Asked on Sep 18, 2013

Suggestions on a chalk paint color

Mary Insana
by Mary Insana
Last year about this time I was planning the removal of wall to wall mirrors in our dining room and installing a wall of storage in its place. I drew out the plans, bought unfinished oak cabinets and I sanded and stained for weeks until I duplicated the color on the dining room chairs. Fast forward to now. The color is driving me crazy !
The room looks too dark to me. I have gotten so many compliments on the finished project but my eyes just aren't happy with the look. I am contemplating painting the cabinets with chalk paint to lighten it up some and give it a more satin finish rather than a glossy finish.
Some background on the rest of the room. The carpet is a burgundy/merlot color, my drapes on the patio doors are a antique gold color with different shades of gold and merlots. Currently the cabinets have antique brass pulls and I want to keep them since they were quite expensive. I really don't want to paint them with chalk paint but I may consider a metallic spray paint. I want to match the glass tiles on the back but I don't want to go too light. The dining opens up to the kitchen and the kitchen cabinets are dark golden oak.

Wooh ! I'm throwing a lot of information at you.

So my fellow Hometalkers HELP me find a shade of chalk paint or two colors to mix to get something nice. I really don't want to DIY chalk paint for this project. I'm biting the bullet and will buy pre made chalk paint for this project. I plan on buying some samples before I make a final decision. Suggestions on where to buy reasonable priced samples will be appreciated.
q suggestions on a chalk paint color, chalk paint, painted furniture, cabinets are stained red mahogany with a gloss poly finish
cabinets are stained red mahogany with a gloss poly finish.
q suggestions on a chalk paint color, chalk paint, painted furniture, tile
q suggestions on a chalk paint color, chalk paint, painted furniture, tile with more light on it
tile with more light on it
q suggestions on a chalk paint color, chalk paint, painted furniture
q suggestions on a chalk paint color, chalk paint, painted furniture
  22 answers
  • Z Z on Sep 18, 2013
    Mary, have you thought about trying to degloss them first? By your description of the rest of the room chalk paint sounds too informal. Though I can understand your not liking the high gloss, not something I care for either, they are still very beautiful and rich looking. I think the chalk paint would cheapen them. But that's my opinion. You have to decide for yourself. Good luck.

  • Kathleen M Kathleen M on Sep 19, 2013
    I think the finish on the cabinets should be more of a background, and less of a compeditor for attention. Chalk paint is meant to be distressed and "shabby-chic-ish" and I don't think the look will work well with your glass tile. I would paint the cabinets with a semi-gloss latex paint in a nice neutral white. They will need to be primed and will probably require two coats of finish paint. Your existing hardware will work fine.

  • Shabby Paints Shabby Paints on Sep 19, 2013
    Worn white with a pearl white glaze would really compliment the tile. Not all Chalk type paints have to be distressed...actually one of the reasons I started shabby paints was because I was so annoyed with paints that just come off on the edges regardless of what look you wanted. I have to say they are pretty if you could bring the gloss down. But regardless of what anyone what makes you happy. Look through pics online and find something you love and everyone on here will do their best to help you achieve it.

  • Darlene F Darlene F on Sep 19, 2013
    unfinished cabinets and tile but nothing with high gloss. If you want to change the high gloss you cannot just paint over it you must remove high gloss. it will not allow paint to stick to it. I would turn the lights away from it. and see if that helps. Also test the inside door with a satin finish gloss and see if it tones it down a bit. as for the tiles. I would call a tile store not a big box store and as if there is a grout or something that can tone the shine down.... I have to much shine in the fake metal copper sheeting but I think once the shelf goes up and the half gallon candy jars filled with my sugar and flour etc will distract from it. Good luck. Oh I have the small mosaic tiles one the other side of the kitchen but I got the kind that had muted stones mix through them. and I used a chocolate colored grout not white it worked better. cannot locate picture right now but when I do will post for you to see.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 19, 2013
    @Z do you think if I just did a serious wiping with very very fine steel wool it would tone the gloss down? I do have a scrap piece from the shelf so I may try some things on there. I know I don't want to go in the white or antique white direction for the cabinets.I just don't think it would look good with the tiles and I don't want to change the grout. I had seen this tile with a dark grout and I didn't like it. I had the lights on just for the picture. I have a little bit of a sample of CeCe Caldwell chalk paint in a walnut color. I might try that on a scrap and play around with that color and maybe another color over or under it.

