Back to Basics Series: Chalk Painting Furniture 101

Today, I want to share with you tips and tricks for chalk painting furniture with a bit of help from the fabulous ladies of the Back to Basics Series.

If you’ve missed any of our previous posts you can learn How to Style a Coffee Table here, Tips for Organizing here, Easy Tablescape Ideas here, Fall Picnic and Tailgating Ideas here, How to Create a Simple Flower Arrangement here, Appetizers and Treats at the Ready Recipes here and most recently, How to Style a Mantel here.

I’ve been painting furniture for a while now and the power of paint never ceases to amaze me. I’ve seen firsthand how paint can transform a piece of furniture once cast aside by others into something that has loving been returned to a state of beauty. It literally warms my heart every. single. time.

This piece came into my possession late last year after my mom found what she thought would be a great desk for my office. The lines where exactly what we were looking for and I was excited when she delivered this orange sofa table, sure, my search for a new desk was over. The only problem was that it was 3 inches too short which was a total bummer to say the least.

A few months later, we decided to make some big changes to several pieces of furniture at Bliss Barracks and Loblolly Manor (think furniture fruit basket turnover). During that time, we realized the sofa table would actually make a great folding station in the laundry room at Bliss Barracks. The current folding station which you can read all about here will be headed to one of the bedrooms at Loblolly Manor.

After much discussion, my mom ultimately chose to paint the sofa table with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey and so I set out to transform this orange beast into the folding station of her dreams. Here’s a look at all the details and the step by step guide, we use on almost every piece of painted furniture we complete…

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Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey


Clear Furniture Paste Wax

or Matte Polycrylic

to seal

Orbital Sander

Sandpaper with Varying Grits (we used grit-80, grit-120 and grit-220)

Shop Vac


Cup of Water

Lint Free Cloth

Wax brush or brush to apply polycrylic


Safety Goggles


Before you start any project like this one, make sure you’ve protected your head with protective eyewear and a respirator as well as protected your body with protective clothing especially if you are sanding.

If you’re painting a piece of furniture that has shine to it, you’ll want to use a sander to take away the shine and give your piece of furniture some tooth. This piece didn’t have a shine to it but we wanted to highlight the woodgrain on the top of the folding station so we sanded off all of the orange stain.

Using a graduated system of sandpaper (we used grits 80-220) will help you smooth out those squiggle-y lines that sometimes accompany an orbital sander finish. It will also provide a better quality foundation for the chalk paint to adhere.

Once you have finished sanding, use a tack cloth or a slightly damp cloth to wipe away any dust or debris from your sanding session so it doesn’t get in your paint or your paintbrush.

Carefully, remove any hardware on the drawer if possible. Then place pulls and screws in a small bowl or bag so you can keep of the hardware together.

Take out all the drawers and use a shop vac to clean up any dust or debris that may have gotten in between the drawers.

Place a drop cloth, tarp or thick towel under the area you are painting to protect the surfaces from paint and dust. I usually use a painters tarp but it was underneath a hutch that was drying. Thick towels will work in a pinch though just make sure paint cannot seep through to your work area.

Make sure your paint (we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey) has been well mixed prior to painting.

I almost always start with a wet brush technique meaning I dip the paintbrush into a cup of water then blot the excess water off on a lint free cloth before dipping the paintbrush into the paint.

It is better to paint multiple thin coats than one coat that is too thick, so take your time.

I did 3 thin coats of paint on this folding station table allowing plenty of time to dry between coats of paint. This is after one coat of paint…

and this is after three thin coats.

Lightly sand if you want your piece to have a distressed and/or worn with time feel.

Allow your piece of furniture to dry completely before sealing with your favorite matte polyacrylic or a clear furniture paste wax. Don’t forget to buff your piece of furniture with a lint free cloth if you choose to apply furniture paste wax.

Once your piece of furniture has had time to dry or has been waxed and buffed, reattach the drawer hardware. I used a little bit of Rub N Buff in Antique Gold on these.

I’m set to deliver this sofa table turned laundry room folding station some time next week so until then, I set up a few staples from our own laundry room in our entry for the sake of this post.

We use these glass jars for laundry soap, clothespins and dryer sheets. It really makes everything so handy!

We also use this laundry caddy quite a bit to help keep other laundry supplies organized.

My mom and I picked up these vintage linens at an outdoor extravanagaza last month. We thought they were table linens but soon realized they were actually sheets. We had a lot of great advice on how to treat vintage linens from our friends on Instagram.

Here’s one more look at the table before…

and after…

It’s bananas, right? I hope these tips have helped!

Just remember if you’re new to painting you don’t have to start out with a big piece of furniture. You can always paint a sign, a side table, or even a chair until you feel comfortable enough to paint with confidence.

Be sure to check out what these fabulous ladies have painted too!

See you guys back here tomorrow! I’ll share another room makeover from, The Horse Farm Project. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Wow – what a beautiful transformation! No one would ever know that this was the same table. Great tips, advice and more importantly fabulous makeover. Your mom will be so happy!

    1. I really appreciate it ladies, thank you! I swear painting furniture makes such a huge difference for a small mount of money. It never ceases to amaze me at the transformation. Big hugs, CoCo

  2. This is such a great piece, it looks so much better with the new finish you put on it!

    1. ha ha thank you Roxanne. At first I was like, “Wow look at all that orange stain!” It was kind of bananas but they’re happy with it so I’m excited it all worked out. Sending you big hugs lady, CoCo

  3. This piece turned out amazing! I love all the tips you shared for using chalk paint too!!! Thank yoU!

    1. I appreciate you, Lindsay, thank you so much! Hugs, CoCo

  4. It looks beautiful! I haven’t really played around with chalk paint but I’m feeling like I need to jump on this train!

    1. It’s definitely easy to use, Amanda, I really think you’ll like it. Hope you’re having the best day, CoCo

  5. I love your tips on keeping your coats thin. I do think I tend to coat it on too thick! It looks so pretty with the wood grain showing on the top. What a great piece!

    1. I really appreciate it, Amy, thank you so much! Hugs, CoCo

  6. Laura Harrie says:

    The laundry table turned out great! Your mom got a beautiful piece. Thanks for the great tips on using chalk paint. Three thin coats, got it!

    1. I appreciate it so much, Laura, thank you! I try to keep the paint consistency closer to crepe batter than pancake batter when I’m working with chalk paint. It’s so much easier to add another thin coat than to have to sand it all down and start over 🙂 Can’t wait to see the projects you have coming up. Hugs, CoCo

  7. This turned out beautifully CoCo. Thanks for all the great tips and how to’s. I haven’t used Annie Sloan chalk paint but really want to try it soon. The gray is beautiful

    1. I appreciate it so much, bonbon, your farmhouse inspires me all the time! hope your weekend was fabulous and you have the best week, CoCo

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