painted gray armoire project

I have worked on this painted gray armoire  a 1000 times… my mind.

In my head…..I’ve painted it white and distressed it. Seriously. And then the next day my mind started painting it red with khaki stripes. And right after that… mind was back at work again…. painting it black with silver leaf doors. And then cream with an orange chevron pattern. And then my mind had this total internal struggle because I read somewhere that chevron is so not in any more and I wasn’t even sure if orange was on the approved chevron list.


Have you ever had a project like that? You know. One that you thought about and thought about and thought about……

…..and never did.


I’m sure you had your reasons. Maybe you just wanted to think about it. Maybe you didn’t have the right paint brush. Maybe Dancing With the Stars was on and you had to vote for the prom king and queen on Twitter. Or maybe you had to wash your hair. And then one day you woke up and realized that if you added up all the hours that you spent thinking about the project…..

… could have painted 100 armoires.


This week I didn’t have the right paint brush and Dancing With the Stars was calling my name…..and I did have to wash my hair. But this was the week that enough was enough… I took the plunge and painted it. Now this is what it looked before. Pretty. Simple. I liked it. I just thought I might like it more if it was black or red or orange or white.


But in the end….I went with gray.

Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray to be exact.

Are you surprised?

I love that color.


Then I painted a white damask pattern on the doors, hung a few wreaths and added some moss urns. And it only took me an afternoon. Can you even believe it? All that mind-painting for hours and hours and hours…..and it only took an afternoon for the project. 🙂

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  1. Image for Marian Marian

    Funny lady. If it's for your house, then don't worry about what's in or out. If you love, you love it. That's so awesome you finished in one afternoon. Did you use latex? And the white detail is lovely. Nice touch.

  2. Image for Laura Laura

    Beautiful. So much time thinking about it and so little time doing the actual work. I have been there so many times. There is that dresser that I need to........oh wait breakfast is calling my name. Hugs, Laura

  3. Image for Courtenay Courtenay

    Isn't that always the way? I think mindful grey was a very mindful choice... I still wouldn't mind seeing some orange chevron though. I read it was so not in style any more too, but I don't care. I'm just starting to feel the chevron love now. :)

  4. Image for nantucketdaffodil nantucketdaffodil

    It came out perfect! I am glad you made the choices you made! Amy Chalmers at Maison decor here in Massachusetts recently renovated an armoire as we'll....she is here You talented gals put me to shame!

  5. Image for baileywife baileywife

    I love love love armoires ....I own 4 myself! Never thought of painting them though! You are one talented lady! ~Kim

  6. Image for tara tara

    that gray looks amazing with the green next to it. love the pattern you put on it. i think you made a great decision painting it or orange would have bothered you after a while, I feel sure. :)

  7. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Yeah.....I've done that with a few (hundred) projects too. You have inspired me to tackle one or two. Thanks for the inspiration, as usual!

  8. Image for Esther Esther

    Ooh, the armoire looks beautiful - well done you!! I have been 'planning' on painting my dresser for such a long time, but there's always something else to do!! You have inspired me though - I will make it my project for April- I will try anyway!! Esther xx

  9. Image for Julie Julie

    I think it is beautiful and elegant. I have painted an armoire and several dressers here at the inn. For me, if I never see another chevron again it won't be soon enough.

  10. Image for AnnaM AnnaM

    Oh you did the right is just beautiful. You have such good instinct about such things. The green, the gray, the white design, the springiness of it all. I love it and your choices, every time.

  11. Image for kirby carespodi kirby carespodi

    Oh, are so not orange. I mean, you COULD be orange....except you're not. It would have been repainted in a week. You are a gray-aholic. Admitting it is the first step to overcoming it.

  12. Image for Angie W Angie W

    Silly question from a beginner - do you move your furniture pieces outside or to the garage for painting or do you do it in the house? I have furniture just like yours - the knotty pine look that I want to paint. I'm surprised you said it only took an afternoon. Did you sand, prime, paint?

  13. Image for lisa lisa

    Loved this post! You nailed it --both the painting and the agonizing / indecision / procrastination! Turned out so beautiful and classic!

