Chalk Paint and Wallpaper Furniture Makeover!

Hi! Miranda here, welcome to my ~very first blog post!!~ Exciting stuff for me as this is something I’ve been wanting to dive into for a VERY long time. In light of recent events I realized there is absolutely no time better than the present to do this darn thing, as I (as many of us) have been furloughed from my job due to COVID-19. I can’t lie, it’s been super strange for me… I went from being in school for 22 years straight (10 years of catholic school, 4 years of high school, 4 years of undergrad, and 4 years of grad school) to hopping right into my professional career, so as you can imagine serious chunks of “down-time” are NOT something I’m used to. I always have a million ideas swirling around in my head and I’ve finally had the chance to just sit down, list them out on paper, and get cracking on them. With this newly found time, I promised myself to do the best I could to turn a negative into a positive through a creative process, so why not document some of that here?!

And let’s be honest, who better to start a blog with than my two insanely talented, artistic, and crafty sisters!?

There’s been a history self-doubt on my end about putting my ideas out there; Will people care? Will they think this whole thing is annoying? etc. etc. Then, over the past few months some friends, strangers, and acquaintances actually starting reaching out and requesting me to share even more or expressed how much they enjoyed seeing my projects… and with that little push I finally realized wow this is something I truly find joy in doing, let’s see if more people will enjoy it too! If you take anything away from this at all, then that’s freakin awesome 🙂

So anyways the first said project I’d like to share is how I refurbished two pieces of furniture in my house: a china cabinet and an Ikea chest. (**with the late additional of a planter as well**) IMPORTANT: the furniture certainly doesn’t need to be anything special (both of the pieces I used are FAR from new) and if anything the older the better, that way you can feel comfortable totally transforming it. I’m not above stopping on the side of the road and hauling someone else’s “trash” into the back of my jeep to see what I can morph it into. My mom taught me this while growing up; as kids there were countless times she made us stop and turn the car around to get a closer look at what seemed to be your average junk, only to have her remodel it into something totally unique!

As this blog unfolds, you’ll quickly discover that I am absolutely obsessed and intrigued with the tropical/tiki lifestyle and aesthetic (I actually have been ever since I was a child, I will elaborate on this at some point later on don’t you worry), so naturally the path I took with this furniture facelift reflects my preferred style. I’m ALL for self expression in many forms and encourage you to put yourself into this project and truly have fun with it! You can theme your furniture ANY WAY you want!! There are HUNDREDS  of self stick wallpapers out there and you can find anything to match your distinctive style!! In this post I’ll outline exactly what I used for the project, but I encourage you to put your own spin on it! I am no furniture refurbishing expert, but I’d love to share with you the technique I recently developed:

1. Sand, 2. Chalk Paint, 3. Apply Acrylic Accents, 4. Wallpaper

Basic Materials you will Need for Both Projects:

  • Sand Paper– I prefer to use one on a sponge because it’s easier to grip. I found a similar product to the one I used on Amazon linked here.
  • Chalk Paint- I used Rust-oleum Ultra Matte Linen White, linked here.
  • Synthetic Paint Brush – For the chalk paint, use a synthetic brush (best for water-based paints). I prefer to use a large angled brush for ease of application. A similar brush to the one I used linked here.
  • Peel and Stick Wallpaper– The wallpaper I chose is here but again, I need to reiterate there are SO MANY to choose from on Amazon/ other craft stores!
  • Acrylic Paints– If you plan on doing other projects I recommend investing in a basic set of acrylic paints, I use them almost everyday (I’m a bit obsessed). Don’t be afraid to blend whatever paints you have to make new colors too! I get most of mine at Michael’s (and when in doubt Amazon). There are so many brands out there- I find “Crafts Smart” and “Deco Art” to be some of my favorites. An array of Michaels acrylic paints linked here.
  • Acrylic Paint brushes– Again, Michaels or Amazon. A selection of small to medium brushes are essential for different designs, linked here.
  • Paper Plate– Or anything you can blot paint on..

Optional Items:

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Exacto Knife
  • Drop Cloth: If you are a messy crafter like me, I’d get something like this to protect your floors. As always it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you can always just put down newspaper or an old sheet/towel!
  • Custom Knobs: Below are the knobs I ordered for the china cabinet, totally unnecessary but I like to add a little extra ~sugar and spice~ to everything I do so I went for it. If you’re going to order new knobs from the site below USE A PROMO CODE they always seem to have one available. Mine are linked here.
  • Polyurethane: I used this on the top of the chest to better protect the surface. Make sure you use one for “interior wood finish.” I linked mine here.
  • Spray Paint: I used this to spray the knobs on the Ikea chest, you can find this at Michaels, Amazon, Lowes etc. Mine linked here.

