Thoughts On Painting Furniture

Thoughts On Painting Furniture

 The other day I noticed a comment on one my pins on Pinterest. The comment was by a woman who wrote that a painted chest of mine was probably worth more before 'someone' painted it. I have to admit, I was a bit irritated reading that because I have seen this complaint on other furniture painters' blogs.The comment assumes that I am in the habit of buying fine antiques and 'ruining' them with paint. I don't know about other painters, but I don't buy high end antiques to paint! I'm not kidding when I say I find old, neglected pieces to paint. It makes good business sense to find vintage pieces for me to 'flip' when no one else wants them. Old finishes, dirt, scratches, missing pieces, drawers not working are some of the issues I find. But I see beyond all of those defects. I see good bones, solid wood, interesting details, and original hardware along with possibilities of a new paint finish!

Indigo Painted Chest

Indigo Painted Chest on Pinterest

The chest in question was found in a corner of a dealer's garage. It is made out of pine and had some issues with the drawer stops which I fixed. It had no finish on it and was dull looking. But I loved the columns on the sides and I knew I could paint it in a fun way. Yeah, it is layered to look distressed and it has a strong color, but I am happy with it.



Indigo Painted Chest Drawers

Old Pine Chest


Now, I understand there are people who don't like painted furniture, they prefer stained wood. And I know that heavily distressed, layered finishes are loved by some, while others want a more refined look. Paint colors are subject to strong opinions, too. What does bother me is the assumption I paint over valuable antiques. Historically, pine furniture was painted in Scandinavia for people who wanted good furniture but could not afford the price of finer wood. I like to think I am carrying on that tradition in my own way, by painting lovely old, but neglected furniture to be used again.

French Provincial Nightstands Before

French Provincial Nightstands After

Before and After Photos of French Nightstands - Sold

French Commode BeforeFrench Commode After

Mid Century French Provincial Chest - Sold


Sometimes I find a piece that's been painted but is so ugly that it is affordable for me to repaint. This vintage Italian console, pictured below, is made out of solid wood with no veneers. I bought it at an auction and it had a horrendous paint job. I think the legs were once gilded with gold leaf, because the legs were orange with the old primer and most of the gold was gone. The top had a bad faux finish of green marble. I wish I had taken a before photo! Now it looks pretty with a neutral finish.

Italian Console

Italian Console

Italian Console


Presently, I have a 1930s French dresser or commode in the studio. I have had this piece for four years. I hesitated in painting it because I found the wood pretty and it is probably a fine piece. However, I can't seem to get anyone to buy it! It has scratches on top and the veneer on the front of the drawers has some splitting. I put it back up for sale again in my Etsy shop and if I haven't sold it in the next few weeks, I'm painting it!

Pretty French Commode


I paint furniture the way I think it would complement the piece. And when someone else also likes it, well, that's what makes painting fun and gratifying! To see more of my past painted projects, visit my portfolio.

Painted Desk

Mid Century Desk with New Painted Finish- Sold

So, these are some of my thoughts on painting old furniture for a business. Frankly, if someone owns a 'fine' piece of furniture but hates the finish or it doesn't fit their decor, and if painting it enables them to use and enjoy it, well, then it's okay by me. After all, what makes furniture valuable? Isn't it the usefulness and pleasure it gives to the owner? I think so!

Till next time!


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