Monday, July 25, 2011

Create Cheap Crate and Barrel Style Wood Furniture

(All photos by Dolores Monet)

Getting tired of a piece of furniture is no reason to get rid of it or incur the expense of buying something new (or even used). There are easy, inexpensive ways to update wood hutches, tables, and chairs that can totally change the personality of the piece. My fussy old hutch (as pictured on the right) needed a new look and I really love the look of black painted furniture at Crate and Barrel, particularly the Cornerstone series.

My old (1960's) hutch belonged to my mother. In the faux finishing days, my sister had painted it in a tortoise shell design. It was quite attractive as my sister w
as a professional and knew what she was doing.

But the faux finish was too much and detracted from the dishes that I like to display on the shelves. Stripping the furniture seemed like too much work and mess; and I was not too sure about the maple wood. A paint job seemed the best way to go.

For the cost of a quart of paint, a few pieces of sandpaper, paint brushes, and a can of spray paint, I now have a whole new look and am very pleased with the results.

How to Create the Crate and Barrel Look

1) Remove all hardware, doors, and drawers before you begin

2) Sand furniture with fine grain 180 grit sandpaper. Heavy grit sand paper can spoil the look of the wood by leaving lines.

Remove doors and hardware
3) Lay a base coat of flat or eggshell dark paint. I had some flat brown paint, so I just used that.

4) Paint furniture black. I used Martha Stewart's Francesca black eggshell. I used cheap boar's bristle paint brushes, the ones with the plain wooden handles at Home dePot. I also used a comb occasionally on the brush to remove loose bristles. A painting sponge would work well too.

You want the paint to go on smoothly in thin coats, as any material embedded in the paint will detract from the finish. Make sure you paint in a well lit area so you can see properly.

Thin coats prevent drip marks and create a nice, even coat.

5) Lightly sand between coats.

6) 2 - 3 coats work best

Trim the Edges

Sand the edges to create interest and break up the flat look of plain black.

With a piece of folded sandpaper, sand along the edges of the furniture until you remove all the black paint. Your lines don't have to be perfectly even.

Decide where you want to remove the paint then occasionally stand back to see how it is going. Sometimes less is more.


The handles, and hinges were a bit too funky, so I took the rust off. To remove rust, immerse hardware in 1 Cup of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of hot sauce. Soak overnight.

I spray painted the hardware with Rustoleum Metallic Antique Brass

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