Updating Furniture with Paint

This post is especially appropriate for St. Patricks Day, so Happy St. Patricks Day to you.  I’m gettin’ my green on today!

As I mentioned yesterday, this desk that I found over 10 years ago at a yardsale for $25 is now getting it’s 2nd transformation in my house.  I love when I can keep a good solid wood (Henredon) piece of furniture for so long, getting mileage out of it for years with a paint treatment.  This one started off natural wood when I bought it, then with black paint and now it’s green.  A lovely shade of kelly green.

painting desk

Annie Omar with Maison Blanche paints was kind enough to send me some sample products last year of her chalky paint line.  It’s very similar to Annie Sloan chalk paint.  I used it on Ruby’s little drop leaf table that I painted last fall and then I got a quart of Saint Anne for this project.  Once I looked at the color chart, I knew I’d love this color and I do.


Available in 36 colors, there are some beautiful shades in the line.  The paint goes on velvety smooth and I enjoyed working with it a lot.  She has waxes and many other paint treatments you can use on furniture too.  I opted not to wax this piece, but to use a water-based satin varnish in the same line.  painting desk 2

So, as usual I began my paint project by spreading out cardboard in my living room. I had some folks on Facebook who were aghast at my painting methods, not putting down drop cloths or taking it out of the living room.  Nope, this is how I roll.  I guess I’ve been painting so long that I don’t have a fear of making too much of a mess.  I didn’t get a drop on the floor!

desk detail

Here’s the wood detail on the legs and front of the desk.  I love this piece, it truly is a gorgeous piece of furniture.  When I painted it black I went back and used Rub N Buff in Antique Gold on the wood details, giving them an old-world look.  I decided to keep this with my new green paint color too and love how it turned out.

maison Blanche paint st anne

I’m very professional with my painting application, as you can see.  A paper plate, foam roller and small brush is what I used. I rolled the top and part of the sides, then used a brush on the legs and drawers where the details were.

painting desk 3

Foam roller on top.  It did take 3 coats to cover the black completely. I let each coat dry well in between.

desk painted one coat

After the first coat.  That F initial down there is my roommate, Rhonda’s. She had that and asked me to paint it green for her.

desk painted 1 coat

First coat, you can see it is still splotchy.

desk detail (2)

desk painted 2 coats

After 2 coats.  It’s really not this bright, so hopefully at the end you can see the true color of it.desk final coats

After 3 coats. I did go back and brush on any areas that needed extra coverage.

annie reserve tobacco glaze

After 3 coats, it was time for a little glaze.  I decided NOT to glaze the entire desk, but only the detail areas.  Using Annie’s Reserve Tobacco glaze, I added it in the drawer inserts with a small brush.

annie reserve glaze brushed on

Like this.   With a damp paper towel, I immediately wiped it back, leaving only a bit in the creases.

annie reserve glaze wiped off

Here you can barely see the glaze.  I didn’t leave much. I did this on all the drawer fronts and around the front legs.

maison blanche satin varnish

The finishing touch was adding the Satin water-based varnish for protection.  This also gives it a little sheen and not the flat chalky look of just the paint.  I actually like varnish better than wax.


I applied 2 coats of varnish to the top and used a brush to cover the front, sides and legs with varnish.  I love how it turned out!


With a bit of glaze on the details, and leaving the black and gold from my original paint job, it’s a masterpiece now and I couldn’t be happier with it. It has all brass knobs and feet.


It’s a classic!  Now it stands out between my black painted Queen Anne style chairs.


I happen to love green, so this is a perfect change for it.


And here’s how it looks on the wall now.  I moved the big chair out of the way to take this picture.  And I moved the Big Lots bench under the desk and really like that too.  I will change out the fabric on the bench.


That fabric will probably go back to the black and white zebra which I had on there awhile back.  This is a peek at the wall through the caramel leather chairs and how it’s going to look.

And when the new chair comes in and I get everything done in here, I’ll do a new photoshoot of the whole room. I really loving how fresh and colorful it feels now with these new additions and I think it’s going to all come together beautifully.

I’ve already heard comments about how bright this green is and I know not everyone will love it, but hang with me until it’s all finished and you might change your mind!

green painted lantern

I also painted the black lantern in the same green paint, to bring it around the room a bit.  It’s a pretty mix in here.

