If you think of painted furniture as a scraped-up old chair you pick up at the flea market to put in the laundry room, think again. Painting used furniture has many benefits. It is great if you want to update your home on a budget, while keeping it stylish and is the most eco-friendly way to do so. It also allows you to get creative and add your own personality to your home. Consider it a work of art. Did you ever think of painted furniture as art? You don’t need to be especially artistically gifted to successfully create a conversation starter as well as a true work of art.
Before you get started, take a mental survey of what it is that you want.
What piece of furniture do I want? Where is it going and what will it be used for?
Once you know what piece it is your painting, start thinking about the style of the piece.
What look are you going for? If you don’t have an idea of the look you’re trying to achieve, then look on the internet for inspiration. Pinterest.com is an awesome site for ideas of all kind and will show you different styles of old furniture and what they look like painted.
Now that you have an idea of the style of the piece you are looking for, you can begin your furniture hunt.
Start your search on Craigslist. Many people do not see the need for their grandmother’s 1940’s highboy dresser and are selling it for next to nothing. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Flea markets are also a good source but the prices can run a bit high. Here at Furniture Works, we have a large selection of affordable used wood pieces, such as dressers, nightstands, and hutches. All of which can be repainted to look like a one of a kind designer piece.
The next step is choosing the colors and the design.
Choose a base color; buy some acrylic paint in a can and a good brush. Get a set of small bottles of acrylic paint in several colors at a crafts store and an inexpensive set of little brushes. Paint your furniture item. Acrylic dries quickly, so you’re ready to move on in half an hour.
Use any colors you fancy. Bright, primary colors are favorites with kids. For your teen daughter, various pastel shades may be just the ticket. If you’ve chosen a dark green as your base color, a burnt orange can provide a nice contrast.
When you’re doing this type of painted furniture project, you can ad lib, painting an appealing shape wherever it pleases you. Maybe you’ll then outline that shape in a contrasting color. Painted furniture can be a kind of pop-art creation. Perhaps you want to paint a vine that drapes gracefully across the chair seat or runs across the table like a runner. How about stripes on the rungs of the chair? Anything goes. A geometric pattern can look very attractive, a la Mondrian. If you are not so good with painting freehand, then create or download an attractive stencil. You can also find painted rollers with patterns on them at hardware stores.
There are some other tricks of the painted furniture trade you’ll want to explore while creating your work of art. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water and layered over another color, a bit like batik. A swath of light blue crossing over a purple area creates a new shade and added dimension. There are clear acrylic gels which you can use to dilute the color while retaining the same body of the full strength paint. You can also create a cottage chic look by sanding the corners and edges lightly after the paint has dried. Experiment and have fun.
When you’ve completed this first project, consider the possibilities. Remember that practice makes perfect so plan ahead and practice your designs and experiment with colors on a piece of paper beforehand. This will ensure that you are satisfied with the piece and will encourage you to keep going. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look like the pictures. Your piece is unique and it is a one of a kind created by you!
A painted furniture project is one you can put away and pick right back up when it’s convenient to your schedule. I can almost guarantee you’ll be eager to come back and work some more, because it’s a therapeutic and satisfying activity. Be forewarned that painted furniture projects can be addicting, just for the pleasure of creating a little work of art.