Buffet Cabinet Makeover: Painted White Using Saltwash + Dark Feet

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How to give a buffet a genuine vintage look using saltwash paint additive

The Hubs and I recently visited our local auction house.  We occasionally venture away from the thrift stores and yard sales to see if maybe we can luck up and find a few deals at the auction.  You can read HERE the best places to find used furniture if you’re a beginner.  While browsing the used furniture, I came across this buffet.

Buffet Before Saltwash Makeover

What got my attention was those sexy legs!  Aren’t they just gorgeous?

Buffet legs

The Bidding Process

I decided to stand in line and get a number so I could bid on the buffet.  It had a few dings here and there, but the overall structure was in excellent condition.  I had made my mind up that I would not pay more than $45.00.  It’s smart to always have a price in mind before you bid.  Consequently, this keeps you from overpaying and not sticking to your budget. You can see the best places to find furniture to flip if you are a beginner HERE.

The bidding started at $5.00.  There was only one other person that was interested, so I knew immediately she would put up a fight.  We bid back and forth, 20, 30, 35.  Once she offered $40, I thought my luck had run out.  I felt she really wanted this buffet.  There I was, holding up my number and bidding $45.00, fingers and toes crossed my adrenaline pumping.  The auctioneer called for $50.00 and the lady nodded no, pass.  SCORE!

The Buffet Saltwash Makeover

Once I got the buffet home, it was time to determine what I would do to make it beautiful again.  While attending a local vintage show, I watched a demonstration on the Saltwash Paint Additive.  I was intrigued, so  I purchased a can of the additive, and it sat in my cabinet for months.  I decided to use it on this buffet, considering I only spent $45.00.  Now on the buffet makeover using saltwash!

Saltwash Paint Additive


To begin with, I removed the drawers and the hardware. The hardware would remain in its original state. With that being said, all that needed to be done was simply wash them in a solution of dawn dish detergent and water, just to clean.    

Next, I cleaned the inside of the drawers, the inside of the buffet where the drawers had been removed, and underneath.  When a piece is old, don’t forget to clean inside and the bottom.  Sometimes dirt and critters get up in the cracks!  You can see how I clean my old furniture HERE.

I then gave the buffet and the drawers a thorough cleaning with my vinegar and water mixture just to remove the grit and grime.  Allow it to dry completely before you start painting.

Mixing the Saltwash With Paint

Once the buffet had completely dried, it was time to mix the Saltwash additive with my paint.  I simply followed the directions on the back.  I had never used this additive before, so it was a learning experience for me. Here are commonly used paint types and their mix ratio from the Saltwash website.   

Mixing the Saltwash With Paint

The directions stated the consistency of the mixture should be like icing. 

Paint mixed with Saltwash

This additive can also be used to add several layers of paint color.  For this project, I am just using one color.  I will be distressing lightly and wanted some of the wood to peek through.  Not another paint color.

Start Small

Rather than starting the process on the entire buffet, I decided to start with a drawer front.  That way, if I totally messed it up, I would have a small area to fix and start over again.  I did just as the directions stated.  I dabbed my paint on with my brush.  Yep, dab!  You do not apply like you would ordinary paint.  While dabbing, you want to form peaks in the paint. Here is an example of dabbing on a piece of wood. Hold your paintbrush up straight and dab.

Do not freak out!  It will look like a big mess trust me.  It is not, I promise you. Also, I recommend using a cheap chip brush.

While the paint is still tacky to the touch, lightly take your brush and gently brush down the small peeks. Do not apply pressure as you would when painting.

After it had completely dried to the touch, I applied a second coat in the same manner. As a result, we can see the beautiful texture.

By this point in the project, I was confident using the additive.  Therefore, I did the same method on the buffet itself, working in small sections. I also painted the wood applique in the same manner.

The Legs

The buffet makeover using Saltwash was looking promising! Now for the legs. Are they not the sexiest legs you have ever seen!  To point out, I decided the only thing I would do is clean the buffet legs.  Lastly, they were cleaned, and I applied a coat of Beezwax.

I wanted the buffet to have a worn look.  For this reason, I sanded around the edges and curves of the buffet.

Afterward, I removed the sanding dust with a piece of my tack cloth.  I then attached the wood applique with hot glue to the center of the bottom drawer. The wax was applied with a lint-free cloth, wipe off any access.

Here are the supplies I used for the buffet (affiliate links provided for your convenience at no extra cost to you).

Saltwash Textured Paint Additive

Dixie Belle’s Chalk Paint in Cotton

Chip Brush

220 Grit Sandpaper

Minwax Finishing Paste

Wood Applique

Lint Free Cloth (to apply wax)


In conclusion, she turned out beautiful. I still can’t get over THOSE LEGS! I am so glad I decided to do the buffet makeover using the Saltwash. It was a learning experience and I will definitely use it again.

Obviously, the piece sold very quickly at the vintage market we attended.

Decor Items Similar to Mine

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it will be.”


Looking for more furniture makeovers ideas?

Check our Repurposed $5.00 Television Stand and this Thrift Store Cabinet Makeover

12 thoughts on “Buffet Cabinet Makeover: Painted White Using Saltwash + Dark Feet”

  1. I saw Salt Wash and I was hooked. How incredibly lovely. That texture <3 !!!!! It adds something so special to the piece.

  2. Hi there! First time on your blog. Randi with Freshed Squeezed Life sent me over here and I’m so glad she did. I love to follower DIY’ers, especially the Furniture Artists. I love learning. I am so ready to use the Salt Wash on a piece but I haven’t found the right piece yet. I have used Dixie Belle’s additive. For the life of me i cannot think of the name of it. Well, i look forward to your blog. thank you!

    1. Hi and thank you so much for being here! Randi is such an inspiration 🙂 You must be referring to the Sea Spray? I am planning on trying that next 🙂

  3. Wow! Love it! I need to clear out some of my furniture so I can get some buffets. (Who am I kidding? My furniture is like my kids. I’ll never part with it!! Lol). It looks great!!

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