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Zillow Real Estate

6 ways to add chalkboard paint to the home

Chalkboard paint is not a new trend for the home, but it’s steadily growing in popularity, enthuses designer Joshua Rowland, simply because it’s fun.

It’s also “pretty useful,” added Rowland, principal at Joshua Rowland Interiors.

Whether hidden inside a cabinet to record recipes or on a living room wall as a place to create interchangeable designs, chalkboard paint is here to stay, Rowland says.

Here are six spaces where you could easily add chalkboard paint to your home.


chalkboard kitchen 2

A chalkboard wall makes a statement in this kitchen by Martinkovic Milford Architects.

“If someone is considering chalkboard paint, I’d say try to your kitchen,” Rowland said. He is currently updating his own kitchen to include the trend, painting one wall in his kitchen with chalkboard paint.

Cabinets and pantry

The most conservative way to add a little bit of chalkboard paint to the home is with a splash of it inside cabinets.

“We often paint the inside of a pantry cabinet door with it, creating a handy place for a shopping list,” said designer Carisa Mahnken of Carisa Mahnken Design Guild.


chalkboard kitchen - cmahnken

This kitchen by Carisa Mahnken Design Guild features chalkboard panels on the fridge.

Forget stainless steel — try chalkboard paint for a fridge finish. If the fridge already has panels, paint the interior of the panels, Mahnken said.

In one project, Mahnken ordered an oversized chalkboard and cut it to size instead of using cabinetry panels.

Her tip? “Look for a magnetic board!”


Add chalkboard paint to the inside of a door panel in a mudroom by Carisa Mahnken.

Chalkboard paint was added to a door panel in this mudroom by Carisa Mahnken.

Chalkboard paint can be used in a variety of ways — framed chalkboards, painted on the walls or added to doors.

“Chalkboard doors are now available from several vendors,” Mahnken said. “They’re great in a mudroom to remind kids of their schedules before they head out the door. We’ve also used them in laundry rooms and play spaces.”

Kids’ room or playroom

chalkboard kids room

A giant chalkboard marks one wall of this children’s room by Sara Eizen.

Rowland offers these words of wisdom about chalkboard paint in a child’s room:

“Kids are going to draw on the walls; they might as well have somewhere they can [draw].”

He suggests trying a full chalkboard wall to create a giant canvas for kids’ creativity. Draw a headboard above a bed, or sketch a scene that can be changed as often as the child’s interests do.

Living room

Framed chalkboard pieces liven up a space by Joshua Rowland.

Framed chalkboard pieces liven up a space by Joshua Rowland Interiors.

In one of Rowland’s designs, he added two chalkboards encased in frames. In the casual guesthouse, the chalkboard paint makes the space a little more casual and an extension of the kitchen.

“The room is in a guesthouse in a winery. Basically it’s for press or customers that can stay at the guesthouse; it’s a fun kind of guest book,” Rowland explained.

Even beyond chalkboard frames, Rowland loves the look of chalkboard paint to create a space for “wallpaper.”

“If someone is a graphic designer, they can create an ever-changing wallpaper. That’s something I’ve wanted to do in a project,” he said.

Dining room

Write the menu or notes to guests on the doors to the dining room.

Write the menu or notes to guests on the doors to the dining room by Jordan Iverson.

Chalkboard paint in a formal space? Why not, says Mahnken.

“It’s not only for traditionally functional spaces,” she said. “In a formal dining room, we used it as a revolving art installation, allowing the creative homeowner a full wall for self-expression. She and her children change it often.”


chalkboard office 2

An erasable to-do list lives on a chalkboard wall in this office by Signature Design.

From organizing schedules to drawing “frames” around art pieces, chalkboard paint and a home office space go hand in hand.

Tips for adding chalkboard paint

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, paying close attention to whether you need to prime first.
  • You’ll need a pretty flat surface. If you’re painting on a wall, you’ll need to sand down any texture.
  • Don’t just think in black and white! Chalkboard paint now comes in a variety of colors.
  • DIY! Have a favorite paint color? Create your own chalkboard paint by adding 1 tablespoon unsanded grout to 1 cup of paint.

Get more inspiration on Zillow Digs!


Erika Riggs, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here.

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