Furnishing your home can be expensive. When I started my journey in painting furniture last year I had no idea where it would take me. I hoped to furnish my home and maybe even sell a few pieces (if I really liked refinishing). A friend of mine told me how easy it would be to make homemade chalky finish paint on just about anything. Since then I’ve painted my kitchen cabinets, built in shelves, dressers, tables and much much more. To say I liked it would be an understatement! This chalky finish painted coffee table is my favorite so far!
I haven’t loved every piece that I’ve painted. And over the past year I’ve become more selective on the pieces I pick up and the paint colors I choose. I’ve become emotionally attached to each piece and I’ve only sold one table to date. I can already tell I am going to be really attached to this one. I’m not talking to it…yet. But I do love setting up flowers, magazines and other decorations to put on it. I love walking into our living room and seeing it. “Why hello there” I think to myself. At least I am not talking to it out loud!
During the winter I tend to collect furniture. It is tucked into every possible place in our home because I don’t have the means to paint in the winter…yet. I hope to get a heater for our garage by next winter. Chalk painted furniture can be painted in colder weather but who wants to be outside in it? Not I! For me, painting furniture is an escape. Painting furniture allows me to break away from the computer and step outside to enjoy the sunlight. Our backyard has been perfect for this. The boys are able to run around with little to get hurt on. I can tell they are excited I am away from the desk too.
I’m a huge fan of color and being able to make my own chalky finish paint has saved me money and allowed me to use whatever color I wanted. Of course choosing a color is hard and once you get more furniture you have to be really careful with color! I decided to bring more neutral colors into the house and I started with this coffee table.
This coffee table has been beloved in our home. I picked it up from a thrift store one weekend for $7. Immediately my two year old decided it was a road and began lining up his trucks and cars on it. He runs around the table driving his cars and often hands me a car to play too. He uses the table for hiding when we play hide and seek. And recently he has discovered climbing on top to stand taller and screaming at the top of his lungs king of the jungle style.
I was really worried about preserving the top. There’s a fun design and I wanted to highlight it. Originally I thought about painting the four squares a different color but refrained because I was determined to remain neutral! There are some pretty deep scratches on it too and I wondered about sanding them out. As deep as they were I knew I would have to use wood filler (I hate wood filler). In the end I decided to call them marks of character and roll with it.
When I decide to start I project I don’t tell anyone. I sneak outside with the piece and go to work. I don’t mean to keep it a secret I just get so focused! The boys and I head outside and get started. I’ve gotten in trouble though. I am not allowed to move furniture up or down stairs by myself anymore. When I was moving this
beast beauty back inside I accidently hit the garage door opener and thought I was busted!
Let’s get started on the details of this painted coffee table:
- The paint color: Pot of Cream by Behr (I only use Behr these days) sample size in flat.
- The chalky finish paint recipe: I use the recipe on the Lowe’s blog. You can find it here. I’ve used several recipes and really love this one the best. For the recipe you will need a container to mix your paint in (I use old sour cream or butter containers) and plaster of paris.
- Other materials: Shop towels (the blue disposable ones, a spray bottle of water and 2 Tbsp bleach, sponge brushes (I would recommend getting a few of the cheap regular brushes and Home Depot too), sand paper (220 grit), stain (dark walnut), and Minwax Finishing Paste.
- Make sure your piece is clean. We had a few snacks that were left behind on the surface. Then spray the entire piece with the water and bleach mixture. Wipe off the excess and let dry.
- While your piece is drying mix your chalky finish paint recipe.
- Start painting your furniture. Let each coat dry before starting the next coat. This doesn’t take too long, typically by the time I am done with the first coat I can go back to the first area I started painting. Lighter colors need more coats, I think I did 4 coats here and used all of my paint. That means paint cost me about $3!
- Once you’ve painted and the last layer is dry you can sand. The surface of chalky finish paint is rough and a light sanding (220 grit) will make the surface smooth again. You can do very little sanding or you can distress the piece by sanding down to the original surface in places. I like to do this in places that would naturally be worn down first (edges).
- Brush/dust off the sanded paint.
- Apply stain generously using a foam brush and wipe off excess with a shop towel. The original color will now have a rich look to it. (The next step will allow more of the original color to show through)
- Allow the stain to dry overnight. The next day apply the finishing paste (I use shop towels for this too). As you apply the paste more of the stain will lift and you will begin to see more of the original color. The sanded areas and any knicks will remain dark. As you are applying the stain still be careful of the direction you wife off the excess stain.
- Wait 15 minutes and buff all surfaces.
You should also check out my post: 7 Ways to Decorate your Home on a Budget!
Do you have a piece of furniture you’ve been dying to paint but don’t know how? Are you worried it’s going to be too much work? Do you have questions on how to get started, what you will need, and if it’s even worth the work?
Your Guide to Painting Furniture will take you through the process of finding furniture, making your own chalky finish paint, and how to use paint your furniture. Plus my tips on protecting your painted furniture, basic repairs, and tips for picking out paint colors!