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Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – French Linen On An Old Desk

Posted on September 20, 2013 by KylieMawdsley


Annie Sloan French Linen – Painted Desk

There she was. Sitting in a basement, covered in boxes, papers and dust, calling out in a silent voice that said ‘Buy me, paint me, LOVE ME!’ So for the bargain basement price of $30 (a girl has to dicker!) I bought her and spirited her home.

desk before being painted

Once I got home I had to figure out what do with her. Surely a clean-up and polish could have been enough to bring her back to her former glory, but I ain’t interested in glory – I’m into full RESURRECTION and I knew chalk paint would do the trick.

Vintage wood desk painted Annie Sloan French LInen

The colour I chose was French Linen, a lovely mid-toned gray with dirty undertones. French Linen, along with a coat of dark wax gave me JUST the look I was going for…loved.

before and after painted wood desk with annie sloan french linen gray

I loooove this desk and so do my girls – they get artsy fartsy on it every day now! And in updating this post I would like to add that my girls got crayon on the desk and ‘wax on wax’ doesn’t work. So, now I’ve got to get out my paint thinner and re-wax. In the future for this piece, I will have to either throw some polyurethane on it or buy some glass for the top.

So, grab that ugly old fake wood dresser your mom passed along to you and you have hated for 15 years – go on, do it – it’s time to embrace those BUTT-ugly pieces and give them a new lease on life!

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature


  1. Thanks so much Kylie for the wonderful comments. I wish I could write like you, you put so much energy into it. Your piece turned out beautiful. I can’t wait for the Emperor’s Silk red piece. This colour is stunning.

  2. Is there other painting products that are this easy to use – no prep? I have a waterfall style set that I strongly dislike and thought maybe I could at least fix the appearance of it until I can get a new set. Undecided about the chalk look to this product but maybe I actually would like it??? Mostly I hate the set because for some reason the woman has the silly little make-up table that stores absolutely NOTHING for clothes and I know paint will not solve that issue. Thoughts???

    1. Hi Melissa, as far as I know (and I know a lot 😉 the Chalk Paint is the only product on the market right now that is ‘no prep’. Here’s a few things I’ve found out about it through my few experiences…
      1. The finish is dry and most pieces seem to look better when waxed. However, I’ve learned (from my daughters drawing on it by accident) that it’s not just straightforward cleaning) in fact any intense cleaning (like to get crayon or felt off) results in having to wax again. However there is a polyurethane product that you can also apply and THAT woudl then give you a more wipeable surface (and is what I’m going to have to do….)

      2. Another method I had ALOT of luck with (and I expected to be disappointed) was the following….
      a) I gave the piece a REALLY good scuff up with a green scrubby pad – yup, the one you wash dishes with. It etched the piece without actually breaking the surface down to create a bunch of dust (I did it in my kitchen!)
      b) Cleaned up any mess
      c) Used Behr 2 in 1 Eggshell finish.

      It worked REALLY well. There was one spot that I know I didn’t scrub very well and of course the paint did not stick well. Everywhere else though was awesome and held up VERY well. Plus, then you don’t need to poly the top and I hate having to do more steps than I have to.

      If I had your piece and I was looking for easy and effective this is what I would do. My piece that I did was heavily lacquered and it worked. This isn’t a guarantee that it’ll work for you, but might be worth a try as I’d do it again in a heartbeat….

      Any questions please holler! Also, in the search area of my website type in Church Pew and find that post. That’s the project that I did that method with…

      Thanks for asking!!!


    1. Yes, do copy me, copy is the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that) It turned out so super! The main lesson I learned is that you really need to clear wax BEFORE putting the dark wax on (with Annie Sloan products anyways…) If you decide to do it, let me know and send me some pics!!!

  3. All of your painted furniture looks great! I have a maple kitchen table that was given to me and needs to be refinished. I would love to paint it with a color…any suggestions? Things I’ve painted before remain tacky. We will be using this as a kitchen table so it needs to be something durable and wipeable.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Lindy! That is odd that your pieces remained tacky? Often oil/alkyd paint will do that as it takes so darned long to cure (especially at certain times of the year). There are so many super fab latex paints out there now that it’s not necessary to use oil anymore (I find anyways…)

      So, I know that you can do tables in Chalk Paint, however, I’m just not confident enough with the longterm durability of it yet to really ‘commit’ to it on a piece that gets so much daily use on it’s top surface.

      If it were me, I would do the Behr 2 in 1 Paint in an eggshell finish. Behr 2 in 1 is a high-adhesion paint. So, if you sand it with 150 grit sandpaper (like if you were exfoliating your face…) and use this paint, you shouldn’t need a top coat. I have 2 main pieces in my home that I painted with this paint over 1 year ago and they are still holding up FABULOUSLY!!!!

      The most important thing with paint is that it can take up to 30 days to cure properly. Soooo, be very gentle with it for about a month. Also, if you distress the edges then you’ll have more flexibility longterm for any additional scratches 😉

      It depends on what your house is like for the colour I could recommend to you. A few of my faves….

      Benjamin Moore – Willow (fake espresso look) great if you’re only doing the base of the table, not the top
      Benjamin Moore – Cloud White (glorified white, meaning it’s just not as stark as white but still acts like it)
      Ben Moore – Gentle Cream (a nice heavy cream….)
      and….just straight up black! I use just plain old black for sooo many pieces as it’s so timeless!!

      I hope this helps, let me know if you have questions, please!!!


  4. Hi Kylie,
    I just found your website today and am really LOVING everything about it! I painted my bedroom furniture in the French Linen about 6 months ago. We will be moving soon and I want to do a new wall color that really brings out my furniture. Currently I have an accent wall with the color “Totally Teal by Glidden”. My night stands (painted French linen) and bed are against that Teal wall. I also have a dresser (painted French linen) against a lighter wall. I think I would like to keep that accent color but not too sure yet. What color do you have on the wall behind your desk?
    Thank You,

    1. Hi Jennifer, I loooooove French Linen!!!!! Okay, so I think that Teal is an amazing choice with French Linen and this palette could still look amazing in your new home as it’s a fresh new space with different lighting!

      However, another idea is something in the Gold/Heavy yellow range of things. There’s a lot of gray/yellow/cream/white out right now – it’s a fad for sure, but it’s a great fad! Now it’s certainly not as dynamic as Teal, it’s more on the relaxing end of things, but still gorgeous. I have Gentle Cream behind my desk which I do love, but again, I have other colours in the space to help add some interest!

      If it were me, here’s some colours I would consider (as hopefully I’ll be moving soon too and will be looking for a new fab colour to pair with my French Linen desk!)

      #1 – Evening Dove. This is a navy blue. Gray and Navy blue are so gorgeous together….
      #2 – Stuart Gold. Such a wicked colour.

      both of these could be a great feature colour and then could be paired with a colour like Mannequin Cream on the other walls to add some great dynamic to the space.

      type ‘Images Bedroom Navy and Gray’ into Google search and see if that strikes your fancy.
      and then do the same with ‘images Bedroom Gray and Yellow’.

      I hope that helps, I’m sure I’ll be heading into those colours when we move, you HAVE to send me pictures!!!!!!!!!


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