Decorating is all about making changes in time and letting our styles evolve and mine has certainly done that.  I always enjoy improvements and making my house feel even more cozy, don’t you?


Spring is almost officially here and I’ve added a new guide on Ebay for creating a beautiful outdoor space.  I’ve so enjoyed my porch, making it a cozy and comfortable outdoor room.  Click the photo!


- Rhoda


  1. You go Rhoda! Decorating with what you love makes your room far more interesting and you have such a knack for choosing just the right things! Jane

  2. Paula Lusk says

    Love the green! I have been going back and forth with green and a bright blue. I think this piece looks really nice.

  3. Surprising colour, but I love the result! It’s a gem… Well done!

  4. Jean from Georgia says

    Pretty green color. I have been thinking of painting my secretary in the foyer and this just might be my inspiration. My walls are Sherwin Williams Blonde and I want to change to white or a very light beigh/tan. Your green accents are an inspiration.

  5. What a beautiful shade of green! Love the final result……and your painting techniques!

  6. I really like the way it turned out – what a classic piece of furniture! I love the detailing. Thank you for taking the time to show how it looked after every coat of paint. That is so helpful. I have a wood secretary I need to paint when I work up the courage. I hope mine turns out as well as yours.

  7. Diane in Wis says

    Great job Rhoda! I like your “new” desk!!!

  8. Lindy Pierce says

    I love all the colors!! I do the same thing I’m always repainting things or thrifting and buy something that I can give a makeover I’m a floral designer and love decorating I live on Pinterest !!!! I keep up with all your re- dos or the clothes you are modeling or your friends makeovers very inspiring !

  9. Love the green and I paint just like you 😉

  10. Rhoda, you know I love your green desk! And I can’t wait to see the changes that you’re making!

  11. So excited to see it completed, and now even more excited to see the final reveal. It’s going to be so unique and I love that you have no fear of plunging in and using color!! The desk turned out lovely. All the little details are perfect and balance it so beautifully with the chairs flanking it. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

  12. Love your house! Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles inspired me also to add some color. I chose a dark lime green since I have some of that already in my sun room. I also have the yellow, lemongrass, and tangerine Fiestaware. I went on a spray painting frenzy last week painting frames, a mirror frame, end table and even a lamp. I love it! Thanks for sharing with us, especially your precious parents. I too am blessed to still have both of mine close by.

  13. Love green!! Love the desk I have some annie sloan chalk paint and I am like you, I do not like the wax look. Can you use any type of varnish over top of chalk paint? I painted my dining room table with chalk paint and waxed it….it was a disaster. It hasn’t help up…..I wondered if I cleaned it up and varnished if it would function better. Thanks for any input!

    • Leann, I think you can use any varnish over it. I prefer water based poly, so maybe try that. Easy clean up. I usually use a satin finish on my furniture and it looks really good.

  14. Hi Rhoda ,I just love the green you painted your piece.I am a green person and I had today before I logged on to your blog went and bought green paint .I am going to be bold, and paint my bench seat on our deck . I know some people will be shocked ,but I am ready for a change .I have 2 black pots with a ficus in them and the seat has always been charcoal . So I thought green will be good and add some soft pink pansies in and around the pots . And as it is Autumn here in Australia and my pots are well and truly in all kinds of weather I thought a bit of brightness as I go in and out of my back door will be very pleasant well to me anyway .. love all your things .

  15. LOVE the way this project turned out! Painting a piece of furniture is such an easy way to spruce up an apartment, and I love this color!

    Also, thanks for the Maison Blanche paint tip – I’d never heard of this brand, but immediately recognized the Louisiana roots based on the name!

  16. Hi Rhoda,
    I am so happy to have found your blog and Pinterest. As an ex- interior designer and DIY lover, it is so much fun to see what you do.

    I have a question about your furniture refinishing. It seems that you don’t sand before you paint. And I like EASY! I So it intrigues me. Do you just clean and slap on paint or do you prime first with a light sanding (yuk – the dust)?

    Thanks so much,

    • HI, Rima, with the new chalk paints out there now, priming old furniture is not necessary anymore. You can really just go over most all surfaces with chalk paint. Then add a wax sealer or a varnish. Thank you for stopping by! I’m the queen of easy too. 🙂 There are several types of chalk paint out now, so just look for your fave.

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