Easy Chic Furniture! Black Antique – Old to make Old again!

How do you make that old ugly 80’s furniture look better?

Yuck!  Most people would say throw-it away!  Or donate it! Or Freecycle it!

I say reuse it! Make it better for about $5-$20 and your time!

About 5 years ago my husband and I were doing our typical Walmart shopping trip which always included looking at clearance items.  This particular day this Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Kit caught my attention it was called Accents by Rust-Oleum Brand – Distressed Antique Black. I bought 2 kits for $5 a piece.   (Note: This was 5+ years ago.)


At the time, we were living in a small townhouse that we had owned for a couple years and I was interested in painting picture frames black and maybe a couple other pieces as well.   I really like black furniture.  I’m a huge fan of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel style furniture.  My taste is classic clean lines with a french country twist.

Since, then we moved to a single family house and I started to paint some projects as I found the time.  In fact, I’ve renewed and created about 8 pieces of furniture with 1 can! I’ve painted a quilt rack, two bedroom side tables, a discounted Crate & Barrel table (normally $450 down to $150 due to large scratches), bathroom cabinet, book shelf, and headboard.  Note: I painted the quilt rack and bedside table last year when I was about 9 months pregnant.  It was very difficult to bend down to paint.  I sure missed having a waist.  🙂

Pictured is a Quilt Rack my father made years ago, the draw of the bedside table and some wooden letters.
Pictured is a Quilt Rack my father made years ago, the draw of the bedside table and some wooden letters.
Pictured is the bedside table.
Pictured is the bedside table.



Just this week I finished an old bookshelf that had seen better days.  It was made out of hardwood and fake wood that was more or less cardboard.  This was an 70’s/80’s piece that my in-laws had used in the basement for different uses.  We plan to use it to hold our AV equipment.

While my daughter napped I quickly painted it one coat of the Rust-Oleum Distressed Black base coat.  It took about an hour to paint.  I was very quick about it since I had limited amount of time.  It dried in about an hour. Tonight we plan on putting it back in the basement and set-up  the equipment.  The one coat worked really well because the wood color still comes through and matches our IKEA black stain furniture.  I could have sanded it and then added the top coat tint stain that came with the kit but I will let it go as-is.


I highly recommend this paint.  If you can’t find it at your local Walmart or home center, then look for Rust-Oleum accent or American Accents paint in a matte/satin black and then a tint stain in a light brown and you have your own kit. (I don’t recommend the cheap brush in the kit. I used it on a project and then I had to resand and start over.  Use it as a duster instead.)

Kit contains:

  1. Black base coat
  2. Antique top coat
  3. Sanding pad
  4. Gloves
  5. Paint brush (use it as a duster instead!)
  6. Decorating Ideas booklet

I always recommend high quality brushes.  It is so important to do a project with high quality brushes because the application comes out very smooth.  It also makes it easier to do touch ups.  Plus, the brush keeps its shape while a cheap brush will fall apart as you paint.  I’ve had bristles come out and appear in the paint.   Plus, you can complete a paint job in half the time with a good quality brush.    I love the Wooster brand brushes.   They are easy to use and easy to clean up.  I’ve owned several of them for years.  I just wash them as soon as I’m done, all I use is soap (dishwashing soap) and water, then dry with a paper towel, reshape the bristles, put back in the original cover and let dry standing up-right.  The brush will usually dry in a couple hours ready to be used again.

These are my opinions, experiences and suggestions I don’t have any affiliations with the companies or products above.