Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Painting Vintage Furniture White

There is something so soothing and rewarding about painting vintage furniture. If you do this yourself, you will know exactly what I mean and you're probably addicted to it, like I am. I pretty much always have a furniture paint project in progress and I love the transformation that is so simple to achieve with white paint.

It's not only that I enjoy the thrill of the chase - nabbing a bargain, seeing beauty in something other people have passed over, and saving landfill by making a piece lovable again. I also love the physical act of working with a piece of furniture, getting to know it's curves and detail, sanding it down and thinking of its life and who made it & who has used it, dipping my paintbrush into a tin of white paint and making the furniture all bright and clean and fresh. In the same way others find watching TV or knitting relaxing, I find painting relaxing, especially on a gorgeous day like today when I can sit in the warm sunshine and paint.

This long chest of drawers/console was lovely to paint. The detail on the drawers and door and the wood grain that still shows through the paint made it very lovely to work with. You'll have to excuse the location of the photos but I wasn't dragging this inside just to take photos of it today.

Initially I didn't paint the handles but they just stood out like a sore thumb and I hated the way it all came together so I lightly painted them ie not solid white - enough so they look good but the intricate detail still shows through.  


The handles definitely needed painting, didn't they? I went back and painted the ones on the bedside tables that I blogged about previously.  

This chest of drawers has a central cupboard with a shelf so it could be used as a console or sideboard in the lounge room as well. I painted the inside of the cupboard to freshen it all up. The shelf is adjustable.

I lightly distressed it to highlight the beautiful ornate mouldings and then gave this piece several coats of wax, sanding and buffing it between each coat. It now has a beautiful smooth finish that will wipe clean of marks and be easy to maintain. Don't think that you need to use oil paints to get a durable surface. Wax has been used to protect furniture for centuries and gives such a lovely finish. One reason I never use white oil based paint is that it will yellow over time especially in areas that do not get a lot of sunlight. I am going to write a post on this specifically soon as I get asked a lot of questions about what paint I use and why not oil.
Here's the before shot from the eBay seller.

so what do you think? do you like it this paint transformation?

are you addicted like me?

Fiona xx

Sharing at  Transformation Thursday 


  1. There is something so refreshing about white! Love it!

  2. Fiona -I know exactly what you mean about painting being relaxing. Your furniture transformations are always so lovely. you have a good eye, I think. I love the detail of this piece and how you have painted the handles is beautiful.

  3. I love your sideboard! It is amazing what a bit of white paint can do for a piece past it's prime. Like the handles painted too, works really well.

    I agree about painting being relaxing. When I paint the weatherboards it feels mesmerising! Have a lovely week!

  4. this is a seriously stunning transformation. I love how you've made it all fresh and modern. and how you painted the handles is perfect.
    J xx

  5. I totally get how you describe how you feel while painting your furniture
    as I feel exactly the same way. Unfortunately I don't get enough time to do as many projects as I'd like
    but when I do it's the best form of relaxation.
    I love checking in to see your latest pieces, always makes me smile.

  6. Yes and yes!

    My very first thought when I looked at photo one was 'oh good she painted the handles this time!' ;)

    I also love that you painted the inside of the does my head in seeing a beautiful painted piece that still has scungy old cupboard insides!

    Hope it sells quickly for you Fiona :)

    xx Karen

  7. Omg Fiona this piece is beautiful.I love all of your pieces but somehow this one seems beautiful.I would use it as a vanity in our bathroom .Really stunning-love dee

  8. Beautiful makeover, Fiona, it looks amazing in white! Yes, I do know exactly what you mean about how great it feels to breathe new life into a piece with a few coats of white paint :) Sadly, I haven't painted any furniture in ages as we've been concentrating on renovating the house. Must get my hands on a sad old piece of furniture to make pretty again soon :)
    Cas x

  9. I love this! Just beautiful

  10. beautiful job Fiona, I love it. you have a real talent.

  11. Just gorgeous - amazing what white paint ( any paint for that matter ) can transform things!!!

  12. Me likey very much! Like the handles too. Oh how I miss painting. xx


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