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Painted furniture lets you express your style

By Jodi Helmer
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/27/17/05/1vVpqv.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - ETHAN ALLEN
    The Quincy Bed, part of Ethan Allen’s Country Collection, has painted finishes available in neutral shades and bold colors, putting a modern twist on the classic design.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/31/10/33/imAH6.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - LAURA CASEY INTERIORS
    In the sitting room of a home in Cotswold, a white secretary adds a touch of warmth and helps balance the darker tones of the furniture and walls.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/27/17/05/15cm1v.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Torbjörn Åhman - IKEA
    The five-drawer Hemnes chest from IKEA is colorful and affordable.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/27/17/05/1cgKdU.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - COST PLUS WORLD MARKET
    World Market cabinet: The bright pop of color makes the Davia Hall Cabinet from World Market a focal point in any room.

More Information

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  • DIY furniture makeovers

    You don’t have to spend big bucks to incorporate painted furniture into your décor. Follow these tips to refresh an outdated piece:

    •  Prepare to paint: Remove all of the hardware and go over the piece with fine-grit sandpaper to even out the surfaces and remove imperfections in the finish.

    •  Start with primer: A base coat of primer makes it easier for the paint to adhere. Consider a spray primer for hard-to-reach spots.

    •  Bring on the color: Once the primer is dry, it’s time to paint. You can use a roller or brush to paint furniture, but a paint sprayer or spray paint won’t leave brush strokes. Make sure to let the paint dry completely before using the furniture.



It’s impossible to flip through a home décor magazine, read a design blog or scroll through a Pinterest feed without noticing furniture painted in bright neutrals or bold pops of color.

“A painted piece of furniture is a small element that can add a lot of drama to a room,” explains Aynsley Mahoney, executive interior designer and owner of Cottage Chic.

From turquoise headboards and yellow console tables to green media cabinets and red accent chairs, painted furniture is taking hold in American homes, injecting jolts of color in unexpected ways.

You can find painted pieces for every room in the house, as well as the backyard.

While bright pops of color are popular this spring, the trend extends beyond bold shades; painted furniture is also available in neutral tones like gray, white and navy. Use these hues to lighten up heavier furniture or add a touch of sophistication to a room.

Whether you choose a vibrant palette or muted tones, the trend is a chic way to fill your home with furnishings that reflect your style. And, when it comes to incorporating painted furniture into a room, the options are endless.

Using painted furniture in neutral tones keeps a traditional design on trend while bolder color choices create a more modern look. For a balance of traditional and modern, Mahoney suggests choosing a big piece in a neutral color and painting the trim in a bright or contrasting color.

“A bookcase always makes a statement when the interior is painted in an unexpected color,” she says.

There is another reason painted furniture makes a statement: It makes outdated pieces feel new again. With a fresh coat of paint, a vintage castoff can become the focal point of the room. Paint also can make a mass-produced piece feel like a custom design.

Charlotte interior designer Laura Casey likes to incorporate at least one piece of painted furniture in projects that she takes on through her business, Laura Casey Interiors.

She’s purchased new painted pieces and she’s refinished furniture her clients already owned, giving them an updated look.

“Incorporating painted furniture is a great way to update a room without spending a lot of money,” Casey says. “Refreshing an older piece of furniture is a big trend right now.”

The trend isn’t limited to DIY enthusiasts. National retailers are presenting pieces in colors ranging from neutrals to “notice me” shades for every room in the house. You’ll find a range of different styles at such places as Ethan Allen, World Market, IKEA, Bassett Furniture and Target.

In Dilworth, Cottage Chic carries several lines with a painted finish, including pieces from South Carolina-based Seabrook Classics.

Casey believes that retailers have embraced the trend because it can give consumers the look of custom furniture at an affordable price.

It’s best to stick with one or two pieces of painted furniture in a room, according to Casey. For the biggest impact, mix and match painted furniture with upholstered pieces, natural woods, glass and metal finishes. A range of finishes adds a lot of interest to a room.

“Even though more people want to incorporate bright colors into their homes, you have to be careful not to go overboard,” she says. “Painted furniture, especially when it’s in a color that makes you feel good, is great as an accent piece.”

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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