Real Life Decoration Inspiration: An Annie Sloan Wardrobe Makeover

Author: Kelly C


It’s been a while since we have featured a Real Life DIY post and this wardrobe project is just amazing, brought to you by Kelly H’s siter in law no less!  Restoring furniture not only saves you money but you can personalise your furniture however you want it, It then becomes a unique piece like today’s wardrobe project. I have never used Annie Sloan paint but I have heard so many great reviews about this beautiful chalk paint and it really suits the new look wardrobe.

Here’s Sally-Ann to tell you about her wardrobe renovation………..

We moved into our Victorian house almost 14 years ago and for the past 10 I have been wanting to redecorate my bedroom, I was particularly keen to get rid of an impulse purchase Ikea wardrobe.
The wardrobe was brilliant for storage but was HUGE! Taking up a whole wall, measuring 300cm wide and 65cm deep. After 10 years of nagging at my husband he finally agreed that we should dismantle the wardrobe and buy a new one.

It took me a few weeks of research to decide what I wanted, I decided upon a French Armoire. There are a lot of companies importing French furniture, they restore it, paint it and then add on a pretty hefty mark up. A wardrobe in the style and size I wanted would have cost approximately £1,000. I decided to find a wardrobe in it’s ‘raw’ state and restore it myself, this would save me a few quid and I actually liked the idea of a ‘project’.

I began searching the internet for ideas and, after watching a number of Youtube videos, I discovered the amazing Annie Sloan chalk paint. I had heard about the paint but had no experience of using it. This paint is becoming really popular, the great thing about chalk paint is that there is no preparation involved, you can literally paint straight onto pretty much any surface with no sanding, priming etc. and it dries super quick. There are a lot of places offering Annie Sloan painting courses but I found the Youtube videos and the Annie Sloan Website really useful and didn’t feel I needed to attend a course. A little about the process of using the paint later.

The next step was for me to seek the Armoire. I spent a couple of weeks looking at various wardrobes online, ebay, gumtree, antique auction sites etc. I finally found one that had the perfect measurements on eBay, placed the bid and yippee I won the item. The wardrobe cost me £440.

  • This is a photo of the wardrobe when it arrived
Wardrobe makeover001

The Armoire is made of Oak and had been varnished to a high sheen. I had chosen to paint the wardrobe in Paris Grey with Old White as a base coat as I wanted to distress the wardrobe, sand back in areas to show the Old White beneath the Grey. Off I went to my nearest Annie Sloan outlet, purchased the paint, wax and brushes, I spent around £100 on these items.

It took me a couple of weeks to

  • Find the time to paint it
  • To pluck up the courage to apply the first coat!

Although all of the literature and information I had gathered regarding Annie Sloan chalk paint says no preparation is needed, I have to admit I was a little dubious and nervous that the paint would not adhere to the surface. Well, I needn’t have been as the first coat went on like a dream!

I applied the paint as per the instructions, firstly I wiped down any dust and dirt from the wardrobe, I actually used a baby wipe for this as I had seen a lady do this on Youtube.
Once the wardrobe was clean and dry I applied the Old White paint. I wanted to achieve a distressed/aged look so I didn’t apply the paint in straight lines I painted in all directions using the round Annie Sloan paint brush. The great thing about this paint is that it dries super fast, by the time I had finished the last panel on the Armoire the first part I had painted had dried.

  • I chose to apply two coats of Old White as the wardrobe was quite dark. This is the wardrobe after two coats of Old White applied:-
Wardrobe Makeover002

The following day I started to paint the next coat, French Grey. Again, the paint went on really well and it only took me a couple of hours to paint the wardrobe. As I had chosen to distress the piece I didn’t feel it required two coats of the French Grey.

Once the piece had dried (an hour!) I started with the wax. The wax seals the paint and protects the piece against knocks and water marks etc. There are a few different ways to apply the wax, with a lint free cloth or a brush, I chose to apply with brush.

I applied quite a lot of wax with the brush, applying to a small area at a time then wiping off the excess wax with a lint free cloth. I used an old cotton t-shirt. I felt applying the wax was the most time consuming and strenuous part of the process. The wax needs to be worked into the paint really well to ensure the paint soaks in the wax and every bit of the piece is covered. It is best to leave the wax to cure for a minimum of 12 hours, I left it overnight before i began to distress the piece.

When distressing furniture it really is down to your own personal taste as to how far you go with it. There are different looks to ‘shabby chic’ some pieces are extremely distressed others no so. I decided to go somewhere in between. I used fine sand paper and lightly sanded back the whole of the piece to reveal the Old White base coat which gave the effect of a limed wash look. I went a bit heavier with the sandpaper on the corners of the piece, the detailing in the doors, along the bottom and on the door edges, distressing the areas that would naturally look warn with wear and tear. Once I was happy with the distressing I used the brush on my hoover attachment and ensured I cleaned away all of the dust. The final stage was to apply another coat of wax, leave overnight and buff with a lint free cloth. If you are looking for a shine you can buff with wire wool but I preferred a matt look so only buffed lightly with a cloth.

  • It took me a total of around 6 hours to paint, wax and distress the Armoire and, with curing time for the wax ,it was finished in a couple of days. Here is the finished result.
Wardrobe Makeover003

I am really pleased with the Armoire, after a couple of days of hard work I have achieved the look I was hoping for, it fits perfectly into our bedroom and I saved around £400-£500!

Since discovering Annie Sloan chalk paint I have painted a couple of old Victorian pine school chairs, my next restoration project is a Victorian mahogany side table, watch this space…..


For more information on Annie Sloan chalk paint go to




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