When Should You NOT Paint Wood Furniture?

When should you not paint wood furniture? Painting “perfectly good wood” is controversial. Don’t believe me?

If you’re a DIY’er that paints furniture for any length of time, I’m certain someone has opened their mouth and gasped: OMG, you paint wood?! Why would you do that?”

…riiiight after you proudly showed them how awesome your piece looks after you spend 6 hours painting it.

Not the best feeling in the world.

In fact, you feel rather crappy after that kind of criticism.

I mean……we all know that solid wood is the almighty indication of quality furniture, and to slather on a superficial coat of paint??–gasp!–how dare thee.


The Real Truth About Painting Wood Furniture

Want to know the real truth about painting wood furniture?

It’s not the end of the world.

It’s paint. It can be stripped years from now, if you’d like. And most times, that piece of wood furniture was taking up space in some thrift store, or someone’s curb side, and you (the awesome DIYer), saw its potential and breathed new life into it.

We should actually get an award for being so green, eh? 🙂



When Not To Paint Wood Furniture


But is there a time when you should not paint wood furniture? 

Yes, there is. Before you jump in to any project, you do have to consider these situations to make sure you’re making the right choice. Here are those times when you should put down the paint brush and step away slooowwwly.


STOP:  If Grandma is Rolling Over In Her Grave

Would your Grammie be P.O.’ed if she knew you were painting over her antique hutch? Maybe she adored it. And every time you think you might take a paint brush to it, you cringe at the thought of Grandma smacking the brush out of your hand.

If you can’t bring yourself to do it because of guilt, then just leave it alone. Maybe pay someone to strip it and re-stain it back to its original beauty. Or, if you want to try to strip and stain it yourself, check out my YouTube video tutorial on how to strip furniture and stain it. At least this way, Grandma will be smiling down at you instead of waiting to lecture you at the gates of Heaven :).


STOP: If You Just Bought a Can of Rust-Oleum

Yikes! Hold it right there! Some paint is just not made for furniture (like this kind of Rust-Oleum spray paint). That’s what happened to a friend who had the great idea to paint this beautiful, expensive chair with black Rustoleum paint (see below).

The result?

Horrible black, chipped paint that destroyed the wood. She ended up hiring me to see if I could strip it. WHEW! Tough job of getting black paint out of nitty-gritty cracks. Just don’t paint wood if you’re going to use the wrong paint.

Stripped Chair Collage

So What Paint SHOULD You Use on Furniture Then?

In the last few years, the amount of options for furniture paint has totally exploded. It used to be that you had to sand…prime…then paint. But now, you don’t have to do that! As long as your surface is smooth, you can use any of the following paint on your furniture!

NEW! Click here to read more about the PROs and CONs of each of these furniture paints!


  1. FolkArt Chalky Paint
  2. Amy Howard at Home
  3.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
  4. Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint
  5. General Finishes Milk Paint
  6. RECLAIM Beyond Paint
  7. Shabby Paints
  8. Heirloom Traditions


STOP: If You Haven’t Consulted Papa Google (or Mama eBay)

One splash of paint and you’ve just ruined something you could sell on eBay for three or four figures. Do your research first and find out how much your piece of furniture is worth before you paint it, especially if it just looks like something so rare and special.

This almost happened to me! Remember this amazing Anco Bilt vintage drafting table I found at a thrift store for $30? I had no idea it was valuable! I almost painted it!!!! Until I searched Google and found that one has sold for $325 on eBay! Now, it’s in my pretty, colorful basement office “AS IS.” And I love it, flaws and all :).

If it looks really valuable, it probably is. Don’t paint it if you’ve got a real gem on your hands!

Thrifty Basement and Home Office Makeover Thrift Diving Blog2677


STOP: If You’re Just Trying to Be Cool and Trendy

Painted furniture is hot right now. But trends go in and out of style. Painting chevron stripes all over a perfectly good wooden buffet that had not one scratch on it may seem like a good idea. But in 5 years, it may be outdated. Then you may need to buy a book on how to strip furniture, creating more cost and work for yourself.

Only paint furniture because you love the look of it, not because you’re trying to emulate someone else’s look. Be true to your own decorating style.

The Big Take-Away

Don’t just listen to me. Use your own gut to determine what wood furniture you want to paint and not paint. These are merely guidelines for when you take on your next furniture painting project. It’s your house that you will be decorating, and you’ve got to live in it. But don’t also destroy a piece of ancient history or a family heirloom because it’s the “in” thing that people are doing.

