Easy Furniture Makeover Anyone Can Do

Have you found a piece of furniture that you love at a flea market or on Facebook but something about it is just not right? If that something is the color, keep reading. Even if you’ve never painted a piece of furniture before you can do it with no prep.

finished hutch project

Flea markets and Facebook have some incredible furniture at bargain prices. I find myself looking at Facebook daily to see if the perfect “fill in the blank” has been listed. You know when you have a vague idea of a piece of furniture you want, but you can’t find it (or afford the ones you can find)?

After searching for a few weeks on and off I found the perfect size and shape hutch, just the wrong color. I’m no expert at painting furniture, but here’s the transformation and YOU CAN do it it too.


I’ll give you the details below, but here’s my tip. You can paint furniture with only one coat of paint, no sanding and no prep.

Materials Needed

The materials you need to paint almost any kind of furniture (excluding lacquered pieces) are the following:

  • Chalk paint – They sell “chalk paint” at Home Depot, Lowes and Amazon. You can also find it at antique stores. I had Annie Sloan’s Graphite (the original creator of chalk paint) left over from another project. You can get a similar paint for half as much on Amazon Rust-Oleum. The charcoal color will give you the same black finish with the right wax.
  • Short cut brush – This is a paint brush with a short handle, which just makes painting in short strokes easier. You can use any type of paint brush that you like, but this one tends to make my hand less tired.
  • Finishing wax – If you are painting a dark color or you want an antiqued finish on a light color, get dark wax. If you are doing anything larger than a night stand, get more than you think you will use.
  • Wax brush – I have applied wax with both a cloth and a brush and the brush is faster and easier.
  • Cloth – You’ll need two of these. One to clean the furniture and one to buff off the excess wax.

three Steps to makeover Furniture using chalked paint

The beauty of this project is the simplicity. It doesn’t take hours of sanding and painting. It can literally be done in a half a day (excluding drying times).

step 1 – clean thoroughly

Before you start painting a piece of furniture that you probably bought used, wipe it down. Old furniture can have many nasty things that you don’t want to paint on. Anything from grease to cobwebs.

Before you paint a piece of furniture clean it. You don’t have to worry about stripping the paint. I like to clean with just hot soapy water (in case there is grease). You can also use Krud Kutter, which is made for wood surfaces that you are about to paint.

Step 2 – paint one coat with chalked paint

Be sure to shake and stir the paint before you start painting. If you want to get away with one coat, you can’t be skimpy with the paint. You have to get every last spot. If you are using graphite or charcoal color to get a black finish the paint will look very flat. You will think it looks terrible at first.

The top left corner of this photo shows how flat the color was before I applied the wax.

First coat of chalk paint

To apply the paint, I don’t use any special technique. The inventor of Annie Sloan® chalk paint has a great video showing her technique for painting. It’s pretty crazy, but it works.

Let the paint dry before moving on.

Step 3 – Apply the wax

This step is where the magic happens. The first time I painted a piece of furniture with chalk paint I thought that I would skip the wax. I’ve painted other furniture with latex paint and there was no need to apply wax.

WAX IS A MUST with chalk paint. When you finish painting your furniture with chalk paint you are probably going to think, as I did, that it looks terrible. Truth be told, it does.

I don’t know how or why but the wax is almost as important as the paint. It makes the paint look much richer and less flat. The instructions for applying the wax on the Annie Sloan® web site tell you to apply clear wax first and then the dark wax. I didn’t do that, mostly because I didn’t read those instructions.

You might also be thinking that you don’t want the feel of the wax on your furniture. The wax cures and becomes hard. It does not stay waxy.

I’ve tried applying the wax with a cloth and a brush and the brush is much faster. I didn’t buy the super expensive brushes (sold by the paint manufacturer). I bought a cheaper chalk paint brush on Amazon.

step 4 – optional Wallpaper

As I was in the process of painting my hutch I came across so many photos of hutches where the back was covered in fabric or wallpaper. I’ve never tried wallpaper but I decided to order some from Spoonflower.

Honest confession, I hired a helper to help me apply the wallpaper. The instructions said it was a two man project (and my husband is not into DIY). I bought the kind that is removable because I figured it would be easy to fix mistakes.

If you look closely you can see the bubbles. Definitely not perfection. Every time I pushed a bubble one way, a new one popped up somewhere else. BUT after a few days, the air bubbles went away on their own.

My motto with furniture projects (and often life in general) is that done is better than perfect. Once I get dishes into the cabinet, any bubbles won’t be visible.

Finished furniture makeover

If you have a furniture project you have been wanting to try, follow these three steps. The trick is to keep going until you get all the way through the third step before you judge the finished product. Keep in mind that all of the flaws you might see will probably be invisible to everyone else. Enjoy your “new” made over furniture.

For more tips on painting with chalked paint for beginners click here.

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  1. I love the black and the wallpaper is amazing! Looks so great together! I’m excited to share it tomorrow in my Saturday series, “From My Neck of the Woods.”

  2. Thanks for linking up to the Happiness is Homemade Link Party. Hope to see you again next week. I’ll be featuring you on Sunday!

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