Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand Destined for the Curb

Posted by: on January 1st, 2014 | 26 Comments
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Gold striped vase atop a nightstand repainted with chalky paint

There’s a lot of buzz about so-called chalky paint. Don’t confuse these ultra-matte finish paints with chalkboard paint; that’s something totally different. Chalky paint is perfect for finishing furniture or decorative pieces, but without the need for sanding or priming. The Home Depot’s Americana® Decor™ chalky finish paint from DecoArt is great for giving a fabulous saturated or distressed look to flea market or discount store finds.

We wanted to find out what DIYers could do with our chalky paint. So we sent Americana Decor chalky finish paint to some of our favorite home improvement bloggers. It’s our special chalky-finish paint edition of our Paint Style Challenge.

Cassie Freeman of Hi Sugarplum! made her freshly painted nightstand the centerpiece for a complete makeover of a previously unappreciated nook in her home. And, as you’ll see, the chalky paint made the nightstand look absolutely smashing.

I believe in the power of paint to transform just about any space or object, so participating in a paint challenge was a no-brainer for me. Especially since it involved chalky paint…a medium I’ve yet to try.

My victim? This banged-up, no-character, laminate-coated, too-orange, old nightstand.

Old nightstand before chalky paint rescued it

If it looks familiar, that’s because virtually every bedroom set in the ’90s came with one. We’ve been using it as a little hall storage chest….but really, it was just a space-filler until I could find something better. Hence, I’d never taken the time to sand, prime, paint and seal it. Why bother when I knew it was destined for the curb?!

Old nightstand before chalky paint rescued it


But with chalky paint…there’s no need to sand or prime…even on laminate surfaces like this sweet baby. And since the paint is latex with virtually no smell, I was able to paint it inside with no prepping.


Old nightstand after first coat of chalky paint


I chose a teal color called Treasure for the job. The paint has the consistency of pudding (avoid licking the brush though, it’s not actually pudding), so there are no runs or drips. And it dries almost instantly, so there’s very little wait time.


Old nightstand after one coat of chalky paint


It’s like magic, the paint sticks to the laminate! I finished the chest off with a few coats of the DecoArt brand of clear wax and buffed it to a satin sheen.


Old night stand after second coat of chalky paint


I let it cure overnight, then added  inexpensive ring pulls I found online and got busy styling (my favorite part).


Old nightstand with fresh chalky paint and new ring pulls


So much for curbside-destiny… this pretty little chest has found a forever home with us now!

Nightstand looks totally new with fresh coat of chalky paint and new ring pulls.

To create the tableau on top, I followed my formula for styling coffee tables.

You can read how I transformed the rest of the nook with paint and paper on my blog, too. (Pssst, the paper isn’t what you think!)

Redecorated nook with nightstand that looks like new after two coats of chalky paint
Nightstand repainted with chalky paint is centerpiece of redecorated nook.

The gold stripe vase is a simple DIY, as well.

Formerly neglected nook redecorated with sunburst mirror and repainted nightstand


For fun, I’ll show you some Before and Afters of the little nook…

Neglected nook before redecorating
Nook after recorating

Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand, by Cassie of Hi Sugarplum!


My gift wrap station lives on the back of that door to the right in the photo above.


Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand

Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand

Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand

Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand

Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand


Yep, the power of paint strikes again!


Chalky Paint Rescues Old Nightstand: Before and After


Thanks for reading about my little makeover!

Cassie is a DIY and design-obsessed Texas girl, who loves travel, fashion, sarcasm and Mexican food. When she’s not hanging with her sweet and funny family, you can find her kicking the ’80s out of her home, one budget project at a time. You can see more makeovers just like this one in the Project Gallery on her blog Hi Sugarplum!

Download this brochure to learn more about Americana Decor chalky finish paint, with tips on how to use it to create a beautiful aged or distressed look. Read more about how design bloggers have used chalky paint in our Paint Style Challenge series. And be sure to follow our All About Paint board on Pinterest.