Questionable Projects?

Here are a few of my makeovers that probably bordered on “questionable” when it comes to whether or not I should have painted them.

So when I found this vintage chair at the thrift store, I had no qualms about painting the frame and replacing the fabric. It wasn’t my Grandma’s…..it wasn’t an antique…..It was just a lovely chair begging for some TLC. Such a beauty! I did get a couple negative comments about painting the wood, though…


Vintage Chair Makeover BEFORE99.jpg


But the “after” was too pretty and updated, who could really complain, ya know?

A Vintage Chair Makeover


For this vintage buffet makeover, I even polled my readers what I should do: paint or strip. They were split down the middle. I ended up stripping the top and restaining, and then painting the body.


1_vintage buffet thrift diving BEFORE1




My Project Gallery

Just check out my project gallery for the whole gamut of wood pieces I’ve painted. I can imagine that in 15 years, when painted furniture has run its course, we’ll all be diving for the paint stripper, huh? 😉 In the meantime, let’s enjoy the beauty of painted wood and keep making our homes a little more colorful :).


Resources If You Want to Paint Wood Furniture (Or Refinish It)

If you’ve decided that you’re definitely going to paint or refinished that piece of furniture, make sure you learn from the best in the business on how to do it! These books are must-haves to get you started! Click on each for more information.

Furniture makeovers - Simple Techniques

Refinishing Furniture


Wood Refinishing


When should you not paint wood furniture - Put down the paint brush if any of these apply to your furniture piece - ThriftDiving.com

Your 2 Cents

So do you have your OWN set of guidelines for determining when to NOT paint wood furniture? Have you ever been not sure to paint or leave it alone? Leave a comment below to add to the discussion! 🙂


That DIY Party


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About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (95)

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  1. I agree with you, painted furniture is trendy now, but in several years from now it will be a dumb thing to do, so, reversing the process will be much more difficult. So, if you’re doing it for fashion, stop immediately, but if your furniture is really in need of paining, get the proper information first and then do it. No rush. Great article though!

  2. Ankit says:

    what a great information! . I love painted furnitures , it gives a new look to your home .

  3. Beck says:

    I would never paint solid wood (but check very carefully, some ply pieces are very well disguised) or a piece that is or seems more than fifty years old. Live with it for a while, let it grow on you. But ply, veneer, chipboard etc, grab a brush

  4. DiB says:

    I think you should paint a piece of furniture if you want to and the end result will be something you love.

    Just because it’s good wood shouldn t be a deterrent….it’s still good wood after its painted.

    It s all just stuff…enjoy it the way you want. Replacing a sofa or painting a piece of furniture does not erase the memories( in your minds eye) of breast feeding children or spending time with your grandmother etc.

    • You’ve got a great point, DiB! It’s about making your home what you want it to be. I do believe that people make a big deal about painting wood furniture that no one even wanted to begin with! 🙂

  5. Kwib says:

    I am against Rustoleum in any form after a very tiring wrangle with rustoleum paints to do 12 dining chairs. Dulux has been so much better, but the colours are SO boring compared with rustoleum.

  6. Keethiga says:

    Nice blog thanks to shared this valid information

  7. Keethiga says:

    Nice blog thanks to shared this information such a interesting topic.

  8. Prefab homes says:

    Really Impressive. creative designs thanks to updated this.

  9. I love repainting furniture, But only if I know it’s ‘cheap.’ If it looks like an antique I won’t even stain it.
    Here are some others I wouldn’t paint, Just a little stain touch up.
    I got a hutch and a 3 section book case. Much as I’d want to do so, my mother would have a fit if she saw them.

  10. SofaSOS says:

    I have been finding a good answer for this. This is just very helpful. Such a great post!

  11. My father was a woodworker, and the thought of painting wood always drove him insane. As I grew up however, I saw that there were some legitimately good reasons to paint wood, and I think you touched on the best reasons. I think the most important reason not to paint is if you’re not using the right kind of paint, but that’s just me. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Luke Smith says:

    I think that wooden furniture can be a great addition to a house. It is sometimes fun to find old furniture and use them in the house. Those I would never paint, they seem perfect for their years of wear and tear on them. It depends on but new furniture could be used to paint and try something new.

