Shopping for furniture is a pain.
Don't get me wrong, I fit the loves-to-shop female stereotype, but the way I shop is considerably different from the way my husband shops. And furniture shopping, like most big purchases/decisions in a marriage, is a combined effort.
Me, when I see something I like, I eyeball the size and style to see if it will fit in the space allotted (in this case, a bedroom set), ponder over whether it's something I'll still like looking at in 10 years and -- boom -- I'm ready to make a purchase.
The husband, on the other hand, reasonable man that he is, prefers to get exact measurements, check out a few different stores, go home, measure the space and make sure it's exactly what we want and will last us into the next millennium.
He examines the structure of the piece in question, giving it a shake for sturdiness, checking for dovetail joints, etc.
His pragmatism makes me anxious ("We're never going to get any furniture!") and my impulsivity annoys him ("We're not going to end up sending it back!").
Somehow we still manage to make some pretty good -- and mutually satisfying -- decisions together. (Note: We still haven't ordered a new bedroom set.)
But all this shopping-for-furniture business has gotten me really interested in refinishing our old furniture.
Our old bedroom set is being moved into another room, presenting me with yet another opportunity to get my paint on.
Two of the pieces are just your basic inexpensive particle board dressers, meaning they're perfect for experimenting on and I wanted to experiment with distressing.
However, working with particle board also means that there are certain techniques for distressing that just won't work -- there's no real wood grain, for instance, so sanding down the piece not only removes any semblance of real wood, it also weakens the structure.
So, after days of research online (Pinterest!) we opted to try the paint-and-stain method. It's pretty simple: you choose your base color, apply two coats, then brush on a wood stain and wipe it off right away, leaving behind the appearance of a weather-worn piece of furniture. The final touch is a couple coats of sealant.
We've got one dresser down, a nightstand and chest of drawers to go. And despite this being our first time, I think it turned out pretty well. If you squint, it looks like something straight out of Crate & Barrel.
It's also the perfect project for us to tackle together -- the husband does the heavy lifting and I get to paint; he brushes on the stain and we both scrub away.
No measuring, shaking or negotiating required.
Katie McCarthy, features writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515. Visit her Intellectual Junk Food blog at ledger-enquirer.com/junkfood for more commentary.