Choosing the right furniture to chalk paint can make all the difference. Chalk painting is a great option to update old pieces, give life to torn or battered furniture, and flip to create an additional income stream. Below are a few tips to picking out furniture to chalk paint, specifically for beginners.
Tips to Picking Out Old Furniture to Paint
If you’re just getting into chalk painting, it can be hard to identify what piece of furniture you want to chalk paint. Going for a large, antique, beveled or carved piece, with a lot of required fixes probably isn’t your best bet. Instead, look for something a little easier.
As with any new endeavor, it’s important to start with something easy. Pick a piece of furniture that is simple, with clean lines, and a “not so beat up” exterior. For instance, choosing a side table that has straight lines instead of carved edges would be much easier to paint.
It’s also important to make sure the piece you choose is small. This gives you some idea of how far the chalk paint you’re using will go. These simple, small pieces are perfect to start with and offer a great base in understanding how chalk painting works.
Pick Out a Quality Piece of Wood Furniture
Although pretty much anything can be painted with chalk paint, it’s always wise to choose pieces that are made with 100% wood. Wood retains value better than particle board or other types of pressed or processed furniture. Chalk paint also adheres to wood better than other surfaces.
If you’re going to invest in the time and money of chalk painting, you might as well make sure that you’re painting quality pieces. Make sure to check the wood for wood rot, cracking and chipping. You’ll also want to make sure that the piece you choose is sturdy. Wood can always be re-enforced, but unless you know how to do this, it’s better to find something that is already solidly stable.
Stay Away from Real Antiques
I know this is more of a personal preference than anything, but real antiques are worth a lot more money “as is.” Unless the antique is beaten up beyond restoration, it’s wise to keep the real antiques as they are so that they retain that value.
Remember, many people will claim they are selling an antique. To be considered an antique, the furniture piece must be at least 100 years old. There are a number of additional requirements, which you can find here. The smartest thing to do is to research the piece you have in order to find out if what you bought (or are going to buy) is actually an antique, or just something old.
Check the Price Tag
Before investing in a $200 buffet you plan to give a beautiful, chalk-painted makeover. Consider the investment you’ll have to throw into this one piece of furniture. Chalk paint, although easy to use and overall awesome, is relatively expensive compared to other paints. You also need to invest in wax, hardware, brushes, and any other additional add-ons you’d like to make on this potential project (i.e. antiquing wax, drawer liners, sandpaper, etc.)
The overall cost of the project may be much higher than you anticipated. I try and keep the cost of the initial price to max out at $100. I do my best to find pieces of furniture at garage sales and thrift stores for the best pricing. Also, keep an eye out on apps like Nextdoor, where people give furniture away for free.
Another thing to consider is the value of your time. Chalk painting is a process, and the bigger the piece, the longer the process. Make sure you aren’t cutting the value of your time short. Remember, if you’re upcycling a piece of furniture for yourself, or for-profit, there is nothing more valuable than your time.
Where to Shop for Used Furniture
So where can you find these high-quality pieces of furniture at a low price? There are plenty of places to look.
I find some great deals on furniture here. However, there are also a lot of posts where people charge way too much for their furniture. When you find a great deal, the catch is that you must be willing to drop everything and pick it up immediately. This is very inconvenient for me as I have 4 small children and a crazy schedule.
Estate Sales and Auctions
If you’re looking for high-quality furniture, this is the place to go. Auctions are more likely to carry real antiques, but there are still deals to be had. The prices at these sales may be higher, but there’s no harm in looking. Everything usually needs to be liquidated. This means if you’re the only person interested, you’ll be getting a great price.
These are usually my go-to places to find furniture. The price is set, it’s usually pretty low and you can buy it right there. The only drawback is that thrift stores also carry a lot of junk. You have to go frequently to find the best deals when shopping at thrift stores.
If you’re looking for the best price, garage sales are going to be your best bet. People are trying to basically give their stuff away at garage sales. Take advantage of the awesome deals you won’t find anywhere else and check out my great tips for shopping local garage sales.
Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups
These are very similar to Facebook Marketplace in that it’s hit and miss. Many people think they have “antiques” and overprice their old junk. Sometimes, however, you can find amazing deals. Once again, you’ll need to be ready to stop at a moment’s notice and go pick up the furniture immediately.
Getting started with furniture painting can be a fun endeavor. Be sure to be intentional when purchasing old pieces as it can truly affect the outcome of the painted piece.
Want more chalk painting tips?
- Chalk Painting for Beginners
- How to Care for Chalk Paint Brushes
- How to Use Antiquing Wax
- How to Use Wood Filler
PIN THIS FOR LATER