Skip to main content
Every man should read this oneTurquoise

The Best Reason to Paint Old Furniture

By 08/25/2011January 28th, 201732 Comments

Recently Joni from Cote de Texas wrote this totally inspired post, Convincing Your Husband to Decorate Your Way. It’s a must read for every woman who gets grief from their husband over wanting to paint old furniture (or dated cabinets for that matter) in addition to just decorating your way. Fundamentally, when it comes to home decor, women (in general) simply care more than men about how the house looks.

House Beautiful

And here’s what I’m adding to what Joni said:

I recently consulted with a client who was getting all new furniture except for her grandmother’s hutch similar to this one (below). She was sentimental about it, and I understand that. Here was my advice. If you paint, it will still be your grandmother’s with just a little lipstick 🙂 If you re-decorate and do not paint your dated furniture here’s the look and feel you will have:


Your friends will walk in and they will say, “Oh I love your new sofa, how beautiful, your drapery is so fabulous and I love your coffee table.” And then they will look over at your 80s oak dining set or your 70s sideboard and they will not say anything. They will just think, “Oh they kept that old stuff.” Had you painted it a fun colour though, your friends would be saying, “Wow that looks awesome, you are so creative, isn’t that your grandmother’s hutch/dining table? I need to find one just like it!”


The DIY bloggers, when they find an old 70s sideboard for $20 at their local Sally Ann. . . do they stick it in their house just like they found it, take a photo and write, “Hey everybody, check out this awesome sideboard I just found for $20!”


Why? Because that would not be awesome. What makes it awesome is that they paint it, change the hardware and Voila. . . beauty for the cost of a can of paint.


And just in case you’re thinking that the only time you should paint furniture is when it old and dated? Not so, custom, high end, decorated homes  (below) also have painted furniture. It’s simply ordered that way in the first place. However, if you don’t have that luxury, it’s easy to create it as I’ve shown in these images above.

Suzanne Kasler

So what can you paint that you’ve been holding out on?

Related posts:

An Open Letter to My Lover on Decorating

Kiss Your Old Furniture Bye Bye!

Are You Waiting for Your Paint Colour to Propose?

Download my eBook, It’s All in the Undertones. If you have a computer, you can download my book!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

While you’re here, subscribe to this feed so you don’t miss out!
549 pins


  • Erika Ward says:

    In an experiment with painting furniture, I spray painted a $20 Craigslist armoire pink for my daughter's room. Boy was I pleased with the results!

    Take a look:

  • Barbara says:

    Fantastic! I am posting about re painting my husbands chest of drawers soon! Love painting old furniture as it is often a higher quality of furniture to begin with.
    Great Post.

  • Marisa says:

    Love that first before and after. It says it all! Great post.

  • barbara@hodge:podge says:

    Yay, a little boost for us DIYers! Thanks Maria! I have re-painted countless items. The latest treasure {that needs paint} is a French Provencial style dresser that is going in my daughter's room. It is getting a few coats of Dove Wing by BM!

    Another important thing to remember when painting old furniture is to prep {so key to a professional looking finish} and good tools/paint!

    • lucy says:

      Barbara, when you say proper prep to paint, please tell me what you do. I have oak kitchen cabinets that folks say not to paint.

      • Denise says:

        Hi, just wanted to let you know that the blog Centsational Girl has information about prepping and painting furniture. I haven’t used it yet but it looks like good information and I will refer to it when I do get around to painting.

      • susan says:

        Keep in mind that oak has an “open” grain. If it isn’t filled in, sanded, primed and sanded, the enamel won’t adhere properly/adequately. I painted our funky oak white 10 years ago, and while they’ve held up well, I’ve had to touch up around the knobs/pulls where your finger nails come into contact w/the paint frequently. I also had a wood shop remove door panels and replaced w/glass for a couple of upper cabinets. Good luck! If I can do it, I know you can!

  • Cote de Texas says:

    wow! thank you for such a great shout out. much appreciated and what a surprise. i painted an entire dining room set that was so ugly, but ended up so beautiful. it makes all the difference in the world.

    thanks again.

  • Pangaea says:

    I just recommended that a client paint the wood on a chair she found on ebay and which we will be reupholstering. It had that old faux pecan speckly finish — ugly! We will reupholster with lime colored fabric and paint the frame black. Not sure if I should have that professionally done, or if I should let her do the painting — she's quite a do-it-yourselfer — and I hate to increase the cost of the project. What do you think? pro or diy?

  • Anonymous says:

    I painted 2 single maple beds that belonged to my mother-in-law. I used Behr Beluga paint and primer and 100% improvement instantly. I knew if I talked to my husband about it, he would'nt have wanted me to paint "the wood" but I just did them and left them in the basement to cure. He noticed them after 2 weeks (lol) and asked where I had picked up the new beds. Now they are in my guest room.

  • Ally says:

    Thank you for this post. I've wanted to paint grandma's ancient pie safe for years, but you-know-who doesn't want to "ruin" it.

