Ever wondered how to chalk paint furniture? Follow these easy tips to get started along with lots of inspiration from my home.
Do you love decorating your home with painted or refinished pieces like me?!
Thrift stores, garage sales, and Facebook Marketplace are all wonderful resources for finding wood furniture pieces on the cheap to save money while creating a cozy personalized space! The key is you have to see an item beyond what it looks like now and kind of envision its potential!
Here are some tips on making over furniture with chalk paint, as well as some of my favorite thrift store painted pieces in my home for inspiration!
Thrifting is the best and so much fun to see what kind of treasures you can find!
I happen to enjoy thrifting, garage sales, flea markets, auctions, designer discounts, and anything related. We have owned quite a few pieces of 2nd hand furniture that I have refinished or painted myself. I have even found perfectly great furniture left out for bulk trash to makeover and save from the landfill!
I love the idea of giving new life to secondhand finds, as well as saving items from being thrown out! Plus, in many cases, older vintage furniture can be so much more well made than new pieces.
I typically use chalk paint to refinish wood furniture pieces because it’s so easy to use!
Water-based chalk paint with furniture wax on top is my go-to method because it’s simple to accomplish, has a matte finish, less sanding involved, and is very forgiving. If you are new to painting furniture, this is the way to go! I also love that there is no need to use a separate primer coat when using chalk paint!
What chalk paint do I use?
As far as brands, I am not really brand loyal and have used pricier Annie Sloan chalk paint from local boutique stores and I have also used Rustoleum chalk paint. My teammate Sara loves Rustoleum as her favorite option for chalk paint! She has used it numerous times and gets great results. I have also made my own chalk paint!
Turns out that mixing up your own chalk paint at home is EASY!
I have made my own chalk paint to use on furniture a few times using this DIY chalk paint recipe from HomeDepot.com. Mix 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris with 1/3 cup of room temperature water and about 1 cup of paint in a jar with a lid. You can even hang onto the leftovers and continue to use it!
If you’re like me and have house paint leftover house paint in the garage and have Plaster of Paris on hand, it makes for a great zero-cost chalk paint furniture makeover! The DIY chalk finish paint honestly does a great job at refinishing furniture.
Steps to apply DIY chalk paint to furniture:
Prep your piece of furniture by giving it a good cleaning. Remove any stickers or gunk, and let it dry.
Apply the first coat of paint with a paintbrush and let it dry. Make sure to use a light, even coat.
Apply the 2nd coat of paint and also let that dry completely.
If you are distressing your project at all, use a piece of fine grit sandpaper to sand any distress marks. This is optional according to the desired result.
Apply a clear furniture wax using a dry paintbrush or cotton rag. Let that soak in and dry. This will help protect the finish on your piece of furniture for a lasting finish.
Let’s talk about my latest Goodwill find that I made over into a piece of chalk paint furniture!
Look how cute this wine cabinet is with the bottle and wine storage. It was just under $12 after using my local Goodwill coupon, and similar ones online are priced at around $130. It honestly was in good shape after a nice cleaning, and I could have left it as is, but ultimately decided to paint it white so it’s fit in better with my decor.
Here are some other thrift store chalk paint furniture pieces that I have refinished in my home for inspo as well as an awesome before/after from my talented teammate Sara!
1. Oval shaped farmhouse style kitchen table
I paid just $50 dollars for my kitchen table at my local Humane Society thrift store seven years ago and it’s been the ultimate workhorse. It’s the perfect size for in here and I don’t mind that it may show wear and tear, as it has been through many meals, craft projects, and has had a long life!
It’s been repainted a couple of times and I still just love the shape of the legs.
2. Scrolly Vintage Coffee Table
I love little simple furniture makeovers that can have a big impact or become a fun focal piece! The vintage table (pictured above) was a thrift store find and was one of my favorite painted furniture projects EVER! It has a couple of coats of chalk paint followed by dark furniture wax to highlight the scrolly features.
