I recently sold that gorgeous Trophy dresser that I posted about. While I was messaging back and forth about delivery with the woman who bought it, she mentioned that she was also looking for some nightstands. She requested “first look” if I were going to put any in my Etsy Shop. After I checked out the photos of nightstands in her “favorites” on Etsy, I quickly went online and found a pair of nightstands I thought she might like.

I sent her this photo:

(she loved them – even from this picture! – and told me to get them and re-paint them for her)

The craigslist ad called them “Shabby Chic Nightstands” -and I would agree with that description.

That led me to the following reflection….

When I tell someone that “I paint furniture”, they invariably say back to me, “Oh, do you do Shabby Chic?”
My typical answer to that question is, “Sure. You can call it that.”

But the truth is that I would definitely not call what I do with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, “Shabby Chic”. For me, that term calls to mind a very particular type of work. Let’s take a closer look at some “before” pictures of these nightstands.




Now – painting furniture that has already been painted once (or twice or three times…) is not my first choice. I find that they usually require so much prep work that I can’t make a real profit when I sell them. I made an exception with these nightstands for a number of different reasons but mostly because my client had already purchased the Trophy Grey dresser and I wanted to make her shopping experience with me as good as it could be.

I was hoping that I could lightly sand the existing paint and then paint over it. I gave that a try (on one side panel) and it looked absolutely terrible. In the end I had to take the much more labor intensive route of removing as much of that old paint as I could. I sanded it all down (all those textured, brush strokey layers) and gave them their first lovely coat of MMSMP Marzipan.



My client didn’t want them to match the dresser (Trophy) and she chose Marzipan as another complimentary neutral. As soon as I got that first coat on I could breathe a sigh of relief. The look of the Milk Paint is just so restful to the eye.


I finished these nightstands with two more coats of Marzipan, a little bit of MMSMP Antiquing Wax to highlight some detail work on the front, and finally, 2 full coats of MMSMP Furniture Wax.


Not only was I extremely pleased with the outcome – but so was my client! I was able to deliver all three items on the same day she now has these lovely pieces in her home. I only had time to take a few quick shots before I loaded them in the van and drove them to New Jersey!





What do you think of the final product? How do you feel about the term, “Shabby Chic?” Can you think of a better more descriptive term for what we can do with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint??



  1. Mandy

    I agree with you here, the term ‘shabby chic’ often conjures up an image of a badly painted or amateur peice. I want to turn out tastefully painted, desirable pieces but what to call them?

    1. Breida

      Hi Mandy –
      I think the word “authentic” applies – but is a little over used. Honestly though – the effects we can create with MMSMP really do offer an authentically aged appeal. Especially when the chippy somes in…

  2. Loretta

    I don’t know what tro call it either but these are delightful! I’d say precision crafted as opposed to a haphazard finish. What I dislike about most shabby chic.

  3. Jan

    You certainly do nice work. I think people only use that term because that is what it has been called in the media. I would consider it Up-cycling. Taking something that is still useful but making it more beautiful and valuable.

    1. Breida

      Hi Jan – Yeah – I think people use the term as a “catchall” because it’s cute and fun to say!

  4. Colette

    Those nightstands are TO DIE FOR!!! I definitely wouldn’t call them shabby chic. How about chalky chic, LOL? Cottage?

    1. Breida

      I’m so glad you like them, Colette – and they do have a bit of a cottage look to them don’t they?

  5. Suzi

    Looks like they were part of a dressing table that the center was cut out of. You did a great job of painting them.

    1. Breida

      Yup – exactly, Suzi. An old vanity. Makes me want to go find one to take apart myself!


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