This website uses affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission from your purchase - at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more details.

DIY Chalk Paint Cabinet Makeover | Before and After

I’m so excited to share this chalk paint cabinet makeover with you today!

Rust-Oleum chalk paint serenity blue

If you saw my last post about the Fish Room, you caught a glimpse of the second-hand furniture that replaced the terrible cabinetry.  There’s so much more storage now, which is perfect because my Mom and I streamlined and pooled our sewing supplies.  She has downsized to a much cozier home, plus we always work on sewing projects at my place anyway, so it just made sense to keep everything here.  But I also store my paints, adhesives, and other garage-y things that can’t freeze in the Fish Room as well, so the more drawers, cabinets, and shelves the better!

chalk paint cabinet makeover

This furniture just happened to fit so well but it was definitely a bit of a hodgepodge – nothing a little paint couldn’t fix!  Even though the Ikea furniture had some scratches and dents, I really liked the white melamine and faux wood foil because it has a light and airy vibe with a coastal feel.  But the pine cabinet I acquired was a little too country for me and I wanted this room to look polished – not like a space where furniture comes to die.  I’d never painted furniture with chalk paint before, and this chalk paint cabinet makeover was an excellent first project!

pale blue chalk paint cabinet makeover

Here’s a look at the cabinet before:

wood cabinet makeover

It’s been a long time since I painted wood because I’ve really been loving natural wood tones lately (especially walnut!).  When I’ve decided the wood-look is too much, I’ve leaned toward pale grey or cream stains to let the grain shine.  But this particular piece needed a paint job and I found the perfect pale blue/grey hue in Rust-Oleum’s new chalk paint line.  Their “Serenity Blue” (insanity later, lol) picks up on the blue trim on the glass doors of the Ikea cabinets, which makes my decorating decisions feel intentional (and less “happy accidental,” which is what they are).

Rust-Oleum serentiy blue chalk paint

I hadn’t used chalk paint before, so this was a fun experiment and I love that Rust-Oleum has their own line.  It comes as a spray paint or in a can and I opted for the latter for the cabinet so I could avoid any brush strokes.  Although chalk paint doesn’t require priming (sweet!), I did lightly sand the entire unit.  I didn’t tape off any areas – I just spray painted it closed, to preserve the cedar interior.  I even painted the hinges and knobs at the same time, which made this chalk paint cabinet makeover super fast and easy.

chalk painted cabinet makeover

The coverage was splotchy at first but after three coats it was so seamless and smooth – I love the matte finish and how it modernized this somewhat dated piece.  The stenciled design on the front was covered perfectly, but the irregularities in the wood (which seem faux, to be honest) were preserved.

chalk paint cabinet makeover

I am in love with how QUICKLY this paint dries!  I had dragged it outside when I was home alone one day and had sprayed on the first coat before heading back into the Fish Room to work on another project.  I had only been working for about 15 minutes when I heard a rumble and realized my beautiful, sunny day with clear skies had morphed into a thunder storm.  I ran to the drive way, convinced I’d ruined my paint job but the paint was dry enough for me to heave and shove and drag this massively heavy chest back into the garage.  A few days later the skies cleared again and I finished applying the second and third coats.  Any other paint would have been ruined by the sudden downpour – and my manhandling – but this paint was unscathed and the chalk paint cabinet makeover was a success.

chalk paint cabinet makeover

To help prevent that furniture graveyard look even more, Hubby and I added some DIY plywood shelves that line up with the shelves in the Ikea cabinets, but are painted the same blue/grey chalk paint as the cabinet.  For the shelves, however, I decided to try brushing on the paint.  For that application, you have to commit!  No re-brushing is allowed – you have to work quickly and confidently to avoid streaks or brush marks.  But it also goes on really well and a little goes a long way so I have tons left (you might have spotted the color because I used it for my mini potted plant ornaments!)

I found the brackets in the garage and spray painted them white but, in hindsight, we should have sprung for some tougher brackets like the ones in the kitchen.  I wanted to work with what I had but these light duty brackets mean we can’t really load down the shelves – which might be a wise idea anyway.  I’ll see how they hold up.  I’m so proud of how this space came together on a small budget – especially the cool blue marbled floors we made from plywood!

Rust-oleum Chalk Paint Review

When we renovate this space for real, we’ll spring for new cabinets, but for now it was so nice to re-purpose and find a home for this random grouping – along with some bits and bobs from the garage.  I love how my chalk paint cabinet makeover turned out and I’m excited to try chalk paint in future projects.

Easy DIY chalk paint cabinet makeover

P.S. Come tour the finished Fish Room turned Craft room by clicking here.  And find more project ideas in my DIY & Craft Project Gallery and DIY Renovating Gallery.



