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For me there is nothing more satisfying than transforming a tired and dated piece of furniture.

And I’m excited to share with you today, how to easily paint a china cabinet with chalk paint in just one day.

Several years ago I purchased this small china cabinet at a consignment shop.

Not only was it the perfect size for my dining area, but I was also drawn to the vintage, cottage look.

Over the years I’ve tired of the yellow finish and I’ve been itching to paint it black!

There’s something about black that just draws me in.

While the china cabinet still has its vintage cottage vibe, the black paint makes it feel a bit modern to me.

So scroll down and see how I painted this china cabinet with chalk paint in just one day.

If you love re-imagining old furniture pieces like us, then you’ll love our Modern Desk Makeover too!

Or take a look at our Floating Nightstand . . . or the way we transformed grandpa’s old dresser!

Choosing the Right Paint

First off, there are so many choices of paint to use when painting furniture.

Do you feel overwhelmed at all of the choices of paint?

Should you use latex paint, oil based paint, milk or chalk paint?

Which is the best for furniture?

And if you’ve wondered what paint would be best for your project, you’ll want to read “Painting Furniture: Different Types of Paint and Proven Results.”

For my painted china cabinet I chose chalk paint.

Personally I like the matte finish of a chalk paint along with a wax for protection.

To me it keeps the vintage vibe I like and it’s easy to work with.

While there are many choices of chalk paint, I usually choose Behr’s chalk paint.

Not only is it a quality paint, but you can also have it mixed into any color you’d like.

I love that flexibility!

And it’s less expensive than most chalk paints on the market.


You’ll need a few supplies to paint your china cabinet with chalk paint, many of which you may already have on hand.

When choosing a paint brush, choose a good quality brush.

In fact, a cheap brush will result in a cheap and unprofessional look.

Over the years we’ve used Purdy brushes and have loved them.

Recently we’ve tried the Zibra brush and love it too.

Prep China Cabinet Before Painting

Before chalk painted china cabinet makover, distressed pale yellow painted china cabinet, filled with a variety of dishes.

Let’s take a look at my china cabinet before I painted it with chalk paint.

It does have a fun cottage vibe, but it was a little too distressed for my liking and the finish felt dirty to me.

I do love the hardware cloth in the door panels and the bead board backing, for that farmhouse feel, so I’ll be keeping these details.

The original hardware is painted and I’d like to freshen that up a bit too.

Before photo of the distressed, pale yellow china cabinet with the hardware cloth removed and the drawers removed placed on a blue drop cloth.

Before you begin painting a china cabinet you’ll want to remove the hardware and give it a good cleaning.

Because this china cabinet is located closely to my kitchen I thought it would be a good idea to clean it with a degreaser.

A box of TSP Trisodium Phosphate used to clean the china cabinet be for painting with black chalk paint.

I like to use TSP to clean my pieces before paint, but Dawn dishwashing liquid would also be a great alternative.

Once the china cabinet is clean, we’re ready to paint.

Often I’ll take my furniture pieces I’m painting down into the basement or into the garage.

But this time, the piece was just too big to move myself, so I just prepped the area with a drop cloth and painted it in the dining room.

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Chalk Painted China Cabinet

Woman's hand applying black chalk paint a paint brush to a china cabinet.

To paint this china cabinet with chalk paint, I first used my angle brush to cut in around the edges.

I also used the angle brush along the bead board backing and any detailed areas.

Woman's hand holding a foam roller applying black chalk paint to the side of a china cabinet.

And then for the remainder of the cabinet, you’ll find that a high density foam roller is the quickest way to paint any piece of furniture.

It gives you a nice smooth finish and it is fast.

Woman's hand holding a paint brush appling black chalk paint to an old china cabinet.

While it looks like the paint is covering the surface of the china cabinet well with just one coat of paint, I always do two coats of paint.

Often there are imperfections in the finish that you don’t see until it’s dry.

And two coats of paint ensures good durability as well.

Distress Chalk Painted China Cabinet

woman's hand holding fine sandpaper distressin the top corner of the black painted china cabinet.