  14. Image for Gee Gee

    Hmm... orange chevrons?! Luv what you chose though... as if I wouldn't. This mind painting thing, there really is no cure for it is there? I do it daily... paint, repaint, redesign.... I think it keeps me sane most days :-) Luvly armoire! HUGS, Gee

  15. Image for Jeanne Crackel Jeanne Crackel

    I love the gray. I too, love to paint furniture, I often repaint many pieces in my home. Gray has been at the top of my list for an old pie safe for some time. I have an entire "matchy, matchy" pine wood dining room set, that I would like to change... I too often stick with the safe "chipped white" look, seeing your gray gives me courage to try. Thanks again for the inspiration, I need to get to work!

  16. Image for Angela Angela

    I have no doubt that if you would have decided to paint orange chevrons, it would have rocked! Having said that, this is beautiful. I love how the green pops against it! Love, love!!~~Angela

  17. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Who cares if orange chevron is in or out....this armoire is beautiful! I can't imagine it any other color. And that white damask, so pretty. You've got a great mind's eye! ;)

  18. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    I love how the armoire turned out I think the greenery is a great touch and I adore the pattern. Great job. I am glad you didn't paint it orange or a bright color. Great job!! Cynthia

  19. Image for Lorraine@MissFlibbertigibbet Lorraine@MissFlibbertigibbet

    It came out beautifully and it's just your style! I am often influenced by a daring picture of furniture and suddenly feel I'm boring....but having to live everyday with a black and red or orange chevron piece of furniture might be just a bit much.......wise some orange chevron napkins instead.

  20. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    That's the thing about hot trends...even if you really like them,at some point after seeing them plastered everywhere they will loose their ability to be pleasing to the eye. I like how your piece turned out. Classic!

  21. Image for Bliss Bliss

    I've never had a project I've thought about and thought about and never done. Nope I hop right up and do every single project that crosses my mind. Bwahhhhh ah ah ah ha ha ha ha. So not. Bliss

  22. Image for Deneen Deneen

    I love grey. I think it is a great neutral. Classic and stylish. The damask on the doors gives it a great lace look. And remember we are bloggers and bloggers keep reinventing the wheel, so you will probably paint it again! Love it the way it is now though. Very pretty!

  23. Image for Bethany Bethany

    It looks great! I paint and redecorate in my mind all the time! Sometimes I'm glad I don't do things right away because by the time I actually get around to doing them I've already changed my mind and want to do something different :)

  24. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    It looks beautiful, Karianne! It doesn't even look like the same armoire! Love the color you chose and the pattern you did on the doors. I have an armoire I want to paint in our guest room from white to black. I had painted it from its natural pine state to black a few years ago, but now that we've moved the black just doesn't work in the guest room.

  25. Image for Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door

    Hi, Karianne! I know exactly what you mean. I have several projects like that being painted in my mind right now. An old trunk and, believe it or not, an armoire. I found an old to-do list from 5 years ago (it was in with a bunch of tear sheets from magazines) where I had written "paint armoire". 5 years! That's sad. Like you, it's been every color in the my head. I adore the way your armoire turned out. And especially adorned with those wreaths. Soon! I declare! Soon, I will paint that armoire!

  26. Image for Sheila Harmon Sheila Harmon

    Did you have a pattern for the "I painted a white damask pattern on the doors?" Just trying to steal your idea. I knew you would approve.

  27. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Right now there is a bookshelf in my daughters room. It is dirty, rustic, straight from the junk shop. It sits on a towel, so as not to dirty the carpet. It has been there for months. Months, while I try to decide what colour to paint it.....It's been there so long, I no longer notice it's cob-webbed state, sitting there empty in the corner. I think I need to take a cue from you and just get on with it. Your amoire is much more you now. Love it.

  28. Image for Cheryl in Wisconsin Cheryl in Wisconsin

    Ding ding ding. My opinion is that you nailed it with this choice. It looks great. Now if you don't mind, I'm going back to the backyard to stare at all my unstarted projects out there. "I like work, it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours." - Jerome K. Jerome

  29. Image for Susan Susan

    I love gray--Comfort Gray is the color I chose for my Master bedroom and Amazing Gray is my kitchen/keeping room. You can't go wrong and everything looks good on it:-D I love the armoire and have one to paint that belonged to my dad....hmmmm, maybe Mindful Gray. XOXO

