The Best Chalk Paints For All Your Upcycling Projects

Breathe new life into all your upcycling and DIY projects with our handpicked selection of chalk paints.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
Best Chalk Paint
Edward Bailey/DIY Works
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Due to the popularity of upcycling furniture over the last few years, chalk paint has seen a surge in popularity. This is primarily because it leaves a unique, durable finish that’s easy to achieve for beginners tackling their first DIY painting project. Whether you’re working on an antique dresser, a shabby chic coffee table or a worn-out bookshelf, chalk paint has the magical ability to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.

To help you choose a chalk paint, our hand-picked selection features top-performing paints chosen through our first-hand experience using a variety of chalk paints on a range of surfaces. We also thoroughly tested multiple paints and carried out the latest research.

Shabby Chic Chalk Based Paint
Best Overall: Shabby Chic Chalk Based Paint
Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish
Best Value: Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish
Frenchic Chalk Paint
Best Quality: Frenchic Lazy Range
Johnstone’s Revive Chalky Furniture Paint
Best All-Rounder: Johnstone’s Revive Chalky Furniture Paint
Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint
Best For Durability: Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint
Rustins Furniture Chalk Paint
Best Value Runner-Up: Rustins Chalky Finish Paint

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates The Chalk Paints

Upcycling furniture is a great hobby and it’s a DIY task that we carry out a lot in our spare time. In terms of using chalk paint, we’ve used it to transform kitchen cabinets, dining tables, desks, cupboards and even to paint a front door.

During our ongoing testing of the chalk paints, we analyse the paint’s finish, durability, ease of application and coverage. We also tested the paints on a range of furniture/surfaces to give them a thorough test.

best chalk paint uk

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
best chalk paint for furniture

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest chalk paints (for this article), we are continually testing the latest offerings from top brands in the UK. Therefore, you may see a lot of upcycling projects appear on our social media.

As well as our testing and experience of using multiple chalk paints, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and a number of factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the paint’s finish, durability, ease of application, coverage, compatible surfaces, colour selection and value for the money.

The Best Chalk Paints

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Overall: Shabby Chic Chalk Based Paint

(How We Review →)

Shabby Chic is a brand that specialises in chalk paints and this paint in particular is specifically designed for upcycling furniture. As well as painting furniture, the brand state that you can use their chalk paint upon bare wood, plastic, metal, brick, stone or plaster. There is also a selection of 35 unique colours to choose from to best suit your requirements.

Another standout feature of this paint is that you can mix up the formula to create a “distressed look” to your furniture. This is achievable by applying two coats in contrasting colours and sanding it once the paint has dried.

Pros
  • Water based formula with no odours
  • Produces a desirable matte finish
  • Can be painted directly on most surfaces
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Impressive selection of 35 colours
  • 12 square metres cover per 1 litre
  • Touch to dry in 1 hour
Cons
  • Most expensive per litre within our roundup

Although expensive, the Shabby Chic Rustic Matte is by far the best chalk paint on the market that can be used indoors or outdoors. The brand also offers the largest selection of paint colours to best suit your painting requirements too.

2. Best Value: Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish

(How We Review →)

By far the most popular chalk paint for furniture is the Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish, which is available in an array of colours. In terms of its formulation, it’s a water-based chalk paint that can be easily applied to most surfaces without the need for sanding or priming. However, unlike the Shabby Chic alternative, it’s only suitable for interior furniture.

Pros
  • Water based and odourless formulation
  • Designed for interior furniture
  • Requires no priming or sanding
  • Flat matte finish
  • 14 square metres coverage
  • Choice of 16 different colours
  • Available in 125 or 750 ml tins
Cons
  • During our testing, we found that for some surfaces, it required up to three coats to achieve the perfect finish

To conclude, the Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish offers the best value for money and is available in a variety of colour options to best suit your painting requirements. We’ve personally tried and tested it on a variety of upcycling projects over the years and it always impresses us with the finish that it leaves.

