chalk paint

How To Renovate Furniture with Chalk Paint

Welcome to my first furniture renovation post. When I posted my ‘things to do in lockdown’ blog post there was a lot of interest in my furniture and renovation projects. I threw a little tutorial together so that everyone could see how easy and affordable it is to renovate a furniture with chalk paint.

The first thing I look for in a renovation project is the quality of the furniture. Often, I will generally only renovate solid wood furniture because I want it to be of good quality and stand the test of time. The main reason I even started to renovate furniture is because I was trying to minimise my waste and get good quality furniture that went with my aesthetic.

I procured the last two pieces that I renovated by literally posting on Facebook. I asked if anyone had a solid wood wardrobe or chest of drawers that they were going to throw out. Most of the time someone will. If not, try having a look on Freecycle, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace for free or cheap furniture. I will be demonstrating on a chest of drawers that I received from a friend who was going to throw them out.

Before we get started there are some materials that you are going to need, I have used Amazon product affiliate links below because realistically where else are you going to order from right now. . .


  1. The first thing you want to do is to remove all fixings and fixtures. You will most likely be able to do this with a Philips screwdriver. Decide now if you want to keep these or change them because they can also be restored. You can use the measurements from them to order alternative handles. The measurement of handles online will mostly be hole centre to hole centre, so use these when looking for new handles. One great idea for fixtures and fittings is to spray paint them and reattach them. The chest I received was missing a lot of handles so I decided to just replace them all anyway.
  1. Dilute the sugar soap with warm water, around 1/3 of a bottle with 4 litres of warm water. Wear gloves and use a sponge to wash the wood making sure you are giving it a good scrub. This will clean and prepare the wood for painting. Wipe with a clean sponge and water and wait for the furniture to dry fully before taking the next step.
  1. Next, you want to sand the wood down. I used medium grit sandpaper first because the wood was quite rough. After using medium grit, I moved down to a fine grit to make the surface smooth and ready to paint. If your wood doesn’t need much sanding then you can skip the medium grit completely.
  1. Brush the excess dust off and give it a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. Now you are ready to prime. I used a basic white wood primer to make sure that none of the wood came through the paint and made the finished job look patchy. I gave the chest two coats of primer to ensure that the paint would go on evenly and smoothly. Wait around 2-3 hours between coats.
  1. Now you are ready for the paint. I used the Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Paint in Graphite for the chest below. I used a paintbrush for the corners then used a small roller for the surfaces to give a nice even finish. Paint the corners and hard to reach areas first so that the flat surfaces look uniform and clean with the roller. I gave the chest two coats of paint. One tin of paint was more than enough. If you find that your paintwork is a little uneven or bumpy then you can use the fine-grit sandpaper to sand down brush strokes or paint bumps in between coats. Leave 2-3 hours between coats and make sure your paint is fully dry before waxing.
  1. Once you are happy with your coat, you are ready for wax. You will notice that the current paint will look very dry and ‘chalky’. Whilst this is a lovely finish, it can leave the furniture open to staining and watermarks. I always like the finish with furniture wax. Here I used the Rust-Oleum finishing wax in clear (the dark is great too if you are using a darker furniture colour). You want a lint-free cloth for this part. Use the wax sparingly and wipe over the paint with the wax, try to be as even as possible here. After 10 minutes, use a separate lint-free cloth to buff the wax in circular motions until you get your desired sheen level. I would usually do two coats of finishing wax to give a nice satin finish.
  1. Lastly, you can add your fixtures and fittings back on and voila, one renovated piece of furniture. I replaced the handles of mine with some from The Range. There are so many great quirky door handles and knobs. For my next wardrobe renovation project, I plan to buy brass bumblebee doorknobs.

Additional ideas

  • To restore the hardware that is already on your materials you can simply use a metal cleaner, or a spray paint to give them a different finish. I picked up some silver handles from a discount bathroom store for 50p and recoated them black for my wardrobe. I used the Rust-Oleum Paint’s Touch Paint in Matte Black.
  • You can use sticky-back contact paper to line the draws and give a better finish. I didn’t with mine because I really like the contrast of wood against the graphite.
  • If you are finding that there are holes/chips in the wood or you cannot find handles to match then you can always use a wood filler. I recommend you do this in-between steps one and two.

Some other projects:

There you have it, a fairly easy technique on how to renovate furniture using chalk paint. Let me know if you enjoyed this post because it is a little different than the content I would usually post, furniture renovation is quite the passion of mine and I figured it would bring some value to those stuck inside at the moment.

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