French Provincial Nightstand Makeover in Parisian Grey

Who’s up for a story? Once upon a time I was perusing the aisles of my local thrift store. Just going about my business, on a casual quest to find something that might need rescuing. And that’s when I saw it… From the moment I laid my eyes on it, I knew it was meant to be. This was too good to pass up. I couldn’t just let this get away from me. It took it in my arms and carried it up to the cashier. I took it home with me and the rest is history.

French Nightstand, Coffee Table, Thrift Store Furniture

Well actually, I had intended to sell this piece when I bought it. I LOVED the shape of it. I mean look at it! Isn’t it gorgeous? I just wasn’t sure it was going to work in our house.

So I brought it home and set it up next to our couch, where we used it as an end table for a month or so. It was too big and awkward in our living room, which supported my idea of selling it. At first, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to paint this little nightstand/end table, but after letting it sit in our living room for a few weeks next to this gray dresser that I sealed with white wax, I was inspired to give it the same finish.

So I fixed it up and put it up for sale on Facebook. I had a couple of leads, but alas, no one wanted it. I put it in our guest room to move it out of the way, and that’s when I knew it was meant to be. You see, I keep trying to take our decor towards a more modern look. And every time I do… I end up back where I started. Old, vintage, French inspired stuff. I guess that’s just what’s in my soul. When I put this in our guest room, I realized how much I truly loved it, and how perfectly it fit there. In fact, it brought on a whole French-inspired guest room makeover plan. And so now it’s here to stay with us for good. And I’m totally okay with that.

French Provincial Nightstand Parisian Grey FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint

Parisian Grey Nightstand Makeover

Supplies I used:

  • Household cleaner
  • FolkArt Home Decor chalk paint in Parisian Grey
  • Homemade white wax (soft furniture wax and white paint)
  • Homemade dark wax (soft furniture wax and dark brown paint)
  • 2″ angled paint brush
  • Old paint brush or chip brush
  • Rag or paper towel

I started out by removing the handles and giving the nightstand a good cleaning to remove any dust, dirt, or any old smells. After letting it dry thoroughly, I was ready to move right into painting.

I painted a couple of coats of chalk paint in a beautiful gray color called Parisian Grey, letting dry an hour or two in between coats. I can usually finish a piece with two coats, but sometimes it might take three. Always apply chalk paint in several thin coats rather than one thick coat.

For a more detailed look at painting furniture with chalk paint, you can check out my beginner’s guide here:

Here it is after painting, all ready for wax!

French Provincial Nightstand Parisian Grey FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint

I didn’t want to distress this piece at all. Instead, I chose to add character with both white and dark wax. First, I waxed the whole thing with a homemade white wax. To create this, simply take a liquid/soft wax (I have had luck using Valspar’s Sealing Wax from their chalk paint line, available at Lowe’s), put some into a small container, and mix in a few drops of white craft paint (or chalk paint, or wall paint – whatever you have on hand), probably about a teaspoon.

French Provincial Nightstand Parisian Grey FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint White Wax

Apply the wax all over the piece. I just used an old paint brush that has pretty stiff bristles, but to make a thrifty wax brush, you can take a chip brush and cut off the tips! Apply the wax with the brush to one area at a time, really “pushing” the wax into the paint. The idea is that you want the wax to bond with the paint, creating a sealed surface. You don’t want the wax to sit on top of the paint. Apply to one whole area, such as one side of the nightstand, and let it sit for a minute or two (usually by the time you finish the area, it’s been a minute or two). Then, take a clean cloth and wipe off the excess.

French Provincial Nightstand Parisian Grey FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint White Wax Valspar Sealing Wax

When applying wax, I like to think about it as applying lotion to your skin. Weird analogy, I know, but stick with me here. You don’t want the lotion to sit on top of your skin; you want it to absorb into the skin. If you apply too much lotion, it won’t all absorb. You can then go back with your towel and wipe off the excess.

(Whatever helps, right?)

After white waxing the whole piece, the white wax will settle into all the teeny tiny little nooks and crannies and give it this beautiful limed look. I then went in with a very tiny bit of dark wax. I created a homemade dark wax using the same concept: mixing a small amount of wax with a tiny amount of dark brown paint. I didn’t want to overdo the dark wax, so I only applied it in very small areas, like around the corners and in the little crevices, and wiped it off almost immediately. When you use a dark wax on an entire piece, it can really change the color of the paint (especially if you do dark wax before doing any other type of wax) and that’s not want I wanted here.

Once you’re done waxing and it’s all dried, you can go back with a clean, lint-free cloth and buff the whole piece to give it a nice, soft sheen. If this is going to get frequent use, I would also recommend applying a couple of coats of polycrylic to the top. You’re technically not supposed to apply poly over wax, but I have done it and have never had a problem. I like to use Fusion Mineral Paint’s Tough Coat as a poly. You apply it by wiping it on, so there are no brush strokes, and it dries with a matte finish so it doesn’t look shiny and plastic-y. I didn’t use poly on this piece, because it’s in the guest room and won’t be used much. I do, however have a little tray sitting on top for glasses of water and what not, to protect the waxed surface.

French Provincial Nightstand Parisian Grey FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint

I put the original hardware back on because it was so beautiful. And there we have it! I photographed it in our living room, but as I mentioned, it’s now found its new home in our guest bedroom and inspired a whole French theme in there. It looks perfect in the room, and I’m so glad that no one ended up wanting it 😉 

want to try this yourself? pin it to save it for later!

French Provincial Nightstand Parisian Grey FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint


Leave a Reply