It never, ever fails. I paint a piece of furniture, and invariably someone exclaims, “WHYYYYYY???”
Like many people, I love antiques and vintage furniture. I was definitely born in the wrong era. I am more at home wearing a poodle skirt. The 1950s are my jam!! I have been lucky to score several MCM (mid century modern) pieces for my home while perusing thrift stores. But honestly, that is not what I look for.
When I go thrifting, I look for furniture that is in bad shape already: missing veneer, missing drawers, chipped wood, damaged leather inserts, etc. Furniture that is beyond restoring is ideal for painting. Why? Because I won’t feel guilty for painting it!! I have no problems removing old veneer, patching dents and sanding out scratches. In such cases, painting the object would bring new life to it, and make it more contemporary.
There was a lot wrong with this piece. But the details were so pretty!! And so, I painted it and brought out the details with gilding. And even though it is not longer an “antique”, it is now a showpiece. But still, I am sometimes pained if I paint a vintage or antique piece that is in good condition, and that leads me to the other side of the coin: a client requests it.
That one is sooooooo tricky. You want to dissuade the client from painting a piece of furniture that is in immaculate condition. But the client has the last word, and you as the painter are there to do the job. Those are the words that go through my head as I take a brush to the wood. And after about five minutes, I am ok with painting it. The reason? I have already “ruined” it so now I must make it beautiful again. It makes no sense but that is how my mind works. I never claimed to be logical.
Now, when it comes to contemporary furniture, it’s a whole different game. A lot furniture today is made from MDF or particle board. I have absolutely no issues painting those. Some furniture makers still adhere to using solid woods and those I do respect, even outdated in style. Because as everyone knows, everything old eventually comes back in style. Some styles shouldn’t, but that’s just my personal, semi-professional opinion. Remember the 90s when everything was metal and glass? Oy!! I have no problem updating those pieces at all. It is amazing what a can of spray paint can do to bring a contemporary look to those pieces.
I hope this post helps to explain the whys and wherefores of my furniture painting. Painting furniture is not only a nice gig for me, but it’s also very therapeutic. And it’s easy with the right paint and tools. But the best part? You can always paint over your mistakes. That’s a measure of relief when starting out!! 😉