Reinventing What You Have

By Kate Riley August 18, 2015

When you read shelter mags and design blogs and browse Pinterest, it’s easy to want to replace everything and redecorate your home with new things, but a fresh look is often just a matter of reinventing what you already have. A good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint time and again has come to my rescue as one of the most budget friendly makeover tools. There’s a satisfaction that comes looking at a piece with new eyes and reinventing it rather than tossing it out.

I was asked by Annie Sloan to share their current #MadeItMyOwn contest and giveaway now through September 30th. I’ve worked with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan for years and have a stash of several quarts in my paint cupboard, it’s one of my favorite paints for furniture.

annie sloan chalk paint


I call it the lazy gal (or guy’s) paint since it’s so easy to grab and start painting in place, just lay down a tarp, pop open the can and go to work. No priming (yay!) and no odor so it’s easy to work with indoors.

paint in place 2

I spent last Saturday painting a few pieces, two for myself one for my MIL. I’ve had a plain dresser in my entry for years, I found it at a thrift store, stripped and stained it many moons ago. I like it because it fills the narrow space and stores office and school supplies. The dark wood works for our traditional entry but it was feeling very blah to me all one shade of brown and with very plain knobs.

I gave the drawers two coats of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan in Old White then substituted the old knobs with inexpensive geode knobs at World Market. I also changed the silver finish on the mirror to gold with the help of paint and gold leaf found at a craft store.

painted drawers on dresser gold leaf mirror

This old end table was given to me by a friend, it sat in his garage and he was getting rid of it, but I loved the classic lines, the leg detail, and the fact it was finished on all four sides. Sadly the top was in very bad shape.

end table before

I needed a new end table for our family room when our new sectional sofa arrives in two weeks, this one is the perfect shape and with a drawer it will hold remotes. I sanded it and gave it two coats of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan again in Old White then painted its toes with gold leaf paint.

painted end table gold knobs

You can’t go wrong with a white + gold combination, it’s always chic! I also found these faceted gold knobs at World Market for $4 each.

gold faceted knobs


I think anything looks great with a coat of white paint but there are dozens of other colors to play with. Find your local stockist here.

annie sloan chalk paint colors

Of course you can mix the paints to create your own custom color which is what I did.

mixing paint

My mother in law had an old cabinet where she stores her candles in a corner of her office, she wanted to paint it something vivid and fun so I suggested jade green.


I mixed three parts Florence with two parts Olive to create the color.

jade green chalk paint cabinet

I mildly distressed the cabinet by sanding away some of the paint on the edges to reveal the wood underneath. All three pieces were given a coat of Clear Wax to protect the paint, this piece is headed back to my MIL’s house on her next visit.

distressed edges

clear wax


More Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan projects from the archives!


blue 3

x console

Apothecary Chest in French Linen

Dresser in Napoleonic Blue

Thrift Store Cabinet in Pure White


Right now Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is hosting a #MadeItMyOwn contest and giveaway for those who use the paint. The projects can be anything from furniture to flooring to decor. By posting your project to the gallery you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win $100s of dollars of Annie Sloan prizes, including Chalk Paint, signed books, and a unique illustration drawn by Annie, this contest ends September 30th. The instructions are:

1. Print out your frame here (or pick one up from your local stockist)

2. Carefully cut out the middle section

3. Hold the frame in front of your painting project

4. Take a photo and upload it to the gallery

5. Share it with your friends and followers on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, adding #MadeItMyOwn

*This post is sponsored by Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan, all opinions are my own.


  1. Hi Kate,
    I follow your blog often, alway finding inspirations!!!
    I have a question I started painting a table with chalk paint but had really noticeable brush marks, I
    sanded it once was dry and applied a second coat but really did not help. (This was my first time using this paint )
    Any advice on how decreased brush strokes with chalk paint?

    • Hi Millie, I’ve found the most success by using a high quality brush like Purdy and also making sure you’re not painting in temperatures that are too hot that can cause the paint to dry too quickly and that can leave brush strokes behind. I paint in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees if possible and use light coats, also I brush one way, then quickly brush over the paint in a perpendicular direction, that also helps the paint level out on a surface.

  2. Or, Millie, you could use a QUALITY paint like Benjamin Moore’s Advance mixed with Floetrol and you won’t have brush strokes at all. Chalk paint is ruining the painted furniture “industry” … lazy gal’s paint indeed. I hope you enjoy that nasty textured finish and horrible chipping for years to come. Do it right the first time (sand, prime, paint with REAL paint) or don’t bother doing it at all.

  3. With the chest of drawers, the first piece, do you do anything with the other surfaces of the drawers? The parts we don’t see unless we open the drawer.


  4. Your decorating skills are rock solid but there’s something about your furniture rehabs that is just outstanding!!!!! You nail it every time!!!!!! Really good.

  5. Hello! I love your blog and your style. I have always wondered how well chalk paint holds up to the daily wear and tear that comes from living wth kids. I am just concerned it may scuff easily

  6. How did you protect the glass on the cabinet you did for your MIL? Do you just let the paint get on it and then razor it off? I have a similar piece but wasn’t sure how to proceed with the glass….

  7. Hmmm, gotta try that Chalk Paint. My kitchen cabinets were painted badly (latex over oil . . . peels off like sunburned skin, yuck). I’m thinking chalk or maybe the Rustoleum kitchen transformation product. Didn’t you do a piece about this??

    Miss Kate, I do have a question though. How do you clean old pieces? Do you simply sand them or do you use a product? If I remember right, alcohol takes off latex varnish and paint thinner takes off oil varnish so you’d want to be careful if you wish to preserve the finish coat.

    Thanks. Always find inspiration!

    • Paula, I use either liquid sanders or a sanding wedge + mild cleanser to clean the outside of old pieces of furniture, often the insides need vacuumed and dusted too. :)
      Sarah, I paint right over the glass and then scrape it off with a razor blade, it comes off easily and no bothering with using painter’s tape.
      Elizabeth, I’ve used Chalk Paint on cabinets and dressers but not desks or table tops. The protective coat is your best weapon against daily use, I’ve used both wax and Polycrylic over Chalk Paint, for a high use surface consider the Poly or several layers of wax.
      Nope I don’t paint the sides or insides of drawers Susan, but sometimes I paint the back of the drawer on the inside (not this time).
      Ellen, BM Advance is a high quality paint and also great for furniture and cabinets, you do need to prime first, I’ve used that a lot too, another one I mention in this older post from 2012 on my favorite paints for furniture.

  8. Kate. Thank you for the chance to win more ASCP and products. I have compared a variety of brands of similar products and, by far, Annie Sloan is the best! I’ve never done this before but I’m going to take a picture of a little child-size hutch that I painted in Scandinavian Pink…the piece is kind of Mid-Century and I thought it needed that vibe. Thanks again for all the inspiration.

  9. I think that renovation is the key for decoration! And this was inspiring! We should recycle, reuse and renovate our old furnishings. Thanks for sharing!

  10. LUV the way you distressed the drawers…I did that, too and then took a metallic marker pen and ran it over the distressed area (goes with the mirror above it!) Fun stuff!!! franki

  11. Wow! Those pieces turned out great!! I love that little table with the gold knobs so chic and classic. This looks like great paint to!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

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