Chalk Paint Furniture Ideas that Add Character

Trista - September 15, 2020

It seems that since the creation of markers, crayons, and colored pencils, children have written on furniture and walls. They have tried to bring their creativity into living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, and anywhere else. While they are generally proud of their creations, parents are not always as impressed. It often leaves parents wondering what they can do to let their children express their creative side without limiting them in any way.

Other than the age-old rule of giving your children paper to color and draw, there are many different ways to let them have all their fun, and this follows the method of using chalk. Not only is this easy to wash off, but you can also invest in chalkboard paint, which is a specialized paint that creates a chalkboard like coating that can be utilized as a writing surface in the same manner as a traditional chalkboard or blackboard. However, this isn’t just a fun tool that you can give your children, so they have a designated place to color and draw and on the walls, it’s also an idea that you can bring into your home for yourself. This article will help you discover unique ways to bring chalk paint into your home.

Make a list of the painting supplies you will need before you head to the store, so you only need to make one trip. Shutterstock.

Before You Begin Painting

One of the most important tips when it comes to chalk paint is that you focus on organization and success from the start. While the process of painting is pretty simple and straightforward, mostly if you’ve painted walls or furniture before, there are still steps you want to take before you sit down and begin. For instance, you not only want to choose your piece of furniture but also set it up in a temporary workspace so it can dry without being touched. Plus, if you accidentally spill paint or make a mess, it won’t ruin the carpet or any part of your home.

Then, you want to know what color you need to purchase along with the other supplies. For instance, you’ll want to buy the right brush. Many feel the best are the Purdy® brand brushes. It’s essential to get a few different sizes just in case. It would be best if you also got the following:

  • MinWax Clear Paste Wax
  • MinWax Specialty Dark Wax
  • Painter’s drop cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Lint-free rags
  • Paint can opener
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wooden paint stirrer
  • Ziplock bags
  • Water
  • Container to hold the paint
  • Screwdriver
  • Paper plate
  • Paper towel
You want to take the time to prepare your workspace and furniture, so you only need to do this process once and not re-clean the piece of furniture and start over a day or two later. Shutterstock.

Prep Your Furniture

Once you’ve found your ideal workspace, it’s time to set it up so you can start prepping and cleaning your furniture piece. Start by taking a before picture so you can show off what it looked like before the transformation. You will also need to remove any elements that can be taken off the piece, such as shelves, hardware, and drawers. Remove any stickers or residue that is in the future – goo gone is excellent for this step! You then want to take some sandpaper and run your hand across all sides and corners of the piece. Use the sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges.

From there, you will want to clean your furniture piece. It might look clean, but most of the time, it’s not clean enough for painting. There is oily residue, dirt, and grime hidden from the eye, so it’s important to clean it even if you don’t think it needs it. All you need is a little warm water and Dawn dish soap. You will then need to tape off any areas with the painter’s tape, such as drawer edges. You can also use this to mark the drawers so you know where they go once you can put your furniture back together.

Many people worry they are doing something wrong with the first coat because it looks streaky, but this is supposed to look. Shutterstock.

Prepare Yourself for Chalk Painting

Chalk painting is a simple process, but this doesn’t mean you won’t feel a bit nervous or worry about messing up and ruining a piece of furniture, especially if you love the work and don’t know what you will do if chalk painting doesn’t go as planned. First, take a deep breath. You will do great and end up with a perfect piece for your home. You do not want to make sure that you clean it, have the right color paint, a place where the weather won’t ruin your project, and the supplies ready.

First, dip your paintbrush in clean water and pat it dry with a clean rag. Pour ½ cup of paint into a leak-proof container and add one teaspoon of water and stir well. Place the original cover on the paint can so it doesn’t dry out. When you start painting, use a light hand and paint with the grain of the wood. You will paint more than one coat, and the first one will be streaky, so don’t worry about how it looks during the first coat—paint one side and one leg at the time. Always remember to wrap up your wet brush in a Ziplock bag so it doesn’t dry out during breaks and after the first coat is complete.

Painting the interior of a bookcase can give the piece of furniture a unique and creative look. Shutterstock.

Color the Interior of the Bookcase

You probably have one, two, or several bookcases around your home. You might have a whole room full of them and find that they all look similar. This notion can give you the idea that you should do something different from a few of them. If this sounds like you to get some easy practice with chalk paint, you can start here.

You don’t need to paint the whole piece to make it look completely new. For instance, you might find that a regular wooden bookcase will look great if the inside of it is painted a light purple or yellow. You might also feel that each shelf should be a different color – just to add a bit more creativity into your home.

If you find that your nightstand doesn’t add much color to your room, you can always use your favorite chalk paint color to make your place extra special. Shutterstock.

Give Your Nightstand a Makeover

When you look for a nightstand, you want something special – a piece of furniture that will stand out and make your room more comfortable. Many people have trouble because while most nightstands have their unique design, they tend to be some of the same colors, such as white, brown, or black.