    Now I have visual "proof" and moral support as I suggest this project again. Eventually he's going to see the error of his ways. I'm nothing, if not persistent! 😉

  • Sherri Cassara says:

    I'm catching up on reading and just read your last three posts – all really great posts. I agree so much with you about the 'ruffles' and I have told clients the exact same thing (just because I am 'over it' doesn't mean you have to be!) and love your examples and your commentary on painting furniture / cabinets. Great job. I will bookmark today's post to send a client to when they are in doubt!!! Thanks! Sherri

  • Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) says:

    I always tell my clients (and my husband!) that's 'It's still wood underneath the paint! It doesn't turn into plastic!"

    That hutch is breathtaking!

  • Beth says:

    I've been thinking about painting my dated furniture in my bedroom for awhile. I used to love the natural wood tones and the fact that I had "real" furniture that wasn't made from particle board. Now, I think my bedroom will have more "wow" if I paint the dresser and desk.

    Here's my question though.

    Can I paint two pieces in the same room? Will that look like just Too Much? If I do paint both, how do I coordinate the looks of both? Do I have to make them match or is that what I should avoid doing?

    I see so many great inspiration photos on Pinterest and on DIY blogs, but I haven't really seen an answer to this question. Any help or direction would be SOOO appreciated!


  • pve design says:

    I want to paint our mahogany breakfront Ivory….but I am such a chicken. I could paint it for a client or friend but not for myself.

  • The enchanted home says:

    I am so amazed at the transformations that I see over and over…..just gorgeous!! It is very inspiring.

  • Jessica {The Aestate} says:

    I have so much I need to repaint, but never anything big again without renting a sprayer… But in a success story, I recently repainted some old Thomasville faux bamboo nightstands white ( They turned out great but the best result was gaining some of the hubby's trust!

  • Karena says:

    Maria I think you can see how we are all so thrilled you posted this, after Joni's recently.

    I love, love painted furniture and mixed in with woods that work and great paint and upholstered pieces it all works beautifully!!


    Art by Karena

  • Coley says:

    I am proud of myself for being able to make treasure out of trash (or just painting furniture) 🙂 My husband is one of those people who tells EVERYONE 'Look what Coley got for $5 and painted!'

  • Anonymous says:

    I guess I'm the only one who doesn't like painted furniture. To me, it still looks just as out-of-date but in a different color.

  • Ivy Lane says:

    i have a slatted table (George Nelson style) that my gave me… I have been grappling I paint it a high gloss orange and put it in my kitchen between two cozy chairs ( walls are dark brown )… or do I refinish the wood and put at the foot of my bed to hold the comforter and shelter mags… It has been awaiting my decision for 6 years now! this post is right on time today!

    Happy Weekend Maria!

  • Kathy Owen says:

    Love your blog. I too love to paint furniture. My husband is like all men, when I wanted to paint our old wood paneling in our60's house he almost had a heart attack! But then he loved it.

  • Sjn says:

    that's what I've always said, "it means more to me than to my husband, so I get the final vote". And in the end he always likes what I've done!

    Love that painted hutch!

    Question for you… do I paint the exposed brick wall in my lake house bedroom white?

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm all for painting furniture if that's your choice with one caveat. Just make sure your piece is not a true antique. I read an article a few years ago about a woman who painted a piece only to find out that before she coated it with paint, the value would have been six figures. Oops!

  • Danielle says:

    how do you know if something is "paintable"? We bought (from an old landlord to lazy to move it) a big solid wood armoire. I hate the color (stained dark brown). Can I just paint over it? or should I hire someone to strip it and redo it? Does it need to be stripped? (whatever that is…) I want something in a nice light color to put in our family room to hide all our media stuff.

  • Donna says:

    Maria, This is so inspiring! I have an antique hutch that is just darling..except for the fact that the paint job is battered. I know that's supposed to be acceptable and everyone tells me not to paint it because it's antique. But nothing I've ever sold as 'antique' really brought in any money. Besides..I want to keep it..but hate how 'messy' it looks.

    I need to get over my fear of re-painting! LOL!


  • Donna says:

    PS. The before and after photos of the cabinet are FANTASTIC! What an incredible transformation.

  • Donna Frasca ♋ says:

    I have never attempted to paint old furniture – don't have patience for all the prep work.

  • Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) says:

    Maria– I have a whole woody wall of '70s diagonal knotty pine boards. Once the kids are in school I'm painting it in wide horizontal stripes! (Just need to pick my two colors…)


  • ⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜@ Debbiedoos blogging and blabbing says:

    You have an awesome blog I just discovered today! I love color, and use it heavily in my home. I also love to paint old furniture, as well as some new furniture, depending on how new. Do you ever do features on your blog? I would love for you to come check mine out, take the home tour and tell me what you think. Have a great day!

  • Lea says:

    I love that I have found your site, this whole year & the end of last year, I painted my kitchen cabinets top & bottom with dulux lush housta & foille, but I can’t decide what colour I should paint the countertops! Painters have told me I have to go dark, then I get go light!!! My countertops need to be painted & finished, any suggestion’s plz, keep doing what u love maria

  • Maureen says:

    Hi Maria, Could you do a post about tips or recommendations to other sites that would be educational for DIY painting of furniture? I think many of us would love to follow your advice but are not sure where to start (although are aware it’s not so easy). Thanks!

Leave a Reply