Guest Post: Before & After

As you know every Thursday we feature a guest blogger’s DIY project, before and afters and room makeovers on the blog. This week we chatted with blogger and DIYer Christen Bensten of Blue Egg Brown Nest about her absolute favorite project, a gorgeous, very large armoire. Christen is a Stylish Patina fan and an avid chalk painter.

“I’ve done many projects for my own home and will do many more because I am always switching things up,” said Christen. With the ease of use and durability of chalk paint, Christen is able to take old pieces that look dated and refresh them for a whole new look. She is always on the hunt for that great piece of furniture that will fit functionally and beautifully in a room. Christen was searching for a large armoire with lots of beautiful detail when she came upon the piece we’ll be sharing with you today.

“I had been searching for one for a very long time when I finally found the perfect piece on Craigslist. I wanted a beautiful place to put my flatscreen and it had to have doors so I could tuck it away and not look at a big black screen all the time,” said Christen. Here is the armoire she found in its “raw” state, before she worked her magic on it.

IMG_2537 IMG_2536 IMG_2530Christen was smitten with the gorgeous details of this piece, and the size was just right for her bedroom. She began this project by deciding how to make this massive armoire fit into her existing style; a lovely blend of European Cottage style focused on neutral colors.

“My armoire is such a large piece that I didn’t want it to visually take up the entire room. If I painted it a dark color then it would be a bit of a black hole in the corner where all light would be sucked up! When you use a lighter color it blends into the walls, the carpet, the trim and the natural light coming through the windows. My amoire is the largest piece in my bedroom, but some days I don’t even notice it’s there,” said Christen.

Christen is a huge fan of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and the color palette available through Annie Sloan’s paints were perfect for bringing this piece in harmony with her existing decor.

“Yes, chalk paint is rather expensive, but the benefits are worth it. I’ve used many other types of paint to refinish furniture and I always come back to ASCP. I have three small kids so the fact that I don’t have to prime & prep my pieces before painting them is a big relief to me,” said Christen.

Next Christen took on the task of painting her armoire. Her design approach to her bedroom is a “layered, shabby, white look” so adding an antique white painted piece seemed like a natural choice.

“My intention was to heavily distress the piece so that it offered an aged, storied look. I sanded it quite a bit and used dark wax in many of the crevices and edges,” said Christen.

Now, for the grand reveal – Christen’s lovely armoire and her light and airy bedroom.

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“I’m so happy with the results. It works in my bedroom now and if I ever decide to move it because it is a neutral it can easily translate into a family room or living room. I find that if you choose neutral colors like Old White and Country Grey you really won’t regret it. You could regret red or purple or green. But, you will never regret a white,” said Christen.

We hope you find some inspiration in this fabulous piece and amazing bedroom from Christen Bensten. Her choices from selecting the piece, to how to paint and distress it, created a flawless addition to her already impressive bedroom!

Thank you for sharing, Christen!

Share your DIY projects, before and afters, and room makeovers with us! Email your story with images to

The Skinny:
– Purchase chalk paint and paint supplies online here and in our retail store, located at 410 S Maple Ave in Falls Church.
– Want to learn how to use chalk paint and other paint products? Sign up for one of Kelly’s hands on classes!

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