I’ll start this off with a disclaimer: I’ve always been kind of anti-chalkboard walls. They just seemed a bit too Pinterest-y, a bit too local coffee shop chic, and a bit more rustic than I typically go for in my design. I do, however, love a dark gray or black wall – as you’ve probably noticed from the wall in my living room – so, when we moved into an apartment with a chalkboard wall, I decided I was going to go ahead and embrace it rather than fight it.
CHALKBOARD WALL BASICS
It seems super easy to incorporate a chalkboard wall into your home. You just break out the chalkboard paint, grab a roller, and go to town, right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.
- You’ll want to think about placement. Maybe I’m biased or maybe I’m just thinking of all the little cafés that utilize chalkboard menus, but the kitchen seems like the ideal spot to utilize a chalkboard wall. It’s often the landing pad for your home, it’s where you often keep your calendar, it’s one of the first rooms you probably walk into when you come home in the evening, it’s where people congregate. So, it seems intuitive that a chalkboard wall and its messages would find a place in the kitchen.
- Size is a definite consideration. The size of our wall is perfect – it’s not so big that I feel overwhelmed with how to use the space, but it’s plenty big enough to fit a few different sections to be used in different ways. Think about it as a refrigerator alternative and stick to that size guide.
- What’s near it? Something I hadn’t thought about until I started using the chalkboard wall was all the dust that falls as you write on it. You probably don’t want a carpet right underneath it, so make sure it’s placed somewhere you can easily wipe up the mess each time you write.
- There are more writing tools than you can imagine. I just use a simple pack of Crayola white chalk, but if you’re going to be a fancy chalkboard artist, there are chalk pens, pencils, and markers of all shapes, sizes, and colors to expand your horizons.
- A quick Pinterest search will pull up all the ideas you’ll ever need to create those shapes, banners, and hand lettered words you’ve lusted after. The banners on my wall below? Super easy to recreate once I found a similar image on Pinterest. You’ll find inspiration for days just by searching “chalkboard wall ideas” – here’s one of the best pins I found.
- Water doesn’t cut it for getting your chalkboard wall clean. This was a shocker to me. The first time I tried to wipe it off, I was left staring at a gray wall. What you’ll need to do is mix white vinegar and water, heavy on the vinegar, and go over it a few times with a sponge to really get it clean and back to black. It’s a pain, so you may want to carefully leave those areas that you’re just going to redraw anyway.
A SPACE TO LOOK AHEAD
The obvious use for a chalkboard wall for me was to use it as a calendar to track the big trips and events we have coming up. They say that a major part of the positive vibes you get from a vacation are from the planning and anticipation, so isn’t having them listed right in the kitchen where you can see them a great way to continue to remind yourself of the fun ahead?
We use the wall just for a vacation calendar, but you can also think of other planning oriented uses. Maybe it’s meal planning? Standing weekly commitments? What reminders do you need of what you’ve got coming up?
THINK OUTSIDE THE CHALK
I wanted to jazz up our wall a bit and I didn’t want to be confined to just using chalk to do so, so I brought in pictures to add color and personality to the wall. Originally I had made frames around them using chalk, which is a cute idea, but eventually I moved in this grid direction and also threw in a picture hanger that was perfect for a few Polaroid that hadn’t found a home.
The “Be Present” section of the wall had started as a place to write down our weekly events, but honestly, changing it up that much felt exhausting, and we use Google Calendar for our weekly events anyway. Using photographs of some of our favorite memories feels like a better reminder to actually “be present” each and every day.
ADD A SPOT FOR NOTES
One of the best parts about a chalkboard wall in the kitchen is that you can use it for messages and notes on the fly. There are, of course, a few ways to approach this. You can have a “notes” section, or you can do what I did and attach a pull-off notepad to your wall with a few double sided sticky mounting pads.
I went the notepad route so that when I’m in the kitchen, remember something I need to pick up at the grocery store, and go to write it down, I can later take that with me as a list. It’s just an added convenience that goes beyond just jotting the reminder down on the wall. Though, if that’s what you have in mind, here’s a shopping list idea.
So while I’ve been perusing Pinterest and working on this post, I found a bunch of other ideas I absolutely love. I may have talked a bit of trash about the cliché coffee shop chalkboard wall – but I’m kind of loving this coffee bar idea, as well as this one. Looking for a calendar to make a statement? Use white paint to draw the outlines of a huge calendar like this one and then fill it in each week.
Do you have a chalkboard wall in your home? I’d love to know how you use and design yours! The beauty of it is that it’s always a moving target that can be wiped down and redone, so I’m always looking for new ideas.