Painted Furniture Ideas

Painting furniture is a creative way to extend the life of older furniture. The history of painted furniture dates back thousands of years with cultural influences from around the world. You can turn a castaway into an instant family heirloom that looks like it is straight out of the latest design magazine or upscale furniture boutique.


A distressed paint finish recreates the patina of weathered wood furniture. This treatment looks right at home on furniture in country, cottage or traditional homes. Materials include an old-fashioned milk paint base coat, paste wax, an eggshell top coat and fine grit sandpaper to create areas of wear. For greater visual impact, apply contrasting base and top coats. Use monochromatic colours to give your distressed furniture a casual yet sophisticated look.

Hand Painted Designs

Paint original or reproduced designs on furniture for a custom look in your bedroom, office or kitchen. Prime the piece, apply a base coat and draw freehand designs or use carbon paper to transfer an image copied from another source. Paint the designs with acrylic craft paints and protect the finish with a clear water-based sealer.

Crackle Finish

Crackle is a popular effect that gives furniture the appearance of aged, cracked paint. You will need a water-based, satin base coat, crackle medium and a flat top coat in whatever colour you want. A heavy application of crackle medium will result in larger cracks in the finished furniture piece. For a delicately crazed appearance, apply a light, even coat of the medium. Crackle painted furniture adds authenticity to a primitive country-inspired dining room.

Romantic White

A simple and classic look for a beach house or shabby country cottage is crisp white painted furniture. Use white primer, an off-white flat paint, fine grit sandpaper and paste wax to transform your tired maple bedroom set into a romantically chic masterpiece. Before you get started, try adding a couple of appliques to dress up an otherwise boring headboard or dresser. Use a wash of brown acrylic paint and water or glaze to bring out the hidden details of your furniture pieces.

Stamped Designs

This is a furniture painting idea for the entire family. Borrow your child's rubber stamps and start creating. This furniture effect is similar in appearance to hand painted or stencilled pieces with little effort and talent needed. Purchase a water-based, satin paint as a base coat and use an assortment of acrylic craft paint colours for stamping. Stamped furniture is a playful addition to a child's bedroom or family room.

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About the Author

Linda Chechar is a writer with more than 20 years of career experience in print and broadcast media, advertising, real estate and retail home decor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Northwestern State University. Her content is currently featured on a variety of websites and blogs.