It’s not just for shabby chic—these ideas prove there’s nothing chalk paint can’t do.

By Lauren Phillips
July 24, 2019
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If you know what chalk paint is, you probably have an opinion on the many chalk paint ideas and uses. You might love chalk paint for its ability to turn any thrifted piece of furniture into a shabby chic icon—or you might dislike chalk paint for that very same reason. Hey, shabby chic isn’t for everyone—but contrary to popular belief, chalk paint might be.

Turns out, chalk paint ideas extend far beyond the world of shabby chic décor and upcycled furniture. Chalk paint can fit into a farmhouse kitchen and a modern bedroom alike, when applied correctly, and the many chalk paint colors available just add to the possibilities. The textured, lived-in look of chalk paint—as opposed to the gloss or semi-gloss of standard paints—gives kitchen cabinets, walls, furniture, and more a little more character, making it easier to establish a real atmosphere or mood in a space. If you want your home to look a little different from your neighbors’ without resorting to some way out-there design choices, adding some chalk paint might just do the trick.

Still, the fear of going too shabby chic (if that’s not your preferred look; shabby chic fans likely already know the many pros of using chalk paint) may keep you from giving chalk paint a real try—though these chalk paint ideas might just change your mind. For home painting projects from new kitchen cabinet paint colors to fresh wall painting, chalk paint has it covered; read on for proof.

Chalk paint dresser

It’s well known among the chalk paint community that a coat of chalk paint can dress up any dresser, armoire, or chest of drawers. This particular specimen proves that a chalk-painted dresser doesn’t have to have that distressed look—with fresh hardware and a moody blue paint job, the dresser looks rather mod.

Boho sideboard

Small pieces of furniture like this one—with drawers and a flat surface for keys, decorative items, books, and more—are dynamic pieces that can fit into an entryway, a dining room, a living room, or nearly any other space that has a spare wall in need of filling. The fresh coat of chalk paint on the furniture just makes it super playful (and perfect for enlivening an otherwise neutral space) without venturing into overly rustic territory.

Wall of wonder

Chalk paint ideas usually center around furniture applications, but this stunning bathroom proves that chalk paint can go on the wall, too. The look is typically moody and bold, with a matte finish that is a striking departure from the standard gloss or semi-gloss of most paint colors. Depending on color choice, the vibe can go anywhere from moody to bright to playful—and application can be as easy as using one color, rather than attempting an ombre look like this one.

Chalk paint kitchen cabinets

Colorful kitchen cabinets are having a moment, and using chalk paint instead of standard paint lends the final product a slightly more relaxed look and feel. Here, the look is almost modern farmhouse, with the emphasis more on modern than farmhouse; without the slight sheen of a typical paint finish, the kitchen feels lived in and casual.

Startling stairs

Trying some staircase decorating is always fun, and tackling the project with chalk paint means the final look is a little more casual and playful—call it primary school chic—than it might be with paint of a different finish. The feel is a little farmhouse-y, but with darker colors or a slate of pastel chalk paint shades, the stairs will look more modern or sunnier, depending on the desired vibe.

Chalk painted-brick

Painted brick is still super popular, but it doesn’t always have to be white. Here, a matte chalk paint black looks super modern—but not harsh—around a fireplace. The finish isn’t so out-of-place as to be jarring, but it does offer a striking focal point for the space.

Moody armoire

All right, this is a little like the chalk paint dresser, but not quite. Using the same paint shade on walls and large furniture gives the set-up the look of high-end, custom built-ins. Here, with dark blue chalk paint, the look is a sort of shabby elegance—not quite stiff and fancy, but still elevated.

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