3. Best Quality: Frenchic Lazy Range

(How We Review →)

Frenchic is a brand that’s gaining a lot of traction in the furniture painting industry and their chalk paint is a great option to consider. Although expensive, it’s the brand’s new and improved chalk paint that has been developed with quality in mind. It’s also one of the easiest to apply because it’s self-priming, self-levelling and even self-sealing.

Pros
  • Eco-friendly formulation with minimal VOC content
  • Hard wearing and water-resistant
  • Available in a choice of 18 modern colours
  • Suitable for use on a range of surfaces
  • During our testing, we found that it was very easy to apply and it also dried quickly
Cons
  • One of the most expensive chalk paints within our roundup

Although expensive, the Frenchic Lazy Range is a high-quality chalk paint that produces an excellent finish every time. Whether you are painting your kitchen cabinets, dining table or any other furniture, it certainly won’t disappoint.

4. Best All-Rounder: Johnstone’s Revive Chalky Furniture Paint

(How We Review →)

Johnstone’s Revive is another highly rated chalk paint that’s fast drying (touch to dry in just 30 minutes) and designed to be easy to apply. Whether you need to paint cupboards or tables, the finish it provides is tough and scratch resistant.

In terms of the colour options, the brand offers its chalk paint in a selection of four different colours that include cushion white, antique sage, dusty morning (light brown) and vintage duck egg paint colours.

Pros
  • Touch to dry in 30 minutes
  • Produces a low odour output during application
  • Durable and scratch resistant finish
  • Dedicated paint for furniture painting
  • 12 m2 coverage per 1 litre
Cons
  • Limited colour selection

To conclude, the Johnstone’s Revive is an excellent all-round chalk paint that provides a great finish and is easy to apply. The main drawback is that it lacks colour options but if they offer the colour you require, the paint won’t disappoint.

5. Best For Durability: Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint

(How We Review →)

Ronseal is a highly reputable paint brand and they offer multiple chalk based paints to choose from. In terms of the best, this Chalky Furniture Paint is the brand’s new and improved option that’s designed to provide a protective finish.

In terms of the application of this chalk paint, it doesn’t require any wax or lacquer and is touch dry in 30 minutes.

Pros
  • Provides a flat matt chalky finish
  • large 750 ml tin that provides 16 m2 coverage per litre
  • Easy to apply with a paint brush
Cons
  • During our testing, we found that it needed the most amount of coats (for example, upon a cupboard, we used 5 coats to achieve our desired finish)

Overall, the Ronseal Chalky Paint provides excellent coverage and is relatively affordable when you consider it comes in a 750 ml tin. Although there are only 8 colour options, they are all popular colours that are ideal for upcycling projects.

6. Best Value Runner-Up: Rustins Chalky Finish Paint

(How We Review →)

One of the cheapest chalk paints in this article is by the Rustins brand and it’s available in a 250 or 500-ml tin that’s suitable for interior work and furniture painting. When compared to similarly priced chalk paints, it has far more going for it and this can be seen by the inclusion of wax, which enables this paint to achieve a velvety flat matt finish once dried.

Pros
  • Requires very little preparation of the surface beforehand
  • Takes 30 minutes to dry
  • Coverage of 13 m2 per litre
  • Choice of 10 colours
Cons
  • Requires multiple coats for the best finish

Overall, the Rustins Chalky Paint is affordable, provides great coverage and is ideal for any beginners that want to take on any upcycling projects. Considering its budget price tag, you really can’t go wrong with this paint.

Conclusion

Chalk paint is one of the latest formulas to hit the painting industry and is very popular with DIY’ers carrying out upcycling projects and furniture painting. The chalk-based formula minimizes drips and doesn’t require any sanding or primer before application and this is what makes painting furniture far easier and quicker than using standard paint.

All of our recommendations within this article are suitable for a range of budgets and include a selection of colours. However, to avoid disappointment, we advise that you choose from a reputable brand.

If you require further information regarding any of our chalk paint recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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