Painting Particle Board Furniture with Chalk Paint

The project I'm sharing with you today is a 4-drawer chest. This 1990's "vintage" piece is mainly constructed of particle board. Ugh! I know! OK, so it's not swoon-worthy, but many people (including myself) already have these pieces in their homes.

It's an affordable option if you're on a tight budget. Plus there's a ready supply available in most thrift stores. I admit it's not my favorite style, but thankfully it can be updated with chalk paint for a fresh new look and given a second chance.

Before and During

Even though it's not a solid wood piece, this chest itself is solid and will function beautifully after it is freshened up. There were at least 2 layers of paint already on this piece. The most recent layer was painted with a white latex, and based on the texture of the paint, it was applied with a roller. There was a layer of green underneath that, although I'm not sure if that was a factory finish or not.

Before: 1990's particle board chest.

The chest was missing one of the knobs, so I picked up some new ones at Hobby Lobby. Before getting started I tested my color scheme on my work board (ignore the blue in the background as it was from a previous project). The color scheme I chose was Cream, Emperor's Silk, and Graphite. In the end I didn't use the cream because I didn't have enough paint on hand to finish the project, so I went with Old White instead.

Testing the color scheme.

I worked on the base with it upside down, so that gives you a peek into its construction. I painted the base first in Emperor's Silk. Reds typically require a minimum of 3 coats because there isn't a lot of pigment, and this project was no exception. After 3 coats of the red I applied a light wash in Graphite to add a little dimension to the color. Next I painted the top and drawers with 2 coats of Old White. I sealed the piece with clear wax.

Not my favorite materials, but the construction is surprisingly solid.


Now it has a fresh new look! I like the functionality and versatility of this piece. It would work perfectly at the foot of a bed, as a window seat, or in an entryway or mudroom.
Emperor's Silk, Graphite, and Old White.


I chose not to sand this piece. Instead I left the brush strokes to give a little added dimension. The brush strokes are subtle and after applying the clear wax the finish is wonderfully smooth.

Subtle brush strokes give extra dimension to the finish.

This chest works well as a bench with drawers for storage.

The color scheme is traditional yet cheerful.

A better shot showing the brush strokes.

Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Dimensions: 43” long x 17” deep x 22.5” high


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