    • I think you’re right, Luke. It depends on the piece. New furniture nowadays is so cheaply made, don’t you think? I would have no hesitation painting newer stuff!

  13. Mariele Storm says:

    Great post, and so true! I remember being a little kid and looking at dark wood furniture and thinking “*sigh* if only people could paint furniture :(” … it took me over a decade to figure that one out. 😛 Love your furniture makeovers!

    • LOL!! You had great vision as a kid! 🙂 I think dark wood is just not my style of preference, you know? I like rooms that are more light and airy, like a cottage feel, or…dare I say….”Golden Girls” pastel-y. HAHAHA. Dark furniture is too conservative and classic for me!

      • Mariele Storm says:

        Hah, exactly!! I could have done without the yellow walls and shoulder pads in the Golden Girls, admittedly, but I did love the pastels. 😀

        • Glenda Habel says:

          I believe that antique wood furniture darkens the space, there is no character to it. I have a whole bedroom full of antique wood. I take a look into that room and it depresses me. I feel it is so outdated and actually ugly. I plan on painting all the pieces and getting a new–updated–look and I also want to brighten up the room and bring in some color. I also work toward the cottage look with a bit of rustic -western-native american decorating.

          • Mariele Storm says:

            I agree, Glenda! It sounds like your house has a ton of personality in its decorating. 😀 Do you paint your pieces bold colours to go with the Western/Native American decorating? Because that seems really cool!

            • Glenda Habel says:

              Right now I am trying to find the right colors or color. I would really appreciate any suggestions. Should I do the pieces one color for a bed room set, or can I paint different colors in the same room??? Also I liked your suggestion of bold colors. I found one color I really liked. It was using a Sherwin Williams ‘Antiquity” SW6402 or a Shagbark olive in Columbia Paints. Perhaps these colors are not bold enough. I hope to do the homework before I set a brush to these old pieces. I wish each one could talk and tell me their history. But times change and a new face lift is needed.

              • Mariele Storm says:

                Well – I’m no interior decorator, and I’m not Serena, but here’s my advice!
                I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have different furniture colours in the same room, and in fact preferable, as having them all the same shade can make them blend together too much and lose their uniqueness! I would just keep them together in a cohesive look… like using Antiquity for both side tables, ans a neutral, desert-y, warm tan dresser, but a burnt orange for the ottoman. They all keep in that same sort of warm, desert, South American colour scheme, but they’re not so different that they all compete for attention. Does that make sense, or is my tackiness showing through? =^)
                I really like that olive, though – it would go great with Native American decor. And a bold red would be a great accent piece somewhere in the house!
                I agree that it’s important to do your homework and to try to go with what a piece already seems to want, rather than trying to impose a new look on something that is completely wrong for it… go with your gut, and you’ll love it. And if not – you’ll learn something and you can try again! ;D

  14. I’m 50-50 on whether or not it is a good idea to paint wooden furniture. It can look great, and I think that you should do what makes you feel good about your furniture. As long as you aren’t painting an antique chair or dresser. Probably something you should check before ruining its value.

  15. Normally when our furniture gets damaged the first thing that comes to mind is to get painted. No ones thinks twice on that. This article was very helpful for me. Thanks.

  16. Sandy says:

    Thanks for adding some balance to the current painted furniture craze. While most of what I have seen out the web is inspiring, I have seen a few before and afters that are alarming because the piece should not have been painted – it should have been sold to an antique dealer if they hated it . Just like today, some furniture of yesteryear was mass produced and lower quality – perfect for a redo! Higher end pieces though should be treated with respect. Hate it when a truly beautiful wood grain is obliterated.

  17. Sue says:

    A few years ago I purchased a plain, painted, kitchen table for $5 at an auction. The top had been painted black and I had plans of stripping it and refinishing it. It proved harder than I thought so I took it to a local sheltered workshop to be finished . They got it stripped but found a burnt, “sad iron” mark on it and refused to to do any more to it because they thought it was a mark of history. 🙂 I’m not sure what to do with it now. Should I just stain and polish the top or go ahead and paint it?

