Hand painted furniture - ideas and tips

Hand Painted Furniture Is All The Rave: 100 Ideas and Tips

Hand painted furniture - ideas and tips

Hand painted furniture, particularly vintage pieces, can be absolutely stunning in many design settings. The style of the piece you are painting is what determines the style of the finished product to a certain extent, unless you plan to hand paint in a highly decorative style. Then all bets are off – you can make a modern piece look Baroque with paint details.

You’ll find many pieces for sale on Etsy.com, hand painted furniture by talented craftspeople. But why not try your own hand at it? Eclectic, Bohemian, Farmhouse – you can customize your style. And it does wonders to re-purpose furniture that has seen better days. Remember: reuse, recycle, re-purpose – it’s more important than ever. You can find pieces to paint at thrift stores, at yard sales and sometimes even on the side of the road – free for the taking.

Different techniques and types of paints can achieve entirely different styles. Experiment with some of the new paint styles:  chalk, milk, lacquer, lace, whitewash, distressed, multi-toned, metallic, waxed, stenciled. Be creative and be bold – see what you can do. You just might surprise yourself with your new talent for hand painted furniture design.

Blue Painted Furniture Ideas

For the Blue Painted Furniture, it looks like Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is the popular choice (and the Giverny shade of blue seems to be favored). It’s a very versatile paint that works beautifully on furniture without priming or sanding, is easy to use and quick to dry. And it can be used for a number of different paint techniques.

No wonder Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan is one of a DIY-ers’ favorite paints. You can get a range of decorative effects without a lot of muss and fuss. The Blues have been a very popular color range recently and this line has a premium selection. Check out this post by Annie Sloan for tips on how to take your DIY project to the next level and achieve a stunning Blue Ombre Effect using Chalk Paint.

blue hombre effect on hand painted furniture

Blue Ombre Effect using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – Source.

Ombre means “shaded” in French and this gradual change from one color to the next has been huge in fashion recently  – and it’s now crossing over to vintage painted furniture.  The piece above was painted by Ildiko of Restored4u in Ontario, Canada.

Shades of blue - custom painted furniture

Image: General Finishes.

Indigo and rust - a winning combo

See how this second-hand chest was painted to achieve this rust like effect at Do Dodson Designs.

A writing desk, decked out with cursive writing and postal marks

Above is a distressed Repurposed Vintage Secretary Desk in Beautiful Multi-tone Blue. Etsy.

Paris Post - re-purposed treasures

Floral Blue design on this painted furniture

This vintage French Boho Floral Blue and White Nightstand are also on Etsy.

Color blending makes charming furniture

Blueberry Painted French Provincial Dresser with Color Blending: Source

Does color blending intimidate you? Don’t let it! If it doesn’t match, just repaint. And in the meantime, you may really surprise yourself. And there’s lots of help with “how to” over at the Dixie Belle paint site.

An old desk is updated with blue paint and new hardware

Hand Painted Vintage Blue Desk in Rustic Style.

Blue and white color blending

Small Blue and Floral China Cabinet.

The interior floral design is a nice touch

Just look at this cabinet! Doesn’t it look amazing?!

French country blue painted sideboard

Custom Hand-painted French Country Blue Sideboard: Source

Elegant blue buffet with ornate legs

The paint that was used in the image above is a 50/50 mix of General Finishes Coastal and Klein Blue paired with rich Antique Walnut Gel Stain. Source.

An ornate piece of blue hand painted furniture

Image: General Finishes.

This desk and chair have a regal quality

This desk and chair have been painted with General Finishes Coastal Blue Milk Paint, plus General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Semi-gloss, for a rich lustrous sheen. Source.

Custom painted furniture never looked so good

Image: General Finishes

Blue painted furniture with gold accents

Gold butterflies highlight this custom painted desk

Love the golden butterflies on blue background (see above). What a beautiful piece of furniture! Find out how it was painted here.

Cooper and blue - a winning combo

Read the full story how this buffet was restored and finished in shades of blue.

This piece makes a great serving table

A recessed copper cooler is hidden inside this blue buffet (above).

Natural wood mixed with blue for effect

Image: General Finishes

Mid-century Modern custom painted

Amazing color palette (image above). Source.

You can get artistic if you start with the right piece

This beautiful vintage dresser was painted using “Jitterbug” deep teal color from Country Chic. Love the creative design! See details here.

Blue and gold decorative painted furniture makes a real statement

Image: General Finishes. Painted in Coastal Blue and Klein Blue.

Paint blending makes for a stunning piece!

This boho blue hand-painted sideboard is also an Etsy find –  a sure conversation starter with its different shades of blue and gray.

This rainbow painted dresser is Shabby Chic at its finest

You can learn how to create a DIY custom rainbow painted dresser and give your old dresser new life with the rainbow paint tutorial at Hometalk.com.

Gold trim on this custom design gives it an elegant touch

Read how this amazing hutch was painted using Velvet Finishes from Lotus Theory Designs – and then watch the video.

