interior design

inspiration: chalkboard paint

by Grace Bonney

last week anastasia at faiella design in san francisco sent in a great interior inspiration piece that featured a huge floor-to-ceiling mural based on a textile pattern. today anastasia is back with another great interior that uses one of my favorite things: chalkboard paint. sometimes chalkboard paint can skew a little messy and utilitarian, but this dining room proves it can look elegant and grown-up. though the dining furniture in the room isn’t really my favorite thing in the world, i think the chalkboard portion of the space (along with the bamboo-style cabinet) are really fantastic. i can’t tell exactly what’s written on the board, but it would be fun to write portions of your favorite poetry, or even text from your favorite food-related book. i’d love to write excerpts from an anthony bourdain book in fancy script, that would be a fun dining room to read. [the lighting fixture is by jim misner]

Suggested For You


  • People worried about dust need to hit up their local craft store and pick up some chalk markers. It’s what artists use for projects like the displays you see in Whole Foods. It looks like chalk, gives you more control, has no dust, and wipes clean with a damp cloth.

  • love love love it! I used to have a chalkboard wall in my last apt, i miss it! everyone would write something on it when they visited.. it was also a great place to put the to do list!

  • We just did chalkboard paint in part of our hallway — mostly in order to give our daughter something to do while we get ready for the day. I was concerned about it being super messy, but it’s not at all. And more often than not the whole family joins in the drawing.

  • Oh, wow. I have been toying with the chalkboard paint idea for awhile, but I never thought of making it sort of a large-scale, installation piece…what a neat thing to make it about words as art!

  • Oh my gosh, Anthony Bourdain on the chalkboard would be awesome.

    Anne at The City Sage did a post about chalkboard paint a while back. I think it’s great, if used properly.

  • I love this with the passion of a thousand fires! Thank you for sharing this!!!!

  • I just read about this on hyggehouse.com; she was asking for help on doing this to an entire wall and there was really good tips and ideas on her comments. i love this idea!

  • Chalkboard paint is fun but can be difficult. We painted a textured wall in our apartment and we still havent found a great way to wipe it clean without just pushing the chalk around. Might have to give chalk markers a try.

  • Does anyone know if chalkboard paint comes in low or no VOC formulations..? I can’t seem to find any specs… weird, as it’s used so often in kid’s spaces.

  • What a great idea! It would also be neat to do some simple line drawings, maybe even caricatures of the guests of the evening.

    I’ve got to find some chalkboard markers!

  • Love this! We have refinished our kitchen cabinets with chalkboard paint. They’re a big hit at parties, everyone gets together and draws on them.

  • Chalkboard paint is often overused and has been getting a bad rap lately, but I love it and think it can be a lot of fun. I don’t, however, think it has a place in this room. I feel it’s too whimsical and “remedial.” This is a classic, more traditional/elegant dining room, and the paint and writing seems to dumb it down. It doesn’t draw the eye upward properly – a richly colored piece(s) of art would do a better job.

  • I did the same thing but it was with a antique picture frame. This is also great for a child’s room, also for the inside of a pantry door, for writing grocery lists or something. Its a great way to decorate and its practical too!

  • The function of a chalkboard seems very out of place in this room. I love using language as art as much as the next person, but using such a highly disposable method of displaying it seems disjointed with the idea. I think I’d prefer working in graphics to create a banner print out. The way that the light and dark of the chalkboard play and molding gives a very nice look.

  • Kelly Peckler: I just read online to use a lint-free cloth soaked in Coca-cola to clean a chalkboard wall! I just used it on my daughter’s wall and it came out GREAT!

  • I was just asked this mornin’ my thoughts on chalkboard paint for a day home. Everyone’s comments are excellent however the only concern I have are the voc’s. We painted an entire wall, with this tar like goo. It looked fantastic and was loads of fun but we had to put our pregnant next door renter up in a hotel, because the smell was so strong! Has anyone found any paint not so “smelly”?

  • I love chalkbiard paint and this post just gave me an idea of where I can incorporate it into my home. I have a small, long space above a paneled wall in my kitchen nook. Too narrow to hang anything above, but it’s empty looking. Seeing this, makes me think chalk board paint would work and fill the space perfectly. Now what to write on that space….?