Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Maybe my most ambitious home dec DIY yet, and a furniture paint review

I've mentioned I've been doing some crazy home dec projects lately... one of these is possibly my most ambitious ever, and while it's only halfway done, I'm super excited about it and have to share this part. And maybe you can help with the rest!

I've had this Louis XV chair (thanks to Design*Sponge for reminding us of the difference between the different types of French chairs) for years, handed down from my mom, who got it from my grandma. It never went with my mom's craftsman/art deco decor, but I know it can work in our modern/eclectic/girly/glam mishmash, and would work in several rooms. The living room has enough seating for now, so it's been living in our bedroom (totally clashing) waiting to be redone.

Pretty cool, right? Totally has potential!

So earlier this spring, I got an email from Annie Sloan Unfolded, the American distributor of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan and other furniture redo products. They wanted to know if I was interested in doing a review of their Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax for a furniture project. Um, yes, I was!! I had the perfect project in mind!

I was busy working on my book until my manuscript was due in early May, but later last month I got around to pulling out the millions of staples on the old Louis chair and prepping it for painting. Then I got to use the paint!

I couldn't decide which color to use (they have a ton of pretty ones) since I don't know which fabric I'll recover it with, so I played it safe and asked for white. They sent me some Pure White Chalk Paint®, as well as some Soft Wax for a finish coat.

Chalk Paint® Review

So, after destroying the old fabric and trim and dinging up my hands considerably while watching old SNLs on Hulu (basically how I spent my Memorial Day weekend while husband was away...), I was ready to paint.

I really wanted to do this chair project right, since I've had it for so long and it's a really nice quality piece, and I want it to last! And it's going to take forever to do the upholstery! I figured I would need to sand it down, but the Chalk Paint® tips said I didn't! I just washed it down with some TSP and let it dry.

I also figured I'd need some primer, but nope--this stuff doesn't require it. So, pretty simple and easy compared to what I was prepared for!

It also went on with super thick coverage. Before I started I figured I'd need 3-4 coats, but I didn't need more than two! Here it is with only one coat.

It dried super fast. After a second coat, plus a third partial for touch-up on spots I'd missed, I pulled out the Soft Wax. It's a water repellent top coat that protects the paint job and smooths it out a little, and can be reapplied over the years with wear. It said to apply with a cloth or brush, but it a little too thick than I thought my brush could handle so I used a foam tool.

It sort of smooths over the brush strokes and finish. Here you can see the vertical piece, where I applied the wax, and the horizontal bar where I hadn't yet. Little smoother.

So now the chair is painted, waxed, and waiting for upholstery.

So far, this project has been way easier than I was expecting. ;) As for the paint...

Benefits/happy observations:
  • No smell at all. I did the first coat with the garage door open but it wasn't even really necessary! It had no more smell than the nicest quality craft paint.
  • No need to prime or prepare? Um, sign me up. (I read that here.)
  • Great coverage. That's of prime importance when you're a quick (read: lazy) furniture painter like me and have to do this in your oddly lit, sort of chilly garage by yourself. I did not want to do any more coats than I absolutely had to.
  • Dries super fast.
  • Cute packaging/good branding. Let's be honest, that makes a difference in how I feel about a product, too! ;) Along with that, great bunch of tips the website on using the Chalk Paint®. I really appreciated reading more about it there and tips and techniques.
So thanks so much to Annie Sloan Unfolded for the awesome products!! If you want to try on your next furniture redo, look for local retailers here. Also find them on Twitter and Facebook,

The next steps in the chair makeover

So, now that I've done the painting part, I have to do the scary upholstery part. I probably never would have attempted this (would have spray painted the whole thing one color or something) if it hadn't been for this five-part tutorial on Little Green Notebook (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5). SO many clear photos, and totally inspiring that hey, maybe I could do this myself. So I have big plans for the next few weeks--must first decide on new fabric (which is where you come in), then (yikes!) I'll be stapling and making that fancy double piping.

Fabric. Um. There are oodles of Louis chair remakes out there, many of them so so pretty. (Seriously; just search Pinterest for "Louis chair" and you'll see what I mean!) I've been pinning some faves lately, as well.

I go back and forth and am pretty sure I want to keep it pretty neutral (although I love a hot pink chair, but I can't do that to my husband), but obviously white is not a great color for a chair that I put a ton of work into and don't want to recover again. ;) I love the black/white look but our bedroom is so pale grey/soft colors that I'm afraid it would be strangely contrast-ey in there. (Here's another black/white--simple but high contrast compared to our grey room.)

Here's what it looks like currently. I'm always switching up the throw pillows and accents, so nothing besides the headboard and curtains are set in stone. The bedding is usually white, though, and I do like the lamps.

So what kind of Louis XV chair goes in this room?!

