Furniture Makeovers Home decor

How A Serpentine Chest Found Its Neutral Bliss

Drawer fronts of this serpentine chest refinished with Pure & Original Paint #sponsored |

I am a self-professed color freak.  So when the DIY Furniture Girls offered up “neutral” as the theme for the April challenge, I wasn’t even sure what this meant.  After all, what kind of color is neutral?

Fresh flowers brighten a neutral space |

Or is it even a color at all?

Add a pop of bright color to a neutral palette with fresh flowers |

Disclosure: I received free paint from Pure & Original in exchange for writing a review on the blog.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are 100% my own.

To help me figure this out, I decided to visit the color experts at my local Sherwin Williams paint store.  And what I learned is surprising.  

One, neutral is absolutely not a specific color.  And two, it is absolutely more than just beige.

In fact, it is a type of color family.  

Say what????

That’s right.  A type of color family. 

Colorful fresh flowers brighten a neutral color palette |

Using their newly introduced ColorSnap system, I was able to easily and clearly see how an array of reds, yellows, greens, blues, browns, and blacks could be used for this challenge and still be considered neutral.

Neutral family of colors from Sherwin Williams ColorSnap system |

And I found it interesting that, since its founding, Sherwin Williams has offered its colors based on color saturation (how light/dark the colors are).  But with the ColorSnap system, which was introduced in early 2016, colors are now arranged according to families based on…well…..the rainbow.

When you visit the store, the colors are broken down into smaller books (below) with each book containing a color family.  Honestly, I found it so much easier to navigate than the old system.  And the swatches are bigger, too.  It just makes the whole color selection experience easier, faster, and more accurate.

Find the best colors for your home with the Sherwin Williams ColorSnap system |

And I was also happy to realize that what I thought was a mismatched set of bland colors in my living room is really an array of neutrals that can be pulled together with just a few accessories.

Well, yay!!!  Snaps for ColorSnap!

So I found a neutral on the Sherwin Williams ColorSnap wheel that was a near match to some furniture paint that I already had on hand.  

And Bingo!

I was finally ready to help this dark and dreary chest find its light and neutral bliss.

Hooker serpentine chest is prepared for refresh |

Actually, it’s really hard to feel sorry for this little chest.  I mean, it’s not like it was abused or anything.  In fact, it is quite the opposite. This is a Hooker chest that I’ve had for many, many years.  Other than its dark color, there’s not a thing wrong with it.  But in order to update the look, the red on the drawer fronts and sides just had to go.

Drawer fronts are prepared for refresh with chalk paint |

So I taped off the parts that were going to be refinished and tried not to panic as I broke the factory finish with sandpaper.  

To this day, when I look at this piece, my head still swims a little…..and I can still hear Sheryl Crow singing ……..”the first cut is the deepest.”

Yea, girl.  You know it.  

But, as I moved forward with the prep…..I quickly learned that the rest of the “cuts” on this perfectly kept piece were just as deep.

The trick to getting through it … to exhale often……..and  just. keep. sanding.

A link explaining which tape I use and why is here.   Click here.

Tape off area with a high quality tape that seals the area but will not injure the stained areas |

Following a wipe down with a tack cloth, one coat of Pure & Original furniture paint in Sea Moss (a neutral green) was applied.  I didn’t prime and was, because of the red, a little worried about coverage and bleed through.

First coat of paint over red |

But after a second coat, the coverage was almost perfect and there was no bleed-through….even after it sat like this for a week.

Second coat over red without primer |

The remaining paint, a combination of Kiwi White and Lagoon Water, was layered on using a dry brush technique.  The specifics on using this technique with Pure & Original paint are on an earlier post (click here).

Then the final layer, a tobacco-colored antiquing glaze by Ralph Lauren, was applied with a brush and wiped away (while wet) with a damp cloth.  In case you haven’t used glaze before, tips for working with glaze are also found on an earlier post (click here).

Three colors of paint plus an antiquing glaze refresh the drawer fronts and sides of an outdated chest | #sponsored Pure & Original Paint |

The addition of soft layers with different colors of paint and glaze produced an understated depth on the piece and tied the new color to the existing stain color.

This serpentine chest refresh only required paint on the drawer fronts and sides | #sponsored Pure & Original |

The original hardware was reattached without any change to its aged-look and patina.

The original hardware was reused |

Then the chest was moved around the house…..

The fresh look of a serpentine chest with drawer fronts and sides refinished with Pure & Original #sponsored |

….looking for just the right space to showcase its new look…..

A sage green refinish on this serpentine chest reads neutral with other colors and accessories | #sponsored Pure & Original Paint |

….before returning to its original location….

Drawer fronts of this serpentine chest refinished with Pure & Original Paint #sponsored |

… the living room.

Side panels and drawer fronts of this serpentine chest were refinished with Pure & Original Paint #sponsored |

Now….let’s compare the colors in this room to the Sherwin Williams neutral colors palette.  I know!  Right?

