20 Painted Furniture Ideas to Inspire Your Next DIY Project

Painted furniture ideas

SolStock / Getty Images

Painting an end table, dresser, or cabinet is a manageable project to tackle on a weekend. It often makes a big impact on a room and requires only a small investment of your time and money. In the end, you’ll be left with a piece that better fits your style and personality.

Here are 20 ideas for painted furniture that show just how you can use finishes, colors, and details to customize what you already own.

  • 01 of 20

    Match the Wall Paint

    Light pink walls with a slightly darker pink dresser

    @martinas_cosy_crib / Instagram

    If you're trying to figure out a paint color that will complement your space, look no further than the color of the walls. Some brands, like Benjamin Moore, feature several complementary hues in lighter to darker versions on their paint chip cards. This can be helpful if you're trying to pick out a paint color that is similar but slightly darker than what is already on your wall. In this room, the walls show off Pink Ground, and the chest of drawers is Sulking Room Pink by Farrow & Ball.

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  • 02 of 20

    Try Limewash

    Limewashed hutch in a dining room

    @afrobohemianliving / Instagram

    Limewash isn't just for walls. This technique can also give a piece of furniture the look of a timeworn patina. It's a great option for vintage pieces that have seen better days or even new furniture that you want to make look older. You can apply limewash to unpainted furniture with a porous surface, like wood, without any primer. If your furniture is metal or already painted, you'll need to use a primer or possibly a prep coat, depending on what type of brand of limewash paint you use. 

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  • 03 of 20

    Paint Upholstery with Chalk Paint

    Chair painted in chalkboard paint

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona

    Some chairs are tricky to reupholster yourself, and it can be expensive to pay a professional. However, painting the fabric can be a much faster and cheaper alternative. Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona used chalk paint to give this vintage chair a refresh. She suggests applying it in a circular motion and allowing the fibers to stand up as it dries.

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  • 04 of 20

    Create Cohesion With One Furniture Color

    matching green furniture in a bedroom

    SolStock / Getty Images

    Paint can make your individual secondhand finds instantly work well together. To create a common thread among the mixed-and-matched pieces, you can simply choose the same color for each. If each one has a unique shape, your room won't feel too uniform.

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  • 05 of 20

    Go Glossy

    Glossy black chair with yellow pillow

    Forbes + Masters

    When choosing your paint finish, think beyond just satin. Painting a traditional piece of furniture in high-gloss black can give it a modern edge. As a plus, high gloss paint is extra durable, which means it's ideal for an item like a chair that undergoes frequent use.

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  • 06 of 20

    Update an IKEA Find

    Blue painted Ikea Furniture

    @elm_terrace_interior / Instagram

    Elm Terrace Interior gave a pair of PAX wardrobes from Ikea a fresh coat of paint to create a built-in look in this bedroom. To make sure the paint adheres correctly, she recommends lightly sanding the piece, wiping it down, and choosing a durable emulsion or eggshell paint.

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  • 07 of 20

    Pair Paint with Fabric to Create a Storage Cabinet

    painted pink wardrobe

    Rebecca Rollins

    A curio cabinet is obviously great for showing off display-worthy collections. However, it can also double as a storage cabinet in a children's room with a couple of DIY touches. First off, painting dark wood in a pastel hue can make a formal piece of furniture look more casual and playful. Next, you can staple or nail in fabric behind the glass, which can hide mounds of toys. To further child-proof a curio cabinet, consider removing the glass and replacing it with chicken wire.

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  • 08 of 20

    Paint Your Piano

    Light pink painted piano

    @burcharddesignco / Instagram

    Maybe you inherited a piano with a wood stain that doesn't quite match your hardwood floors. Or, perhaps you found a free piano on Facebook Marketplace with a dull finish that's seen better days. In any case, it is possible to paint a piano without harming its instrumental quality, and there are many online tutorials.

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  • 09 of 20

    Distress the Edges

    Farmhouse-style bedside table

    House 9 Interiors

    If your painted piece looks a little too polished for its surroundings, you can take some sandpaper and glide it across the edges. While there are certainly some other fun and advanced distressing techniques you can try out, this is an easy approach.

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  • 10 of 20

    Paint the Sides, Leave the Top

    Dining room in a Parisian Apartment

    @thetravellingapartment / Instagram

    Painting the legs of a bench or farmhouse table adds just the right amount of contrast. If you leave the top of these pieces wood, you also won't have to worry as much about surface scratches in the paint.

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  • 11 of 20

    Accentuate the Details

    Off-white and red painted foyer table

    Studio Peake

    Painting details in a cheerful color like red is a simple way to give a basic piece of furniture some pizazz. This also works on pieces with more ornate designs, like Eastlake Victorian furniture with carved flowers.

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  • 12 of 20

    Paint a Dresser for a Changing Table

    Pink dresser used as changing table

    Stephanie Hoey Interiors

    Babies outgrow changing tables as soon as they outgrow diapers. Instead of buying a new changing table that you'll only use for a few years, opt for a dresser. Just put a pad on top, and you can store diapers, wipes, and clothes in the drawers. Paint it in a hue that matches the nursery, and you can repaint it to give it a more grown-up look when your child starts having an opinion on their room decor.

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  • 13 of 20

    Mix Media With Wallpaper

    Yellow display case with wallpaper on the inside

    @martinas_cosy_crib / Instagram

    If you're repainting the outside of a display cabinet, you can either paint the inside the same color or try out something a little unexpected. Wallpapering the inside will create a beautiful patterned backdrop to show off your collections.

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  • 14 of 20

    Paint a Freestanding Island

    Green kitchen island that matches cabinets

    @burcharddesignco / Instagram

    Painting a freestanding kitchen island from a big box store can make it look tailor-made for your space, especially when you match it to the color of your cabinets.

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  • 15 of 20

    Stencil on a Design

    bedside table with fish pattern

    White Sands

    Adding an intricate design to a piece of furniture with a stencil can transform it into a showpiece. If you want to paint a stencil on a veneered surface, use a clear primer to prep the area.

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  • 16 of 20

    Make the Handles Pop

    Teal dresser with art tv above

    Emily Henderson Designs / Photo by Veronica Crawford

    Beautifully-aged brass handles on an old dresser can sometimes get lost against the wood. A paint with little to no brown undertones will really allow this metal to stand out. Teal is a great option because it contrasts well with the yellow tones in the brass.

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  • 17 of 20

    Paint the Handles To Match

    Navy blue dresser

    @whitehouseonthesquare / Instagram

    Try painting the dresser handles the same color as the dresser itself for a simplistic look. This works exceptionally well with simple circular wood knobs.

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  • 18 of 20

    Leave Some Wood Exposed

    Dresser that is half painted and half wood grain

    @whitehouseonthesquare / Instagram

    If the piece you are painting has a beautiful natural wood grain, consider incorporating parts of it into your design. This dresser by The White House on the Square is a perfect example of how to combine the two. By just painting the frame and bottom drawers, she allowed the wood to take center stage.

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  • 19 of 20

    Go With a Classic Neutral

    Navy dresser in a white room

    Emily Henderson Designs / Photo by Sara Legorria-Tramp

    Sometimes when you add too many wood elements to a room, the different stains can start to clash. If you have a wood desk that just isn't looking right on your hardwoods, painting it a neutral color should solve the problem. Navy or slate are always safe bets when you want to add just a little color.

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  • 20 of 20

    Use Bright Earth Tones

    Orange painted side table in a boho room

    @midcenturyjo / Instagram

    You don't have to paint a piece a saturated primary color to make a statement. For example, an earthy burnt orange can create a conversation piece without taking away from other elements in a room.