  18. Kay Purdie says:

    I’m lucky enough to live in a place where lots of old furniture is sold at the local auction house. Most of it is house clearance. I agree with your point about ‘Grandma turning in her grave’. I’m old enough to remember when dark wood furniture was very valuable – I saw a Georgian chest this week go begging at the auction for £200. 10 years ago it would have fetched £1000. My point is these are all fashions and having spent a lot of time on renovation and makeover websites I see too many people are painting beautiful furniture. These items are our heritage for future generations. I’m afraid I disagree that “you can strip the paint later”. Once the patina of these lovely old items has gone it can never be got back.What’s more this furniture will come back into fashion again as all things do. There’s so much mass produced, low quality furniture around that would benefit from a paint job – please please stick to those.

    • Hey there, Kay! I agree with you that painted furniture will one day go out of style and original wood furniture will come back into fashion again. I’ve joked that we should all invest in companies that produce stripper so that one day we will be rich when everyone is begging to have all that colorful paint stripped off. 🙂

      You could also look at it this way: let people paint pieces, but hold on to valuable wood pieces, so that when it does come back in fashion, those pieces that were saved from the paint brush will be even more expensive! 🙂

      Thanks, Kay!!!

  19. Alex says:

    Hi – beautiful “After” photos!
    This is a subject that’s been on my mind a lot recently. I am looking for some advice regarding my husband’s family heirloom that desperately needs a fresh coat of paint. His grandfather made it the year my husband was born while he visiting from Norway. It was at the cottage until a few years ago so lots of great memories associated with this piece. The trouble is that this beautiful Norwegian tall corner cabinet was originally painted in 1963 with a turquoise tremclad paint!!! It has the pine knots showing through, it’s a bit bashed up and dirty looking. My husband has experienced a lot of loss in his family in the last few years and he seems to need this cabinet in untouched form to be the anchor in a life of change. It’s slap bang in the middle of our living space. We have a lot of greys, white, pinks and light blue in the room and the style of the piece works. How oh how do I paint it a darker blue to fit into the room colour scheme without traumatizing him??! Or is there no hope?
    Thank you 🙂

    • Hey there, Alex!

      Ahhhh…..First of all, sorry you husband is going through losses in his family! I totally get it that things like that piece of furniture takes on all the memories. I was just posting last week about our old sofa and how I didn’t want to get rid of it because I nursed my babies on that thing! 🙂 So I can understand him wanting to keep it AND keep it untouched. I think you’d have to convince your hubby of being able to paint it. Men are funny about painting wood (i.e. “wood should never be painted!”). So maybe give him some pictures to look at that might convince him. Or you could always strip it and tell him you’d like to strip and restain it. But be careful there isn’t lead paint. Test it first if you decide to strip it! I’d love to see what it looks like. Can you email me a pic of it? ThriftDiving@gmail.com. Thanks!!

  20. PJ Hart says:

    I got a good laugh out of this post. Poor Grandma. I’m glad you mentioned paint quality. Beautiful pieces of furniture should just not be painted with spray paint. I also strongly recommend not painting your wood floors. A lot of people try this, and either the paint doesn’t stick or destroys the wood. I am all about the refinishing, but paint and finish are not the same thing. Definitely consult a professional before you risk damaging something that is such a huge investment.

    • I totally agree, PJ! I think painting stuff is so en vogue right now that people want to automatically slap paint on something that they shouldn’t. There are times they should definitely put down the paint brush! LOL

  21. Try painting your furniture with Farmhouse Paint! No wax, no prep needed! You can even give it an antique-look with our antiquing gel! Visit our website at farmhousepaint.com!

  22. Jack says:

    Here’s a great trick that I learned years ago. If you’re going to paint the wood, apply a coat or three of a good, quality varnish first. Then, sand the varnish lightly and apply the paint. That way, the color doesn’t get down into the grain and pores of the wood itself; they’re filled with clear varnish. Then, when the day comes and painted furniture has become passe, you can easily strip the paint off to the varnish underneath and refinish the lovely piece back to the original wood tone.

    Yes, it takes extra time and work, but it’s a whole lot less work than trying to get soaked-in paint out of the wood grain when you’re refinishing the piece several years down the road.

  23. Ann says:

    You made some excellent points. The one that resonates? You can always strp it at a later date. Paint (or any other finish is not forever)!
    I love your drafting table. I have one just like it. Years ago, our custodian came into my room (I was a teacher) and told me that, while cleaning out a storage area, they came upon an old drafting table that was going to be tossed out. He knew I liked old things and asked if I wanted it! After my ENTHUSIASTIC “YES”, he took my keys and loaded it into my car. All it needed was a good cleaning and a light sanding/coat of poly to the top.
    Don’t you love great finds like that?

