How to Paint a Shabby Chic Bed

What You'll Need
Paint brush
Sand paper
Drop cloth

You can make your own shabby chic bed by using paint to create a distressed look. This isn't a difficult project and can be a fun project for an afternoon. If you flip through any decorating magazine, you will immediately see the popularity of the shabby chic look in decorating. It evokes the look of yesterday with soft colors and the dreamy look of days gone by.

Step 1: Preparing the Bed

Not all shabby chic furniture is wood. Iron or metal beds are also very popular for the shabby chic look. The preparation for all is about the same. If the piece is old, first wash it down with soap and hot water to remove dirt and grime. Allow it to dry completely. If the piece is metal, sand away any rusted areas and prime them with metal primer. A spray primer would be best for this project so you can get into all the cracks and ornate areas of the bed.

If the bed is wood, sand any rough spots and rough up existing paint (if any) so the new paint will adhere better. You don't need to prime the wood unless the piece is a dark color or dark wood.

Step 2: Paint

To create the shabby chic look, you need to pick the right color. Most people decorating in this style prefer white, but soft shades of yellow, turquoise, pink and blue are also popular. Consult a paint chart in a good paint department for ideas or browse magazines. You will notice that the white is not a chalky or stark white. You want a soft white with pink or blue undertones. Satin finish is also a good choice rather than gloss or flat, but the choice really depends upon your taste.

Paint the piece completely and allow it to dry per manufacturers instructions. If you have drips or brush marks, sand them lightly and re-coat that area.

Step 3: Distressing

Some shabby chic furniture has a distressed or worn finish. If you want this look use your sandpaper to rub out areas where natural wear would appear. This would include edges of the wood, especially corners or curved areas.

Another technique is to use a color—like pink—on white in areas to make the piece appear to have more than one coat of paint on it and the paint is worn in areas to show the original color. Do this by rubbing a light amount of paint in areas that would naturally receive a lot of wear.

Step 4: Decorative Touches

A lot of furniture in the shabby chic style has added hardware for appeal. Another idea to give it a custom look is to use decals. Flowers, especially roses, are popular with shabby chic decorators. Any 'old fashioned' flower will due, so consider pansies, violets or herbs. Children's shabby chic furniture often uses decals of animals.

If you are a decorative painter or know someone who is, consider adding flowers in the tole painting style as a very pretty addition that will enhance the shabby chic look.