It’s easy to want to add a splash of color to the furniture so you can brighten up your room or create a different feel. For instance, you might want to add a darker color, such as blue or purple, if your walls and other furniture are white. You might want to make it a brighter color, such as yellow because you feel the brightness will help you wake up in the morning as it places you in a better mood.

Let your children help you decorate furniture with special chalk paint. Shutterstock.

Furniture That Children Can Help Decorate

If you have young children, you might want to look into the idea of them helping you decorate their bedroom or playroom with chalk paint furniture. You don’t need to do anything specific, but give them time to use chalk to help create the design for the pieces or pieces of furniture. For instance, you can paint the headboard of their bed a darker color (similar to a chalkboard) and let them use their imagination to create pictures with chalk on their headboard.

You can decide to do this with almost all of their furniture so they can use their creativity around their whole room. The biggest task that you might have from that point is teaching your kids which furniture they can draw on and which ones they can’t – but with chalk, you don’t have to worry too much about them damaging any other furniture as it’s easily cleaned up.

Give your dresser a whole new look with your dresser and chalk paint. Shutterstock.

Upgrade the Look of Your Dresser

Dressers are an essential part of your bedroom. They help protect your clothes and other personal items, such as those you want to be hidden from your children, so they don’t break or want to protect from dust. You might also use a dresser drawer or two as storage so you can keep the clutter away from other people’s eyes.

No matter what your dresser is used for, you can start to feel bored with it. You have it for years, and it doesn’t change. Well, now it’s time to give it a unique look by painting it with chalk paint. You can paint the drawers each a different color or keep the whole dresser as one color.

You can use a unique and fun technique with chalk paint, and this method is known as chippy paint. Shutterstock.

Look into the Chippy Paint Technique

If you like to have an older look for your furniture, you want to look into what is known as the chippy paint technique. This technique is when you paint a piece of furniture, but you make it look like the paint is chipping. It might be bold for some people, but it is a perfect fit for their home for other people.

There are varying degrees of distressing when using chalky paint. This notion means that you can make it bolder or make it, so there looks like more pieces of paint that are chipped. For instance, you can decide to do the corners, sides, or all around the piece. There are many tutorials online for you to check out to help you get started on this unique process.

If you run into or have an antique washstand, you can do amazing and creative stuff to it with some chalk paint. Shutterstock.

Make an Antique Washstand an End Table

There are several ways that you can bring a different flavor into your home. For instance, you could find an old washstand and turn it into an end table for your bedroom or living room. The key is to not worry about what other people think when it comes to painting antique furniture. It would help if you thought about your thoughts and wants.

Painting antique furniture is sometimes frowned upon, but this doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into your unique bedroom piece to help bring more character into your home. You can transform it by chalk, painting it into a bright or warm color, depending on your preference.

Are you tired of staring at the same old kitchen cupboards? Then it’s time to give your kitchen an update. Shutterstock.

Give Your Kitchen a Bit of an Update

One of the most neglected rooms in a home is the kitchen. You might not believe this because people are in their kitchens every day to cook meals and take care of a few chores. But, the neglect we’re talking about is more of an update. Most people don’t look into getting new cabinets, so they have the same ones for years….well more of decades.

While there is nothing wrong with this, the cabinets start to get dirty and grimy. To change this up, you can not only clean them but also paint them a different color. For instance, look into white instead of keeping its natural wood color. You can even go a bit more green to give your kitchen a bigger edge.

Give your old rocking chair a makeover by adding a pop of color to it. Shutterstock.

Update a Rocking Chair With Pop of Color

For most people, having at least one rocking chair in their home is important, especially if you have or are about to have a baby. You want to be able to hold them while rocking them to sleep. You also want to read to them throughout the years and maybe pass down that rocking chair to them once they have children.

One of the decisions people have when it comes to rocking chairs is type and color. Usually, the design is easily chosen, but most rocking chairs fall between brown and white colors. This idea can be frustrating when you’re decorating a nursery and want the chair to be yellow, green, blue, or pink. So what can you do? Well, find the best chalk paint for the rocking chair, of course!

You might decide that you want to chalk paint almost all the furniture in your living room. Shutterstock.

Bring In Several Pieces of Furniture for Display

When most people think of chalk painting furniture, they focus on the bigger pieces. They feel that it’s best to paint an end table, headboard, or chair that they can show off to guests, but other details around your home are also essential to look at when chalk painting.

For example, you can decide to paint a series of picture frames to hang on your wall. They can go from yellow to purple to green and any other color in-between. You can also paint a table and then smaller pieces to display on that table. You can even set up a corner in your home where you showcase all your chalk painting pieces.

Most people think they can only chalk paint wood furniture, but you can also learn how to paint fabric. Shutterstock.

Don’t Forget About the Fabric

Yes, that’s right. You can chalk paint fabric just like you can wood. Chalk paint is one of the few types of paint that will work well on upholstery fabric. Of course, it is a bit different, but the general idea is the same. You want to make sure you have all the supplies, a work station, and your chosen furniture piece.

