Sideboard Makeover w/Java Gel & Chalk Paint (Themed Furniture)

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I love these old sideboards and come across them from time to time. This sideboard makeover is classic and perfect for any style.

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Before Photo - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

Sideboard Makeover with CHALK PAINT and my favorite top coat! - #sideboardmakeover #paintedfurniture #chalkpaintedfurniture #chalkpaint #aubussonblue #javagel

Today I’m sharing this sideboard makeover, inside and out!

I found this old sideboard at the thrift store back in September.
It sat…and sat some more before I finally decided how I wanted to paint it.

I had plans to do a sideboard makeover and add some sort of embellishments to the door fronts but changed my mind for a more simple makeover instead.

Our theme for this month’s “Themed Furniture Makeover” is “distressed”.

I had planned to distress this piece very slightly anyway so decided to share it today for the tour.

For those of you that may not know, some of my blogger friends and I get together every month and create a furniture makeover surrounded by a theme.
You can see all of the months we’ve done so far here —> “Themed Furniture Tour“.
It’s great because it really gets the creativity going!

“Distressed” is a pretty easy one though. ;)
I distress quite a bit of the furniture I paint, not all, but a lot.

Here is what I distressed….

If you follow my Artsy Chicks Rule Facebook page or Instagram, then you’ve already seen a bit of this piece already.
I always share things over there while I’m working on things. Sometimes I even ask for advice!
Like on this one.

I asked whether I should paint that raised back wood piece on the top.

Obviously I didn’t and went with stain! I had originally thought I’d paint it but then I was really liking the way it looked stained.
So I wasn’t sure which to do.
Thank you guys for helping me figure that one out! :)
I’ll include affiliate links below when possible. You can see my disclosure, here.

The finish was pretty awful on this one so it didn’t really hurt my feelings to paint it.
But I knew I wanted to keep the top stained…a nice, dark shade.

This sideboard makeover was a pretty simple makeover really.
I used “Pure White” in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for the base.
(See how the design detail on the doors/legs is lost in the paint? It’s begging for distressing)

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Pure White - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

Oh look! A sneaky peek of the bookcase/built in over there in the Study that has been “in the works” for …. um, forever. ;)
But we are in the home stretch now! Woohoo!!

A little Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint when you open the door.

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Aubusson Blue - #javagel #aubussonblue #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Before and After 1 - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

Java Gel Stain by General Finishes for the Top.
Lightly sand, just enough to rough it up. No need to remove the entire finish.
Clean well and apply the Java Gel. Wipe away the excess and let it dry for about 24 hours.
Then either apply a second coat if you want it darker or apply your top coat.

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Before and After 2- #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

And that oh so lovely Aubusson Blue for the interior for a fun surprise of color….

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Before and After 3- #javagel #chalkpaint #aubussonblue #anniesloan #makeover

I adore this color. I used it on my “forever favorite piece” here –> “Aubusson Blue Dresser Re-do

Want to know about 26 other chalk style paints?
I’ve got the low down for you right here! >>> 26 Types of Chalk Style Paint For Furniture

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - After1 - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

And just look at how the Java Gel made this top look.
From this…..

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - top before - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

To this….

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - top after - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

I used one coat and let that dry for 24 hours before applying a top coat of  High Performance Top Coat.
I used two coats of the top coat.
I sealed the Pure White with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. (one coat)

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - French Coastal - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

I distressed only very lightly. I went around all of the edges of the detail on those doors and legs to bring it out.
(fold a piece of fine sandpaper in half and rub the edge inside the grooves to distress)
Much better than the photo above where it was lost in the paint (and the stain too).
Now you can actually see it.

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Up Close - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

The sideboard did not come with it’s original hardware.
You could tell it was an oval piece and probably looked like this hardware I used on this old dresser.
But someone changed it along the way just like they had on the dresser I linked above.

So I painted, distressed and put this pretty on.
It’s the same one I used on my “French” styled estate sale sideboard.

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - Hardware - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

As a matter of fact, I’m loving this new sideboard so much, I’m considering replacing that one (I just linked above)…with this one.
We’ll see.
I just adore that dark wood Java Gel top & clean white Chalk Paint base.

Contrast…love it!

I’m wanting to repaint the “yellow-y” looking furniture  I have to make it more of a “white, off white” instead.
Crazy, I know, but what can I say?

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - French Country - #javagel #chalkpaint #anniesloan #makeover

See the little French box there on top? I have a post coming up on that tomorrow so be sure to check back for that.
(and 24 other bloggers sharing their DIY makeovers too)

Edited to add this post I wrote about the Pros & Cons of using Chalk Paint for Furniture, see it >>> here.

