How to Paint Furniture in Beachy Chic


Beachy-chic decor evokes memories of the seashore through simple, neutral colors, clean lines and a lived-in, distressed decor. Breathe deeply in a beach-themed room, and you just might smell the salty sea air even if you're miles from the beach. You can give your existing wooden furniture a distressed beachy makeover with a few coats of paint and some elbow grease.


  • Beachy decor is light and breezy. Use the colors you would typically see along the seashore as guidelines. Neutrals in creams and sandy taupes are excellent base colors. For pops of brighter color, think of seascape colors like aqua, turquoise and bright blues of ocean water. Sunshine and paler shades of yellow, pale greens and tones of pink and purple remind you of the sky at sunset.


  • Before beginning your painting project, stock up on all the necessary materials. Purchase plastic tarps or drop-cloths to protect your floors or work surface. Buy latex, interior paint, polyurethane sealant, a bristled paintbrush, foam brushes, medium-grit sandpaper and a paint scraping tool.


  • Clean, sand and prime the furniture piece. Sand down your furniture with medium-grit sandpaper to remove the existing finish, working in long, even strokes. Clean the sanded piece using a clean, lint-free rag. Wipe away all the sanded residue. Apply primer to the piece, using a latex interior primer and a foam brush. Allow the primer to dry completely.


  • Typical beachy-chic pieces combine the neutral colors of traditional beach decor with the distressed finish of shabby-chic designs. Decide if you want a darker color to peek through the topcoat or a lighter shade. Paint the bottom color onto the piece in long, even strokes. Apply thin coats of paint, allowing the piece to dry completely in between coats. Apply the top color in the same manner, using as many coats of paint desired. Stroke a dry, bristled paintbrush over the top coat of paint while it's still wet to create visible brush marks. Allow the piece to dry thoroughly.


  • Using medium-grit sandpaper on the edges and legs of the pieces, sand carefully until the bottom color of paint begins to peek through the top color. To distress the top of the piece, use a paint scraping tool to carefully chip away bits of the topcoat, revealing the bottom color. Work slowly, taking breaks to survey your work to ensure you are happy with the finished project.


  • Applying a polyurethane sealant to the distressed furniture protects the intentionally distressed surface from additional chipping and provides a clear topcoat, making the piece easier to dust and clean. Use small, even strokes to avoid drips. Allow the glaze to dry completely and apply a second coat if necessary.

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