Paint your way to a lovely home with Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan's enduringly useful and popular book Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture shows you how to upcycle old furniture and tired walls and floors using eco-friendly chalk paint 

Annie Sloan is well-known for her brand of chalk paints. If you're interested in upcycling old furniture or creating the shabby chic look for your home, her book Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture (£14.99) is well worth getting because it takes you through 40 projects, showing you exactly what you need to do to achieve a similar result. So that grotty old wooden chest of drawers you despair of, well, this book may well inspire you to transform it into something delightful over a weekend...

If you consider yourself to be not in the least bit artistic, and have never managed to achieve anything remotely aesthetically pleasing using your own fair hands, you may well feel sceptical that you could take something old and wooden and paint it into something appealing.

But we defy you to look at Annie Sloan's book, with its great pictures and step-by-step guides, and feel not even the faintest of stirrings to give it a go.. especially if you like the shabby chic look, have bits of tatty furniture around your home, or don't have the budget to go and buy things brand new. Needs must, and all that... 

Learn how to achieve the limed oak effect
A rainbow staircase..now that is a good idea
Sloan's book covers a variety of styles, including Swedish, French distressed and boho chic
Distressed French style

Learn how to mix colours, put colours together, and master techniques such as colourwashing, printing, gilding, stencilling and glazing.  And the book shows you how to paint walls, floors and ceilings in ways that can make an older property look fresh and characterful.

For novices, it's good to start with something simple, such as an old wooden chair or bed frame, and before you know it, you'll be moving onto applying gold leaf to a salvaged roll top bath...

It's also interesting to note that you can dye fabric using paint - it's a good way to achieve the look of washed-out French antique linen. 

And if you don't know too much about chalk paint, well, it's surprisingly versatile, because it adheres to pretty much any surface and doesn't need to be applied to surfaces that have undergone hours of sanding and priming. In short, it's the lazy person's perfect paint. 

As to its eco credentials, chalk paint is water-based and breathable, has negligible VOCs, doesn't off-gas and contains natural pigments.

Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture is published as a soft-back by Cico Books and costs £14.99