An array of neutral colors from different color families work together for a soft, cohesive look |

See the array from different color families from the neutral palette?   But… they all have basically the same color saturation (how dark/light they are)?  

Yea.  That’s pretty amazing, but here’s what’s really neat.  This room was assembled from pieces I found throughout the house.

The goal was to relax the room’s traditional roots without having to buy new furniture.

This meant my only option was mix and match.

And it all happened before I even saw the new Sherwin Williams neutral color wheel. #greatminds #LOL

Hooker serpentine chest refinished with chalk paint | #sponsored Pure & Original |

But this room does illustrate one very important decor tip.  It shows that soft and calming neutrals can be incorporated into a room without having to lock into one single color family.  

Serpentine chest refinished with Pure & Original Paint #sponsored |

And it can all be accomplished by mixing and matching furniture pieces and paint.  

The living room is nearly complete and the reveal will further explain how I toned down the “traditional look” without buying new furniture. 

If you’d like to have this post drop to your inbox, simply add your email address to the box on the sidebar (top right).

And, if you’ve enjoyed this makeover, I do hope you will share it with your friends.  

Serpentine chest from dark red to neutral green II | #sponsored Pure & Original |

Annnnnnd now…..Please enjoy more pieces from the fabulous …. 


DIY Furniture Girls January Themed Challenge - Shades of White | The Chelsea Project |

Also linking to these great parties:

The Scoop at StoneGable Blog







  • Reply Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces April 21, 2016 at 5:29 am

    What a gorgeous piece, Suzie! I love serpentine style, and paint/stain combo is one of my favorite ways to finish a pieces. Great job!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:24 am

      Thanks so much, Larissa. And now we have one more of my outdated pieces ready for the next twenty years. #chippingaway

  • Reply Debrashoppeno5 April 21, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I love how this turned out. The lines of the chest are so elegant, the paint technique brought ìt out.

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Thanks so much, Debra. I really love the new colors, too. XO

  • Reply Mary-The Boondocks Blog April 21, 2016 at 6:19 am

    That is one gorgeous chest Susie. The addition of the lighter color shows off the sexy curves of the piece. Can a chest even be sexy? lol. Whatever you want to call it I think it looks fabulous!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:28 am

      Thanks so much, Mary. Sure the chest can be sexy!! LOL. Why not?

  • Reply Lucy @ Patina Paradise April 21, 2016 at 6:58 am

    What a wonderful update to that gorgeous serpentine chest! Your choice of wood and paint really bring out all of the piece’s beauty! Stellar job as usual my friend!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Thanks so much, Lucy. It seems that Pure & Original paint was tailor made for this chest.

  • Reply Paula@SweetPea April 21, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Beautiful! I like the combination of stained wood and painted drawer fronts and sides. It gives this piece a great update.

    Funny story: Long ago we were interested in buying a Hooker piece for our tv. My husband decided to research it at work but his work computer flagged him for searching for something inappropriate. We did buy the piece and my mom is still using it.

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:36 am

      LOL. Paula!! How funny! Yes..because of this very reason, I’m surprised they haven’t changed their name. But for traditional folks, like me, Hooker actually does mean furniture. LOL…… Thanks so much for stopping by…. and for sharing your funny story, too.

  • Reply My Creative Days April 21, 2016 at 7:45 am

    This chest is amazing!!! I love the shape and they way you painted it highlights it even better!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:48 am

      Thanks so much, Lindsay. I was thrilled to have my little lesson in neutrals…and even more thrilled to have the chest find its bliss in this group. XO

  • Reply Karin Chudy (ART IS BEAUTY) April 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

    That chest is gorgeous! I love how adding the neutral paint actually made it POP and made it even more beautiful!
    Great job!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Thanks so much, Karin. I love it! Can’t believe the difference it made in the living room.

  • Reply Amy | Canary Street Crafts April 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

    This piece is absolutely stunning!! I love the paint color and that you decided not to paint the whole thing. The original hardware is perfection too. It’s lovely, Susie!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Thanks so much, Amy. Appreciate your kind and encouraging comments.

  • Reply Toni Harvey April 21, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Wow, just wow, I love love love this chest. I have always loved serpentine and this beauty is now even more beautiful. The lighter paint on the drawers really showcases that gorgeous hardware which was hidden before by the dark stain.

    And thank you for the information about neutrals, I’ll be checking out ColorSnap very soon.

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Thanks so much, Toni. I really felt like ColorSnap helped me pull this room together. Let me know what you think after you check it out.

