My Home is Full of Chalk Paint Furniture Restored From Thrift Store Finds

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Ever wondered how to chalk paint furniture? Follow these easy tips to get started along with lots of inspiration from my home.  

thrift store side table painted

Do you love decorating your home with painted or refinished pieces like me?!

Thrift stores, garage sales, and Facebook Marketplace are all wonderful resources for finding wood furniture pieces on the cheap to save money while creating a cozy personalized space! The key is you have to see an item beyond what it looks like now and kind of envision its potential!

Here are some tips on making over furniture with chalk paint, as well as some of my favorite thrift store painted pieces in my home for inspiration!

end tables, coffee tables, and dressers at thrift store

Thrifting is the best and so much fun to see what kind of treasures you can find!

I happen to enjoy thrifting, garage sales, flea markets, auctions, designer discounts, and anything related. We have owned quite a few pieces of 2nd hand furniture that I have refinished or painted myself. I have even found perfectly great furniture left out for bulk trash to makeover and save from the landfill!

I love the idea of giving new life to secondhand finds, as well as saving items from being thrown out! Plus, in many cases, older vintage furniture can be so much more well-made than new pieces.

white wine rack with wine bottles

I typically use chalk paint to refinish wood furniture pieces because it’s so easy to use!

Water-based chalk paint with furniture wax on top is my go-to method because it’s simple to accomplish, has a matte finish, less sanding is involved, and is very forgiving. If you are new to painting furniture, this is the way to go! I also love that there is no need to use a separate primer coat when using chalk paint!

rustoleum chalk paint

What chalk paint do I use?

As far as brands, I am not really brand loyal and have used pricier Annie Sloan chalk paint from local boutique stores and I have also used Rustoleum chalk paint. My teammate Sara loves Rustoleum as her favorite option for chalk paint! She has used it numerous times and gets great results. I have also made my own chalk paint!

making diy chalk paint

Turns out that mixing up your own chalk paint at home is EASY!

I have made my own chalk paint to use on furniture a few times using this DIY chalk paint recipe from Mix 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris with 1/3 cup of room temperature water and about 1 cup of paint in a jar with a lid. You can even hang onto the leftovers and continue to use it!

If you’re like me and have leftover house paint in the garage and have Plaster of Paris on hand, it makes for a great zero-cost chalk paint furniture makeover! The DIY chalk finish paint honestly does a great job at refinishing furniture.

making diy chalk paint

Steps to apply DIY chalk paint to furniture:

  • Prep your piece of furniture by giving it a good cleaning. Remove any stickers or gunk, and let it dry.
  • Apply the first coat of paint with a paintbrush and let it dry. Make sure to use a light, even coat.
  • Apply the 2nd coat of paint and also let that dry completely.
  • If you are distressing your project at all, use a piece of fine grit sandpaper to sand any distress marks. This is optional according to the desired result.
  • Apply a clear furniture wax using a dry paintbrush or cotton rag. Let that soak in and dry. This will help protect the finish on your piece of furniture for a lasting finish.

goodwill find wine cabinet

woman moving a wine rack

Let’s talk about my latest Goodwill find that I made over into a piece of chalk paint furniture!

Look how cute this wine cabinet is with the bottle and wine storage. It was just under $12 after using my local Goodwill coupon, and similar ones online are priced at around $130. It honestly was in good shape after a nice cleaning, and I could have left it as is, but ultimately decided to paint it white so it fits in better with my decor.

wine cabinet refinished chalk painted furniture

Here are some other thrift store chalk paint furniture pieces that I have refinished in my home for inspo as well as an awesome before/after from my talented teammate Sara!

1. Oval shaped farmhouse style kitchen table

kitchen table thrift store makeover

I paid just $50 dollars for my kitchen table at my local Humane Society thrift store seven years ago and it’s been the ultimate workhorse. It’s the perfect size for in here and I don’t mind that it may show wear and tear, as it has been through many meals, craft projects, and has had a long life!

It’s been repainted a couple of times and I still just love the shape of the legs.