  30. Image for Mrs. C Mrs. C

    IT IS PERFECT! I love the change! And do I ever relate, I've lost track of the hours I've spent redoing my buffet and china cabinet in my mind. I've threatened I don't know how many times, "I'm going to paint them!!!" And I do, in my mind...and I see all of these options on pinterest and I get confused, what to do??? And then I see this post, and other posts, on other blogs, using whites or grays and I know, that I know that I will be painting that set soon. And it will take no time, once I get brave enough to just DO IT! I love what you done did to yours! It is gorgeous! And that pop of green makes me hungry for SPRING! Hugs! Thanks for stopping by! Oh and P.S. I am going to repaint my dining room to. I finally found the that will happen first! EEEEK! Excited I am!

  31. Image for Adrienne Adrienne

    Ok you make me want things I never knew I wanted....moss urns...yes please! Would you mind sharing where you got them? But knowing you (in a way that I don't really know you at all, but I totally do in web way), you probably made them. And the armoire looks gorg of course.

  32. Image for Kathy Kathy

    It is beautiful! I love it! I really want to paint the corner hutch in my dining room but I have another kind of impediment called a husband.

  33. Image for Regina Regina

    Fantastic decisions on your armoire! You have given me a new phrase: mind-___________. We are in the process of building a house and I have spent hours mind-painting, mind-decorating, mind-furniture arranging, etc. You get my drift, I'm sure. I am mind-exhausted! We are nearing the end, though.

  34. Image for Linda Linda

    WOW!! That is one beautiful armoire!! I love the color and the painting on the doors just makes it. Combined with the spring greens completes the picture, Fresh, Simple, Beautiful and Peaceful!! Good choices....I know what you mean about doing things in your head. Lately, I have been trying to just go ahead and do things rather than analyze them to death. If I make a mistake, Oh well. Life is too short to waste so much time thinking about such things. Love your blog and all you do. Thanks for sharing your project with all of us. I have just such a wardrobe in oak, not particulary beautiful......uhmmmmmmmm. Blessings, Linda

  35. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I have painted the darn hutch that Joe made me years ago 1000 times my mind! he won't let me ttouch it:(:( I know I want it black, I KNOW IT!!! It will look fabulous. AARRGGHH! YOUR armoire rocks, love the gray. If you love orange chevron, go for it. Do what YOU love!!!!! XO, Pinky

  36. Image for Courtney Courtney

    Pretty pretty Karianne!! Yes... definitely have a few pieces I have thought about painting and keep not painting. You have to wait until it's feeling right I guess! :)

  37. Image for Pat Pat

    It looks stunning! Great job and the white design just adds to the beauty. I've only been "mind painting" for two years now...and no telling how long it will continue. :) I should just jump in and do it I know. If I don't like it, then just add a different color, right? Add orange pillows, napkins, placemats, drinking glasses, salad plates ~ whatever floats your boat! ;-) Pat

  38. Image for Keri mcPherson Keri mcPherson

    I love it just the way it is! I think you might have gotten tired of orange chevron pattern. I think the novelty might have worn off. No offense intended. This to me seem like you. It's perfect! Great job!

  39. Image for Regina Regina

    This is gorgeous. The gray is perfect, and the white damask patter? I LOVE IT. Much more so than a chevron pattern . . . Although I can't believe that's OUT before I even GOT anything with a chevron pattern! Ack! Your armoire is right up there with your china cabinet in your kitchen, which was one of my first Pins before I even knew of you! YOU are a rock star! :)

  40. Image for maryJean maryJean

    I had painted this in my mind when you had it on your blog at Christmas!!!! I am a paint gal through and through. I really love it. (and thank you for letting me know that" ha ha "is the new LOL. (who would've known?) Back to eighth grade for me. Ha Ha Ha. I went in and changed several of my FB posts because I want to be now. (I mean then, I mean now.....oh dear.)

  41. Image for Audrey Zumwalt Audrey Zumwalt

    Looks great Karianne. So glad you decided on the gray ... it is beautiful ... and everything will look good with it. Blessings, Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  42. Image for Cynthia Robertson Shaffer Cynthia Robertson Shaffer

    Wonderful job Karianne! I totally agree with the other commenters that this is a classic all year round color that will be a pleasure to decorate any season around. Isn't it funny how we keep using the same colors over and over? yesterday I got an itch to finish up a 1/4 can of Ralph Lauren Artist Studio by painting the inside of my pantry. Now that color is in 4 rooms :-)

  43. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    It looks wonderful! You chose a perfect color! Everything looks great with it! I love the damask designs too!

