ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Painted Furniture Ideas

Updated on November 13, 2014
Enjoy these painted furniture ideas!
Enjoy these painted furniture ideas! | Source

Painted Furniture

I’m sure you already know that painted furniture is very in style these days. Many people are even applying paint to antique wooden pieces, covering up the beautiful old wood. Okay, I’ll admit that sometimes makes me cringe a little. I don’t think I could ever do that to something like a lovely piece of tiger oak, for example. I prefer to paint cheap pieces of furniture. They might be made of solid wood, wood veneers, or pressed wood. My husband and I create and refinish a lot of painted furniture, and we sell a lot of pieces. Some we sell from home via my Facebook page, South of Paris, and some we sell in our booth at a local vintage and antiques store.

Distressed Cabinet
Distressed Cabinet | Source
Distressed Cupboard
Distressed Cupboard | Source
Coffe table with a distressed plank top.
Coffe table with a distressed plank top. | Source

Painted Furniture Ideas

Painting furniture is really fun, and it can be super easy, too. What style do you want to create? Do you want your furniture piece to be sleek and modern, whimsical, funky, beachy, vintage, or rustic? If you don’t already have a specific style in mind, flip through some magazines, surf the internet, or visit some boutiques until you find a style you like.

If you want beachy, use a whitewash. You might also want to add some streaks of grey or turquoise. You can also use stencils of lighthouses, scallop shells, blue crabs, conch shells, starfish, etc. For rustic pieces, use old boards to make a plank top. If you don’t have old boards, distress some new wood by scraping it with nails and painting it with varying shades of grey, brown, and black. To give furniture an old vintage look, use a crackle medium, sand off the paint in a few spots, and/or use a dark antiquing wax. Just go with your imagination!

Chalk paint gives a matte finish.
Chalk paint gives a matte finish. | Source
Antiquing wax and a little distressing gave this table a vintage look.
Antiquing wax and a little distressing gave this table a vintage look. | Source

Types of Paint for Furniture

There are lots of different types of paint you can use on furniture. Personally, I prefer water-based paints because they’re easy to clean up. Since those are my preference, I’m going to stick to them in my discussion here.

Chalk paint – One of, if not the, most popular paints for painted furniture now is chalk paint. Chalk paint is a thick paint that adheres to almost any surface without having to do prep work like sanding and stripping. The most popular brand of chalk paint is Annie Sloan. I love her paint, but it’s expensive. A cheaper but acceptable brand is Plaid, which I buy at JoAnn’s Fabric Store. Chalk paint offers a beautiful soft matte finish, but it can come off easily. Because of that, it needs to have a coat of wax and/or polyurethane once the paint has dried.

Chalkboard paint – Chalkboard paint creates a surface that can be written on with chalk. This type of paint isn’t used on an entire piece. It’s usually painted just on the top surface, especially on furniture for children.

Flat latex paint – This paint has a matte finish that’s similar to chalk paint, but it doesn’t have the “sticking” capability of chalk paint. The finish, however, is tougher.

Semi-gloss latex paint – As the name implies, this paint dries to a semi-gloss finish. In other words, it’s a little bit shiny.

Gloss latex paint – Gloss paint dries to a very shiny finish. When dry, the painted surface is easy to clean. In most cases, spills and marks can be wiped away easily.

Metallic paints – Metallic paints come in shades of gold, silver, and copper, along with other metal colors. They can be used to cover an entire piece of furniture, but I prefer to use them as accents.

Here, I used paint, decoupage, and stencils.
Here, I used paint, decoupage, and stencils. | Source
Stripes and Stencils
Stripes and Stencils | Source
Funky Table
Funky Table | Source
harlequin table
harlequin table | Source
child's desk
child's desk | Source
faux planks
faux planks | Source
Distressed Kitchen Island
Distressed Kitchen Island | Source
Antiqued Coffee Table
Antiqued Coffee Table | Source
Tea Cart
Tea Cart | Source
Painted Scene on an End Table
Painted Scene on an End Table | Source

Paint and Decoupage

A great combination for practically any type of furniture is paint and decoupage. Decoupage is easy if you’re working with small cut-outs. With smaller pieces, you won’t have to worry so much about getting wrinkles in the decoupage paper. With larger pieces of decoupaging, it’s easy to wind up with wrinkles if you don’t know what you’re doing.

For my decoupaged furniture pieces, I often use scrapbook paper. You can find books of pages with all sorts of designs, images, and script. These books are available at Walmart and at just about any craft store. Just buy some Mod Podge and a small paint brush, and you’ll be all set.

