Pressed Wood Fireplace – From Cheap to Chic

I refinished this cute cabinet/hutch during this last winter, when I was trying to do something called layering technique. Layering itself is already quite laborious, but since I was experimenting, I added some other techniques just for fun such as metal brushing and dry brushing. The final result turned out pretty nice.


Last month, one of my customers came to my house to drop off a couple of dressers she wanted me to refinish and when she saw this cabinet she fell in love with its color and finish asked me to do the exact same thing on her fireplace/TV console.

This was her piece before. It is made of pressed wood, which I love to paint. The transformation is always for the better, and nobody beats me up for putting paint on some solid mahogany piece, “ruining its value”. (Do you also hear that all the time?)


This is how it looks now.


As I got a lot of questions from my fellow furniture painters on how I achieved this look, I took pictures of all steps (most of them to be honest), and I hope this can be a decent tutorial for those who want to give it a try. Scroll to the bottom if you just want to see more pics of the final result.


Minwax high performance wood feeler

Sandpaper: 120 and 220 grit

Sponge roller

Purdy paintbrush

Rustoleum primer spray, white.

Benjamin Moore Harbor Haze (or a light shade of blue)*

Valspar Sculpture Clay (or any light gray)*

Metal bristle brush

White latex paint

American Paint Company dark and clear wax

*I made chalk paint with those colors by mixing them with Calcium Carbonate (2 parts of paint, 1 part of CC)

  • First I removed doors and hardware then filled all dents and scratches with Minwax high performance wood filler
  • Light sanded the whole piece (120 then 220 grit sandpaper)


  • Cleaned with TSP diluted in water then primed with Rustoleum primer spray.


  • Painted the entire piece light blue (Ben Moore Harbor Haze) using a sponge roller on the large areas and a Purdy brush on details and corners.
  • After the blue was dry, I applied a coat of light gray ( Valspar sculpture clay) over the entire piece.


  • Before the gray was completely dry, using a 120 grit sandpaper, I sanded the piece in linear movements, following the wood grain, so the blue in the first layer could show through the gray. I sanded harder on all edges to show the wood and give it a more rustic, distressed look.
  • With a metal-bristle brush, I brushed the entire piece also with linear movements. It leaves some darker lines all over the piece adding the most gorgeous effect. Can you notice the difference in the picture below? The right side was before I brushed and the left side was after .



  • Then it was time to dry brush some white. I used a cheap brush, dabbing it just a little bit on some white paint and lightly brushing over the entire piece. Whenever I went too heavy, I just wiped off the white with a baby wipe then brushed again.


  • Finally, I waxed the whole piece with American Paint Company clear wax, and, with their dark wax, I “antiqued” only the edges of the piece using a painters brush and a rag to remove the excess.

    Voilà! Even a “cheap” pressed wood piece deserves to get a chic makeover, don’t you agree?










I hope you give it a try. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading!



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It all started in the spring of 2013. I realized how tired I was to see my house entirely decorated with IKEA stuff. Nothing against IKEA, but after 12 years, I just needed some change. I wanted stylish, original furniture, but noticed that everything I liked from retail stores was way out of my budget. Thanks to Google, Youtube, and a couple of amazing blogs, I was able to discover and explore the world of furniture refinishing, and it was the beginning of my addiction. I now spend my days rescuing old, dull, unwanted pieces of furniture to give them a fresh look so they can be displayed, used and loved again for many more years to come. Thanks for stopping by.

28 thoughts on “Pressed Wood Fireplace – From Cheap to Chic

  1. That is beautiful. Your work is always creative. Thank you for always sharing all of your materials and instructions. It is obvious you put a lot of time and thought into your projects.


  2. This really is a beautiful finish! I have never seen the wire brush technique before, so thank you for teaching me something new! So glad you linked up to Friday’s Furniture Fix 🙂


    1. Thanks Melanie! I actually discovered that technique by accident a while ago, as I was trying different ways to distress a table top. Maybe I can say I invented it?! Haha, of course someone else must has done it before, but it is certainly not well known.


  3. What a lovely piece. The metal brush idea, you wait for the piece to completely dry before doing it, correct.


  4. Wow I just found you today and I can’t leave the page I love your work…I have just started rehabbing furniture and was looking for some tips…You are so clear and generous with your knowledge 🙂


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