  44. Image for Deb Deb

    Orange chevron in the nursery maybe but that subtle damask pattern is very soft and soothing. Amazing what a little paint can do to a piece of furniture! Nicely done..

  45. Image for Tisha @ Delectable Home Tisha @ Delectable Home

    Yes! I can't turn my brain off! In fact, I see projects everywhere that I think about - even when they are things I will never encounter again. Love the gray, damask stencil and springy green styling! But I'm still fond of orange and chevrons too (even if they are so last year). I think that with your touch, any idea would turn out fantastic!

  46. Image for bethanie bethanie

    I love this!!! I have an armoire in my living room that is a cranberry's dying to be painted!! Grey is what I've been leaning towards, and now that I've seen yours I'm quite sure that's what 'Im going to do!!! Love the damask! Why don't you just come on down and we'll have a ball painting it together!? I'll teach you to cook and bake while you're here so that when you get that new stove you'll be ready to rock and roll!!!! xoxox

  47. Image for Colleen Colleen

    OMG, too funny. It is lovely! See, all that mind painting was simply processing your options. I have been mind painting my bedroom furniture for years now and I'm about to take the plunge. I have many hours of mind painting, mind crafting and mind furniture rearranging under my belt. It's just how some of us process ;)

  48. Image for karen@somewhatquirky karen@somewhatquirky

    oh I would say that I've spent about 25 of my 54 years 'mind painting'. It never stops. 95% of my projects are mind projects. Because there is always Dancing With the Stars to watch. It looks beautiful. It was fast because you had all that practice!

  49. Image for Donna Donna

    I have this identical armoire in one of our bedrooms. I've been thinking of painting it for a while. I keep going back and forth between white and gray. Yours looks amazing. Love the white designs and the little Mossy vases too. Everything you do looks perfect.

  50. Image for Diane | An Extraordinary Day Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    You are too funny! Of course...I find it humorous because I do the same thing and it looks amusing on you. Anyway...tomorrow you can always change your mind. It's a woman's perrogative. (I have no idea how to spell that word and I'm too tired to Google it.) ;)

  51. Image for Mia Mia

    Love it! I can picture the orange and chevron stripes, but like the softness of the gray and damask. Did you make the wreaths??

  52. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Glad you did not pick the orange chevron.....I am sure you needed the time to have that paint that armoire the "mindful grey" you spent many "mindful" days thinking of how to transform the armoire...your many "mindful" days paid off...who needs clean hair when you can paint that gorgeous armoire!....Love, love the stencil and the moss covered urns...Have a great weekend Kari!!

  53. Image for Susan Susan definitely got inside my head with this blog. Made me truly realize why my home is not 'finished'! I need to stop thinking, stop analyzing, stop daydreaming (that's a biggie :) ) and start doing! Your armoire is perfect....good for you!

  54. Image for Lauren Lauren

    It is very beautiful, but I'm not going to lie, I cringed when I saw that you painted such gorgeous knotty alder wood. Oh my gosh. :)

  55. Image for Susan @ Susan @

    I love it. So fresh looking. And the plates above it are terrific. I actuallly painted the inside of my hutch that same green that's on your urns and the outside it a white linen color. I love it. The hutch has glass doors and is now turned into an armoir. I'm sharing the transformation on my blog next week.

  56. Image for Little Bit Little Bit

    Oh my... you for sure chose the right treatment to finally put on it! I love it. and I love that you painted the hardware... it makes it look old. Beautiful! Little Bit from

  57. Image for Anne@DesignDreams Anne@DesignDreams

    Hmmm you have restraint when it comes to painting. If it had been me, I would have painted it each and every time I came up with a new concept. Most of my furniture now has multiple layers of paint. Beautiful choice, the colour and the pattern are stunning. You do such lovely work. xox

  58. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Kari, I tried to find out if you primed and sanded this piece at all since you didn't use chalkpaint. I'm ready to tackle a cherry wood hutch but not quite sure how to do it if I do not use chalk paint. thanks, ~ Lisa ~

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