Chalk Paint Is The Practically Zero-Prep Way To Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Laura Moss)

Painting your cabinets is one of the most transformative and inexpensive ways to upgrade your kitchen. But to do it right, there’s the sanding, priming, more sanding, and painting. No doubt, it’s a lot of work. Turns out chalk paint lets you skip over many of those steps so you can get straight to the new color, even if that new color is just a fresh coat of bright clean white.

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

There are lots of chalk paint companies out there now, but Annie Sloan is the OG, and her line of 37 colors pops up in a lot of kitchens. It’s good to know that you can’t color-match her paint to get your favorite hue, but you can mix two of her colors together to get a more custom shade. Here are kitchens where you can see Annie Sloan chalk paint at work on the cabinets:

When Mandi of A Beautiful Mess remodeled her kitchen last year, she used Annie Sloan’s Pure White on her bottom cabinets and kitchen island. (You can see the entire room in the lead image above.) She’s done the traditional paint route, and now the chalk paint method, and has lots to say about each. Her list of pros and cons is very thorough and really worth the read.

(Image credit: Laura Moss)

Jessica Davis painted her entire kitchen with chalk paint—even the floors—and is thrilled with the result. She used Annie Sloan’s Pure White for the top cabinets, and a 50/50 mix of Provence and Chateau Grey down below. Head over there to hear her thoughts on using Annie Sloan, and how it’s held up over time.

Here’s another two-color kitchen. Avery of Holland Avenue needed one quart of Pure White to do two coats on the upper cabinets, and one quart of Duck Egg Blue to do two coats on the lowers. She stresses the importance of degreasing the cabinets before painting. (She used Dawn dishwashing detergent to clean them before getting started.)

Jess of The Penny Drawer lived with her dated oak cabinets for way too long (her words, not mine). When she finally decided it was time for a facelift, she went with Annie Sloan Pure White for the upper doors and French Linen for the drawers and lower doors.

In case you’re worried that your kitchen will read too “Shabby Chic,” check out this retro kitchen from Retro Renovation, which looks like Provence. Jessica says she painted the cabinets with a mixture of chalk paint and water (using a spray gun) then finished them with Polycrylic. She reports that the finish has held up nicely since they were done.

And in case you’re tired of seeing the same colors, Reloved Rubbish was hired to repaint some outdated oak cabinets and their clients chose Annie Sloan’s Primer Red. They were sealed with a coat of clear wax. If you’re curious about this finish, read Our Storied Home’s account of how hers have held up two years later.