How To Get SOLD On The Unsellable Art Deco Headboard Bench

We've all been there. Anyone who upcycles furniture to sell has had that one piece where no matter how hard they try, it just won't sell. Such was the case with this waterfall bench with gorgeous leather hide upholstered seat. I personally loved the makeover but evidently, no one else loved it enough to buy. So today I'm going to share what surefire paint color will get SOLD on the unsellable art deco headboard bench.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Before

The magic color is white! It's a hard pill to swallow when you love the color but the truth of the matter is that white sells. It's especially hard when you've poured your heart and soul into a piece and have to go back to the drawing board. I personally loved the mustard yellow color that I originally painted this bench.

But first, let's backtrack a bit and take a look at what the art deco headboard set looked like before the first makeover.

White Art Deco Headboard Bench 

All those lovely details make for a perfect headboard bench.

And this is what the art deco headboard set looked like after being repurposed into an Art Deco Headboard Bench painted in a mustard yellow color called Arles and aged with dark wax.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Makeover 1 Painted Yellow

If you've been following me for a bit you might remember this piece. It's been taken to markets, sat in my booth, and listed on multiple buy & sell websites without success. I thought the mustard yellow paired beautifully with the brown leather seat.

To see more of the original makeover and/or the detailed tutorial on how to repurpose a headboard set into a bench visit my Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench post. In that post, I also share a tutorial on how to upholster the bench with an embossed leather hide.

Here it is now after makeover two painted white.

Art Deco Headboard Bench

My concern about painting the bench white was how the brown leather would pair with white but being a warm white I think it looks good.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Embossed Leather Seat

Art Deco Headboard Bench AGAIN

Re-painting the bench white

The new headboard bench color is a warm Buttercream white chalk mineral paint from Dixie Belle Paint Company. It took three coats to cover the mustard yellow.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Paint

Distressing the bench

After the paint dried I distressed it with 220 grit sandpaper, pressing firmly in some areas to get down to the original dark wood and less in other areas to reveal the old yellow paint.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Distressed

Protecting the bench

Chalk mineral paint doesn't require a top coat because once it's cured in 30 days, it is rock solid. Because I planned on aging the bench with glaze, I applied clear Best Dang Wax with a round wax brush first. I worked in sections and let the wax sit for around 15 minutes before buffing it with a lint-free rag.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Clear Wax

Aging the bench

While the wax was still wet, I brushed Grunge Glaze with a chip brush, getting it heavier in the recessed details, along the base, in the corners, where it would naturally age over time.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Dark Glaze

Glazing Tips:

  • If you want more play time with the glaze, my suggestion is to wax the furniture first. Glaze tends to grab onto porous paint, making it harder to remove if you wait too long.
  • Dip the tips of a chip brush into water first and then the glaze. It gives the glaze a longer play time. 
  • Work in sections and immediately wipe the excess with a lint free rag. 
  • Push the glaze with the rag into the corners and around the edges. You may need to add more glaze into the deep ridges.
  • You can see in the photo below that I left more glaze along edges on the sides of the bench. To do this scrunch a lint-free rag into a ball and dab the glaze to remove the excess rather than wiping it off. 
  • If you get too much glaze in spots, wipe it with the rag before it dries. If that doesn't work dip the rag into clear wax and the glaze should come off.
Art Deco Headboard Bench Aged With Glaze

I'm confident the headboard bench will finally sell now that it's white. It would look beautiful in a front entry and works with the ever popular farmhouse style.

Art Deco Headboard Bench Upholstered Leather Seat

To see the materials I used for this second makeover, visit the Interior Frugalista Shop on Amazon. It contains affiliate links - see my full disclosure policy.

More Waterfall Furniture Ideas

Black Painted Waterfall Hutch
Pink Ombre Waterfall Dresser
Decoupaged Burlap Waterfall Dresser
Vintage Waterfall Vanity Goes Hollywood Glam

I'd love to hear which makeover you like best. Is it Makeover One painted yellow or Makeover Two painted white? I love hearing from you so please don't be shy, leave your vote in the comment section below.

Art Deco Headboard Bench With Leather Seat

I share my projects at these fabulous link parties.



  1. Marie,
    I am commenting on both this lovely bench, which I wish I had and the beautiful pink dresser. The pink is wonderful and the hint of green really set it off. That awful black someone painted it was a disgrace. Thanks for saving a wonderful old dresser.
    Love your posts.

    1. Thank you Leona! I always appreciate your support of my work. xo

  2. Hi Marie,
    I'm thinking that the first makeover with the yellow looked too much like the "Blonde" furniture from the 1960's. I LOVE the Art Deco furniture- it was well-made furniture!

    1. I never thought of it that way but it definitely looks better painted white. I like art deco furniture too because it reminds me of my maternal grandmother. You see a lot of it at our local thrift stores and I've given makeovers to many pieces, all of which sold right away.


Post a Comment

Don't be shy, I love reading your comments and reply to every single one! If you want to be notified when I reply back to you, click the "Notify Me" button below the comment box.