Updated: Aug 20, 2019
It really isn’t that I don’t like wood. I am actually extremely grateful when I come across a piece made of good, solid, real wood. But not all wood is pretty. Some is just plain boring. I would prefer not to have a whole house full of everything wood, wood, wood. Painted furniture can add interest, color and life to your home. I know that some of you llllooovveee your wood. I’m glad you do. If we all had the same tastes, this would be a dull, drab world we live in. But, you just can’t send death threats to someone who paints a table. (I have seriously heard a furniture painter tell that story). There are times for painting, and times not to paint. Which times are which are all a matter of the opinion of whoever is giving you the advice. So I will give you my advice, in my own humble opinion.
First, a little history. People have been painting furniture as long as we have had furniture. I’m sure the cavemen were adding some color to the rocks they sat on to spice up their caves a little (I made that up but it is probably true). Ancient Egyptians loved to paint some furniture (That for sure is true). People throughout history have always painted furniture for the same reason that WE love to paint furniture. It adds warmth, color and a kind of art to your home. Throughout history elitists would hire artists to paint their furniture to try and show up the Jones’. Your painted piece was art and something to brag about. Another reason people have painted furniture is to create a more cohesive and and pleasing look when you have furniture of different styles or are made of different types of wood. And believe it or not, some people just don’t find a wood finish that interesting.
This is the Badminton Cabinet.
The record breaking auction seller.
Guess what? It isn't a wood finish :)
The gemstones sure don't hurt the value any.
So when do I say no to the paint?
1) If the piece holds some value in the condition that it is in.
If you have a valuable antique and want it to remain valuable as an antique, leave it alone. It is valuable in its good ORIGINAL condition, whatever that is (the original condition could be paint! (gasp!)). Stripping and staining a valuable antique ruins value just as much as painting. There is some aspects of restoring that can be done by a professional. Restoring is not the same as refinishing.
If you want to know if it is valuable, check with a professional antique furniture expert and do your research. Just because something is old and wood, it doesn't mean it is valuable in the antique market.
2) If I like it the way it is.
There is really no concrete scientific process I follow. If I like it being a wood finish, it stays wood. Some woods and veneers are beautiful and interesting. I probably wouldn’t paint those.
3) I am sure having a hard time coming up with reasons not to paint.
To me, paint is a finish. The wood is still there. The wood is the bones of the piece, the structure. Paint doesn’t change the style, size, structure or anything about the piece. It is just the eye shadow and lip stick. It’s not permanent. It can be removed. It doesn’t poison the piece so that it dies a slow tortured death.
If you have an antique dresser of your grandmother’s and you would love to use it and love it and keep it forever, but it doesn’t go with the decor that makes you feel comfy and happy in your home, then paint it. I believe painting it and using it would be treating it a lot better than if it sat in a dusty, dirty basement. But it is completely up to YOU, the owner of the piece.
It is not this serious.
Really it isn't.
Death threats are
So there is my humble opinion on when and when not to paint. It isn’t much of a yes or no answer. The hard decisions never are. Whatever you decide, I hope you love it. If not, you can always change it again :) .
As always, thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come by and see us on Facebook!
Lisa Lark, Owner
Front Porch Fix-Ups