Dresser Makeover with Chalk Paint- Beginners Guide

dresser makeover with chalk paint. Beginners Guide

The beginners guide to using chalk paint. What you need to know before painting old furniture. 

We all have those certain pieces of furniture that have just followed us into adulthood. The ones that work just fine, but man, would you love an update. 

An update that comes with a good solid piece of furniture, without the high price tag. So instead you decide to paint what you have! Because we’re practical, but we also like nice things. 


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Dresser makeover with chalk paint. Beginners guide

The truth is that they just don’t make things like they use to. Looking around for a new dresser when our daughters dresser fell apart, it was amazing the high price tag new furniture pieces had.

The quality just wasn’t the same. In a few years it would fall apart. After searching a few thrift stores we found an old, solid, perfect dresser. One that would grow with her and last a long time. 

But she wasn’t the only one in need of bedroom furniture. Need is definitely a stretch. We’re working on our own get out of debt journey, so there is a huge difference between want and need. 

Dresser makeover with Chalk style Paint- Beginners guide

The first piece of furniture we wanted to update was my husbands dresser that he had as a kid and his parents had before he was born. Now that’s the type of furniture I want in my house. 

This dresser has history and the fact that it’s at least 35 years old, means it will last another 10 if we’re good to it. 

Chalk Paint Prep

One of the reasons chalk paint is so popular is because it requires little to no prep.  I’ve see makeovers with gloss finishes that come out beautifully! For older, more loved furniture the nicks and gouges can elevate that vintage farmhouse look that you might be looking for. 

But when it comes to peeling paint you’re going to want to lightly sand those areas. 

Now I say chalk style paint because the chalk paint brand was invented by Annie Sloan although there are many others who have made a chalk style paint. 

Since we have a darker wall behind the dresser we wanted to go with a farmhouse white. Even though it says little to no prep, you can see that we have a redish tint, lots of wear, stains and drink rings at the top. 

Being new to chalk paint, we weren’t willing to have color or drink stains showing though. 

Remove hardware-Lightly Sand

Doing this project on a budget, we decided to use the same hardware but to spray paint it espresso for a contrasted look. We also did a little bit more than a light sand on top to really make sure those stains were gone. 

Spray painting insides of the drawers espresso

We didn’t want to leave the insides of the drawers unfinished. As fine as it would have been, we thought it would be nice to have a dark espresso color for the inside, sides of the drawers, for the drawer pulls and for the top as well. (The top being a last minute decision)

Painting with Chalk style Paint

For this project we used Kilz Chalk Style paint. Apply your first coat of paint using long even strokes, remembering to paint with the wood grain. This first coat will show your brush strokes. Let the paint dry and apply your second coat. 

With the second coat you’ll begin to see the brush stokes disappear and once it has dried you’ll be left with that nice chalky finish. 

Distressing your Project

If you’re looking for an antique weathered look, you can begin to lightly sand over parts of your project. When distressing try to go for areas that would naturally become more worn. Around the edges, on the corners and knobs. 

Wax/Protective topcoat

Before the project is finished you’re going to want to do a wax or protective topcoat. You can find several different kinds of waxes that go from clear, light or dark in color. All of which protect and enhance the color, the ones with tint giving a more unique look. 

For this project we decided to go with Rust-Oleum Chalked protective topcoat. Which comes in a spray can and gives it a matt finish. 

For the wax you’ll want to wax on using one cloth, and wipe off the excess with another. 

The DIY Finished Project

This was the perfect project to get our feet wet using chalk paint. This solid piece of furniture just needed a little makeover to give our bedroom a more grown up farmhouse vibe. 

Painting the top, knobs and insides of the drawers a contrasting expresso color put it over the top for us, and we are in love with the direction our bedroom is going. 

Giving new life to the things you already have. It’s DIY on a dime! 

Best Wishes,
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