A few years ago, for some stupid reason, when I bought the IKEA Bekvam step-stool I thought it'd be a good idea to get it in "black-brown". It looks way too dark. If, to that, you add 3-4 years of heavy use (I'm 5 ft 2 so I need it to reach pretty much every shelf and cupboard in the kitchen), it was looking a bit worse for wear. I was going to paint it but didn't want to lose the noce wood grain, so I came up with this.
This DIY might be much easier if you buy a plain wood one and skip the sanding bit, but the sanded down black brown gives it a nice grey-ish shade.
Then I painted the legs and sides with my DIY chalkboard paint, but you can use any other type of paint. Even wall paint/emulsion should do if you make sure to varnish over it to protect it.