Distressing your chalk painted furniture piece it always optional.

I do like a little distressing, to add a little age and character to the piece.

If you look closely at my china cabinet you’ll see the wood itself has tiny holes to simulate aged and vintage wood.

So it seemed appropriate to distress my piece a little.

Let the painted china cabinet fully dry before distressing.

To distress my china cabinet I used a piece of fine grit sandpaper, and rubbed gently on the areas where normal wear would take place on an old cabinet.

Close up view of the sanded distress door edge of the black painted china cabinet.

Focusing the distressing on the sides and corners.

Top Coat or Wax

Woman's hand holding can of wax and waxing brush in front of the black paintd china cabinet.

Certainly the finish of a china cabinet gets a lot of wear as dishes are slid in and out.

So protecting the finish is always a good idea.

For protection on this chalk painted china cabinet I will use wax.

Another option is a polyurethane top coat.

Woman's hand holding a waxing brush, applying wax to the black chalk pained china cabinet.

While it can be applied with a soft cloth, I like to use a waxing brush.

This way I’m able to work the wax into the details and grooves in the furniture piece.

Once the wax is applied to the entire surface, let it dry completely.

Often it will take an hour or two, just wait until it no longer feels tacky.

Then buff with a soft, clean cotton cloth.

Now that the china cabinet is all painted, the hardware cloth is stapled back to the doors and it’s time to freshen up the old hardware.

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Update Hardware

Old china cabinet hardware placed in boiing water on the stove.

The hardware on my china cabinet was covered with paint.

That’s not a look that I wanted on my refinished piece.

You easily remove paint from hardware by simply simmering on the stove.

Or you can use a slow cooker to clean the paint from antique or vintage hardware.

Woman's hands holding old painted china cabinet pull and removing old finish with a white scrubbing brush.

Once you see the paint start to loosen from the hardware, remove it from the hot water and scrub the paint off with a brush.

Woman's hands holding cabinet pull applying gold rub and buff to all of the china cabinet pulls.

After removing the paint, I still felt like the hardware looked a little dingy, so I applied a coat of Rub and Buff in antique gold with a paint brush.

I really wanted the hardware to pop against the black chalk painted china cabinet.

Woman's hands holding cabinet pull buffing china cabinet pulls.

When the Rub and Buff is dry, buff with a soft cotton cloth and then reattach the hardware to the china cabinet.

Close up view of the gold rub and buff hardware on the black chalk painted china cabinet.

I love the way the antique gold really stands out against the black cabinet.

Newly black chalk painted china cabinet filed with white dishes, milk glass goblets, white vases and plants. On top of the china cabeint 2 natural wood candlesticks with white candles, old window with white flower wreath and a white and black platter on a plate stand.

The china cabinet still has a farmhouse, cottage feel and yet feels a bit modern with the black chalk paint.

Newly black chalk painted china cabinet filed with white dishes, milk glass goblets, white vases and plants. On top of the china cabeint 2 natural wood candlesticks with white candles, old window with white flower wreath and a white and black platter on a plate stand.

And finally I filled it with my collection of white dishes, so there’s a nice contrast.

Newly black chalk painted china cabinet filed with white dishes, milk glass goblets, white vases and plants.

So what do you think of the black chalk painted china cabinet?

Does this feel like project you can do over a weekend?

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We hope you found a little inspiration here today.

For more furniture makeovers with chalk paint see the following ideas:

And chalk paint can be used for more than just furniture. Just check out these ideas.

We find it so rewarding to take old discarded pieces and breathe new life into them.

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Pinterest image of black chalk painted china cabinet, staged with a variety of white dishes.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Cindy Kirk

    Beautiful, what color black did you chose for his cabinet?
    Thank you,

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Cindy. I had the color custom mixed, it’s Sherwin Williams Caviar. Thanks for visiting our website. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Renae Frey

    It looks absolutely gorgeous! I love the statement that black makes in decor. Beautiful. I’m so excited to meet you this week.

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Renae, I do love black! We are so very excited to meet you as well and learn from seasoned professionals like you. Have a wonderful weekend.

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