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  • Susie

Sometimes, sometimes not...

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

So, I've just finished painting this buffet/sidetable in chalk paint, what do you think?

This is probably one of my favourite pieces of furniture we own. We've had it for 15 years and it's travelled the world twice from Sydney to Guernsey to Auckland and has weathered remarkably well.

But, in our current kitchen/dining room it just felt too dark and dominating, especially as it sits really close to its matching, also dark, dining table and chairs.

I've long admired a friend's painted green buffet, so I knew which colour I wanted to go for, but hers was a Farrow & Ball colour called French Grey, (F&B is a popular UK paint company & French Grey is a lovely soft green, not a grey) which I couldn't find any suppliers of here in NZ. I did research that Dulux's Gooseberry Fool 3 is a good-enough-close-match, but I stalled before trying it.

Mainly because I'm slowly painting my way along every skirting board, trim and wall of our 1910 villa, and I wasn't sure I wanted to take a break from that by painting anything else!

So when I was at a home show a few weeks ago and came across a similar-coloured chalk paint, I thought I could summon up the energy for that because there's no sanding, no priming required, and this company even claimed no topcoat was required. Too easy!

It just needed a once-over with a degreaser and I was off.

Top tip: Don't want to use strong chemicals? Go to your cupboard and get out the white vinegar! It's a fantastic degreaser.

Chalk paint is so refreshing - it goes on like butter and lasts a long time. The first coat seemed to use barely any paint. I just painted the buffet in situ because I'm lazy and it's heavy. I didn't bother with inside, or even the insides of the doors, or the back. Who's going to know? I used my favourite brush and a roller as I don't like brush strokes on show.

Two coats is all it took. Looked fabulous, but...see the right photo?

Yup, it scratched as I was working on it. I had decided to put a clear topcoat on it because where I nail-tested it out of sight my nail went right through. As I used a foam brush to add the topcoat, this scratch happened...ggrrr.

Now, I know chalk paint takes 30 days or something to fully cure, (curing time is different to drying time. Curing is how long it takes to reach maximum durability) but still, that's crazy, not to mention annoying.

Top tip: Always distress the piece if using chalk paint, even if it's just a light touch on a few corners. It helps to hide any later accidental scratches much better

So, in my opinion, chalk paint is not always the answer to the universe, despite what Pinterest suggests, but I do think that it has a place in our homes for sure. Here's my pros & cons list:


1) Ease of use from no sanding, no priming. I couldn't summon the energy to paint this with latex paint as it would have meant a whole lot of cleaning of my dining room after sanding, or emptying it before having to lug it outside to sand. Way more disruptive. Then having to paint a layer on primer on aswell...way too much effort

2) Goes on like butter - seriously, this stuff is a joy to paint it's so creamy-smooth

3) Gives a nice matte finish that you cannot get from any other type of paint

4) Chalk paint manufacturers always offer such lovely colours compared to most paint companies

5) You can use chalk paint as a primer when painting something that you think even an actual primer may not adhere to, e.g. I painted a marble ornament with it before using latex paint and it adhered wonderfully

6) Antiquing/distressing is really easy with all sorts of methods and effects that can be achieved. (However, latex paint can also be distressed)

7) A little goes a long way because you can water it down and white-wash (see photo below). I used a 250ml jar and it painted all of these products (excepting my beautiful lamp of course!)


1) It's expensive compared to regular paint

2) That matte finish can sometimes look dull and flat and it's not everyone's cup of tea

3) Still needs a topcoat

4) I didn't paint the top because I believed it would scratch terribly and quickly

5) It scratches easily - this will hopefully improve as the paint cures, but I'm not convinced

6) I feel you have to want the shabby-chic look as if you don't distress each piece, a scratch will really stand out

For this piece, I'm really happy with it so far. The painting trauma was over in a few days and the colour is exactly what I was looking for.

I'll be sure to let you know how it stands up to the ravages of time...

UPDATE: 3 months later and it is fully cured (not the drying time but the hardening time) & no longer scratches. Looks just as good.

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