China Cabinet: Before

Ikea Chest: Before


1. Sand

  • Lightly sand all surfaces of the furniture that will be covered with paint then wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any excess debris. This step is super important and really does help the chalk paint to stick! I always want to jump into my projects and get right to the painting but my dad always taught me, a little bit of prep work makes all the difference, and it’s true.

2. Chalk Paint

  • Chalk painting is so freakin easy, like you really can’t mess it up…. it’s supposed to look rustic/rough!! Take your brush, dip it lightly into the chalk paint and before you apply it, really blot the paint brush out on a paper plate. It seems odd at first but you want a good amount of the paint to be blotted OFF the brush before you apply it!
  • Lightly brush the paint across in the direction of the wood grain. When I chalk paint, I prefer MOST of the surface to be covered with the paint, but make sure you don’t cover the entire surface, the natural wood should show through! I usually go back over the first coat and fill in any spots I want to cover a little bit more.

Here is the completed chalk paint look on the ikea chest.

3. Apply Acrylic Accents

  • I painted a pink backdrop overlaid with monstera leaves. These are SUPER trendy in the tropical world right now, I have them ALLL over my house. Basically just pick colors/ patterns that pair well with whatever wallpaper you chose!

  • Side note- if painting a scene like this scares you, don’t fret! You certainly don’t need to free hand anything! You could always just paint a solid color or wallpaper the entire surface.I also painted the inlets pink and gold to give an extra POP of color.
  • Given its shape I wanted the design on the chest to be more symmetric in nature so I made a monstera leaf stencil, cut it out, and flipped and traced it on each side! I painted the entire leaf gold then went in and added different shades of green, light to dark from inside out.
  • I used painter’s tape to ensure a perfect line for this gold accent! I did this in order for the chest pair with the inlets on the china cabinet a little more cohesively.
  • Side note- WAIT UNTIL THE PAINT DRIES before you remove the painters tape. I’m impatient so it’s a struggle for me but trust me, just do it.
Great job, you waited…….now you can take the painters tape off! JK it only takes about 10-20 minutes to dry. (But who can resist a Spongebob joke..)

4. Wallpaper

  • For rectangular drawers, take the dimensions, draw out on the back of the peel and stick wallpaper, and cut and paste them on. When you apply it, SLOWLY remove the back of the wallpaper as you stick it on from left to right, it helps to smooth it with a hard surface as you go to keep the bubbles out.

  • For the bottom drawers, I cut a larger surface of wallpaper out, pasted it on, then exact-o knifed off the excess. This is a little more tricky but a time saver for those particularly awkward shapes!

Finished Products and Optional Steps:

Here is the finished product of the china cabinet! I took the extra steps of ripping the doors off, I mean who doesn’t love a little demo hammer hitting action!? My dad was a nice enough to fashion me a custom margarita rack to fit across the top; I was originally going to order a rack on Amazon, which again would totally work just as well!
As aforementioned, I like to add some extra ~sugar and spice~ to my crafts so I couldn’t help but order gold monstera leaf knobs for the top drawers! Side note- I learned knobs are so unnecessarily expensive…
Here is the finished product of the Ikea chest! I also ended up putting three coats of polyurethane on top. In addition to protecting the surface it gives it an extra shine. As you can see I spray painted the original knobs gold.

~So there you have it!!~ Two pieces of furniture transformed into unique and totally personalized statement pieces!! I’d love to see you try this with different colored chalk paints and variations of wallpapers that match your individual styles. SHARE with me with me if you do!! I want to point out, you can start small here, it doesn’t have to be a large surface, maybe just a night stand or shelf! Whatever works, no right or wrong, just HAVE FUN with it 🙂


I wanted to share this other piece I did about a year ago, a coffee table given to me from a friend turned TV stand. I used the same chalk paint but instead of wallpaper I modge podged fabric on the sides! I find the modge podge process to be slightly more complicated than the wallpaper but that’s just me! It has a super chic look on furniture and there are so many variations of fabric patterns out there. I’ll be sure to do a full post on modge podge-ing for y’all later on if you’d like!


OK one more thing…….. I decided to add in a THIRD piece to the collection: a tequila display turned plant stand with my same technique: 1. Sand, 2. Chalk Paint, 3. Apply Acrylic Accents, 4. Wallpaper!! This was gifted to me from my favorite liquor store, and if you ask me is an absolutely PERFECT stand for my adorable dwarf pineapple plant, yup that little pineapple is real 🙂 Plus, bonus points for incorporating tequila into your life am I right?

Thanks for reading, till next time fellow tropics 🙂

P.S. Stay tuned for my next post on how to Sweeten Up your Life with Pineapple 🙂


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