Chalk Painted Desk

Are you stuck on a project and need an idea for an upcycled desk fast? Look no further than this chalk painted desk! Chalk paint is a simple, affordable, and incredibly versatile material that can be used to revive any piece of furniture.

In this blog post, we’ll go over the basics of how to transform an old desk into something modern and chic. We’ll cover everything from prepping the desk for paint, to creating stained wood legs for extra flair.

photo of desk before painting

I love this table makeover.

I honestly wasn’t sure about this style before I gave it a makeover, and now I can’t get enough of it.

Let’s dive into how we went from this before photo, to the beautiful gray chalk painted desk it is now.

Supplies for Chalk Painted Desk

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Grab our list of the top 10 supplies you need when painting furniture.

Preparing Furniture for Paint

We prepped the top of the table the way we prep every one of our pieces of furniture.

Including cleaning, wood filling, scuff sanding, vacuuming, wiping down, priming for bleed through, and taping off areas of the table.

Learn How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.

how to strip table legs

Then, I removed the finish on the legs.

There are a few ways to remove the finish, but we decided to use chemical stripper.

Here is How to Refinish Wood Table Legs.

While I waited for the chemical stripper to do its thing, I kept prepping the table for the rest of the makeover.

How to Repair Wood with Kwikwood

A small piece of detail was missing from the front of the table, so I molded a small amount of Kwikwood to recreate the detail.

Closeup of Kwikwood detail repair

Kwikwood is an epoxy that comes in a small tube. You just cut the amount you need from the roll, and then knead it together with your fingers until it all becomes one solid color.

Once it’s kneaded together, you have about 15 minutes to work with it before it starts to harden rock hard.

Learn more about How to Use KwikWood here.

It dries in an hour and then can be drilled into, sanded and painted, along with some other things.

It worked really really well for this application of recreating the missing detail.

Closeup of kwikwood repair after paint

It also works really well for filling in old hardware holes, and fixing small chips in veneer.

Learn more about how it compares to other wood fillers in this post on the best wood filler for furniture.

Priming Furniture

Over the years I’ve learned to always prime a piece of furniture for bleed through.

Even if I don’t use a light color of paint.

Bleed through is caused by a lot of things, but it results in splotches and stains that come through paint, and literally will not go away, no matter how many coats of paint you paint over it.

Bleed through sometimes even waits to show up until after you have finished everything, and months go by.

So I always always always prime to prevent bleed through.

This time I used Dixie Belle’s BOSS stain blocking primer. It works really really well and is easy to use. I just brush it on after everything is prepped and before I paint on any paint.

It comes in clear or white.

Here are the Best Primers to Stop Tannin Bleed.

Mixing Paint Colors

Once the repair was made, and all the prep work for paint was complete, I mixed a few different Country Chic Paint colors together.

Check out my honest and detailed Country Chic Paint Review here.

I really wanted a light gray color, but I didn’t have enough of the Lazy Linen (which is a really pretty light gray shade).

So I improvised with a new mix of paint colors.

First I mixed a tiny amount of Dark Roast (deep brown) with a healthy amount of Simplicity (white). It came out to a really pretty warm gray.

Then I added in the small leftovers that I had of Lazy Linen and Sunday Tea (another light warm natural gray).

Mixing paints is such a great way to create new colors AND use up the small amount of paint that is always leftover after a project or two.

If you aren’t familiar with mixing colors, or you’re scared to mess up, start with a teaspoon or two of the paint to make a sample of what it will become when mixed.

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Spraying Chalk Style Paint onto Furniture

I personally love to use a paint sprayer to paint our pieces of furniture. I love the professional finish it creates, and I love how much faster it is than a paint brush.

If you don’t want to spray the chalk paint on, here is How to Chalk Paint Furniture | Step by Step For Beginners.

And here are the The Best Paint Brushes for Painting Furniture.

But if you want to spray your chalk paint on, here is all about Painting Furniture with a Sprayer.

Here are the Best HVLP Paint Sprayers for Furniture if you are wanting to buy a sprayer.

You can spray a lot of different types of paint in these paint sprayers, and chalk style paint is definitely one that I use the most!

Learn more about spraying chalk paint with this post on How to Spray Paint a Dresser with Chalk Paint.

How to Protect from OverSpray

It is super important to cover anything you don’t want paint on, because the paint sprayers have over spray that tends to get on anything you don’t cover.

So, I wrapped the legs up in paper and plastic, and taped off the inside of the drawers with tape and plastic.

You can see more about How to Prevent Overspray When Painting Furniture.

Distressing Chalk Paint

Once the few coats of paint were on the top of the table, and completely dry, I used 220 grit sandpaper to distress the edges of the table.

This step was optional.

If you like the distressed look, learn more about Distressing Furniture: 6 Techniques Anyone Can Do here.

Topcoating Furniture

Then I wiped off the paint dust and removed the plastic and paper from the legs.

The whole entire desk, along with the legs got 3 coats of our favorite topcoat to protect the wood and paint finish.

It looks like they were stained, but that is just the natural wood.

If your wood isn’t dark, you can always use this technique on How to Stain Wood Darker.

Here is How to Apply Polycrylic to Painted Furniture.

If you have a sprayer, here is How to Spray Polyurethane. (This is my favorite way to seal chalk paint!)

Closeup of gray desk with wood legs

Chalk Painted Desk

gray chalk painted desk with stained wood legs


    1. Prep table by cleaning, wood filling, scuff sanding, vacuuming, wiping down, priming for bleed through, and taping off areas.
    2. Strip table legs with chemical stripper.
    3. Prime to prevent bleed through.
    4. Mix paint colors of your choice.
    5. Wrap and tape legs with paper and plastic to prevent overspray.
    6. Brush or spray chalk paint.
    7. Distress edges of table with sandpaper.
    8. Coat 3 coats of topcoat to protect the wood and paint finish.

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And then we finished off the table with new hardware from D Lawless Hardware.

I couldn’t be more happy with the way this table turned out, and apparently, I’m not the only one!

It sold within a few days to an amazing customer who has supported our little family business for years now!

If you want to know how to make money painting furniture, check out this post to learn more.

When this desk gets to her, we both will be living in different states than where we were when we first met! How cool is that!

Check out more painted desk ideas here, and more Chalk Painted Furniture ideas here.

Anyway, if you found this tutorial helpful at all, please pin it and share it with your friends on your favorite social media! I greatly appreciate it, friends!!

Gray desk with weathered wood legs and white knobs

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

More Resources

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Before photo of desk

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