I think I might like a print, but those are kind of hard to find in super cool home dec fabrics, at a good price. I'm stumped! Uh... beige?!? Help out, guys!! What do you see this chair looking great with!?


  1. Looks like you're off to a great start with that chair. I'm sure it will be beautiful when its finished. As for the fabric, I think a print or pattern of some kind would make a nice statement in your otherwise pretty neutral room. If you can't find a fabric you like for the right price, you could maybe stencil some drop cloths with fabric paint? Just a thought. I know how frustrating fabric shopping can be! Also, don't be too afraid of upholstery. Its totally doable with the right tools. And since you already can sew, thats half the battle. I recently reupholstered my living room sofa and it turned out great, was easier than i expected, and was one of the most rewarding diys I've managed to accomplish.Good Luck!

  2. Lovely chair, I'm jealous! ;-)

    Scrolling through Pinterest I must say I love this one: http://pinterest.com/pin/246501779574102644/ Would suit the current pillows as well... Pop of color, but not an... in-your-face pop. I cannot really see what color your curtains are, grayblue-ish? Or taupe? Staying with beige or taupe is also a safe choice (think it'd be like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/68961438014130984/, add crap and you have this http://pinterest.com/pin/198369558556382233/) and can be brightened up with a fun pillow as well... I think really bold prints will be some you'll eventually get bored with and it wouldn't be my choice to upholster every few years. I'd say go with a color you love and perhaps do try to find quality fabric, the chair is pretty enough to be worth that in my opinion...

    I'm boring furniture-wise. xD I just love the idea of keeping/liking something for at least 10 to 15 years... ;-) I'll only go wild with accessories and wall-paint.

  3. Light powder blue! I just think that would be lovely, especially with the white. :)


  4. What about a nice grey, similar to your walls? Or a grey and white print?

  5. Uh-oh. You're in for a nasty surprise. We tried Annie Sloane Chalk Paint to refinish a cool 60's Western-Mod style maple sofa. Sure, we didn't have to sand or lacquer, but within a week of use the thing was scratched and nicked beyond belief. This was light wear, too, our household is used to treating antiques with respect. Needless to say all the hype surrounding chalk paint is unfounded. It wears just like its name would indicate, crumbles like chalk. If you want a painted furniture finish that will last you're going to have to do it the old fashioned way. Sand, sand well, wash, and 2- 3 coats of paint Possibly top-seal or clear lacquer if you really don't think you'll want to change it again or you know its going to take a beating. It really doesn't take that much more time either, especially when you consider the additional time you will have to spend on touch ups with the quick-fix alternatives.
    I hope your chair project works out, but sorry to say I'm skeptical.

  6. I'm with Kay, a gorgeous charcoal gray would look amazing and forever versatile!

  7. teal/turquoise or bright or mustard yellow would all go well with the current color scheme while providing a pop of color

  8. I love that you used anne sloans chalk paint. A lot of my furniture friends use it! I have lots of fabric. I'd go for dwell studios gate with your grey bedroom, it would look amazing.

  9. http://www.tonicliving.com/Cameron-Storm-P2809.aspx
    What about something like this?

  10. I've heard lots about chalk paint but haven't tried it yet. You'll have to keep us updated with how it works in the long-run. On a side note, you're headboard looks awesome! I used the green notebook's tutorial when I did mine too...also in gray! If your interested in our twinner headboards...http://prettydubs.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-diy-tufted-headboard.html. Happy Monday!

  11. I can't wait to see what you do, what a fun project! :)

  12. This is going to be gorgeous! I would also love it in a bright pink, but since that's out I'd suggest bright turquoise. A bold stripe would look gorgeous too - and maybe if there are limited home dec fabrics you could paint/print your own?!

  13. Well, Silver did cross my mind. Or maybe something with dark or licht grey in combination with silver fabric paint (or some other colour) and a nice template. Than I'm thinking about lace, rozes, birds or stripes of a zebra.


  14. Very cool! If you ever want to try out the chalk paint, I have several cans left over!!

  15. That's too bad, I hope ours holds up!

  16. Silver would look good or what about that green color to tie in with the pillows. Sometimes I think prints in a bedroom should be limited to bedding and pillows. Why? So they allow you to switch them out easily if you become bored of them.

  17. Ooohh! I wish I read this yesterday. I almost bought a cool fabric remnant at Joann's today. It was kind of a beige linen fabric with pale blue embroidery in a sort of circle-type pattern. If I see it again, I will send you a pic.

  18. You are not only skilled in dressmaking but also in furniture painting. Whoa. Excellent job, Su! :)
    Ed of FashionPatterns.com

  19. I was thinking a French toile fabric with charcoal grey pattern on off white background would look fab on the chair, if you haven't covered it yet ;) if u can't find a print suitable, maybe a grey tweed fabric would also look shiek :)

  20. Nicely done. Very clean execution of colors.
    painter phoenix az



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