I just love the mix of French Country infused with a bit of coastal, cottage-y style.
Teals, blues, whites, woods and a touch of pink.

It’s my fave.

Sideboard Makeover with Java Gel and Chalk Paint - French Country Coastal - #javagel #chalkpaint #frenchcountry #anniesloan #makeover

What’s your fave?

PIN this sideboard makeover to save it for later!

Sideboard Makeover with CHALK PAINT and my favorite top coat! - #sideboardmakeover #paintedfurniture #chalkpaintedfurniture #chalkpaint #aubussonblue #javagel

Alright, now it’s time to take a look and see what my friends “distressed” this month (they are below)!

Check back in later this week for this fun makeover! (hint…paint AND added embellishments!)

UPDATE!!! See it now, here!!

Enjoy…and I’ll see you tomorrow!


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  1. I have a piece of furniture very similar to yours. I painted it in an off white with little distressing and I use it in my guest bathroom for storage of towels and such. I love how the stained top looks on yours. I am in the process of staining the top of a buffet/server with the Java gel stain. The directions tell you to apply then wipe off, is this what you did or did you just apply a coat and NOT wipe it off. I am thinking that if you like the look then do not wipe it off. Can you please tell me what you did so that I can do the same to mine as I think your top looks really nice. I really appreciate an advise you have to offer. I love your work and continure to follow your blogs.
    Best regards

    1. Hi Debra,
      Yours sounds great!
      Yes, I applied it and then came back over it to remove the excess. No you really should wipe off the excess. Then you can let it dry for about 24 hours and apply a second coat and do the same. (If you want it darker) Then let it dry again and apply your top coat.
      Hope that helps!! And thank you! :)

    1. Thank you Debbie! :) You can get it from a store called Woodcraft if you have one close by. I am also going to edit this post link so others can find it too.

  2. Did you have to sand the top before using the Java Gel or can you put it over the existing finish? It looks great! I love the contrast too.

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thank you and yep, but only a light sand by hand. Just enough to rough it up a bit so the product will adhere better. You don’t need to sand all the way down to bare wood. It goes right over the existing finish. Then clean well and apply the Java Gel. :)

  3. Beautiful! Quick question about the “distressing.” It looks like you distressed around and in the “grooves” of this piece. Is that done with paint or sandpaper? Directions, please.

    1. Hi Vicki!
      Yep, I used a fine piece of sandpaper folded in half. I rubbed that edge around all of the grooves to reveal the wood underneath. I will edit the post, sorry it wasn’t clear! :)

  4. It is stunning Nancy! I love the gel stained top against the pure white chalk paint. The Aubusson Blue surprise inside is perfect. But I have to say the gorgeous hardware you added is perfect – like the pearls on the little black dress! I don’t blame you for thinking about keeping it.

  5. Such a lovely piece and your transformation was perfect. You know I love the paint/stain mix. Great job, Nancy! ;)

    1. Thank you Christy! Nope, I applied with a regular bristle brush this time.
      Love their products!

      1. i have a question . do you aply it in a special place?? like a tent?? or similar?? becaus i’ve used one product with poly , but the surface at the end was left with some dust particles .. this product dosn’t take the particles from the air??
        Tanks a lot :-)
        Cristina , Portugal

        1. Hi Cristina,
          No, not really. I do a lot of it in my home. Yes, it can be hard (I have a hairy dog ;) ) to keep dust or hair out but I usually keep movement and the dog away while I’m working. And yes, I think anything will take particles from the air. So just keep that in mind. :)

          1. Ok, tks .. it´s just because when it dries i can fell the particles with my hand…
            gona try again with anoher product , because i think here inPortugal i can’t find general finishs

    1. Hey hey hey you!!! ;) Yep, new blog look…and new food blog too! Lots going on over here. ;) Too much!! lol
      And thank you so much Andi!!

  6. OOOOOOoooooh! That is so beautiful! I love it and it sounds so easy to accomplish. I have some bedroom furniture that need a makeover and that was my first thought – maybe I could do that! Thank you for the inspiration – you did a beautiful job. :)

    1. Hi Jayne! :) Thanks so very much! Oh yes, you can!! Tackle that bedroom furniture! You can do it! :)

  7. Ooooh, Nancy! It turned out awesome! But it’s a really close call which one I would choose… I still love the French sideboard with the graphics! Oh, what to do! I’m definitely with you… the contrast of the dark top and the cleanness of the white is just so stunning! Nice job! xo

    1. Thanks Karen! :) I know…it’s a toughie!! I don’t know what to do. But can’t really keep both.

  8. Outstanding project! I love the white paint combined with the stained top and the blue interior is the icing on the cake for this piece.

