Craigslist Armoire Makeover: Part 3 – Staining!

This idea is weird. So just go with it for now.  After the paint was dry on our armoires and looked something like this…

…we did something that felt kind of crazy.  We stained them.

Remember – the inspiration for these pieces was this:

Although – this may be a little too country for my taste, a little heavy on the distressed look if you ask me.

So I knew I wanted the finish to feel something like that but not that weathered. With this in mind, I took to the internet to find suggestions on how to achieve my desired look.  I remember a post on Design*Sponge from a while back posted by Barb of Knack Studio on the basics of painting furniture.  Barb has some really amazing pieces in her shop, so I knew this was a good place to start my search.

I found the post and poured over the details.  In the last step, there was a casual mention to staining the painted furniture.  Staining paint? What? So I then proceeded to read nearly every comment on the post to see if other folks had some insight into this seeming insanity or if maybe Grace or Barb weighed in with more clarification.

The low down from this research, according to the comments, is that you can’t mess it up – you just wipe on the stain and the wipe it off – letting it get heavier in places it would catch naturally such as cracks, corners, details, et cetera.  She said she always, without fail, uses Minwax Special Walnut stain.

I figured it was worth a shot and so we made another trip to Home Depot and got Special Walnut, lint free rags to apply the stain with and gloves to try to keep our fingers clean.

Then wiped it onto the painted surfaces

Then wiped off.

Its really hard to tell the subtle difference, but the impact is dramatic.  Because we took such care to get the finish really smooth, what with all our sanding and using high density foam rollers and such, the stain didn’t collect much overall.  It did, however, seem to age the piece.

(It took quite sometime to come up with the perfect word to describe what affect the stain had, but I’m confident age is as spot on as you can get).

Before the stain, the paint job was almost too perfect.  It was all so…. consistent.  While I am definitely not interested in a country or shabby chic aesthetic, having furniture feel as though they have been around for awhile does make a room feel a lot more cozy.  The stain added just enough age and character to make me happy.

For comparison – here is a similar shot, before the stain:

We decided not to add the stain to the white interior.  The contrast is really pleasing.  I am thinking of getting some really smashing white and grey wallpaper to pattern the back of shelves with to add some even more interest – although I will likely only do this if I add mirrors to the doors so that the pattern won’t be visible in its closed state.

And finally – here is a sneak peak of the armoire in the room!

Flashback – here is what they looked like when we brought them home:

Now I have to pick out new hardware and decide what to do with the doors.  But at least now they are usable and I finally have something to unpack my clothes into!