I actually had this coffee table for many years and then eventually resold it for someone else to enjoy. It was hard to part with, but we were just ready for a change.
3. Tall White and Gold Wall Mirror
I was drawn to the shape of this $10 mirror at a local Salvation Army thrift store over 10 years ago and still love it! The wood portion of the mirror is painted is with white chalk paint, then clear furniture wax. Lastly, I went over some of the details with gold gilding wax.
4. Magazine Holder Side Table
I found this little side table at a thrift store for just $20 and I thought it has so much character and is super functional with shelves and room for magazines and books. I painted it with white chalk paint, added some stripes on the top, and have been using it for the last eight years! A cactus-shaped drawer knob was added as a playful detail.
This little table is scuffed up and has been through a couple of moves, but for the most part, it has held up great!
5. Vintage Dresser turned Console Table
This amazing vintage dresser was actually my grandparents! Even though it’s an existing piece, I have seen dressers like these on FB Marketplace and secondhand stores. I left the top and drawers as natural wood and painted the hardware and outsides with white chalk paint. It looks so beautiful in my space, and I’ve enjoyed it for many years.
I am so happy to be able to use it in my home as this dresser has so much meaning for me. In fact, when I removed the drawers to paint it a couple of pieces of paper fell out. It was my high school graduation announcement from over 20 years ago I had sent my grandparents and my daughter’s birth announcement. I took that as a beautiful sign and hello from them as they had a large family, so what are the chances?!
6. Blue and Cream Hutch
This hutch was a very dark brown and actually not a thrift store find, but was one of our first furniture purchases as a new married couple. I loved the shape and everything about it, but lightened it up using cream and light blue Annie Sloan chalk paint and clear wax.
The finish has lasted many years, and my hutch is one of my favorites in our home!
Looking for a wood hutch to refinish? You can often find people getting rid of wood hutches on Facebook Marketplace as well as at thrift stores and garage sales. Painting them according to your style is an excellent way to update them!
7. Sara’s Pink Dresser
How adorable is this dresser that my talented teammate Sara just painted for her daughter’s room?! It’s a 25-year-old dresser that now looks so fresh and perfect for a little girl.
Here’s what Sara says about using Rustoleum chalk paint:
“I’m a little obsessed with Rustoleum chalk paint ever since I discovered it. I love it because it’s quick-drying and can be used on multiple types of surfaces with little to no effort on your end.
The most recent project I did was with my daughter’s dresser. It was an old family piece in pretty rough shape, I only lightly sanded the top to get grime off, painted two coats, swapped hardware, and in less than 24 hours we had a totally brand new dresser! If you’ve never tried chalk paint you have got to try it out – it’s totally game-changing!”
More chalk paint furniture thrift store makeover tips:
Buy as low as possible to ensure you are getting a good deal compared to new furniture! Go to thrift stores on half off days, and don’t be afraid to offer a bit less at garage sales or at flea markets. Maybe you already have a piece of furniture on hand that you’d like to freshen up!
Make sure the piece you are buying is sturdy and well made. If you’re just getting started opt for furniture that doesn’t need a ton of work or broken pieces.
Pick furniture with character and ones that would look great with a simple paint or stain refresh. Starting with smaller pieces like coffee tables and end tables are great beginner furniture projects. I love pieces that are full of interest, have unique shapes, or feature pretty wood details that would look great made-over.
Painting and refinishing supplies can add up, so keep that in mind when starting this hobby. It may be more of an upfront investment for supplies and brushes, but you can take care of them and reuse them lots of times. We are always doing home improvement projects so I tend to always have extra sandpaper, leftover paint, and brushes laying around.
What about the idea of casually flipping thrift store finds after a fresh coat of chalk paint for a profit?
If you’re looking for a side hustle, consider flipping inexpensive thrift finds locally in your community as a fun and creative way to earn a few bucks on the side. You can list your painted furniture via apps like Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, and NextDoor.
Let us know if you’ve done this before, and if you have tips!