You can use whole sheets of scrapbooking paper to cover larger areas like drawer fronts. Remember, though: You’ll need to make sure the paper is smooth to avoid wrinkles. For accents, cut out some of the images and use them on painted furniture. Personally, I love decoupaging small images, like flowers, in conjunction with painted patterns – especially with stripes.

And speaking of stripes, they can really give painted furniture some pizzazz! Use a good quality painter’s tape to tape off the areas you don’t want painted with your accent color. Just make sure the base coat of paint is completely dry first. If not, when you remove the tape, some of the paint could come off with the tape. Before adding your stripes, run your finger firmly over the edge of the tape to make sure the tape has good adhesion. If you’re careful, you’ll get sharp lines.

Don’t overlook stenciling, either. Stencils are easy to find, and they’re available in just about any image or pattern you can think of. Tape the stencil on with painter’s tape first. Use a large round brush. After loading the brush with paint, blot off some of the paint onto paper towels. Use an up-and-down motion to fill in the stencil with paint.

This huntboard was once a stereo cabinet.
This huntboard was once a stereo cabinet. | Source
Headboard Bench
Headboard Bench | Source
Toy box into blanket chest
Toy box into blanket chest | Source
Stenciling on a shelf coatrack
Stenciling on a shelf coatrack | Source

Upcycling Furniture – Repurposing Furniture

I seem to have a gift for seeing furniture in a different way. I can usually imagine what a piece could be, instead of what it is at the moment. This talent has helped me create some interesting pieces that have sold quickly.

Sometimes my “vision” requires making some repairs. For example, we’ve bought numerous pieces that were missing their top and that had damaged tops. Mismatched, damaged, and ill fitting drawers is another common problem we see. Broken and missing hardware is something we run across a lot, too. All these things have to be repaired before the furniture pieces can be painted.

What we don’t usually worry about at all is the existing finish on a piece. We know such imperfections can be covered with paint, with decoupage, or with pretty molding. Besides, sometimes we like to see little flaws because they can add a lot of character and age to a piece.

So…what about repurposing furniture? I’ll give you some specific examples we’ve completed. One of my favorites was an old stereo cabinet I found in a thrift store for $2. It didn’t have a top. I loved the three doors, though, so I got my husband to turn it into a huntboard by adding a top and some legs. I painted it green and added some stenciling and some antiquing, and it sold very quickly.

Another popular piece we make is a headboard bench. We find old headboards and turn them into benches. We use short or long planks for the seat part. For legs, we use reclaimed posts or new furniture legs from hardware stores. if the piece includes a footboard, we usually use those legs on our bench.

Old doors can be turned into lots of different things. These could include tables, the backs of benches, and the backs of hall trees. I’ve even seen French doors turned into tables! I’m not sure how functional of durable that would be with all the glass, but it was really pretty.

When we find small cabinets for sale at good prices, we sometimes turn them into standing cupboards. We just build a base and add four wooden legs. And by “we,” I mean hubby. He does all the hard work, and I get to do the fun, creative stuff.

DIY painted furniture is fun!
DIY painted furniture is fun! | Source

Try It Yourself!

Do not – I reapeat, DO NOT – be afraid to try something new with painted furniture! If it doesn’t turn out the way you want, you can always opt for a do-over. You can sad off the original finish, or in some cases, you can just paint right over it. The next chance you get, hit the yard sales and the thrift stores. Find a piece of furniture you like and have at it. You know what you like, so don’t worry about pleasing anyone else. If you get tired of your painted furniture after a few months, no problem! You can create a totally new look with some more paint, some stencils, painter’s tape, decoupage, and new ideas! Now…go forth and get started with some of these painted furniture ideas!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I thought I'd have to read a book for a divresocy like this!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Great essay Habee, I like what you do with tired old furniture, and thanks for advocating for people not to destroy (paint over) the good stuff. Never heard it called "Tiger Oak" before, or heard of that moniker, I imagine it has to do with the double grain in the wood? Or maybe the weathered finish in the grain's stripes?



    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Great job on this hub! I have been wanting to learn about painting furniture and you gave me a good start toward a new hobby.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      I just love your work and hubby's of course!! Love how it is a combined effort and makes me think of me and my partner . . He is great at the "handy, hard stuff" and I love the arty, creative side. En joyed following your different projects posted on bubblews so it is fab you did a hub post too. Well done on all your success to date, I am sure more sales will follow!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just love these hubs, I grew up with this stuff. My mom's shop was "Yesterday House Antiques". Thanks for keeping the art alive.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You have such a great range of furniture pieces here! Thanks for sharing your insight and photos.

    • Karen Ray profile image

      Karen Ray 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Love this hub! Great ideas for repurposing old furniture pieces. Voted up and useful. My favorite piece shown is the green huntboard. Saving this in my favorites for future reference.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)