Chalk paint can revive antiques

By Merola Tahamtan
Design Time

Not everyone is a fan of antique pieces of furniture and the look of gloomy wood in a room. But many of these antiques offer great lines and are built very well — much better than much of the furniture bought today. As a lover of antiques, it’s hard to see the low prices that antique furniture is being sold for. It’s excellent for clients looking for the painted furniture look.

Painting furniture can drastically change the appearance and bring it into today’s décor. Depending on the piece, even keeping the original hardware can look fantastic on painted furniture.

Painting furniture can be no fun, all the prep work involved before you get to see results and apply a brush to the furniture. There is a great product out there that eliminates the need for sanding, stripping and priming.

Chalk paint requires little to no prep work. You don’t need to strip anything off your furniture which includes old paint or old finishes.  Dirty or greasy surfaces must be cleaned. Simple soapy water is the best option. Don’t use furniture wax to clean it. The wax component of most furniture polishes does not mix well with chalk paint. Unlike latex paint, chalk paint is specially formulated to stick to your painting surface.

While painting with chalk paint, you don’t have to be careful to get all your brush strokes going in the same direction; you don’t have to make sure that coverage is even.

If you’re looking for a distressed look, use a fine-grit sandpaper. The rougher the sandpaper, the deeper the groves created in the furniture. You’re trying to sand to the finish beneath that layer of paint. Where and how much paint you sand off is strictly a personal preference.  If by mistake you sand too much off, you can always go back and paint another coat of paint.

Dampen a rag and run the rag all over the furniture to pick up any dust that you generated with the sandpaper.

Applying chalk paint is a two-step process. Chalk paint lacks a sealer that most paint has, and therefore requires a wax to seal the colour and keep water or other debris from getting in the finish.  Make sure the paint is completely dry first. The wax application is available in clear or dark.

You need to use a separate brush for applying the wax. These brushes usually have a slightly rounded tip and are a bit heavier in the handle.

Apply the wax generously in small sections at a time. Use the rag to wipe any excess as you go.

The clear wax will go on transparent where the dark wax darkens the colour and makes the piece of furniture seem more aged. Each wax needs its own brush and cannot be reused for another wax stain or paint.

For furniture that will be heavily used, the setting time for the wax is two to three weeks.

Chalk paint is popular for furniture, but it also works on cabinets, walls and even floors. Using decorative paint to refinish kitchen cabinets is gaining popularity who want a new look without the expense.

Chalk paint is great for DIY projects and is popular for turning furniture shabby chic, and creating looks of antique, contemporary and distressed.

Merola Tahamtan is an Interior Stylist in Home & Business Design, Home Staging, Painting, Colour Consultation, Organization and Window Treatments.  You can reach her at 613-561-0244 or

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