DIY Project – Painting Furniture

Painting furniture the easy way! Weekend project, refurbishing an old wardrobe #Upcycling furniture #PaintingFurniture

I have been properly MIA these last few weeks so apologies as I am sure you have missed me…;-) Life got very busy and notes fell a little by the way side. However there has been a lot going on in our little cottage in the shire so I have a few projects to share with you. The first thing to happen was that we have started overhauling our bedroom, we got a new carpet and refreshed the paint. We hadn’t decorated at all since we moved in almost a year ago so it really was time. I will share a picture of the whole room overhaul once it is done but in the meantime I want to share my weekend’s project with you. The small wardrobe that lives in our bedroom (we converted a cupboard into a larger wardrobe- this one would just be way too small on its own!!) It just did not go with the cottage’s decor and looked decidedly 90’s so after some research (which my mum helped with) I decided to use chalk paint to give it an update. Chalk paint doesn’t involve sanding down your furniture first or priming it – had that been the case this project would just not have happened, no time for sanding, priming and painting, well no time and definitely no patience.  Here’s how I did it! 

I found a nearby stockist of chalk paint and spoke to the lady in the store about how much I would need (a little goes a long way which meant I only needed one tin – woo) and then just had to decide on colour. Our linens often (we have different sets) have a pale blue stripe so I like blues/greys, which meant that French Grey was a perfect choice as it is a grey with a blue tinge. Chalk Paint is a thicker, ‘stickier’ paint that effectively coats everything and anything (metal, stone, wood inc varnished wood) without having to fuss about with sanding and priming.

#AnnieSloan #ChalkPaint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Omega paintbrushes with my paint tray.

Once I was home I pulled all the drawers out and then took the doors off. I did all of these components whilst they lay flat which made sure they had a nice even finish. I then painted the main body of the wardrobe. One side of the wardrobe did go a bit iffy (luckily the side against the wall -phew) and this was because I definitely used too much paint and it dripped, and then I tried to repair it and made it worse, sigh. But, as I said, it’s the side against the wall so no great dramas there.

Drawers pulled out and lying flat - gravity was working with me at this point!

Drawers pulled out and lying flat – gravity was working with me at this point!

In conclusion a great project to take on and I am so thrilled with the result, it looks so much more in fitting with our decor. The biggest tips I have when working with the chalk paint are:

1. Water it down (to an extent). The lady in the shop told me this and I could probably have diluted it more than I did. I poured half the tin into my painting tray and then added about 75ml of water. I could have added more, it mixes easily but I was concerned about ruining it. However I also think that as I was working with such a dark wood the thicker paint did mean I have only had to do one coat. I have since diluted it more and painted a dark photo frame and this is going to take a lot more coats, no big deal when it’s a photo frame but it would have been a pain doing a whole wardrobe twice!

This is the darker wood of the frame I am also "up-cycling" and it has taken two coats of the more watered down paint and will need more...

This is the darker wood of the frame I am also “up-cycling” and it has taken two coats of the more watered down paint and will need more…

2. Lie things flat where possible. Gravity definitely worked against me on one side of the wardrobe so where possible lie things flat to achieve the best finish. Also do not get bored and slap on the paint – it’s not that idiot proof apparently…! Too much paint will run and drip.

3. Buy good brushes. When my husband and I painted the inside of the cupboard which we turned into a wardrobe we just bought some cheap paint brushes, bad idea. I had to keep picking bits of bristle out of the wet paint as the brushes molted – pain! There was no way I was going through this again so  I bought a couple of nice brushes along with the paint. Even with brushes the whole project came in at under £35 so still a lot cheaper than new furniture!

Have you worked with chalk paint? Is there something you want to overhaul in your own home? Share in the comments section below.


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22 thoughts on “DIY Project – Painting Furniture

    • Hi Tracey

      Thanks for your comment. It is lovely and smooth. The paint is quite soft so if it is a piece of furniture that gets a lot of hard wear I would suggest waxing it afterwards – this would probably double the time it takes though. The only place it looks rough is where I got bored and put too much paint on… Definitely keep your patience and it will look great!


  1. Hi Gemma, looks wonderful and loving the easy peasy chalk paint. I have some projects in mind and never heard of chalk paint, thought I would have to spend ages sanding, which put me off!
    Just wondered though, do you think you could use chalk paint on internal doors?
    I have some rather nasty gingery coloured pine doors that I cannot bear!
    Many thanks

    • Hi Adrianne

      Thanks for stopping by my blog :) It was definitely easy, I know what you mean as sanding was putting me off too.

      When I spoke to the lady in the shop about chalk paint her suggestion was that, if you are using the paint on a surface that gets a lot of wear and tear (so a table top etc) you should then use a soft wax on top of your paint (once it has dried) to preserve it. I didn’t use the wax on the wardrobe and it has been fine. I think my concern re an internal door would be where it rubbed on the frame (so maybe you’d want to wax it?) but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work on a door generally! It is wonderfully versatile stuff. My tip would be to take your doors off the hinges so you can lie them flat – then you will get the best finish and you’ll avoid any paint running.

      Good luck and enjoy!


