To paint or not to paint old wooden furniture?

How do you feel about repainted furniture?

Some examples:

I think all of these are really well done!

I personally don’t have the inclination (or patience, or guts) to do so, but I think if you end up with a really well done job like these, AND you choose colors that you can live with for a long time…kudos to you!

That said, it would have to be pretty muted colors for me to feel like I could live with it for a long time.  But I feel that way about backsplash tiles, floor tiling, even paint.  (for the most part, re paint.)  Sofa colors.  If the colors are too bold, or the pattern too ‘busy’, I know I’d tire of them quickly.

Of course, I love beautiful, well-maintained or restored mid century furniture.  So I can also understand the ‘don’t mess with the beauty of what it was’….(if it was still beautiful.)

Where do you stand?

46 thoughts on “To paint or not to paint old wooden furniture?

  1. Sally

    We had one piece (dresser) that had been painted several times, always pretty. However, like you, I wouldn't want any loud colors. 🙂


  2. Elaine

    I have painted two teak (1970's) dressers which we bought new, early in our married life, but I would certainly not paint antique furniture. I use a particular brand of good quality paint in soft and subtle tones, which change slightly with the light levels, and was delighted with the end result. The dressers look great in the kitchen. Do whatever makes you happy and enjoy it.


  3. Grace

    At one time I would have said No, do not paint wood but – I've changed my mind. I've seen so many lovely painted wood pieces, and yes they are usually in need of a make-over to begin with, or the wood isn't the greatest or the wood grain isn't the most attractive – so yes, paint away. I don't like dark wood so I usually buy unfinished furniture and have it polyurethaned to death.


  4. Silver Willow

    oh, this was just a stream of consciousness post. I have no plans to even consider painting any furniture. I'd love to see what you've done; if you haven't already, you ought to create a post about it, Elaine!


  5. Silver Willow

    I love a nice dark oak. If it's real wood and not 'just veneer', it never looks old. I really regret parting with our old oak dining set. Should've just reupholstered the chairs.


  6. Jeanie

    I think it all depends on you and your style. If you have a piece of Stickley or any other kind of wooden furniture with a name, you will devalue it immediately and significantly if you mess with it. If it's a piece of newer furniture, not so much. If it's a piece of buy-wood-furniture, probably not at all. But if it's not an antique piece with some value and that dark-toned table looks lousy with your pastel room, have at it. You'll be happier and it will look better.


  7. Ann Thompson

    For me it all depends on what color choices and how all it's done. I've seen some pretty crappy paint jobs. I'm also not crazy about some of the color choices some people pick. I prefer a muted or darker color over bright


  8. Jean R.

    It definitely depends on the piece of furniture and the condition it's. If it's something like a mid-century or true antiques that are value as is or restored then, no. Don't paint it. If the piece was damaged and needing repairs that paint can cover up, then why not paint. I hate to see rare or good hardwoods like burl oak or walnut painted. Better to strip and re-stain.


  9. ellen abbott

    I don't care for painted furniture. wood is so warm and lovely. I's rather refinish than paint but if it's already been painted once, no problem with giving it a makeover.


  10. Joared

    Painting wooden furniture all depends on the type wood. If ts plywood, other stuff then yes, paint it! If it’s beautiful solid woods like cherry, walnut, maple, Birdseye maple, others with beautiful wood grain I think it’s a sacrilege to degrade them by slavoring paint on their surface. When I was young Pop used to select furniture pieces of all sorts at used furniture stores that had been degraded with paint. He would carefull scratch through a spot, discovering layer after layer of paint over some of the most beautiful wood revealed when he refinished the pieces ridding them of ugly paint when compared with the natural wood. We ended up, uwith museum quality pieces that were received as such by those who appreciated quality over cheapened paint-covered items anybody could duplicate. As you can tell, I feel strongly about this as I love the unique beauty of natural grains and wood.


  11. Martha

    I love painting furniture! I've done a few pieces in our home. You breathe new life into furniture that looks dated or beaten down. Some pieces can be painted to look completely different and some need to be stained to bring them back to life. It all depends on the type of furniture you're working with. I love pops of colours, so painting something with a bright shade really appeals to me.


  12. Nance

    As the wife of a carpenter and the daughter of a Nature Lover, I really cringe at seeing woodwork and wood furniture painted. The grain of natural wood is so lovely and real; covering it up is such a shame. Recycling/reusing castoff pieces is terrific, however; I detest waste. As other commenters pointed out, some cheap processed wood pieces really don't have any beauty unless they're painted, so this way, they get new life.(You asked me to let you know–I am back writing over at my space. Please join me if you can.)


  13. Peace Thyme

    I like most of these but there are a couple I could live without. I think the pastels are lovely when they are interesting with a drawer or a backing as a different color.


  14. Kathy G

    When we moved into our current house I broke apart my parent's bedroom set. Bed and dressers went in one room, and the side table went in my bedroom on my side of the bed. At that time all the pieces were 'antiqued' in a sage green color which just happened to pick up one of the tones in my bedspread. I took some craft acrylics, painted some of the table's decorative details, then polyurethaned over the whole thing. In 25 years I've been through multiple bedspreads, but never got around to changing up the table.


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