    • Hey, Ann,

      Someone also just commented that they recommend applying a few coats of varnish first, and THEN painting, and that way if you later decide to strip it, then you will not have paint soaked in the wood. Genius, right??!

  24. Molly says:

    Wow, cool advice and some great pieces!

  25. Debbie says:

    I love painting furniture so much, that I’ve decided to make a business out of it, instead of just doing projects of my own and reselling the items. I really have a lot of fun..!! I loved your article here, and I agree… I have two antique heirlooms that I can not bring myself to paint, I’ve thought about it many times but just can’t do it. And that’s okay, not everything has to be painted, I think mixing finishes is more interesting. Happy painting.. !! 🙂

    • Yep, when in doubt, put down the brush and step away! 🙂 No worries, Debbie! You’ll find other amazing things to paint that you won’t hesitate with. Plus, if you’re selling these antique pieces, you’ll get more for them from someone that truly enjoys the authentic, untouched pieces. Hope your business will go well! Will you be selling at a booth, or maybe online?

  26. joey arrowood says:

    great writing and advice. I think the only thing you didn’t address properly is that if you paint an antique, the value declines even if you strip the paint and refinish it back to “original”. it is NOT the original finish then. otherwise, all your suggestions are thorough and thought provoking.

  27. Katy says:

    I just bought a cute little side table for my guest room that I scored for a steal. I’m totally in the camp of never-paint-good-antiques BUT the wood tone doesnt look great with my guest room.

    I’d love your thoughts!

  28. Rachel Anderson says:

    You know, your blog appears to be endlessly fascinating, but after waiting what seems like an eternity for all of your ads to load and screw up both of my computers, I can’t visit again. it’s a shame. Perhaps you could reconsider how much revenue you really need from the advertisers versus how much of an impact you’d like to make on your followers’ creativity with your genius.

  29. Kristl DeBord says:

    I am one of those people who flip out when I see a beautiful antique piece painted.

    We recently purchased a house, and in the basement was a huge civil war era dresser. It had been abused and left for dead, so to speak. I decided to incorporate it into my decor, but it’s finish is shot, and it’s missing a few chunks of wood. I’m painting it. It’s less work than trying to strip, repair, and restain. So sometimes it’s ok.

    • Yep, I totally agree–sometimes it’s okay! 🙂 Sometimes things are too far gone to try to save with stripping and repairing! I think you’ll love your dresser, though! 🙂 Congrats on your new home purchase!!

  30. Kiwee Mears says:

    Hi Serena-

    Great article. I do have 1 question after applying
    The stripper and cleaning it up if say I’m doing a
    Dresser would it be necessary to sand it
    Before staining it ?

    Thank you

    • Hi Kiwee!

      Yes, after you’ve stripped it and cleaned all the stripper off, you definitely want to sand it down, and then use like a cheese cloth to make sure all the dust is removed. Maybe this will help. It related to chairs, but you can use this info for any stripping project:


      Hope that helps!! Hope you’ll subscribe and come back for more projects! 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions.


  31. Denise says:

    Just because something is old, doesn’t make it valuable OR beautiful. I’ve got some hideous family ‘heirlooms’ with horrible finishes that I don’t feel any qualms about refinishing. Now if it is a valuable antique, that’s something quite different. My Mom used what was called an ‘antiquing kit’ on some bedroom furniture which is coming off now, and I can’t wait to see what I can do with it. I think it was back in the 70’s, now it just looks like really dirty blue furniture with big chunks of the finish coming off revealing the natural wood under it, ick. Not in an attractive way like Annie Sloan chalk paint…

    • Hi Denise! You’ve got a point there! There’s a bunch of old crap at the thrift store that I would paint in a heartbeat! LOL And I think some chippy furniture like what you’re describing is definitely in need of some paint!! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!!!

  32. Lorie B. says:

    Love your article! I agree that there are times when painting a piece of furniture is a really bad idea. My standard is that if it is a classic or antique piece and can be refinished then I will. Most of the classic or antique furniture I paint is painted because the piece is in such bad shape there is no choice…just to make it pretty and usable again. Number one motto of mine is: furniture that can’t be used due to its condition, is useless furniture….lets make it usable and extend it’s life.