  1. Larissa Swayze
    December 23, 2017 / 5:04 am

    Haha! The Seinfeld reference killed me! This space is looking gorgeous. So light and airy. And I'm envious of how many drawers that dresser has. I do love me some drawers!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      December 23, 2017 / 5:24 pm

      So glad someone caught that reference, lol! Drawers are the best. I am seriously contemplating all drawers when we renovate the kitchen. I added some metal pull out drawers to one of the cabinets in there and now that’s all I can think about.

  2. Staci Jackson
    January 3, 2018 / 6:46 pm

    This looks awesome! I love that you were able to reuse the IKEA cabinets, they are providing you with so much storage! The dresser has hinges? What's that about? Anyway, I love the look of them together and the color you chose unifies them perfectly.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2018 / 12:44 am

      So happy to give these Ikea units a happy home. The vintage chest I painted is actually a door with shelves inside – I should have specified! The drawers are fake, lol. But I have tons of real drawers from other ikea units. So much storage, I’m giddy, haha!

  3. January 18, 2020 / 11:32 am

    gorgeous chest ,I wonder how many tins of paint did it take to do this thanks

    • January 19, 2020 / 1:27 pm

      That is a good question. I was painting some other projects at the same time so I didn’t calculate and other things factor in: how windy it is (wastes paint), how dark the original piece is (takes more paint to cover), how big the piece is, etc. I’d say 3 or 4 cans? It’s more cost effective to roll than get a spray can, but I liked how easy it was to just spray. I have also learned you can return unused spray cans to Home Depot so I like to buy my paint there and I pick up a few extra and return what I don’t use.

  4. Nicole
    May 13, 2020 / 6:19 pm

    Did you need to use wax for the end result? Or as a protectant?

    • May 13, 2020 / 9:35 pm

      I believe Rust-Oleum sells a wax but I did not use it and it still looks brand new. For really high wearing items, like kitchen cabinets, you might prefer it? This still has a matte finish.

      • Sue W
        August 7, 2020 / 5:05 pm

        Is it possible to distress with that spray chalk paint? I love to distress!

        • August 7, 2020 / 9:49 pm

          I have not tried it, but I believe so, yes. I don’t see why not – it feels just like Annie Sloan chalk paint with that same velvety finish and you can buy a Rust-Oleum wax to seal your distressed piece too.

  5. PattyLink
    July 11, 2020 / 8:46 am

    Love your craft space! And especially liked the cabinet you painted. Actually just finished a dresser for my sister’s craft room. Did it in the Rust-Oleum Aged Grey chalked spray paint which is an absolutely gorgeous color! Added silver painted handles and now she has lots of room to store her fabrics! Also have used the Serenity Blue for a bookcase and also a hanging wall shelf for my grandmother’s antique tea cup collection. Love the color for a fresh farmhouse decor.

    • July 11, 2020 / 9:50 am

      Thanks so much! Your dresser makeover sounds beautiful! I’ve only ever used this Serenity Blue color because it’s my favorite haha.

  6. Angela johnson
    July 23, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    I’m just starting a project using the same chalk paint .I have a beautiful old 6ft Oak dressing table with a mirror that I have ruined the top on, I dropped nail varnish remover on it. I’m doing up my bedroom and all my furniture is wooden and needs revamping to match, looking at what others have done helps me. I love what you did, it’s beautiful. I have set of drawers similar but only 5 drawers,I’ll be using chalk paint on them too.

    • July 26, 2020 / 2:18 pm

      Such a bummer about the nail varnish remover! I have done that too. Good luck with your chalk paint makeover, I am sure it will be beautiful.

  7. Meg
    August 30, 2020 / 11:53 pm

    Beautiful dresser! I used the Linen White on a bookshelf and it was gorgeous … until I used the matte clear finish. It turned the bright white to an aged, yellowy ivory. In the fine print the clear coat says “enhances color” and I think that’s what happened. I’m so disappointed. But I’m glad to know that it seems to hold up for you without the clear coat. Maybe I’ll try again.

    • August 31, 2020 / 12:26 pm

      Oh that’s so disappointing! I heard from a DIY friend of mine that the accompanying clear matte finish interacted strangely with the paint on one of her projects, so I’m glad I didn’t use it. It’s held up super well with out – still looks brand new! – although this isn’t a heavy-wear item, like a bathroom vanity I open eighteen times a day lol.

  8. maryluz
    August 31, 2020 / 9:43 am

    Where did you get the floor. I love it

    November 14, 2021 / 11:30 am

    Love this idea and the color! My daughter has a cabinet she wants to paint and this would be great to use. The cabinet will be used in a dining room so more handling. What should be put on the cabinet to make it last after the chalk paint? Thank you.

Dans le Lakehouse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. If you click on a link that leads to Amazon, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!