  • Reply Marie, The Interior Frugalista April 21, 2016 at 10:07 am

    What a beautiful update, Susie! On my computer monitor the color reads like a beautiful iredescent pearl – so pretty. Love the original tear drop pulls! It looks so good in your living room – you rocked it girl!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Thanks, Marie. I’m surprised it reads iridescent pearl on your screen. The chalk paint colors are a super flat matte and the glaze is pretty flat, too. I can tell you that is was a beast to photograph. The layers of paint (not in solids) and the curves of the chest and the light coming from behind really stretched my photo skills… Well… beyond my photo skills. It was a tough gig. Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging comments. XOXO

  • Reply Karen Marie Kedzuch April 21, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Your magic paint brush has done it again. I love serpentine dreesers. You have made a bright spot of sunshine in your living room. If this is a highlight I can’t wait for the reveal.
    Hugs, Love, and Happy Creating,
    Karen Marie

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Oh, Karen….thanks so much. Yes. It’s a mix and match from the rest of the house to make the furniture seem new and fresh to us. You are so sweet and encouraging. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your uplifting comment.

  • Reply Katie @ The Crafty Blog Stalker April 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Om my goodness, that is a gorgeous piece of furniture. I love the two different tones.

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Thanks so much, Katie. I love the two-tones, too. Every time I pass by, I can’t believe how much a little paint changed the chest and the room. XOXO

  • Reply Sarah April 21, 2016 at 10:38 am

    The curves on this dresser make me go ga-ga!!! Oh my goodness. For real. This piece makes me swoon!!! Susie, you and your magic paint brush have done it again!! Standing ovation, my friend!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thanks, Sarah. My magic paint brush and I thank you kindly…for your visit and sweet comments.

  • Reply Kim @ Farmhouse Made April 21, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Susie, this is so gorgeous! I think the painted area brings out the beauty of the top and the hardware!! I love love how this turned out! Awesome job girl!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Thanks so much, Kim. We are lovin’ it!!

  • Reply taylorlisa43 April 21, 2016 at 10:51 am

    This is just perfect in every way Susie. You would never know what lies underneath all that paint goodness. Well done girl!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 11:06 am

      OH, Purple Hy….you make me blush. Thanks a million for stopping by and showing the love. You rock, sweet friend.

  • Reply Jen @ Girl in the Garage April 21, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Susie this piece is just beautiful! You really did your research on neutrals, LOL 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks, Jen. LOL. Well, my struggle to get that living room pulled together is real. #help! LOL..

  • Reply Kim Jones April 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Susie, I really love the paint and stain combo for the this piece. You have a great talent! It really looks lovely! Well done!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks, Kim. You’re so sweet. Thank you for these encouraging words.

  • Reply Bre April 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    LOVE that you kept some of the wood finish! The two tone look is beautiful!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 21, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks, Bre. I always try to salvage as much of the original finish as possible. I loved this wood and the color so I really worked hard to save it.

  • Reply Stacy @ Anastasia Vintage April 22, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Suzy, you are so funny! And you really knocked this one out of the park!! The chest makes for such an elegant focal point now and your color choices are just perfect! Aaaand can we talk about your awesome staging?? Stunning, my friend 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 22, 2016 at 9:17 am

      Thanks, Stacy. I try to have fun around here. LOL!!

  • Reply christykjames April 22, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    This turned out gorgeous, Susie!! Love your writing style too. 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 23, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Thanks, Christy. Well, you know….I just try to tell it like it is. Plain and simple. LOL.

  • Reply suzannebagheri2014 April 28, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Susie – it is sooooo flippin gorgeous! Sharing this evening on The Painted Drawer Link Party! Thanks for moonlighting lol and please do so again 🙂 Cheers!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 28, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Holy cow!! Thanks so much. My French chest and I will be right over!!

  • Reply thistlewoodfarm May 5, 2016 at 10:52 am


    What an AWESOME makeover and I love the idea of a color family! Isn’t SW the BEST!

    Happy day rock star!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 5, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Thanks, Kerianne! And yes!! SW is totally the best.

  • Reply 5 Ways to Lighten Without Going White - The Chelsea Project May 23, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    […] And now, it hardly looks like the same chest.  The difference is remarkable after just a little chalky-type paint in light neutrals. It is also a perfect example of how painting part of a piece can lighten and brighten a huge space.  All of the details on how this piece was refinished are here. […]

  • Reply Farmhouse Nightstand Makeover - The Chelsea Project May 26, 2016 at 6:04 am

    […] I like to keep you guessing.  Remember last month’s lovely serpentine chest?  Click here to see.  Well, this month, I pulled a 180 and rescued this little guy from the bathroom in the […]

  • Reply michael manno May 26, 2016 at 8:16 am

    What a gorgeous piece brought to new life. I love how you made it over. It still looks classic and will not go out of date with your color choice. Nice job!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 26, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Thanks, Debbie. I surely hope so….I’d hate to have to paint over that lovely neutral green.

  • Reply Why Fusion's Bayberry Paint plus Espresso Wax is the Perfect Combination - The Chelsea Project November 27, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    […] Click here to see the Serpentine Chest […]

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