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Hand Painted Furniture to Inspire An Artful Home

Updated on October 14, 2014
Featured:  Two-door  "Seven Seas" Hand-painted Oval Accent Table in poplar and hardwood solids, by Hooker Furniture
Featured: Two-door "Seven Seas" Hand-painted Oval Accent Table in poplar and hardwood solids, by Hooker Furniture | Source

Beautiful Hand-Painted Furniture for Your Eclectic Home

In an era of mass production and look-alike décor, one stand-out piece of decorative furniture can bring a touch of real distinction to any room. Beautiful hand painted furniture will add art and beauty to any room in your home. It returns us to a more elegant time when surface decoration of home furnishings was a way to express personality and taste, as well as create a focal point in the room.

Depending on the design and the style, hand painted furniture can add a touch of elegance or whimsy to any room in which you choose to display it. On this page, you'll find a showcase of beautiful hand painted chests and armoires, tables and chairs, beds, bookshelves, and so much more, in a variety of styles from the playful contemporary to delicate vintage inspired by old European and Empire furniture, through to pieces of stunningly ornate Chinoiserie. You're sure to find furniture to love in the selection of hand painted pieces available here!

Asian Antique Table with red lacquer finish, carved details, and gold-painted highlights.
Asian Antique Table with red lacquer finish, carved details, and gold-painted highlights. | Source

Hand Painted Tables - Small Practical Works of Decorative Art for Your Home

One of my favorite pieces of hand-painted furniture is the small side table. It's easy to pick up an inexpensive table of some sort at a yard sale, then get creative with your paints.

For example, I once reworked an incredibly tacky faux-wood end table into a fun piece for the front porch by doing a "fantasy finish" inspired by the beautiful patterns of marble, but in a bright coral pink. It was predominantly done with layers of tone-on-tone color applied with a natural sea sponge, accented with a hint gold metallic craft paint for fine veining, just touched in with a feather when the main paint effect was nearly dry. The original trailer-park-style piece was something I just couldn't live with, but the hand-painted version has graced my front porch for more than a decade, and I'm still enjoying it.

Could you do something similar, perhaps inspired by the beautiful pieces like this?

Wayborn Multi Color Handapinted Console
Wayborn Multi Color Handapinted Console
This traditional demilune (half-round) console table is hand painted with floral-inspired designs on a smooth black background, lightly distressed. Elegantly eye-catching as a side table for your dining or living room,or as an accent piece in a hallway, it measures 29" wide x 12" x 28" high.

Here are just a few more hand-painted tables you might love to own, or that may give you inspiration for your own DIY projects. There are so many different styles and approaches, there's certain to be something that appeals to you - and the beauty of taking on a small piece like this is that it's almost as much an artwork as a furniture item, so you don't have to get too hung up on what matches in with your existing décor - just go with whatever "speaks" to you!

Wayborn Home Furnishing Hand Painted Bamboo Serving Table/Tray, Multicolored
Wayborn Home Furnishing Hand Painted Bamboo Serving Table/Tray, Multicolored
For an understated modern or minimalist decor, you might want to choose one small signature piece to make your hand-painted statement. Try a small end table or occasional table, like this beauty in bamboo that doubles as a convenient serving tray for when you are entertaining guests.
This charmingly distressed "shabby chic" console table is an old sewing cabinet in disguise, hand painted in layered blue tones with verdigris patina applied to the scrollwork, with a delicate hand-painted birds nest as accent.
This charmingly distressed "shabby chic" console table is an old sewing cabinet in disguise, hand painted in layered blue tones with verdigris patina applied to the scrollwork, with a delicate hand-painted birds nest as accent. | Source

A wonderful thing about a striking hand-painted piece of furniture, when you're decorating on a fairly tight budget (and who among us isn't, these days?) is that piece becomes the centerpiece or signature piece for your room, and you'll pick up the dominant colors and tones in your soft furnishings, drapery, throw pillows and the like, as well as decorative accessories. This leaves you free to invest wisely in simple, well-made, understated furniture for the rest of the room in classic upholstery fabrics and natural wood, timeless forms and materials that will stand the test of time as you redecorate from time to time later on.

Hand Painted Armoires & Jewelry Chests

Powell Masterpiece Handpainted Wood Jewelry Armoire, Antiqued Parchment
Powell Masterpiece Handpainted Wood Jewelry Armoire, Antiqued Parchment
Two drawers of this charming 40-inch armoire have divisions to organize jewelry, and the top flips up to reveal a mirror and storage area, while side pocket doors open on hooks to hang your necklaces. This armoire truly looks like an heirloom antique furniture piece - the secret is in the distressed finish in an old-fashioned parchment color, with carved details and a delicate hand-painted vase-and-fern design across the front panels.
Oriental Furniture Gold Leaf Jewelry Armoire
Oriental Furniture Gold Leaf Jewelry Armoire
Gorgeous in contrast to a modern minimalist decor, this six-sided jewelry chest gleams with 12 coats of gold leaf lacquer, painted by hand with delicate motifs of birds and flowers.

