How to Chalk Paint a Foyer Table

chalk paint table DIY home improvement project

This post describes each step for chalk painting a foyer table, which includes lightly sanding, painting with chalk paint, sanding off the chalk paint in strategic spots, and sealing with polyurethane.

Below is a before picture. I like the color, which is dark gray, but always felt like it clashed with the wall color. So, I decided to give this little foyer table a new look.

Step 1: Cleaning and Light Sanding

I used fine sandpaper to remove any bumps or “burrs” and to give it a smooth painting surface. I also wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove dust.

Step 2: Chalk Painting

This is my favorite color of chalk paint.

primitive chalk paint

I have used it to transform several pieces of furniture. It is sort of an oatmeal color and goes with everything. It also looks good over black or brown.

Chalk paint has a grainy texture, which is characteristic of chalk paint. The purpose of using chalk paint is the ease of sanding the paint off to expose the undercolor.

A few painting tips . . .

  • Because this is such a small table and has so many nooks and crannies, I turned the table over and painted the underside first.
  • When you paint, be sure to paint in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Try to paint with long, even strokes. When you paint the edges, make sure your last paint stroke ends at the edge of the table – – sort of letting your paintbrush finish this stroke going off (or away) from the table.
  • Also, check for drips. If you have a drip, go over this again with your paintbrush before it dries.
  • I used an artist’s brush to get in all the crevices.

I painted two coats of chalk paint.

Step 3: Sanding

Sand off some (but not all) of the chalk paint in strategic spots to reveal some of the undercolor (or wood depending on the piece of furniture) to give it an aged/worn look. Hence, sand more in areas (edges, handles, etc.) where more wear from use or touching would occur over time.

I use finer sandpaper (320) initially and sometimes use more coarse sandpaper (120) if the chalk paint is not sanding off easily enough or not revealing enough. I suggest starting with fine sandpaper (320) and then transitioning to more coarse sandpaper if needed. Deciding how much to sand off is a matter of taste.

I sand all the like areas first – – end pieces, inside and then outside, feet, and then the top. This helps me to double-check myself for consistency (so all the sections blend/match), but at the same time, I want it to look random as if naturally worn spots. The edges are easiest, but I don’t overdo it. Even though I try to be consistent, I am also somewhat inconsistent to give it a naturally worn appearance. (I painted this before we installed our vinyl flooring in our basement.)

I constantly look over the piece until I am happy with its appearance. You can sand more or less depending on your preference.

Step 5: Applying Polyurethane

I don’t use wax, but instead, use Minwax wipe-on poly (clear satin). I use rubber gloves so I don’t have to clean my hands with paint thinner. I take the gloves off and reuse them for each coat. I use a cotton rag (usually from an old t-shirt) to apply the polyurethane.

I don’t want the furniture to have a shiny look but just have protection. I put two coats on the entire piece of furniture. I put at least three coats on the top for extra protection.

Be sure to apply the poly in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Use long even strokes in a very uniform way to give it a smooth and consistent finish. If you are not consistent, you might see smudges after it dries. If that happens, don’t sweat it, just learn from it. Over time, you will not even notice this.

Make sure that you read the directions and give plenty of time to dry between coats — overnight is best.

The polyurethane tints the color a little – – sort of an antique/aged look, which I like.

Here is the final result! Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Check out some of my other chalk painting blog posts:

Get some chalk paint and a brush and transform something from trash to treasure!

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions by commenting below.

Happy Chalk Painting!


  1. Sabrina on 06/04/2021 at 4:25 PM

    What a precious little table!

    • Suzanne on 06/04/2021 at 5:05 PM


      Thanks so much! We are pleased with how it turned out and it fits perfectly in the small nook in our foyer.

      Thanks for reading my blog!


Leave a Comment