Now, I understand there are people who don't like painted furniture, they prefer stained wood. And I know that heavily distressed, layered finishes are loved by some, while others want a more refined look. Paint colors are subject to strong opinions, too. What does bother me is the assumption I paint over valuable antiques. Historically, pine furniture was painted in Scandinavia for people who wanted good furniture but could not afford the price of finer wood. I like to think I am carrying on that tradition in my own way, by painting lovely old, but neglected furniture to be used again.
Sometimes I find a piece that's been painted but is so ugly that it is affordable for me to repaint. This vintage Italian console, pictured below, is made out of solid wood with no veneers. I bought it at an auction and it had a horrendous paint job. I think the legs were once gilded with gold leaf, because the legs were orange with the old primer and most of the gold was gone. The top had a bad faux finish of green marble. I wish I had taken a before photo! Now it looks pretty with a neutral finish.
Presently, I have a 1930s French dresser or commode in the studio. I have had this piece for four years. I hesitated in painting it because I found the wood pretty and it is probably a fine piece. However, I can't seem to get anyone to buy it! It has scratches on top and the veneer on the front of the drawers has some splitting. I put it back up for sale again in my Etsy shop and if I haven't sold it in the next few weeks, I'm painting it!
I paint furniture the way I think it would complement the piece. And when someone else also likes it, well, that's what makes painting fun and gratifying! To see more of my past painted projects, visit my portfolio.
Mid Century Desk with New Painted Finish- Sold
So, these are some of my thoughts on painting old furniture for a business. Frankly, if someone owns a 'fine' piece of furniture but hates the finish or it doesn't fit their decor, and if painting it enables them to use and enjoy it, well, then it's okay by me. After all, what makes furniture valuable? Isn't it the usefulness and pleasure it gives to the owner? I think so!
Till next time!