Honest Review of My Chalk Painted Bathroom Vanities
So I’ve been meaning to write this post for months and I just kept putting it off. Like that dentist appointment I need to make to get a cavity filled, I just kept avoiding it. But today is the day. I’m finally sharing an honest review of my chalk painted bathroom vanities. It’s been about a year now of using these vanities every day, which I think is a fair amount of time to test how the chalk paint has held up. I have a lot to say today my friends. I’m also going to share some quick updates on a few other aspects of our bathroom and my overall thoughts on this space one year after our big remodel. Now just to get us started I have to share a quick flashback of what this bathroom looked like when we moved in, in all its lovely 1980’s glory:
Ain’t that somethin’. Here’s how it looks today:
I love this transformation and I still can’t believe this is where I get ready every morning. Bringing my vision to life for a modern farmhouse bathroom took us six looooooong months. It was the biggest project we’ve ever take on, but it was so worth it in the end. Overall I’m really happy with the decisions we made in this space. But today I want to talk about a few common questions I get a lot and share how things are doing one year later.
How is the chalk paint holding up?
The honest answer? Not great.
We chose to use vintage dressers as vanities and I’m still so, so happy we went that route. (You can see how we converted these into working vanities in this post.) Not only was this way cheaper than a traditional vanity, but it adds so much charm and character to the bathroom. I made the decision to chalk paint these dressers, I used Annie Sloan Pure White, instead of using regular paint. I followed it up with Annie Sloan clear wax and it looked great. For about a month anyway.
Then I started noticing little chips and signs of wear all over the drawers of my vanity, after only a month or so of use. My initial thought was that I hadn’t used enough wax to seal it, so I sanded down the bad spots and did the whole painting and waxing combo again. This time using two coats of wax. Again, this same thing started happening about a month later. More chipping and scuffed up paint.
Every few months I have to re-paint and re-wax this area of my vanity and it’s a total pain. Now let me clarify something–on just about any other piece of furniture in our home I wouldn’t care about a little distressing. Heck, I usually LOVE a worn look. But for these vanities I wanted them to be super polished. Very clean and crisp looking. No distressing at all. I thought I could accomplish that look with chalk paint and wax, but given my experience with these vanities I don’t think it’s possible.
I’ve also been really disappointed with how this has held up around the faucet, where it’s exposed to water on a daily basis.
If you look closely you can see water damage starting to form along the top of the vanity, as well as around the faucet itself. This is happening even with me frantically wiping down the vanity every time it gets wet. After only 1 year of use, I’m not thrilled with how this looks or how it’s holding up.
How does it clean up?
I find it really difficult to keep these vanities looking clean and white. The chalk paint just doesn’t clean up well, it seems everything leaves a stain or dark mark–including makeup, which is definitely a problem since I use makeup here almost every day and it inevitably gets on the dresser. This issue could be partially due to the fact that I used white chalk paint, but I’m not sure. I just feel like it always looks dirty, which drive me crazy.
How is storage in the dressers?
Storage is awesome, I haven’t had any issues in the past year. We did lose a few drawers in each dresser due to the plumbing, but that really hasn’t been a problem. I have plenty of space for all my makeup, hair tools, and extra stuff you keep in any bathroom vanity. I also love the way we offset the sink over to the right on my dresser, the larger one, leaving plenty of space for my hair and makeup goodies.
Overall thoughts on the dressers & chalk paint:
Overall I’m still really happy I decided to use old dressers in this bathroom, but I should not have used chalk paint. I probably should have went with an oil based paint instead, which would clean up easily and be very durable. Had I taken the time to do that instead of chalk paint, I don’t think I would be encountering so many issues with the paint chipping, cracking, and showing water damage. Additionally, I should have used a clear polycrylic to protect the top of the dressers instead of using wax. I actually did this on our dining table and the combination worked perfectly–no water damage at all on that table. I’ll likely be sanding these dressers and redoing the whole thing soon.
And there I am, in my natural habitat: messy bun, no makeup, camera in hand.
Let’s move on to the rest of the bathroom just for fun:
Still absolutely loving these floating shelves and the farmhouse curtains I made, they’re all holding up really well. Although it looks like I need to buy more soap.
I’m still so happy with the colors we chose for the tile. I was afraid it would be too much grey, but I think it all works together really well. And I really love those little white pebbles there in the shower pan, they’re one of my favorite things in the entire bathroom. Sometimes I do wish we could have found a way to make this shower space larger, but it’s still so much better than what we had before. That shower was like a dark, scary cave.
I have to say I do love chalk paint and I always will. However, I think there’s a time and place for it. And a bathroom vanity is probably not the best place. If you’re painting furniture and looking for a really polished, clean look I would definitely recommend going with either latex or oil based paint. Given my experience with these vanities over the past year, I just don’t think chalk paint can give you that look.
Please keep in mind these are just my opinions, I’m not trying to bash my beloved chalk paint, but I do want to share my honest opinion based on my experience. And despite the mistake I made with my paint choice, I obviously still LOVE this bathroom remodel. The whole project still feels like a dream come true.
**UPDATE: Check out this post to see how I repainted these vanities!
Here are the bathroom sources for those interested. Everything was very budget friendly and most of it came from Amazon:
- Vanity Light Fixture
- Towel Racks: Hobby Lobby
- Vessel Sink
- Ceiling Light
- Shower Faucet
- Industrial Shelf with Wood Planks
- Paint Color: Smokestack by Behr
- Tile Color/Brand: All tile was purchased from The Tile Shop in Denver.
Thank you all so much for stopping by the blog today! I’d love to chat if you have any questions or comments, so don’t be shy. Also be sure to track me down over on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.