2. Scrolly Vintage Coffee Table

vintage painted coffee table furniture flip

I love little simple furniture makeovers that can have a big impact or become a fun focal piece! The vintage table (pictured above) was a thrift store find and was one of my favorite painted furniture projects EVER!  It has a couple of coats of chalk paint followed by dark furniture wax to highlight the scrolly features.

I actually had this coffee table for many years and then eventually resold it for someone else to enjoy. It was hard to part with, but we were just ready for a change.

3. Tall White and Gold Wall Mirror

thrift store wall mirror

I was drawn to the shape of this $10 mirror at a local Salvation Army thrift store over 10 years ago and still love it! The wood portion of the mirror is painted is with white chalk paint, then clear furniture wax. Lastly, I went over some of the details with gold gilding wax.

4. Magazine Holder Side Table

side table before

I found this little side table at a thrift store for just $20 and I thought it has so much character and is super functional with shelves and room for magazines and books. I painted it with white chalk paint, added some stripes on the top, and have been using it for the last eight years! A cactus-shaped drawer knob was added as a playful detail.

This little table is scuffed up and has been through a couple of moves, but for the most part, it has held up great!

magazine holder side table thrift store find

5. Vintage Dresser turned Console Table

refinished dresser under TV

This amazing vintage dresser was actually my grandparents! Even though it’s an existing piece, I have seen dressers like these on FB Marketplace and secondhand stores. I left the top and drawers as natural wood and painted the hardware and outsides with white chalk paint. It looks so beautiful in my space, and I’ve enjoyed it for many years.

I am so happy to be able to use it in my home as this dresser has so much meaning for me. In fact, when I removed the drawers to paint it a couple of pieces of paper fell out. It was my high school graduation announcement from over 20 years ago I had sent my grandparents and my daughter’s birth announcement. I took that as a beautiful sign and hello from them as they had a large family, so what are the chances?!

6. Blue and Cream Hutch

before and after chalk paint hutch

This hutch was a very dark brown and actually not a thrift store find, but was one of our first furniture purchases as a new married couple. I loved the shape and everything about it, but lightened it up using cream and light blue Annie Sloan chalk paint and clear wax.

The finish has lasted many years, and my hutch is one of my favorites in our home!

painted hutch in dining room

Looking for a wood hutch to refinish? You can often find people getting rid of wood hutches on Facebook Marketplace as well as at thrift stores and garage sales. Painting them according to your style is an excellent way to update them!

7. Sara’s Pink Dresser

cream dresser before adding chalk paint

How adorable is this dresser that my talented teammate Sara just painted for her daughter’s room?! It’s a 25-year-old dresser that now looks so fresh and perfect for a little girl.

Here’s what Sara says about using Rustoleum chalk paint:

“I’m a little obsessed with Rustoleum chalk paint ever since I discovered it. I love it because it’s quick-drying and can be used on multiple types of surfaces with little to no effort on your end.

The most recent project I did was with my daughter’s dresser. It was an old family piece in pretty rough shape, I only lightly sanded the top to get the grime off, painted two coats, swapped hardware, and in less than 24 hours we had a totally brand new dresser! If you’ve never tried chalk paint you have got to try it out – it’s totally game-changing!”

after dresser painted with rustoleum chalk paint

More chalk paint furniture thrift store makeover tips:

  • Buy as low as possible to ensure you are getting a good deal compared to new furniture! Go to thrift stores on half-off days, and don’t be afraid to offer a bit less at garage sales or at flea markets. Maybe you already have a piece of furniture on hand that you’d like to freshen up!
  • Make sure the piece you are buying is sturdy and well made. If you’re just getting started opt for furniture that doesn’t need a ton of work or broken pieces.
  • Pick furniture with character and ones that would look great with a simple paint or stain refresh. Starting with smaller pieces like coffee tables and end tables are great beginner furniture projects. I love pieces that are full of interest, have unique shapes, or feature pretty wood details that would look great made-over.
  • Painting and refinishing supplies can add up, so keep that in mind when starting this hobby. It may be more of an upfront investment for supplies and brushes, but you can take care of them and reuse them lots of times. We are always doing home improvement projects so I tend to always have extra sandpaper, leftover paint, and brushes laying around.

listing furniture on facebook marketplace

What about the idea of casually flipping thrift store finds after a fresh coat of chalk paint for a profit?

