Mackenzie is a professional writer and graphic designer. Merging concise messaging with topics in design, food, and lifestyle, she has written and designed online seminars, branding and social media content, as well as written how-to guides in a variety of fields.
Chalk paint is a decorative paint with a matte finish whose formula is especially well-suited for creating a rustic, distressed texture and can be used on a variety of surfaces like wood, plaster, metal, glass, concrete, and tile.
It has several advantages over typical paints, including the fact that little to no prep-work is required before application — just double check that your surface is clean and you’re ready to go.
It was originally developed by Annie Sloan, whose namesake company has a bevy of chalk paint colors, finishes, and brushes to choose from. Although her products are top-shelf, they’re also top-dollar, so if you’re interested, there are other options on the market today.
When it comes to chalk paint furniture ideas, there’s a world of possibilities and these are some of our favorites.
Color blocking is a paint trend that juxtaposes colored shapes to create a unique yet understated look on anything from wall art to furniture. This beautiful cabinet by Elizabeth Dot Design is a perfect example of how a simple block of color can totally transform your furniture. To ensure that your design looks professional, use a painter’s tape that’s flexible enough to bend with your desired shape.
From gaseous planets, puddles of gasoline, to ripples in our ice cream, the human eye likes swirls. Though did you know you can recreate whimsical, marbled furniture with just chalk paint and water? In comparison to other chalk paint furniture ideas, this technique surely takes a bit of finesse, so before investing in a more expensive can of chalk paint, it may be wise to use a cheaper one on a few practice runs.
Like an old pair of jeans, applying an antique wash on a piece of furniture gives it a lived-in look that creates a sense of familiarity and comfort in your space. The trick here is not to go overboard with distressing it — using a light touch will make your finish look more believable. For a farmhouse look, accent your finished piece with a bouquet of hydrangeas, antique pitcher, or pair of Mason jar candles.
Modern artists like Keith Haring are famous for their lively use of shape and color, but expressive forms have been used since antiquity (traditional Australian Aboriginal art is a great example). You can create a similar effect as artist Jeanie Simpson did with this chalk paint patterned cupboard and this floor lamp. It’s surely offbeat, but it’s right in-tune for those with an artistic bent.
Art Deco should be bold, never tacky, and this side table achieves just that. It features several elements integral to the style, including a geometric pattern, gold touches, and a font that can only be described as “Art Deco”. Complement your finished piece with funky seating and graphic black and white accents.
Some chalk paint furniture ideas look smooth and refined, but a chipped chalk paint finds perfection in the imperfections. It looks lovely alongside second-hand finds and eclectic décor, so take a stroll through antique stores and oddity shops to complete your design. If your furniture has handles or knobs, use this as an opportunity to impart your signature style. Think carved silver, embossed rings, or even quartz.
Much like how an artist uses multiple colors to create depth and texture on their canvas, so too can you with your DIY layered chalk paint furniture. Using this technique, you can take your aesthetic in several directions. For example, you could create a contrasting color palette for a more abstract look, or opt for one that feels natural, emulating materials like oxidized bronze or rusted copper.
Painting an ombré finish imparts your furniture with a refined, modern feel and what’s more, it actually involves less work since a section of it is left unfinished. Although many chalk paint furniture ideas don’t require you to consider the finish of your wood, you’ll want to do so before using this technique. For example, if you’re working with a wood that has red undertones, choose paints that will complement it or strip the stain and start over.
A freestanding bathtub is charming, but a chalk painted one is alluring. After you’ve applied your color, make sure you finish it with a polyurethane sealant to prevent your chalk paint from wearing or running when exposed to water and humidity. Create a relaxing atmosphere by surrounding your bathtub with tall candle holders, hanging plants, or a plush bath mat.
In the industrial design world, the chair is one of the most timeless expressions of style so it’s a bit confusing that so many are banal or otherwise lacking. Enter the graphic arts chair, which uses chalk paint to liven things up. To get inspired, browse resources like Bēhance for artists whose work you admire and then transmit their style on your piece.
Many chalk paint furniture ideas are lovely examples of marrying the old with the new. Take this old sewing machine, which with its bright blue hue and tarnished details looks more like it should be in a modern art museum. The novelty of this concept means that you can go with louder colors than you would normally, so have fun and experiment.
Almost every culture has a unique geometric pattern — just think of Islamic art, Navajo rugs, and Kente cloth textiles. As a result, you can easily take the look of your furniture global, all you need to know is what geometric style you want to emulate. Of course, you can use a premade stencil, but you can also make your own if you’d like. To complete the rest of your design, incorporate elements from the geography, climate, and other artistic traditions of the culture whose aesthetic you’re drawn to.