Hand Painted Chairs for Kids - Very Special Furniture for Your Child's Bedroom or Play Room

I love hand painted furniture for children, when it's done well and with imagination in the design, because the artists can really let loose their creativity on the relatively small pieces - and every face and plane of an assembled furniture piece, like a chair, can be used for a different color or pattern, so you get a different visual effect from the chair almost every time you walk into the room, because you're always seeing it at a slightly different angle. Ogle these beauties and give it some thought - do you have a beat-up old mini rocker or potty chair that couldl get a new life if hand painted?

A Pair of Child's Chairs, A Hand Painted Garden

Fantasy Fields - Magic Garden Thematic Kids Wooden 2 Chairs Set | Imagination Inspiring Hand Crafted & Hand Painted Details | Non-Toxic, Lead Free Water-based Paint
Fantasy Fields - Magic Garden Thematic Kids Wooden 2 Chairs Set | Imagination Inspiring Hand Crafted & Hand Painted Details | Non-Toxic, Lead Free Water-based Paint
A pair of child-sized chairs are hand-painted in a whimsical garden theme and soft colors of yellow, green, blue and pink with bright accents - perfect for a sidechair in your child's bedroom or to decorate a playroom in practical style.

We love the Fantasy Fields chairs as a decorative piece in the front foyer, where they can hold a guest's hat and handbag as well as bringing a welcome spot of color to an area that's often hard to decorate. If your foyer doesn't have quite enough width to accommodate a child's hand-painted wooden chair, however, do consider the practical beauty of a hand-painted bookcase from the same line. Decorate the nursery or toddler's bedroom now - then move these witty little pieces out into the mudroom, foyer, family room or sunroom for a touch of whimsy when your child eventually outgrows them or is ready to move on to a new bedroom theme.

Magic Garden Book Shelf - Hand Painted, Hand Carved - It's Whimsical and Useful, Too!

Fantasy Fields - Cracked Rose Thematic Kids Wooden Bookcase with Storage
Fantasy Fields - Cracked Rose Thematic Kids Wooden Bookcase with Storage
Teamson Kids has a whole collection of hand carved and hand painted furniture for a child's bedroom or baby's nursery, of which this cute colorful bookshelf is one example you've just got to love! Sturdy and pratical, as well, for helping to keep your little one's books and belongings in order - note the two drawers at the bottom of the unit.

DIY Painted Furniture

You can do it - yes you can!

Take your inspiration from the elaborate details and faux effects of the tables, chairs, cabinets, etc. that are painted by experts, like those beauties I'm showing you on this page, and maybe choose one or two for an accent piece - but finish out the room with your own hand painted furniture if you're up for it. Not only a budget-wise move, but you'll feel such a sense of accomplishment when you look at your artistic creations!

I just stumbled across this neat little video and wanted to share it, to get you inspired. It's a quick run-through of a bunch of different DIY painted furniture projects - with the before and after pictures we love! - to give you an idea of how very "do-able" it is to give a boring or shabby piece of furniture a cool makeover with a bit of paint.

Ideas for Painting and Decorating Furniture - An Inspiring DIY Décor Book by Sheila McGraw

You may recognize Sheila McGraw as the illustrator for Robert Munsch's well-loved children's book, Love You Forever - but my introduction to her wonderful world of color and whimsy came with her other home-decor-craft "how to" books on soft toys, paper mache, decoupage, etc. I like McGraw's style, and I like the way she gives enough directions to equip one to carry out the projects her books inspire, but never locks in the imagination of her readers - her books are one part instruction and two parts inspiration.

Painting and Decorating Furniture
Painting and Decorating Furniture
With more than 1000 photographs to illustrate step-by-step projects for painted furniture, this is a great book for beginners as well as for those looking for fresh ideas to re-paint plain old furniture in exciting new ways.

Do you like the look of hand-painted furniture? - Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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    • Chantelle Porter profile image

      Chantelle Porter 

      5 years ago from Ann Arbor

      I really enjoyed your article. I have been painting "unloved" furniture for quite a few years and love doing it. I particularly liked the light blue end table. Painted furniture is just so much more unique. great article.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Gorgeous pieces. It's hard to pick a favorite. :)

    • ComfortsOfHome profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @rattie lm: Indeed it is! And there are so many options for how to go about it, too.

      I'm starting to get very interested in the old turn-of-the-century techniques for woodgraining as a way of making low-cost softwood furniture look like pricey oak - just scored an old glass-door bookcase that's been so treated, with an interested stencilled border in quite fine detail, for example...

      Every piece is so individual, isn't it?

      Furniture as art works!

    • profile image

      rattie lm 

      7 years ago

      Love the idea of restoring furniture but not so fond of the distressed look. It's time we all thought about recycling though, isn't it.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      8 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Some really pretty examples here... I like the hand painted book shelf for kids the best -- the cut outs are cute.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hand painted furniture is the best!

    • ninakreativa profile image


      8 years ago

      Hand painted furniture is really special and I believe each one of us would love to have at least one piece of such furniture in our rooms.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      This furniture is delightful.


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