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DIY Design: Suggestions for Painted Wood Furniture?

I really like the look of painted wood furniture. Hubby, though, loves wood so much that it is almost sacriligious to suggest painting it. However, after forcing him to look at countless samples online, he has relented and said he’ll paint some of our wood furniture for me! Yipee! (Here are some of the samples I’ve shown him: a cobalt blue dresser, this groovy credenza, and for kids’ rooms, things can get really fun.)

Pretty much everything we own is a hand-me-down from family and is wood, so the choices are a plenty. But I think that maybe we should start small and not go too crazy. For instance, we have two small side tables that are fairly useless to us in their current state. They have water damage and scratches, but more than that, they are kind of traditional looking and not really our style.

So, design savvy folks, what do you think: Can this piece be painted? And if yes, how and what colour? I really don’t know where to start and I’m not even sure that paint can make this piece fit in with the rest of our house. So I would love to hear any of your ideas!

full frontal view

side view, with light colour of floors showing

top view, with baseball hat to show size perspective


  1. Oh I love the view from the top. The legs are meh though eh. Hmmm. I am no experts so don’t necessarily listen to me. But I am drawn to painting my wood either off white or black brown (probably IKEA’s influence on me). But I wonder if two tone would work with that table. To bring out the nice detail in the table top and sort of help the legs along. Black legs and top edge with red top. Something like that. 

    • Yes, I find the legs too scrolly (if that’s a word!). Makes the piece seem more “fussy” than I like. Interesting idea with red! Thanks Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  2. Tweet @lovelaughshop tomorrow with a link to this – she is the QUEEN of DIY

  3. giulia_caflisch says:

    yes to paint for sure. I like things in a browny grey or a really bold colour like a peacock blue. I don’t know what the other colours are in the room you’ll be using it in – cushions, curtains, couch, etc if you have a palette pick either a neutral that goes well or pick a complementary colour that makes a statement. Prep is key – lots of sanding and use a degreaser product before starting and insist on good quality paint, it cost more but you need less and the finish will be better.

  4. Just make sure that your “hand me downs” are not valuable antiques before you paint them. Painting them would destroy their value.

  5. I think if you paint that a bold colour (red, yellow, cobalt blue, lime green) those scrolly legs will go from being kinda grandma’s basement to modern and fabulous!   What a great accent for a hallway.

  6. Funny how your hubby and mine have the same feelings towards wood – makes me laugh.  But I am so excited that you have convinced him to paint a few pieces.  My suggestion for this piece is to do a antique white (something with a warm undertone) and distress it a bit.  You could also do a pale green – and I would distress it again.  Almost go for the “shabby chic” look.

    Good luck girlie and can’t wait to hear what others have to say and see what you end up doing.

  7. Thegrumpymama says:

    I never met a piece of furniture and a can of spray paint that I didn’t like. When I get home I can send you a photo of a side table done in glossy Oriental Red from Rustoleum.

  8. I love the idea of painting it a bright colour. I’m thinking a bright aquamarine for mine. Or how about red?

  9. Like your DH I too find it hard to wrap my brain around the idea of painting wood. But if the wood is unsightly or scratched or in desperate need for TLC then I will allow my brain to wrap itself around the painting…:)

    I rescued from a neighbour an ugly tall 7 drawer thing painted in ugly grey with ugly white plastic knobs. I sanded it lightly out on the driveway in the summer and painted it a mustardy yellow, which was a leftover paint I had sitting around downstairs. Initially I did not like it at all.

    NOW I love it! The paint dried and the yellow lightened, and it’s almost new looking! I recommend going with nature-type colours rather than bold bright colours (unless for a kids’ room) but it really depends on what the surrounding area looks like.

    Will you post an after?

    You could also just prime it, and the place it where it’s going to go, and look at it with the white paint on it, and see if something inspires at that point…that is what I sometimes do too.

    Good luck!

  10. Bill hates the thought of painting wood too (I have my eyes on the french doors, railings and sides of the stairs turning white too) but this fall I developed a love affair with matte black. I’ve painted 1 hall table and a side table. I also redid 2 picture frames in a silver.

  11. Sighdeepvanessa says:

    I agree with ur hubby, I came across this article which explains why refinishing furniture is the better option.

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