    I finally purchased some General Finishes Java Gel stain and also top coat after seeing some of your other projects and I can’t wait for an opportunity to use it.

  9. Nancy… I can’t believe how awesome your piece came out! Well, of course I can, you always rock a makeover…but, I wouldn’t have imagined the end result could be as pretty as it is! Your also motivating me to try the General Finishes product line! Beautiful job!!

  10. I love the work you did on the sideboard, Nancy. The dark top with the Java Gel really accentuates the beauty rest of the table. As, always, a beautiful job. Pinned :)

  11. This piece convinced me, I need Java Gel Stain!!! This turned out amazing!!!!! The distressing really brings out the details perfectly. Fun tour! Jeanette

  12. I just love the piece. I have never used Java gel, but now I am definitely going to have to try it. i do a lot of furniture painting and refinishing so this may have to be my next project. Great job once again.

  13. I really love how this turned out! I’m a big fan of java gel too! Beautiful makeover

  14. This is so beautiful Nancy!! I love the white paired with the dark stain and the fun pop of color on the inside!! It’s such a uniquely shaped piece :)

  15. just Beautiful! I love the stain and white paint combo, I’m such a sucker for gorgeous contrast. I’m so excited to have discovered this monthly “party”, if you’re ever looking for another partier, I’m your girl! :)

    1. Thank you! :)
      Oh me contrast! I’ll will give your info to the girl that heads it up. I believe we have a wait list but she can put you on! :)
      Have a great day and thanks again!

  16. nancy, i have a piece that I want to paint just this way. Have heard so many praises fo General Finishes gel stain. My question is my piece has been imported from a tropical location. I’ve had it many years, and no shrinking/structural changes have occurred… BUT the table top is wood that is glaringly different tones: One is a dark orange-brown, and the other is blonde-brown.

    Will I be able to even out the tones on this table top working wit GF gel stain? I would really appreciate any comments you would have… Thanks!

    1. Hmm, different tones are always a bit of an issue with these products (this one and the PolyShades that I also use) . The problem is, you will still have those variations. Maybe not as glaringly as you see them now since you can work the product a bit to “hide” them. But not totally. I’d probably go the old fashioned route on something like that. (sand all the way down and restain)
      I think you will be most happy with that result instead.
      Hope that helps!! :)

      1. Thank you! I am o.k. with that, as it is just bare wood now, but I’ve had limited experience staining, with varied results. What kind would you recommend for a dark finish like the G.F.?

  17. Love this piece and thanks for the opportunity to see the how great the Java Gel looks. I read lots of bloggers and a lot do not paint the insides of pieces. It is a piece by piece decision for me. But I think the painting the blue on the inside of this piece was the right decision. Now Im off to find the Java Gel here in Southern California. Any ideas??

    1. Hi Barbara!
      Thank you!
      I am the same, some get painted, some don’t! But I do love the fun surprise.
      Do you have Woodcraft stores in your area? They carry most of the General Finishes line. If not, you can check out GF website and search for another location that may sell it near you. :)
      Have fun!!

  18. Just found this piece and your re-do. This is EXACTLY what I want to do to my dining room buffet – an old piece with some very rough areas…this will be the perfect thing to do to it! Beautiful.

  19. You are so talented! Did you use to make your own chalk paint? Mine turned out gritty. I see you buy it now. Do you ever make your own anymore?

    1. Aw thanks! I use pre made (I didn’t love any of the “make your own” recipes I tried).
      I think I did a piece or two but no, I never really used my own version of CP.
      Pre made is easier and more consistent.
      Hope that helps! :)

    1. Hi Diana,
      Yep, you can use it on any wood surface really. Just be sure to read the directions and prep the surface properly. Have fun! :) xo

    1. Me too Rose!! Something about that contrast! :) And yes, that antique mirror is a treasure… and was a $6 thrift store find! xo

  20. I recently found a similar piece on Facebook for myself and I’m going to do the same treatment. I LOVE ASCP Pure White. I did an old secretary in Old White that’s not selling. I wish I had used Pure White so it would work in my own house. I guess I could repaint it it, but I’d have to redo the french stripes and stencil I added. Grrrr!

    1. Oh I feel your pain! I used to use Old White a lot and had one like that. I ended up selling it but had considered repainting it all too! I do love the crisp, clean look of the Pure White these days! xo

  21. I love the new piece and looked back at the previous sideboard you did and think the new one will look even more amazing in your home.

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