    • Z Z on Sep 19, 2013
      @Mary, I've used a green Scotch Brite pad to de-gloss before. Let's see what @Kevin thinks as he has way more experience than I do at this.

  • KrysFL KrysFL on Sep 19, 2013
    Its not the color, its definitely the gloss... they sell a deglosser (by the paint dept usually) or maybe even just a really light sand and then a poly coat in matte or satin to hide the glaze?

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 19, 2013
    KrysFl Thats what I'm thinking aboiut doing. I though I had seen deglosser in one of the stores somewhere. I think i will go with a matt finish after I tackle the deglossing. Thanks

    • Z Z on Sep 19, 2013
      @Mary, I almost just mentioned a de-glosser to you, but figured instead to check with @Kevin.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 19, 2013
    Mary practicing on a board is a must and a great idea. Even through everyone says you can use chalk paint and it will cover everything and I love chalk paint I am still a big believer in doing thing right. Which means cleaning and preparing everything first. I love your cabinets and agree they are to shiny. I would use a 100 or 120 grit sand paper higher grit less damage. And sand it down and then use a new sealer. I would practice several times before I even tried it. I have a practice piece I try every thing out before I do any new furniture. So your smart to think of that and please show use your finished cabinets, your kitchen is lovely and you should do it the way you want. Not what we think is right, but if you paint it prepare it first, cleaning and sanding, and sealing the paint.

    • See 7 previous
    • Shabby Paints Shabby Paints on Sep 24, 2013
      @Sherrie Wow Sherrie, I have met so many new customers that have turned to us because of their lupus and different autoimmune diseases. It is so much more common that I even imagined. Since we are very hypoallergenic it has opened the door for those that were told..just like I was...that they had to stop painting. Still don't know what was in the "other" paints that caused me to have a rash and breathing problems. Would love to know, just to know. :) But I sure am a happy painter not to be stressing over wearing a respirator and full length gloves. Took the fun out of it. I have a makeup I love unless I sweat..makes my skin burn...sadly I think it has something to do with the sunscreen which is now proven to cause cancer...always something. Thought I was just a weird bird :) You can find our retailers here: I think you are close to Fayettville, AR? Grisham Interiors is my partner "in crime" I call her the brains of the operation..I think she is happy with that title lol.

  • Deb Pearson Hughes Deb Pearson Hughes on Sep 19, 2013
    @Mary, Your cabinet is lovely and I think that the dark high gloss wood may give the room a formal elegant feel. Don't know if that was the effect you were after but I'd say go with it. Add some warm colors and lighting. Hopefully would work with the gold in your kitchen too.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 19, 2013
    @Deb Pearson Hughes My kitchen walls are a latte color. The walls in the dining room are a light sand color. I think its the glossiness that I'm not really liking. Over the weekend I may start my experimenting on scrap wood that already has this same finish. I'll keep everyone posted on what I end up doing.

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Sep 20, 2013
    I really think it is a combination of the high gloss and the location of the existing lighting. with the lights shining directing on the cabinets it creates a "harsh" look have you thought about adding cabinet lighting under the shelf to light up the cabinets below? and possibly lights inside the lower cabinets? With advances in LED lighting they have some nice options that would contribute greatly to improving the lighting in the room. Also the color of the bulbs in the pot lights REALLY makes a huge difference, and I make sure to purchase the ones that simulate daylight or the ones that have the "white" spectrum to ensure the bulbs don't distort the colors of things in the room. I've been amazed at the difference it has made.

  • Jo Goughnour Roof Jo Goughnour Roof on Sep 20, 2013
    I agree with the others about deglossing. There are several ways to do it and think using your scrap piece would be the way to determine which way would work best for you. I love the tile and it gives off enough shine that you don't need it on the cabinets too. Redirecting your lights will also not make it so glaring, but no to the paint idea. Nice project though.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Sep 20, 2013
    some 4 "o" steel wool would be much more effective at de-glossing. You could even "overcoat" with some "satin" wiping poly to provide a bit of uniformity after you get them "rubbed down" before you coat with the poly though you will want to wipe them down with some thinner and soft cotton rag. The steel wool will leave small bits of fiber behind, the thinner will also help with cleaning by removing bits of oil or wax.

    • Z Z on Sep 20, 2013
      Thank you@Kevin. I knew you'd have an answer.

