!

So… today’s post is a little different because I’m asking for YOUR help.

To be sure that Salvaged Inspirations is doing the best possible job of answering your questions and providing relevant information to benefit YOU, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Tell me what interests YOU!

To do this, I’ve created a short and sweet 2016 Reader’s Survey.


2016 SI Readers Survey


Help me help YOU. Kindly take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

Your input is important!

The survey is quick and easy to fill out. All results are completely anonymous. I’ll never know who said what…but please be honest in kind and gentle way. 😉

Yes, I’d be happy to fill out the survey.

Take me to it. 

Thanks so very much… and have a great day!

Denise x

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