    • Hi Lorie! Great motto! We DIYers do something great by bringing it back to life, don’t we? Think of how much less is in the dumpsters now because of us! 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!


  33. Erica says:

    I guess I slightly disagree with your point on “the right paint.” I’m not a fan of chalk paint. I do use latex paint on furniture with or without distressing, and depending on the piece, have used Rustoleum spray paint to great success. It is certainly a different technique, but used correctly can be a great finish.

    • Hi Erica! I think you’re right–it’s a different technique. Considering that you’ve used chalk paint and other paints (Latex, Rustoleum, etc.) it could be a matter of experience and personal preference. For beginners I would definitely recommend some sort of paint made specially for furniture, because there’s less chance of “messing” it up. But you’re right, after you sort of know what you’re doing, you can experiment with other types. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! 🙂

  34. Erin says:

    Great considerations when itching to paint. When I feel a smidge of guilt for painting the cooler old pieces, I remind myself that we painters are creating a great bunch of work for the future fad of stripping chalk and milk paint. Some bright person will concoct a low odor, beautifully packaged line of tools to help the DIYers! It’s the evolution of creativity and capitalism 😀
    Thanks Serena!

    • I literally LOL at your comment!!! HA! It reminds me of the wallpaper craze in the 70s and 80s. They sure put a hurtin’ on these older homes that have us steaming the crap off, with puffs of hot steam making our hair stick to our necks while peeling it off! It’s all cyclical, isn’t it?! HAHAHA!

      OMG, maybe we should be designing the tools now!!! You know…create the need AND find the solution so that when we’re at retirement age, we will already have the patent in place for the “Amazing Ultimate Stripping Contraption” for only $59! HAHAHAHA!

      • Erin says:

        PERFECT! “Introducing an amazing lifestyle product by Serena Appiah. Are you ready to bring back the nostalgia of beautiful wood? Let Serena give you the best industry tips and tricks to restore your treasured furniture.”

        Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict put old painted hardware in a crockpot. A crockpot could easily be repackaged with a snazzy logo that includes a set of matching brushes. But wait there’s more! Matching silicone gloves!

        HAHAHA, just imagine how hair will stick while steaming away all the paint and antiquing wax. Better include a Rosie the Riveter bandana 😉

  35. I picked up a dresser off a home sale and my husband was so against me painting it that it sat in our garage for months and months!
    I finally made the time to do it, when the weather allowed, and we both love it!
    I probably could have resold it for way more than I bought it for ($30), but I had been looking for a great dresser for a long time and a few coats of black paint and some crystal knobs were exactly what this one needed to be perfect for us.

    • Awesome! Glad you were able to prove it worthy of paint! My husband is the same way. He’s very “pro-wood” but I can usually convince him that refinishing is a great idea AFTER he sees what it looks like! :). thanks for commenting!

  36. Very nice article!! Your post is truly great inspiration for many of us. I really like the make over of vintage chair, gorgeous look!!

  37. Sarah J says:

    Found this article on Pinterest. The wood I want to paint is our baseboards and door frames. But how can you paint good wood?! Still working on that… I made just rip it all down and install new. I’d stain new… Great article!

  38. Susan Routh says:

    A really good article.
    I am a restorer and seat weaver and have only just started painting stuff as it goes totally against my instincts. I have a shed full of antique chairs waiting for surface restoration and caning/rushing and some will need to be glued up as well.
    I could spend dozens of hours on one chair, getting it fully restored and then, still I would not get more than £30-£50 for it. However, if I paint them; I will spend a fraction of the time on the restoration and they will sell for more. Many of these have been given to me or have on cost a few pounds. If I don’t paint them, they are likely to end up on the woodburner!
    This is England, by the way, where even real antiques ie 100 years and older are worth very little. Prices for antiques dropped dramatically after 9/11 as you chaps from the good old US of A stopped coming over to rescue them.
    I only use water based paints (Autentico) so it will be easy to remove. Stripping furniture using sandpaper is actually worse for the furniture than just painting on top of existing finish.
    Please come back….!

    • Hi Susan! Yep, seems that painted furniture is all the rave lately. I had a vintage booth for just a short period of time earlier this year and that was the nature of furniture there, too: painted things sold much faster. I’m sure that it will swing in the other direction in so many years–painted furniture will be out and natural wood will be in again. It’s great that you’ve got skills in both areas so you can roll with the times :). Thanks for commenting!