  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Sep 20, 2013
    Well I love them myself. I like high gloss everything. Now you just need more light. You don't have enough so it makes the cabinets look darker.Then what light you ave are in the wrong place. I would try more lightening maybe even some tube lights or track lights next to the ceiling. (Can't remember what tubes lights are called but could hide with crown molding).Would work on the bottom of both shelves too maybe. The over heads are just not right I don't think.Not the gloss but the lightening start there before doing something drastic please.

  • Karen Karen on Sep 20, 2013
    You did a great job. I would de-gloss and then introduce some bright color into the room Oranges,Gold, Creme all look really good with the Merlot. A pretty floral arrangement of some kind and maybe some colored glass in the cabinets along with your china. Right now you are all the same tone, it just needs to be jazzed up with color!!!! have fun with it!!

  • Bev Bev on Sep 20, 2013
    If the de-glossing doesn't do it, then try removing the glass tiles. Use a lighter contrasting paint inside that deep area to lighten everything up. I have seen that treatment really show off a built in bookshelf and is quite attractive. I hate to even make the suggestion, knowing what the glass tiles cost though.

    • See 2 previous
    • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 20, 2013
      @KrysFL Yes I did, thanks. In the 3rd picture you can see where I put 2 rows of just the brownish tiles along the top and bottom. It is more noticeable in person. I did it to break up the randomness of the assorted colors. Some of these pictures were before it was completely done and you can see unfinished areas.

  • Heather Mariner Heather Mariner on Sep 20, 2013
    You did a beautiful job with the cabinets! I'd go with a light sueded paint in the spaces that now hold tile. I agree, however, that the gloss on the finish is too high, but the glass tiles are really messing with the feel of the cabinets/space: too busy. Is the wall showing to the left of the cabinets somewhat tan/gold in tone in that last picture? That's pretty: what if you paint the room in the sueded tan/gold color, including the spaces where you take the tile back out? With the finish on the cabinets, that is an Asian palette (very dark reddish wood with a muted tan/gold). To suede the paint: A solid muted color would cause the accent baskets - or any textured thing you placed on the upper shelves - to become focal points, those shelves are natural focal points with that lighting. Is the ceiling really pink, or was that just an effect of the lighting reflecting off the deep red of the cabinets/DR table? And in the first picture, is there is a stretch of emi-gloss greenish-yellow wood to the right of the cabinets? Is there any way to remove that color from the structural elements in that room? It seems to be at war with the deep red of the cabinets and the pale pinkish look of the ceiling.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 20, 2013
    @Heather Mariner As I said above, removing or painting the tiles is not a consideration at all. The tan/goldish color is a color I have in the dining room and living room which pulls out a similar color in the couch. The ceiling isn't pink, must be the reflection. The greenish yellow wood you mentioned is the golden oak trim around the large opening between the rooms.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 20, 2013
    Thank you to everyone that gave suggestions. My original question was s about toning down the shiny cabinets and now I have a good idea on what to do. Over the weekend, if I get the time, I'm going to take a scrap piece of the stained wood and steel wool the glossiness down then wipe it down with thinner and an old white t shirt. I may use a satin or matte wipe on poly as the finish. While I appreciate the suggestions on removing the tile, that is not an option. I love the tile and I have gotten so many compliments on the colors. This was also my first time working with tile and I am pretty proud of my work. The lights are another thing that will not be changed. I had them on in the picture so I could post a clear bright picture of the room. I only have those lights on when we have company. Currently I have an antique reproduction goose neck lamp from Kirklands on the counter for evening light when passing through the dining room. I will be sure to post a picture of my project when I finish it.

  • Kathleen M Kathleen M on Sep 21, 2013
    You could try a very fine sanding block (steel wood sheds bits of itself as you use it and really makes a big dirty mess). After you attack it to de-gloss I think you will need to go over it with some sort of finish. You could try a wax product. I use butchers wax, but I know there are a lot of different wax products out there.

  • Jo Goughnour Roof Jo Goughnour Roof on Sep 22, 2013
    I am glad you are not going to remove or change the glass tiles as they are beautiful. Good luck and let us know how it all works out!!

    • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Nov 01, 2022

      My question was from 2013. I ended up using a Modern Masters matt metallic paint and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. I put thin sheets of cork behind the glass on the bottom to hide the baskets and other things i keep there. Since painting we have made this a coffee bar.