How to add a Driftwood Finish to Furniture (One Room Challenge: Spring Week 4)

How to give furniture a DIY driftwood paint treatment!

Before I go any further, I just want to give a shout out to the other ORC all are working so hard and it's fun following your progress! Thank you to all who have been supporting and encouraging me as I work on this Guest Room Makeover! I was ahead of the game from the starting line because I had recently painted the room I'm transforming into a Restful Guest Retreat. I used my favorite gray color (Sherwin Williams 'Mindful Gray'), so I had a great base to work with.

I jumped right in and painted my old honey oak bed that I am using in the space, giving both the headboard and footboard a brand new, French Country makeover. And I've selected sumptuous, beautiful bedding, pillows and curtains for the room as well. If you missed last week, you need to see what I used for unexpected window coverings (hint: it's not curtains!).

This week, I took on more furniture makeovers...I know I left you hanging last week by throwing out the word driftwood and probably some of you were expecting a project featuring actual driftwood. 

I may use some real driftwood in this Guest Room, but I want to show you today how I gave a couple of pieces of discarded furniture a driftwood finish using paint.

I don't often find curbside treasures, but one day last summer I noticed a neighbor putting out a lot of furniture at the end of his driveway...on garbage day! I headed over there immediately and found out that they were moving, and as these pieces didn't sell, they were tossing them. He kindly helped me load up my Tahoe with a dresser, nightstand and mirror. These pieces have been collecting dust in my garage since that day, and I knew it was time to transform them.

The dresser was too big for my space, but the nightstand and large mirror were the perfect size.

I'm going to save the mirror makeover for the final reveal on May 6 and share my paint treatment for the nightstand today. 

DIY beautify is all about empowering you to bring beauty to your ordinary; this tutorial will walk you through the steps necessary to give a piece of furniture the look of weathered driftwood with a simple paint treatment!

The nightstand started life as a glossy white. It was in good structural condition, it was just dirty (I believe all these pieces had been in a teenage girls bedroom). I used my favorite de-greaser (Totally Awesome products can be found at The Dollar Tree and they work amazing!) and wiped down the dresser.

Next, I mixed up a batch of homemade chalk paint (let me know if you want my recipe) using a sample of Tony Taupe by Sherwin Williams.

I proceeded to paint the nightstand in bold, long strokes, trying to imitate the grain of wood. I left a decent amount of white showing between my strokes. You can see how it's heavier in some areas and lighter in others. I just loaded my brush with paint and started painting until the brush was dry. This is a project that you don't want to overthink. Just do it. Any mistakes are easy to correct with paint.

Wood has depth and by leaving some heavier paint strokes, it gave the dresser the foundation that I needed to start building on that depth.

While the paint was drying (and the awesome thing about chalk paint is it dries so quickly), I mixed up my next coat. I still had leftover paint from painting my oak bed, and the gray was a different shade from the Tony Taupe. I added a squirt of black and one of dark brown, mixed it up and made a glaze by adding a little water to some of the paint until the consistence was runny. 

Then I used a damp rag and starting applying the glaze. I dipped my wet rag in the glaze and wiped it on the dresser, not worrying too much about the direction I was going. It was easy to wipe off drips and keep the application consistent. Unlike some glaze treatments, I didn't wipe mine off. As I applied it I rubbed it in well.

It's hard to really see the difference in this picture but it made a big difference in adding that depth that I was talking about and giving the nightstand more dimension. 

I did the same application one more time, focusing on any areas where the white was showing through, and the corners. I actually used a small brush to get the glaze into the areas where it was difficult to reach with the rag.

I thought I was done....but it still needed something more. It looked fairly weathered, but driftwood has that aged look like it's been around forever, slowly baking in the sun (which it has). I decided to add some strokes of white paint randomly over the nightstand. I made sure to wipe most of the paint off the brush before taking it to the dresser...remember, aged is what I was going for, so less is more.

The white paint proved to be the perfect finishing touch. The painted nightstand really looks like it might have been sitting on a beach, getting weathered and slowly gaining its driftwood patina in a bright, hot sun! I gave the entire nightstand a coat of dark wax and buffed it to a light sheen.

I picked up some gorgeous glass knobs at Hobby Lobby that give the driftwood painted nightstand the feel of the beach. I spotted these knobs and immediately knew their sea glass color was the perfect finishing touch to the nightstand.

The nightstand looks beautiful in my guest room. It adds dimension, color and texture...all achieved with paint! And even though it's a darker piece, the weathered look of it really adds to the calming, mellow feeling I was trying to achieve in this space. 

It's such an improvement over the glossy, one-dimensional white that it started out!

The driftwood paint treatment added a ton of dimension and this piece looks nothing like the white nightstand I started with. It looks like I sanded the heck out of it, but the truth is that no sanding was necessary. All this lovely patina was created with brush strokes and paint!

The large mirror was painted with the same driftwood paint treatment and I can't wait for you to see how fabulous it looks!

This simple driftwood finish tutorial not only transformed the nightstand, it gave the whole room a new look and feel! I challenge you to look beyond what your eyes see when you look at your own pieces, and imagine what they could visualize the potential that your dresser...or nightstand...or mirror...or table could have with a little paint.

Next week I'll be sharing a DIY project that I completed for this room; it's not quite finished yet, but I know already that it's going to add a lot of charm and personality to this Guest Room Makeover! Right now I'm off to check on some of the other ORC participating bloggers and see how they're coming in their makeovers. If you haven't taken time to do this, I know you'll be inspired by all the talent out there! You'll find the other links at Calling It Home.

UPDATE: you can read all about the room makeover and see the final reveal right here.

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Very pretty! I love the driftwood look, and those knobs are gorgeous! Good luck with the rest of your projects! I'm excited to see everything together. :)

    1. Thank you Carrie, I fell in love with the knobs too...they remind me of beach glass! Thank you for visiting! I love how you're daughter's bedroom is coming along...the blue headboard is stunning, and you really scored with the silk drapes! Looking forward to seeing your reveal :)

  2. Wow! This is impressive! I can't wait to see everything else; you're doing a great job!

    1. Thanks Blair! I love the way your office is coming along! Those shelves!! And those prints!! I am working on a super-tight budget too, so have had to use and reuse lots of things I already have. I love shopping at Hobby Lobby too! Going to have to check out those prints! If I were you, I'd label the organizer. Do you have a die cut machine? (you could use vinyl, which is easy to remove when you change your mind). I'm looking forward to seeing the reveal!

  3. Wow is right! I am loving this look! Great tips too. So exciting to see how you're room is coming along, keep up the good work! Let's do this! Sarah, Sarah Sofia Productions

    1. Thank you Sarah! I love how your glam office is coming along....those colors are my absolute fave together! I can't wait to see what you do to glam up your desk! TWO more weeks!!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Ashley, I'm really happy with how it balances the other colors and textures in the room.

  5. It turned out great!
    I am cultivating a love for driftwood and your sidetable is very well and artistically done.

  6. Your simpily amazing can convert and find a use for a plain drawer stand that the neighbour looks great with the grey driftwood finish!!...


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