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Best dresser – playing with paint

Project ideas and inspiration from Good magazine

In the mood for a creative project? The new Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint range from Resene delivers the inspiration.

Painted drawer unit finished in Karen Walker Chalk Colour and Soft Wax or Vintage Wax
When you give a piece of furniture a makeover, you give it a new story

A tired old chest of drawers, like the one pictured here, can easily be transformed with paint and new handles. The new no-fuss Karen Walker Chalk Colour paints make the process super easy as they require minimal preparation. Most surfaces just need a quick wipe down and then you can start painting. Karen Walker Chalk Colour paints create a lovely matte finish when applied. Depending on the effect you’re after you can apply a second coat for a smoother, more solid colour. If you want you can then finish the project with Karen Walker Soft Wax for a clear effect, or Vintage Wax for a darker, more textured look. Vintage Wax can be used to pick up and accentuate any furniture details or the paint surface itself.

When you give a piece of furniture a makeover, you give it a new story. Using the Chalk Colour paints makes the process so simple, and the colour combinations are so aesthetically pleasing that it really helps you to get creative.

You will need


Step by step painting guide
Closeup of painted drawer and drawer interior


Step 1: Take the drawers out. Clean all surfaces with a damp cloth. If you choose to replace the handles, remove the old ones and block up any holes with filler as necessary. Allow to dry before spot sanding the filled holes smooth.

Step 2: Using a medium-sized paintbrush, apply a first layer of Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint to all outer surfaces of the cabinet and the fronts of the drawers. Avoid painting the drawer sides as this will make them stick. Allow the paint to dry for about 2 hours before re-coating, as desired.

Step 3: If replacing handles, drill holes where necessary and attach the new handles.

Step 4: Using the Resene testpots and smaller paint brushes, paint free-flowing shapes inside the drawers. Let your creativity flow! Allow to dry. Reassemble the cabinet.

Step 5: Apply Karen Walker Soft Wax or Vintage Wax as desired. For Vintage Wax (as pictured) use an old cloth and apply small amounts at a time, rubbing off any excess as you go.

Karen Walker Paint charts and testpots

Karen Walker chalks

The inspiration for Karen Walker’s paint colour chart came from the Bauhaus art school of the 1920s, and their concept of creating and combining colours from an emotional, rather than a technical, point of view. The paint range includes seven stories that combine opposites in surprising ways rather than simply matching colours tonally.

For this project I chose palette 6, painting the outside of the chest of drawers using Resene Milk White and inside the drawers using a free-flowing combination of Resene Half Smalt Blue, Taupe Grey, Half Beryl Green, Fuscous Grey and Clouded Blue. I chose to add darker accents using Karen Walker Vintage Wax.

Words and styling Sarah Heeringa. Photography Amanda Reelick. 2020

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.