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Chalk Finish Paint® Makeover | Before and After On An Antique Desk | Amitha Verma

We had an ugly furniture problem. I have a love for antique secretaries and can never resist one when I’m antiquing. Even this one, which looked like it was beyond restoration and repair. 

After a little makeover using Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint, this dirty, dingy, dark brown chunk of wood ended up looking like the French country farmhouse project of my dreams. 

Once you see the before and after, you’ll understand why I nearly took this piece home with me!

The best part is, this makeover can easily be replicated on ANY piece of furniture using this five-step process.

Step 1: Clean Your Surface

This antique secretary desk was the perfect candidate for a furniture makeover, but I gave it a good cleaning before I covered it with my Chalk Finish Paint. Cleaning your surface helps the paint adhere to the surface, prevents mold growth between paint coats, and helps you lay down even color.

Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint makeover secretary before photo

Grab a soft cotton cloth (think old t-shirt type of material) and a cleaner of your choice. I use a degreaser, like 409 or Simple Green, or mineral spirits to remove tough grime and product, cleaner and wax build up.

Step 2: Apply The First Color

Once your piece is clean and dry, the painting begins!

I went with an all-over color of French Gray for this secretary.

That’s right. You don’t need a coat of primer before going straight in with color if you use these chalk finish paints. Insert dance moves here! It already adheres to furniture like a dream as long as you clean your surface first —We love a project with minimal prep work.

Using the Amitha Verma Transform Chalky Paint Brush, I took my paint and brushed long continuous strokes to cover as much surface area as possible.

Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint Makeover applying the first coat of French Gray.

The coverage with this paint is so good that you could choose to stick with just one coat.

For this piece, I let the first layer dry for 20 minutes and then went in with a second layer of French Gray to make the coverage more opaque and cover any spots that I may have missed.

Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint makeover first coat of French Gray closeup.

If you like the look of thick brush strokes for the chippy paint look, you can always load up your brush more and apply a denser coat. It’s all a matter of preference.

Step 3: Second Color Details

After covering the entire secretary desk in French Gray, I wanted to make the carved details pop, so I went in with a second and third color to add a bit of contrast.

I used the Petite Fina Brush and two Chalk Finish Paint colors:


Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint makeover petite fina brush details.

There’s nothing fancy about this process. The brush really does most of the work. All you have to do is follow along the grooves of the floral details, carvings, and s-scrolls.

You’ll be surprised how much this emphasizes all of those little features and makes the piece come to life.

Step 4: Protect Clear Sealer

Once the details are filled in, you can put down your paintbrush and swap it out for a Protect Brush to apply a layer of Protect Clear Sealer.

This helps shield your furniture from staining and the natural wear and tear that happens over the years.

I like to use this type of brush because it has a large, round diameter that allows it to cover many areas quickly.

Chalk Finish Paint Makeover  Amitha Verma Protect Brush coated with a clear sealer.

The application is simple:

  1. Get a thin coat of Protect Clear Sealer all over your Protect Brush
  2. Wipe that all over your desk
  3. Let it dry for 20 minutes

Then you can move onto the final (and my favorite) step of the makeover!

Step 5: Enhance Antiquing Glaze

This step is optional, but I HIGHLY recommend that you don’t skip this one if you want to bring back the aged, antique look into your piece.

The Enhance Antiquing Glaze is a powerful product to get that look, and I rarely omit this part from a project.

To help you apply the glaze with control and precision, I use the Enhance Brush.

Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint makeover applying Amitha Verma Enhance Antiquing Glaze.

I switched brushes for this step because the bristles are smaller and have a round shape that gives you more control to apply the glaze seamlessly.

Here’s how simple it is:

  1. Add a thin coat of Enhance Antiquing Glaze all over your Enhance Brush and apply it in a circular motion to spots where you want to see the most distressing.
  2. Let the first layer dry for about 10-15 minutes
  3. Brush a second layer of Enhance Antiquing Glaze where your furniture may have naturally aged or shown wear and tear


 Chalk Finish Paint Makeover tapping off excess enhance antiquing glaze

Pro Tip: If you feel like you’ve added too much, you can just move the product around more with the brush, grab your cotton cloth to remove, or keep a sheet of cardboard nearby to blot off the excess from your brush before you apply.

The Final Reveal

Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint Makeover antique secretary before and after

And that’s it!

You can see why I nearly took this antique secretary home with me after I completed this makeover. You can do this with any wooden antique find like a coffee table or a buffet in your dining room.

I love how it came together in just a few steps, and how the paint, sealer, and glaze turned this old, unwanted piece of furniture into something you’d see in a beautiful French country cottage.

Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint makeover antique secretary paired with antique chair painted in Chambord Gray against a wall of shutters.

I hope these before and after makeover photos inspire you to start your diy projects. If you recreate this on any piece of furniture, please tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #amithaverma or send your pictures to me by email to [email protected] and we can post them to share!

Seeing your recreations and hearing from you is why we do what we do here at Farmhouse by Amitha.

If you happened upon this blog but are not subscribed to our email list, make sure you sign up to receive your free design newsletter. There’s lots more where this came from, and there are some big projects in the works that you don’t want to miss!


Keep using your amazing gifts to create heart in your home,



P.S. We totally understand if you love this piece but would rather have an expert do the work. That’s why we have fully finished antique secretaries like this at my shop, Village Antiques, in Houston, TX. We are open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Stop on by! Or feel free to give us a call at 713-468-3931 if you have any questions.


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