My Mismatched Crap + X = Beautiful Bedroom. Solve for X.
July 26, 2014 8:45 PM   Subscribe

We're putting down new wood floors in our bedroom. We've got lovely curtains, terrific bedding. And I just painted the walls a pleasant grey/purple tone. But our dresser and headboard are two different shades of cheap light-colored IKEA wooden stuff. The new floor is yet another light wood tone. Is there some kind of wash or paint treatment I can apply to my headboard and dresser that will pull them out of the light wood range and into the other colors in my palette, so that our stuff can finally match?

Our headboard looks like this one. This dresser looks like ours. (Although OMG with their floors and messiness, but whatever.) Our curtains look like these. Our bedding is in the same range of wine with a fair amount of slate grey, too.

What I'd like to to is to find some kind of paint treatment or finish or wash I could add to the two mismatched IKEA things that would bring them into the gray/silver spectrum, so they'd match my other stuff. Buying new ones is not an option on our budget right now. But I'm ready to have a grown-up bedroom where things actually match.

I was thinking specifically of some whitewash type of option that would leave some of the appearance of natural wood while making them kind of grey. If it can be avoided, I'd rather not just paint them a solid color. Too many things in our house have used that "solution" already.

Ideas (and possibly links to to how-to stuff/tutorials) are appreciated.
posted by Comrade Doll to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sorry. Here's the pic of the dresser that's like ours.
posted by Comrade Doll at 8:51 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Links to painting IKEA furniture. But consider a DIY upholstery job on the headboard, that might make enough of a difference to solve your clashing issue.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:54 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would just paint the dresser a high gloss/lacquered black to match the headboard shelves, then add some modern, possibly square pull knobs instead of the round ones. A high gloss spray paint should work, but you'll want to sand first. Black matches just about everything. Then you can add accessories on top that match the other decor.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:05 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: After flipping through some pictures online, I now think I'm probably not going to whitewash. I can't find an example of that on IKEA dressers that looks good. I think the pine is too cheap.

But I still am looking for a variety of other painting ideas. And maybe some general advice on type of paint I should use.
posted by Comrade Doll at 9:13 PM on July 26, 2014

2nd Crystalline on painting with colour (completely covering the wood) and switching hardware on the dresser. I might not go for black on the dresser, myself (but yes to gloss), but anything else would really depend on what else is happening in your room, colour and texture-wise. With those curtains, I'd probably stick to similarly deep colours, but anything that makes sense on a colour wheel would be good.

I haven't painted anything in a while, but I know there are paints with primer in them that you can use on sanded wood, and you might top it up with a polyurethane or something.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:30 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sorry, missed links to DIY upholstery headboards (if you wanted to keep the shelves on either side, you'd just block out the middle portion with plywood). Maybe decoupage on the dresser, using a pattern that ties together the disparate colors in the room?

The painting links in my first answer stress the importance of oil-based paint, and using something like TSP to clean the surfaces first. Both the paint and the solvent reek, which is something to consider if you're doing this project in the living room of your apartment vs. on the patio in your backyard.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:35 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you ever heard of chalk paint? Chalk paint (not chalkboard paint) dries to a matte finish that can be waxed if you so desire. There are some colors, Paloma and Emile, that look as if they'd be lovely with your described color palette. (Lots of the examples on the website fall along the shabby chic spectrum, but I've seen it used in a more contemporary way.)
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 12:24 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations?
posted by auntie maim at 5:07 AM on July 27, 2014

Here's how to do it.

1. Scuff the surface with sandpaper.

2. Use a latex primer. Zinsser is great.

3. Pick a color and texture you like. Flat or Glossy, and get paint you like. You can do black or white, or a fun color that goes with your fabrics.

It's super easy, latex dries quickly and cleans up easily. You won't need more than a quart.

Use a sponge roller to put the paint on, for a brush-less look. Use a brush on the hard to reach areas and then roll over them to make it nice and even.

Really, it's easy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:27 AM on July 27, 2014

Another option might be to hit up your local Craigslist for better-quality pieces that either match already or are easier to redo. I've been (slowly) leveling up to hardwood, mostly vintage pieces from my prior particle board mishmash, and if you're picky and careful you can get great stuff for very little cash. I am currently looking at a 1930s Lane chest and 1940s carved bookcase I picked up from a house in my neighborhood for $60 total last week.
posted by nonasuch at 11:18 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think I would paint the dresser a solid color and then apply two different colors of sponge effect. (My sister and I did this in her master bedroom one year on the walls and it was amazing.) Also, consider upgrading the hardware. If you look around, you can sometimes get knobs for pennies apiece. Then upholster the headboard to match the bedding/curtains, if possible.

This would actually give an extremely sophisticated, grown-up look and then the only wood tone in the room would be the floor. I imagine the overall effect would be rather upscale/European.

You could take a pillowcase with you to a paint store and ask them to match three shades from the bedding and explain the effect you are looking for. They will usually do this for no extra charge. It would help ensure an upscale, designer look even if you, personally, do not have the eye of a designer.
posted by Michele in California at 2:02 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another thought: You could slipcover the headboard instead of upholstering it. It would be easier, cheaper and 100% reversible.

You take measurements to determine how much upholstery material you need (height, width and depth) buy some upholstery material you like (off the bargain table, if possible) and take the material and written measurements to a tailor shop. It should be either 2 or 3 straight seams and a hem. So, they shouldn't charge very much. (I did this once -- reupholstered the seat of a couple of chairs and paid someone to sew simple slipcovers for the backs. I don't recall numbers but it wasn't expensive.)

If you want it more fitted and box shaped, that will be more complicated and cost more. But if you ask them to make it basically like a big pillow-case with one of the long sides (bottom) open instead of one of the short sides, it shouldn't be a big deal. (Of course, like an actual pillow case, it would need to be a little wider than the headboard when laying flat to accommodate the depth when in actual use.)
posted by Michele in California at 9:47 AM on July 28, 2014

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