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  2. Norrisia says:

    Did you apply the wax before the second coat?

  3. Darcy says:

    hi, love the color you used and the beautiful job you did.

    I ordered the treasure color and it sure looks much more teal than what appears in your picture….not blue at all. I know monitors can sometimes not show true colors but it looks like you used the color escape.
    so, I would advise people to look at real swatches before ordering. This teal is not what I was after at all. I wanted the blue in the picture you posted.
    Not sure if they even have the chalk swatches in the store. Will definitely find
    out before I order again.

  4. Laurie says:

    Love your project. Love the wallpaper…what’s the name? Does Home Depot carry it?

  5. ka says:

    Isn’t it funny what people notice. I didn’t see cold air duct behind the bookcase but notice that every time you open the “closet” door your going to hit the nightstand. It looks great!

  6. ~Maria~ says:

    I love the makeover of your space, especially that mirror. It would be the perfect addition to the space above my buffet. Can you share the retailer?

  7. Joan says:

    How durable is this paint? I am considering paintingi my kitchen cabinets which, of course, get a lot more ‘bumps’ and cleaning than a hall chest.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Our chalky finish paint should be just as durable as any latex paint that you’d otherwise use for furniture. Adding the wax finish probably adds a bit more durability, too.

      –Craig, from The Home Depot

  8. Deb Zilinkas says:

    This is perfect for an old dresser my son has in his room. Room painted medium Grey and red/gold Asian rug on floor. Nice project for winter months. What color would u suggest? Guess better go on line and see Colors offered from Home Depot.

  9. Mary says:

    Would love to try this too! What type of clear wax did you use or would you recommend?

    • Hi Mary — the DecoArt brand sells a few different waxes to accompany the chalky paint…I used the clear satin for this project. Just brush on a few coats, let it dry, then buff with a soft rag. The chalk paint alone is very matte, but the wax gives it a nice sheen.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Nellie says:

    What is that fabulous color? Also, what kind of wax do you use? Love it!

  11. Linda says:

    Love this! Two questions: Does chalky paint fade in the sunlight? And, can this be applied to wicker? Thank you!

    • Hi Linda! My chest doesn’t get direct sun, so I’m not sure about fading. And since the paint stuck so well to laminate, I was assume it’s good for wicker too. However, using a brush on all those nooks and crannies might be a paint…I usually go with spray paint for that kind of stuff.

  12. Cassie, it looks great! I didn’t realize yours was already posted. :) And your styling is killer as usual!

  13. Kathy says:

    Is that the cold air return for your furnace behind the bookcase in your living room? My guess is that your furnace is in the closet? You might consider moving the bookcase so that your furnace can get air before you ruin your blower. Just sayin.

    Nice job on the paint. It’s super cute!

    • Hi Kathy! Thanks so much for the comment! Yes, that vent in the bookcase is one of the returns…hence why we have the fabric cut out around it so it’s not blocked. But the furnace is in the attic…nothing but coats and wrapping paper live in that closet. Thanks for the tip though!

  14. Ida Houston says:

    I am interested in buying some directly from your retail store, but I see that I’d have to order it online. When will you have it available at the stores?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Ida.

      At the moment, our chalky paint is only available in certain Home Depot stores, but we’ll be adding it to the shelves of more stores soon. But the entire line of Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint is available online at

      –Craig, from The Home Depot

      • kathleen says:

        This is a separate subject….
        I live in an old log cabin with unfinished wood walls (…ceilings, floors…). I would love to add some color but I have had a hard time finding any examples or guidance on the subject.
        Got any ideas?

        • Craig Allen says:

          Now, that’s not a question we get often here.

          Let’s see what some of our home improvement and decorating experts have to say about this. I’ve posted your question on our online How-To Forums. Click here to go to where it’s posted. I can’t wait to see what they come up with there.

          -Craig, from The Home Depot