The key is that you want to choose furniture you don’t sit or lay on for an extended time because the paint will change the texture, and the more you sit, the more it will show signs of wear and tear. If you are interested in chalk painting fabric, you want to look for one of the many online tutorials.

There is more than one use for painter’s tape, such as helping you create designs when it comes to chalk painting furniture. Shutterstock.

Add a Design With Painter’s Tape

You can do more than chalk paint a piece of furniture one color. For instance, you can include a couple or several colors. You can also choose to make a design with painter’s tape. When you do this, you can create so many designs that you’re sure to create a piece that is one of a kind.

You can go to Pinterest or another website to find inspiration for your design. For example, you might make stars and a moon or create stripes with different colors. You could even design an exceptional picture that is central to your life. The combinations between colors and designs are truly endless, so it’s up to you when it comes to how far you will go on the creativity scale.

If you grew up in a farmhouse or your grandparents had a farm, this might be a perfect idea for your kitchen. Shutterstock.

Kitchen Table Gets a Farmhouse Style Makeover

Do you find that you enjoy having a more rustic or farmhouse type look in your home, even though you live in a busy city? Maybe you grew up on the farm, or you miss your grandparent’s farmhouse. You can choose furniture and chalk paint that resembles a farmhouse look – at least for your kitchen table and chairs.

Transform solid oak kitchen or dining table with a little elbow grease and much chalky paint. Get chairs that look a little older and set them around your table. Some of the best paint colors to use are darker, but white is always a good choice.

You have read a lot about chalk painting large pieces of furniture, but what about the smaller parts or even a mix of sizes? Shutterstock.

Paint Only a Small Part of the Furniture

Some pieces of furniture you might choose to paint are relatively large, such as a dresser. You might also feel that you don’t want to chalk paint the whole piece. Instead, you want to focus on specific parts or paint a design to give the piece a creative and one of a kind look. If this is the case – do it!

You can find the inspiration on Pinterest, somewhere else online, or maybe even a friend’s house. While stencils can look a bit shabby, they don’t have to be traditional or follow a specific pattern. You can get as creative as you like. You can even do something like paint stripes only of the drawers’ front part or go poke-a-dots.

Maybe you want your bed to feel a bit cozier when it comes to the color, so you choose to chalk paint. Shutterstock.

Chalk Paint Your Bed

Do you have a wooden bed frame and want to give it a new look? Maybe you’re redecorating your bedroom or guest bedroom and painting the walls a new color, and you feel that the bed is more of an eyesore than a place with comfort. If this sounds like you, it’s time to focus on chalk painting the bed.

Paint the whole frame one color or add different colors, especially if you’re completing it for your children. You can also try to match it with wall paint or wallpaper. Alternatively, you could give the bed its own color, so it pops in the room.

You can probably change a lot of furniture in your living room from chairs to coffee tables. Shutterstock.

Give Your Living Room a Fresh New Look

Do you have a coffee table sitting in your living room and looks like a boring coffee table? You feel like everyone has the same one of color in their home, and you would love to do something different to make your coffee table stand out from the standard.

In this case, you want to purchase chalk paint to make the coffee table a different color. For instance, you might only do one coat of paint, so it has a unique light and streaky look. You might also use the chippy paint technique. There are so many options that you’re bound to find something you will love.

If you’re like many other homes around the country, you have various baskets you can paint for holidays.

Remember Your Baskets

Baskets are fun to have around the home as they can be used for storage. You might keep blankets and pillows in a large decorative basket in your living room. You might use baskets to hold your umbrellas, canes, or other longer items; after all, these items don’t fit well anywhere else.

It doesn’t matter if you have a wicker or other type of basket. Why? Because you can use chalk paint on all of them. The key is to find the right tutorial to help you through the process.

Another unique style that you can incorporate into your house is dipping some furniture into chalk paint. Shutterstock.

Dipped Chalk Paint Chairs

Chances are you have a few wooden framed chairs in your home, especially around your kitchen table. These chairs are usually useful because they can quickly be brought to one room or for extra seating. However, they also tend to have one problem: they are boring as they all look the same.

You want your kitchen chairs to stand out. You want your guests and family to notice your chairs. Other than painting the whole chair, you can also dip it in chalk paint. It’s a pretty straightforward process that includes wiping a bit of the dripping paint or brushing it up a bit and then letting the chair dry in the work station.


“How to Chalk Paint Furniture – Our Best Tips.” Jenn and Vicki, Two Bees in a Pod.

“15 Chalk Paint Furniture Ideas.” Lauren Thomann, The Spruce. May 2020

“40 Chalk Paint Furniture Ideas | Creative DIY Home Decor.” DIY Joy.

“21 Brilliant but Simple Chalk Paint Furniture Ideas.” Russ Thompson, The Saw Guy.