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5 Tips to Transform Your Furniture With Chalk Paint

If you are like me, you would love to have a revamp of our surroundings but your budget is restricting your interior design ambitions. But if you have some good furniture as a base, then you may be able to achieve your new look on a relatively small budget.

Luckily, I had previously made the choice (many, many years ago) to buy the IVAR system of furniture from IKEA (still available here). This is a great, versatile modular  system as not only is it a classic untreated wood finish, but it has also lasted – outlasted many other items that have come and gone and broken. But after more years than I would care to mention, it was starting to look a bit tired. What to do? My budget was extremely limited, so new stuff (even second-hand) was not an option, and the units were still good, they just needed a new lease of life.

img_2019This was where Annie Sloan Chalk Paint came to the rescue. For one large tin of paint and a tin of clear wax I took my tired, old furniture and transformed it into amazing new pieces in a great neutral grey.What was even better, was how easy it was to do. The beauty of this paint is that it doesn’t require hours of rubbing down the furniture or preparation – it’s as simple as dipping your paintbrush in the can and getting to work on your set of drawers. After the paint has dried – and that is another bonus of this paint, it is touch dry within seconds if you spread your layers thinly and evenly – you apply the furniture wax with a cloth, and your done: fabulous, revamped furniture!

It really is that easy, however, as with anything, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to get the best finish.

  1. Use a good brush: The instructions on the paint state that you should paint in random directions – counter-intuitive to someone whose parents emphasised the ‘paint in one direction’ ethos for the perfect finish – but it helps you get into all the areas of the item you’re painting and doesn’t effect the look once dry as long as you have an even distribution. There is a brush that is sold with the paint, which is a great brush, however, as long as you have a decent clean paintbrush you will get a good finish.
  2. Two thin coats are better than one thick: As already stated, the paint dries super quick, but it needs to be applied evenly. Adding a small amount of water can help to loosen the paint if you find it too thick to work with, however, use in moderation – too much water and you can dilute the paint and leave drip marks.
  3. Get into all the right areas: This one is so important for a great finish, especially if you have a modular unit, like mine, that can be taken apart. Be conscious of all the areas that will be on show and ensure these are painted as well as the obvious areas. The last thing you want is to put in all that hard work, put your pieces back together and find a small sliver of unpainted wood staring back at you – despite my vigilance, this did happen to me and resulted in having to take several of the shelves back out to touch up.
  4. Be aware of the mechanisms of your furniture: With the previous point in mind, also be aware of the mechanisms in place on your furniture. This is especially relevant with any moving parts, like drawers and doors – will a layer of paint effect their movement in any way? You may want to remove any metal fixings, like hinges and drawer runners, and replace after painting, and avoid paining any wooden grove style drawers – it will have an impact on their movement.
  5. Don’t scrimp on the wax: After you’ve spent so much time carefully painting your pieces you may be desperate to get it back in place, however, resist this urge and take your time with the waxing process. The furniture wax is your final stage and it fixes the paint in place. Pay particular attention to any areas that will be heavily trafficked: shelving tops, drawer handles, door handles, etc.  This will pay off in the long term and give a longer life to your beautifully painted pieces.

img_2022 img_2024I was so pleased with the results of my furniture. I went with a plain block look to the colour, but with this type of paint there are so many possibilities and things that you can try. For some other looks, tips, and inspiration check out the Annie Sloan website.

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