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20 amazing ways to update furniture with paint

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Hello, friends. One of the things I love to do is find well-made furniture that’s a little worn out and give it a brand new lease on life with paint. (See my projects here). Painted furniture is hugely popular these days and is something most people can do or can learn to do with a little bit of effort.

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I find much of the inspiration for my pieces from pinterest, magazines, and blogs. There is so much talent out there! Today I’m sharing some great ideas for giving tired pieces of furniture a fun makeover. Prepare to be inspired!

**Sources for the projects are listed below each photo. Please go visit them and pin from their site. And tell them I sent you! Thanks!**

Painted and distressed

Orphans with Make Up

If you haven’t seen any of her work, you really should hop over and visit Mary at Ophans With Make Up. Her work is amazing, and her photography and styling are definitely magazine worthy. Her site is a real treat for the eyes.  This piece of hers is a classic example of painting, distressing, and sealing a piece of furniture. Visit her post for the process used here.

Modern tri-color finish

Estuary Designs

I know this is very different than what you usually see, but I like it. For a 20 or 30-something, this would be da bomb. And the styling fits the piece perfectly. From Estuary Designs, she has several other great furniture makeovers on her site.

Two-toned and accented with wallpaper

Knack Studio

Check out these dressy drawers! Barb over at Knack Studio is so talented that she has written a book about Furniture Makeovers! (Go here to learn more about her book.)  I love her vision and the way she incorporates graphic wallpaper designs into some of her pieces. Very inspiring. 

Milk painted chippy finish

Southern Revivals

I love the deep turquoise milk painted finish on this piece from Southern Revivals. It has just the right amount of wood showing through. And again, the styling on this piece is perfect! Jamie does amazing work and has tons of great ideas on her site. Be sure to drop by for inspiration and the how-to for this piece.

Dry brushed with refinished wood top and metallic accents

This is a piece that I refurbished myself and sold in my retail space. It’s been my most popular piece so far, mainly because of the details of the desk plus the fact that the top was stripped and refinished and has amazing wood grain. I highlighted the beaded corners and the pulls with metallic paint. I gave the whole piece a dry brush application of a lighter color to accentuate the carved details on the drawers. And I used Benjamin Moore Eggshell finish on it. To see all of the details of this piece, you can go here.

Two-toned milk painted

Restored by Rachel

This gorgeous piece is painted with black milk paint everywhere but on the drawers by Restored by Rachel. I love the brass escutcheons and the big drawer knobs.  And I’m so glad she left that beautiful wood grain exposed! Rachel has a shop that she sells her pieces in.

Chalk painted with fabric applied to the drawer fronts


Kristen over at Sophia’s is so creative and is always giving ideas for beautiful home decor or inspiring furniture makeovers. On this pretty piece she did a makeover with chalk paint and applied fabric to the drawer fronts. She shares a full tutorial on her site here.

Chalk Paint with nail head trim added

Girl in the Garage

I love this makeover by Jen at Girl in the Garage. She took an old, beat up dresser and completely transformed it with chalk paint, wax, and nail head trim. Be sure to visit her blog and check out all the painted projects she has done, including a full tutorial for this one. She has so much talent and a great blog.

Ombre or gradiant colors

Restoration Redoux

I can always count on Shana at Restoration Redoux for fun painted furniture. This ombre dresser is awesome, don’t you think? She sells many of her pieces in her booth. Drop by her site and see the latest pieces that she has transformed with paint. 

Painted with numbers

Thistlewood Farms

KariAnne at Thistlewood Farms always has some type of amazing project on her site. This dresser painted with numbers is certainly no exception. The whimsical design would be fun in a child’s room or even a family room. The full tutorial is in her post here.

Denim faux finish with leather handles

Sweet Pickins Furniture

This denim faux finish is awesome and the leather handles are the icing on the cake! It would be perfect for a boy’s room or a lakehouse. From Sweet Pickins Furniture, hop over for a full tutorial for this unique finish and a peek at all of her fabulous projects. And she even has her own line of milk paint.

Hand painted, milk paint print with wood top

Mustard Seed Interiors

If you have a steady hand and lots of patience, you can recreate something similar to this pretty piece from Mustard Seed Interiors. She hand painted this one in a old fashioned design. Her site is chock full of furniture projects, decorating inspiration, and lots of different tutorials on ways to improve your home. She also has a wonderful book, found here. She has her own line of paints, waxes, and sealers as well.

Chevron or zig zag painted

Flickr photo

This chevron design could be easily painted with frog tape and a couple of fun colors. I really like the green on this one. 

Chalk paint and graphics with a nautical theme

Artsy Chicks Rule

How fun is this nautical themed chest of drawers? Nancy at Artsy Chicks Rule shares a full tutorial of how to get this look for your own piece of furniture on her site. And she has tons of beatiful painted projects on her site.

Striped and distressed with contrasting pulls and legs

Petticoat Junktion

While we’re talking nautical, take a look at this fun, beachy dresser from Petticoat Junktion. I love the turquoise knobs and legs on this piece. They add just the right amount of punch. Kathy is always doing fun, colorful painting projects. She sells paint, supplies, and painted pieces. Drop by and see her work, and tell her I said hi!

Union Jack with rope pulls

Another fun way to dress up a dresser is with a Union Jack design. I painted this one and decided I didn’t like the shiny brass pulls that were on it, so I made some new ones from sisal rope. If you’ve got some extra patience, you can definitely do this yourself. To see more of this piece, go here.

Faux Bois or Wood Grain

Martha Stewart

The faux bois technique is on my list of things that I want to try soon. I haven’t found just the right piece to try it on yet. It takes some practice to get the look right, but all you need is a wood graining tool and two different colors, along with something to practice on.

Two-toned with stencilled drawers and mismatched knobs


This piece really does inspire me! I love everything about it…the colors, the knobs, the simple lines of it, and the styling is perfect. From createinspire. Hop over to see this project in its entirety. You’ll love what she did to the inside of the drawers.

Paintable, textured wallpaper applied to the drawers

California Callahans

Here’s a great example of how to use paintable, textured wallpaper to add some personality to an otherwise dull piece of furniture. I love how she outlined the drawers in a contrasting color. And the great thing about paintable wallpaper is that you can make it any color you choose!

Subway lettered chest of drawers

Amanda Carol Interiors

This chest of drawers with the subway style letters could easily be customized to any city or street you wish. From Amanda Carol Interiors, it would be perfect in a boy’s room, entry, or family room.

Are you feeling inspired to run out to the thrift shop or raid grandma’s attic now? I know I am. I can’t wait to try a few of these ideas on some pieces myself. Let me know which ones are you favorites!!

Find even more inspiration in these books.

Thanks so much for dropping by!



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  1. Angie, This is the most inspiring round-up of furniture projects I've seen in a while. You have some of my favorite furniture pieces and bloggers here. There are some new ones I just have to check out. I'm loving that piece by Estuary Designs too and I haven't seen this one by Sweet Pickins. Thanks for sharing my nautical piece. See you soon 🙂

  2. Wow, what an amazing collection you have put together here Angie!! I love every single one! Can't wait to pop in and visit them! Thanks so much for including my coastal chest in with these other great pieces. 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for including me in this round up Angie! Such an amazingly talented group of ladies that have produced such inspiring pieces!

  4. Thank you so much, Angie for including me in your roundup. I am so inspired by all the other pieces I am seeing.

    Mary @ Orphans With Makeup

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