If you’re looking for a side hustle, consider flipping inexpensive thrift finds locally in your community as a fun and creative way to earn a few bucks on the side. You can list your painted furniture via apps like Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, and NextDoor.

Let us know if you’ve done this before, and if you have tips!

You’ve got to see this thrift store vase makeover next!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 22

  1. kadysiga

    Thank you for this post. I love these makeovers. They look great!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks, and yay glad you loved this post because I enjoyed writing it 🙌💕

  2. Rachel Pearson

    My house is full of painted second hand furniture. Good, real wood pieces that will hold up for decades. I only paint wood that needs a pick me up to revive the piece, since I can’t bring myself to paint beautiful wood furniture. I buy the beautiful wood pieces too so that I have both painted and stained furniture throughout my house. Currently on the hunt for a real wood desk to have painted and ready for when the summer college semester starts.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Nice! Thanks so much for sharing Rachel!

  3. Alyssa

    Home Depot carries chalk paint by Behr that you can tiny to any of their colors, not just the ones in the brochure. You have to get an employee who will try it because not all of them know. We used it to redo a thrifted buffet to use as a TV stand and 3 hand me down bar stools. It was so fun! I really caught a painting bug last summer redoing furniture for our new house haha.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ohhh that is handy to know!! Thanks for sharing Alyssa!! I know it’s funny once you start it tends to get kinda fun/addicting 🙂 Ha

  4. A.B.

    Hi Lina!!! I love this post, and am so inspired by the idea of breathing new life into older things! Can you please share some tips for filling in or repairing any defects, prior to painting? I’d love to redo our old dining room table, but there are some sad areas, that need some attention. Thank you so much! 💕

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ohhhh Thank you!! I’m not an expert by any means, but it’s amazing how a little wood filler can fix so many small imperfections like dents or nicks. Just apply with a putty knife, smooth it, and then sand it once dry. Then you can paint or stain it. Good luck with your project, I am sure it’ll be great!

      • A.B.

        Excellent!!! Thank you so much Lina! I’m excited to give it a go! 😊

  5. Alison

    I recently used the paint by Heirloom Traditions to paint over an old side table and dresser that needed fixing. I was really impressed with this paint. I followed a video on Youtube. Thanks for the great ideas, Lina!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that’s great! Thank you for sharing Alison!

  6. LisaLisa

    Do you have to strip the furniture first?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      No You do not have to strip furniture first when using chalk paint.

  7. SoCalLemon

    Perfect timing, Lina! I just bought the most gaudy dresser at a local thrift shop…something about all the elegant, over-the-top carving spoke to me…I could just see it refinished as an accent piece in my living room! I’m still debating between teal or white, but after seeing all these stunning pieces, I have inspiration 🙂 Thanks so much!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yay! Sounds like a wonderful project piece! ❤️

    • llc

      There is a sherwin williams color app that will let you take a pic of what you want to paint and then change its color. Sometimes the new color over paints but it lets you delete the color off those areas. I used it to decide between several dark colors to paint a buffet. It made my decision so much easier.

      • SoCalLemon

        Awesome, I will check this out – thank you!!

      • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        Ohhh that is a fun tip! Thanks for sharing ☺️

  8. Gina B

    Wow, great makeovers! I swooned over that scrolly vintage coffee table! Would love to find a piece like that somewhere; it’s beautiful! Thanks for this helpful post Lina!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks so much! Yes, that was an amazing find 💕 I am glad you enjoyed this post!

  9. Colleen

    I’m really loving the cognac leather chair in the first photo. Would you be able to direct a link to the chair?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi! It was called the Milani leather accent chair from Macy’s. I checked and no longer available. We bought it 3 years ago – Sorry!

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