The Best Painted Projects

Posted by on Aug 30, 2011

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There's nothing like paint to give a boring piece of furniture a whole new life. These makeovers deftly prove this point and then some. Take this show-stopping table — its creator didn't stop with just a coat of red paint. Nope. This is a study in decorative contrasts, with the turquoise drawer and almost primitive starbursts. 
For a closer look at the painted table, visit Patti Haskins' Flickr.

painting an Adirondack chair
Adorable Adirondack Chairs

In a nice sky blue, frumpy Adirondack chairs look completely cute. Whether yours are resin or wood, you'll want to use a spray paint. We've found that a primer coat is completely unnecessary, unless your chair was originally neon orange (though we doubt and, uh, hope that's not the case).
Lamp makeover using paint
Lovely Lamp

The most startling makeovers tend to be lamps. Even the tackiest, over-the-top or craziest-looking light fixture becomes remarkably modern when you coat the whole thing (eagles, shields and all) in a single coat of paint. For this project, an enamel will create a uniform, glossy appearance that reminds us of Jonathan Adler's home accessories.
Lamp makeover using paint
Painted Lamp, Take Two

Here's another way to revamp a lamp: Add paint to the most detailed part of the fixture, leaving everything else natural. This will preserve some of the hard-earned vintage patina while creating a dramatic focal point. Matte formulas tend to look best in this treatment, as the transition between wood (or metal) and the repainted section will be less jarring.
Modern chair makeover with bright green paint
Mod Chair Makeover

Though you wouldn't guess it at first glance, this mod chair was in a uniquely awful state of disrepair. Like, to the point where you wouldn't even pick it up off the curb. After a good cleaning, a coat of almost-fluorescent lime green makes this piece really pop.
To see the "before" picture, visit Justin and Elise's Flickr.
Bookshelf makeover using paint
Painted Bookcase

For a very basic piece, like a bookshelf, consider two things before you pick up the paintbrush: The color of the room and what will go inside. Then, choose the color accordingly. Here, a pumpkin-orange hue stands up to the intense green wall, while complimenting the collection of pink piggy banks housed inside.
paint makeover for cabinet
Blue-Backed Cabinet

You don't have to completely repaint a furniture piece in a bold hue in order for it to stand out. In the case of this cabinet, all you have to do is paint the backing. The robin's-egg blue turns even a hum-drum assortment of shampoo bottles into a pulled-together display. Drawer fronts are also an easy place to add a touch of color (and unify the colorful backing with the rest of the piece).

furniture makeover featuring painted chair cushion
Art Chair

If you're better with a paintbrush, treat a seat (and back) cushion as a canvas. Simply prime with a neutral color, then get to work. Artist's acrylics can be used to paint, but will take a bit longer to dry. (Our guess is this is because air can circulate better on a traditional canvas than on one filled with stuffing.) Once it's completely dry, add a coat of protection with an all-in-one sealer.

Paint makeover of a baby changing table
Chic Changing Table

Who says that baby furniture has to be juvenile, or purely functional-looking? A color change can fix all that while hiding the little imperfections acquired through everyday life. Here, you might not want to go for a dramatic hue. A pure turquoise is just playful enough to appeal to kids but still exudes grown-up style. To further change it up, switch out the drawer pulls. 

Paint makeover of a breadbox
Breadbox Made Better

We thought this breadbox was decoupaged with Victorian-era images of roses. Instead, it's all done with paint. Don't you think it's a beautiful way to update one of the most basic items in the kitchen? And though the blooms look complex, they're very simple to paint. It's more about brush technique than artistic skill, really.
For the best flower painting tutorials on the web, check out Donna Dewberry's video series.

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