The not-so-naked truth about painted furniture

26 Aug 2015

Bored of naked furniture? Does the timber look not fit your style? Just paint it. Painted furniture is the new craze and is borne of a convergence of various current trends:

1. The vintage look with sweetly retro furniture – think dainty dressers with cabriole legs painted a sorbet mauvy pink like Resene Divine, or Nana’s old side table done in soft blue Resene Half Escape.

2. The shabby chic French look, with decadent detailing in a faded glory sort of way. The dining room above is a great example of this, from a house owned by Ros de Coek in the Hawkes Bay. The furniture is painted in various Resene colours and finishes while the walls are Resene Celeste.

3. The 1950s retro look with pop-out brights: the back walls of bookcases painted a range of acid tones, or kitchen cabinets in the fun teal blue of Resene Seeker.

4. The Cape Cod look of white-washed or solid white painted furniture married with mattress ticking squabs and textured fabrics.

Upcycle, recycle

These looks are also a happy consequence of the move towards upcycling and recycling that promotes renovating and reusing furniture (and other objects) rather than throwing them away. Kinder on the planet, much more creative and results in a much more individual look.

There’s also the awareness that our furniture timber resources are becoming limited, that it’s not okay to cut down native trees just so you can have a good-looking sideboard or dining table. There’s also the issue of knowing if imported timber items are made from renewable resources, and that you’re not encouraging chopping down forest timbers and therefore animal habitats.

Pine is one timber we do well here, but has always been seen as a lower-grade timber for furniture. So just paint it.

Tip: If you want a solid paint finish on furniture, the best paint to use is Resene Enamacryl, which is a waterborne enamel paint with a gloss finish.

It’s extremely hard-wearing but is easy to clean-up and low in odour, unlike traditional solventborne enamels.

Mix it up

Some homeowners are happily mixing it up with beautiful timber furniture set alongside painted pieces. This approach to interiors has been used the world over for centuries. The French think nothing of painting furniture, likewise the Spanish and Mexican. Many Asian cultures have historically used decorative paint on furniture.

You can paint a piece all one colour or mix it up:

  • Try the legs of a dresser in Resene Whitewash but do the top in solid gloss Enamacryl tinted to Resene White.
  • Paint the drawers of a bedroom dresser in different colours, either three different candy shades or tonally with a darker colour for the bottom drawer then mid-tone, then light.
  • Paint the dowels in the back of a traditional timber kitchen chair in different or alternate colours for a striped effect. This could also work on the back slats of a Cape Cod chair.
  • Try dip-painting – you’ll see an example here in one of our photographs.

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing editor Sharon Newey on [email protected].

Oh la la

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This adorable French cafes setting was created by upcycling an old timber-topped café table and metal chairs. The table is painted in Resene Origin while the chairs are in Resene Spring Fever (left) and Resene Home Run (right). Even the market bag has been given a facelift with Resene Holiday. The weatherboards behind are Resene Joanna. The chairs were given a base coat of Resene Half Regent Grey and the topcoats streaked on with a brush.

pictures Photograph by Tony Brownjohn

Block it in for books

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When Michelle Elsmore and her late husband Peter renovated their house, one side of the new study ended up with a perfect bookcase-shaped space. Instead of the standard bookcase configuration where cupboards are arranged across the bottom, with shelves above, Michelle chose to scatter the cupboards throughout the bookcase, and paint each one a different colour. The main shelf colour is Resene Buttery White from the Karen Walker range while the cupboards are Resene Red Berry, Resene Streetwise (deep teal) and Resene Highball (green). Michelle used press catches rather than handles for a more streamlined look.

pictures Photograph by Mark Heaslip

Pool partners

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Marg Wood has the perfect partners for her pool area – Cape Cod chairs from Garden Pine Design http://www.gardenpinedesign.co.nz/ which she then had painted a range of pretty sorbet colours: Resene Princess (pink) and Resene Splat (blue) from the Resene KidzColour range.

pictures Photograph by Mark Heaslip

Sit awhile

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Staying outdoors, how about these garden benches by Kerryn Dunshea, which she finishes in a selection of Resene colours. This is in Resene Afterglow.

Take a dip

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This chair was ‘dip painted’. Obviously it’s a bit large to literally dip the back in a pot of paint but that’s the desired effect. First, it was given a coat of Resene Enamacryl tinted to Resene Alaska, then masked at the back and legs painted in Resene Limitless. The frames are finished in Resene Bowie, Resene Elvis, Resene Float and Resene Relax. The tongue-and-groove wall is Resene Black Haze.

For the kids

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This bookshelf was designed by Kerryn Dunshea for her daughter and finished in Resene Gothic with a ‘roof’ in Resene Sensual Red.

In the pink

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Lisa Brook of Urban Habitat does a great line in upcycled furniture. She has transformed this side table with Resene Lipstick, finished off with a coat of clear urethane.

Plain pine? Paint it

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This pine hutch dresser is painted in Resene Quarter Spanish White by Voodoo Molly Vintage Furniture Renovations & Up-cycling. The walls are Resene Rose White.

Go for gold

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This sideboard has been given a painted French-style makeover using a basecoat of Resene SpaceCote Flat waterborne enamel tinted to Resene Cabbage Pont. A secondary highlight colour used is Resene Planter, then the design is gilded with gold leaf.

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.

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Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

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register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

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register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

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register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

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×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.