At our last place, we were always struggling for more space. We loved that apartment, but you know – it was a downtown apartment and space was limited. To help maximize our space we decided to grab some affordable KALLAX shelving units from Ikea.
Since our apartment was quite dark (super dark grey/black walls, etc) we thought it would look best if we had dark shelving. I really liked how it looked at the time. But since moving to our new, bright house, they just haven’t looked quite like they fit in with our aesthetic.
Now, I know. These are not expensive to buy, and you can just get them in white but I wanted to make them look a bit more distressed and I thought it would be fun to revamp some of our old furniture. And I was right, it was fun – and I absolutely LOVE how they turned out.
After just a few hours, and a few coats of paint, our dark espresso shelving units transformed into brighter, shabby-chic, white shelves. They look great in our new space and really brighten the whole room. Also, I absolutely love how the distressing looks on the units – it really makes them look more custom and less like Ikea furniture.
- - Paintbrushes
- - Paint Rollers
- - Painting Tray
- - Painting Tray Liners
- - Small painting tray or bucket for cutting
- - Foam Paintbrushes (optional, but good for cutting)
- - Chalk Paint (we used Rustoleum chalk paint in linen white)
- - Paint Thinner
- - Bucket for used paint brushes (to sit in paint thinner)
- - Ryobi Sander (you can sand by hand but this will take much longer)
- - Sand paper
- To start, you'll want to sand your Ikea furniture to remove the laminate waxy finish. With an electric sander this will take you just a few short minutes.
- You'll then want to take a slightly damp rag (not wet, just a little damp) and whip off any dust from your Ikea furniture.
- Now, it's time to paint! Begin by rolling the paint out. We found using the roller first, then cutting the edges after was the best way to get a even finish.
- Apply second coat.
- Allow paint to dry.
- Using sand paper, begin to distress the edges.
- That's all! Enjoy your new shelves!
- For our first shelving unit, we did use a primer and honestly it didn't seem to make a huge difference. We still needed to apply 2-3 coats of the Chalk paint to make it even. For the second unit, we skipped the primer and found that it looked just as good (it's actually the one shown in the photos!). The chalk paint is quite thick so it covers pretty well on it's own.
- We also didn't use a sealing paint. You can absolutely use a sealing paint to make your furniture more durable, but we didn't see the need. We liked how it looked without and have been very happy with them since.
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