  39. Daniel Lloyd says:

    There are several woods are use to make furniture they all have there special appearance it self without any paint just polishing is enough to make them shiny . The painting tips and painted pieces you showed above are good job and it is easy to give your wishing color to wooden furniture .

  40. Kandi says:

    Great post! I love the old antique look but sometimes some paint is ok. There are things that I cringe and think why on earth would you paint that. But other’s were I think wow that would be pretty if it was a certain color.

    • Yeah, I’m feeling that way about a vanity I’m working on now. I’m re-staining the top, and painting the body in Annie Sloan Scandinavian Pink! 🙂 The best of both worlds!

  41. Dorothy says:

    I must admit, that I would have a really hard time painting a piece of solid wood furniture. I would not judge anyone who did because I have seen some lovely results,

  42. Kelly T says:

    Good post!
    I grew up with my Grandma and Mother, when Grandma wanted to change something she either painted it or wallpapered it! There were only a few pieces that she left alone and they are in my house now, an entry table with inlayed wood and her bedroom suite. I had the table redone several years ago and she said it was more beautiful than when she got it. The bedroom suite is still as beautiful as it was in the 1950’s although she did wallpaper the inside of the drawers lol Like you said, you have to go by your gut and do what you think is best but there is nothing wrong with changing things, even if they are worth a lot of money…do what makes you happy!

  43. Teresa @tessiescreations.wordpress.com says:

    I received a beautiful 1900’s dining set and I was so excited because I really wanted to paint the sideboard. Then my Dad said if I painted it “May the wood Gods curse you” That was enough of a reason not to paint it. Now I am on the hunt for another sideboard that is free or really, really inexpensive.

    • OMG, too funny!!!! I think a lot of time men are the ones that don’t understand painting wood. My husband used to say to me all the time, “WHY are you painting that?!” And it could be some funky old wooden thing that nobody would care about. But in your case, yeah, 1900’s seems like such a real treasure. You wouldn’t wan to destroy it! THEN AGAIN…..if a piece doesn’t gel with your home decor, but it’s antique, I guess you could still paint it so that you can actually USE it rather than collect dust on it in the garage. I guess you would just have to fight some big-bad wood Gods. HA! Thanks for sharing that!!!

  44. Linda says:

    If the piece of furniture is very high quality worth thousands may be hold off the paint. But most of us don’t have that kind of pieces. Painting a piece of furniture gives it own identity. The person painting it can put their own foot print on this special piece. I’m all for painting be creative and have most of all have fun.

    • Yeah, I know I don’t have any piece worth thousands! But even with my drafting table, just knowing I paid $30 for it, but it’s worth over $300, would deter me from painting it! Plus, I love the uniqueness of the wood. Oh, but get this–!! My 7-year old carved his name into it!!! EEEEKKK! I had no idea until I looked down when he said, “Look, Mommy!” Umm…..I guess it’s probably worthless now. HAHAHA

  45. Sheri says:

    Question: how did you find out about what you had on eBay with that plan table? That’s awesome!

  46. I love how you broke this down. I completely agree with all of your points. I’ve definitely had those debates myself!

  47. Blondie says:

    Great post Serena. I agree with you 100%. Have an awesome weekend and I can’t wait to see the vanity after pictures.

  48. Sharon says:

    Great article. I don’t paint furniture, but have considered it. I think I will stick with just cleaning up the good pieces and calling it a day. Some of your creations just make me hyperventilate, they are so wonderful. You are so talented.

    • Awww…Sharon, that is so sweet of you! I’m glad you like my work. I think you should definitely try it out. Go to the thrift store and find a cheapie wood end table or something that, if you don’t like it, you could always just donate back to the thrift store if it doesn’t turn out how you like it. And see what you can come up with! You may find that you really enjoy it! 🙂 Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I really appreciate it! 🙂

  49. Jodi Jackson says:

    Great article, you shouldn’t follow trends! I love painted furniture but I love wood too. I always say if it’s going I. Your home and it yours, do what’s going to make you happy and fit into your style.

    • Exactly! I actually try to stay away from trends. It just makes me feel unoriginal. It’s about what you love, though. And if you someone loves painted furniture and really even wants to paint an antique, I say, GO FOR IT as long as you know what you’re doing 🙂

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