  2. Hi Gemma, my grandaughter wants a dressing table, she is 11yrs old (growing up) and is not the gentlest of person with her drawers etc. Lol.
    I have purchased an old style d/table which is mahogany, I plan to use chalk paint on this. I am hoping on the top of it to print on some growing up quotes, family thoughts etc. As I know we won’t as grandparents be around for ever and want something she will remember her Nan and Grampa by, questions are would this work with chalk paint and would it last? Also how would I go about printing the said quotes on the the dressing table top, would I need to varnish the completed project?
    I love your project on the wardrobe

    • Hi Margaret

      What a lovely idea, something I am sure your granddaughter will love for ever and really appreciate!

      So I would just go about using the chalk paint as normal and once it has completely dried I would paint on my phrases in a contrasting colour – I would probably use another chalk paint. Unless you have very steady hands I would be tempted to use stencils to get a high quality/uniform finish for your lettering. Your local craft shop will have a range of stencils/fonts I am sure. I would also tape the stencils down to stop them leaking/moving – but I’d test an area of the chalk paint first to make sure that the tape didn’t remove the paint.

      I think due to the nature of the furniture/usage you would want to wax the dresser afterwards – You can find wax that goes over chalk paint for this kind of job sold next to chalk paint. An alternative idea is to get a sheet of glass or plastic cut to size for the top of the dresser as this would protect it without having to wax it.

      I would also ask the people in the shop where you buy your paint – they are usually pretty experienced in using it/will have some tips!

      Good luck!


  3. Happy New Year, Gemma

    I have a pine, 1970s vintage, drop leaf tea cart from my parents’ house that I’d like to use as a serving cart beside our small dining area table. I’ve already removed the gouged/scratched top and leaves to get better access to paint. Will chalk paint work on them without a lot of prep work, or should I sand the top? The legs and sort of “wagon wheels” are all in good shape. Only the top is in rough condition, I can’t figure out how to remove the large wheels, so they will have to be painted in place

    • Hi Jacky, I think you’ll be amazed what chalk paint will cover. The furniture that I painted was super smooth but it was shiny and I was sceptical that the paint would “stick” but no problems. I think if your surface is very rough you should still be prepared to have a rough end product ie the paint won’t remove texture but it will still look great. Another idea could be to paint and then get a piece of glass cut for the top – perfect for a serving cart and would disguise any small issues. Alternatively you could give it a small sanding. Just make sure to remove any left over powder so it doesn’t mix in with your paint! Re the wheels just take your time and try different sizes of brushes :)

  4. I have spent months thinking about up cycling my bedroom furniture,it’s not just one wardrobe it’s two single and two chest of drawers and baked side tables .I known about the Annie Sloan paint for ages and have contemplated doing this in the grey as well only thing is,it would look crazy doing all the furniture in the same colour .Do you have any good advice what I should do ?

    • That’s a tricky one Kath. I think if your furniture matches at the moment then it would look great in chalk paint. However, some other ideas would be to use two colours on each piece for some contrast e.g. paint the chest in a lighter cream with a grey accent on the handles (or vice versa) or paint the bottom half of a chest one colour and the main surface (bit you would put “stuff” on) another. I think this could look really great and would break up the “block of colour” effect. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi Gemma. Thnx for sharing the info of chalk paint…I would hate to have to sand & prime. I want to paint dark wood bookcases Cream with a pearl finish. Would chalk paint work with the pearl finishing paint?

    • Hi Adrienne, I haven’t had personal experience with the pearl finishing paint but my advice would be to test this out on an inconspicuous surface first – preferably the bottom which you will never see. Let the chalk paint dry 100% first though – it’s very tempting to rush the painting but let it dry totally to touch before you try layering the other paint on.

      Good luck!


  6. Great post. Just wondering how the wardrobe is doing 2 years on? Is the paintwork still sound? I love the sound of no sanding/priming, but if it means that the paint-work isn’t so enduring I would rather take the extra time initially… I am guessing it is still fine – I have painted furniture in emulsion before, and even that has stood the test of time! Thanks!

    • Hello and thank you! The paint is holding up really well on the wardrobe BUT this is not our main wardrobe anymore (thank goodness as it is tiny) so it houses our “to do” ironing pile and out of season clothes i.e. it doesn’t get daily use. The only wear and tear on it is the inside where hangers have rubbed the paint off in small areas but the outside is exactly as it looks above and even where the drawers rub on each other the paint is fine.

  7. I have never painted furniture before but just purchase a tall dresser for granddaughter. It is unfinished pine and I want to paint it white. I am convinced that I should use chalk paint, however I do not want a distressed look and she has another white dresser that this one needs to (kind of match). I’ve read that chalk paint is matte finish? I’m concerned it might look dull next to the other dresser in her room, which is somewhat glossy white. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Sheri. Chalk paint is definitely a matte finish and even when you wax it and then buff the wax you won’t achieve a high gloss or satin finish. This was fine for me because it fits the decor of our cottage however I can understand wanting a glossy more modern finish in a different style space. As I don’t have any experience with this there isn’t any first hand advice I can offer, however I found this great article which gives you a bit of insight into how to achieve the look you are going for :) Good luck with your project.

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