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.
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Match the Wall Paint
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.Continue to 2 of 20 below.
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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.Continue to 3 of 20 below.
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Paint Upholstery with Chalk Paint
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.Continue to 4 of 20 below.
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Create Cohesion With One Furniture Color
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.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
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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.Continue to 6 of 20 below.
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Update an IKEA Find
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.Continue to 7 of 20 below.
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Pair Paint with Fabric to Create a Storage Cabinet
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.Continue to 8 of 20 below.
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Paint Your Piano
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.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
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Distress the Edges
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.Continue to 10 of 20 below.
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Paint the Sides, Leave the Top
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.Continue to 11 of 20 below.
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Accentuate the Details
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.Continue to 12 of 20 below.
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Paint a Dresser for a Changing Table
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.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
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Mix Media With Wallpaper
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.Continue to 14 of 20 below.
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Paint a Freestanding Island
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.Continue to 15 of 20 below.
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Stencil on a Design
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.Continue to 16 of 20 below.
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Make the Handles Pop
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.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
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Paint the Handles To Match
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.Continue to 18 of 20 below.
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Leave Some Wood Exposed
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.Continue to 19 of 20 below.
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Go With a Classic Neutral
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.Continue to 20 of 20 below.
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Use Bright Earth Tones
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.