Fresh New Look for an Old Hope Chest

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My friend’s daughter, Shelby, asked if I would refinish a hope chest for her. Of course!! Over the years we have built and refurbished furniture for our sons so I jumped at the chance to decorate for a girl. There are lots of fun things to do for boys, but after 20 years of decorating boys’ rooms I was ready to take on a project for a teenage girl’s bedroom.

Chests are such functional pieces. It is one of those pieces of furniture that can work in many different rooms of the house…mud room to store shoes and back packs, spare room for blankets, and living room for games and extra seating…you get the idea.

TIP–Look for (or build) one with a locking hinge if it will be used by little ones, you don’t want the lid slamming shut on little fingers or heads!

I found this chest on Craigslist. It looked to be the perfect blank canvas for what she wanted. All it took was a little sanding and it was ready for transformation.

Hope Chest Before

Shelby’s bedroom is gray with white furniture. She wanted something fun and colorful. We decided on Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Kitchen Scale.

Milk paint is one of my favorite mediums for furniture. It is non-toxic, low odor, and best of all, super easy to work with. If you’ve never worked with milk paint before it can be a little intimidating so here are a few tips.

  • Mix the milk paint powder with equal parts water ( ¼ cup milk paint and ¼ cup water)
  • Stir using a mini whisk or small immersion blender
  • Add more water if needed (consistency should be watery and creamy)

It took three coats to achieve the color Shelby desired. Milk paint’s true beauty isn’t completely revealed until the finishing coat of wax. More on that later.

Painted Hope Chest

The chest was pretty but I wanted to add something fun. I used this large dahlia stencil to give it the whimsical and one of a kind look that teenage girls love.

Chest with Stencil

To add the blowing petals, I chose individual petals from the large stencil and carefully painted them on. I added until I achieved the look I was going for.

Hope Chest Final

I hope this has inspired you to find that functional piece of furniture in your home and give it a fresh new look. Just because something is functional doesn’t mean it can’t be FUN!

2 Comment

  1. Annie says: Reply

    I was wondering what type of paint you used for the stencil?

    1. Autumn says: Reply

      Hi Annie,

      I used Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint.


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