Green Painted Furniture Ideas

Green is especially versatile as it fits so many decorative styles starting from French Antique to Farmhouse to Mid-century Modern. Depending on the painting technique you’re using, you can achieve many different looks and styles. It’s such a crisp, refreshing color and the perfect hue for vintage painted furniture pieces. Think regeneration and regrowth – perfect for upcycled furniture. You’ve given it new life.

Magnolia Chalk Paint is one of the best for hand painted furniture

This vintage accent table above was painted using Magnolia Home chalk paint in spring green with some distressing to bring out the old world details. More info: Source

The Magnolia Home Chalk Paint line from Joanna Gaines is available in many colors. Did you know that it is the opaque quality of chalk paint that makes it perfect for vintage style painting? It’s easy to apply to many surfaces, including wood, metal or concrete.

New hardware in combination with custom paint does a great job

A designer at Tattered Pew used milk paint on this dresser – and there’s a great DIY tutorial on their site. Tattered Pew

Milk paint, you say? Milk paint is an ancient paint containing just five simple ingredients – milk protein (casein), limestone, clay, chalk and natural & non-toxic synthetic pigments. It is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and mold-resistant. What’s not to like? The example above (plus many, many more) used Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – widely viewed as one of the best available.

This piece is custom painted with gold hardware - such a green!

French Provincial Dresser or TV Console.

Decorative painted furniture with Asian style

Above is an awesome Chinese distressed green nightstand. It’s handpainted with oriental floral birds graphics. Source.

This painted cabinet has a sublime distressed look

This Jacobean hand painted, shabby chic china display cabinet was custom painted for a customer in antique green by Erika Szilvai Design. The client shipped it to her Etsy shop from California. They wanted it just right and were willing to pay shipping both ways to ensure that it was.

This vintage look is perfect for a Farmhouse style decor

This green vintage painted buffet just screams Farmhouse: Source

Custom painted army green hutch

Above is another beautifully done farmhouse style paint work, in Smoky Perl. Love it! Source.

Beautiful paint job and not just restored - but re-loved (love it!)

A painting project from Poland (above). Source.

Add a hand painted design to the panels of your furniture

This vintage furniture uses white stencil design

Image source.

A writing desk in green-blue

Read about how this writing bureau was hand painted using General Finishes Patina Green paint here. The artist wanted to recreate the style and opulence of Louis XV.  They did a great job!

This secretary writing desk has gold hardware and a tassel

Black Painted Furniture Ideas

Black is the new black. Seriously – it’s trendy. Have you seen Joanna Gaines painting whole walls black? And it works! Let’s face it, black goes with everything. Use it on a dresser, a cupboard, a make up table, a buffet or simply a night stand.

Chalk paint will facilitate that distressed look – having a peekaboo of the wood showing through gives it so much character. You just can’t go wrong with a black and brown combo. It’s a classic!

Black custom painted furniture is all the rage

Source: Do Dodson Designs

Black and Black Smoke chalk paints create a pleasing effect

Leslie Stocker, from New York, believes that black is the epitome of chic. Paint it (vintage painted furniture), wear it (that little black dress), or even put it on the wall. This piece was done with a base coat of black chalk paint, followed by a layer of black smoke chalk paint.  Every room should have a touch of black.

Black makes a striking color in your bedroom

Image Source

A vintage vanity table painted in black really pops against a wood floor

This federal sideboard is stunning in black

Above is this gorgeous antique sideboard, in black charcoal front with deep blue undertones top, from Shabby Roots Boutique on Etsy.com.

A black dresser with a gorgeous natural wood design on the front

You can even go Goth. Check out this vintage two-tier black refinished goth dresser with a wooden emblem.  The natural wood looks fantastic against the black, doesn’t it? Love this work of art!

Wow - this piece has gorgeous legs - not to mention the decorative wood

Image Source

A little southwestern design on a black hand painted dresser

Aztec design (shown above) – image source.

You can get artsy with your decorative painted furniture

White Painted Furniture

The more we see of the white painted furniture the more we are inclined to believe that white paint makes the most dramatic designs. What do you think?

Annie Sloan white chalk paint was used on this beautiful piece

Another category where Annie Sloan tops the charts – Old White Chalk Paint. The details are sealed with first clear, then black wax.  This stunning Court Press Cottage Cupboard was painted by Etsy seller, Thirteen Stairs.

A whitewashed credenza - one of the best techniques for DIY painting furniture

Another technique commonly used with white painted furniture is ‘white washing’ – a process that usually uses a thin white or off/white paint color – but it can be any color (see image above).  “White washing can also refer to the effect of washing over, with paint or stain, a second color or stain to tone down or add an effect”. You end up with a great distressed farmhouse industrial look. It’s a super easy look to do on vintage furniture that’s lost some paint.

Check out this great tutorial on using the White Wash effect over at Kim Power Style.

This shabby chic romantic dresser is perfect in white

Painted Cottage at Etsy presents their Chic Shabby Romantic French Dresser – a great piece for your cottage home. it’s actually a new piece that can be painted any color you like. If you are working with specific colors on your bedding or walls, Painted Cottage can paint any of their pieces to coordinate with your room.

This Louis XV buffet is a stunning piece of custom made furniture

Another example of some of the best of Etsy – this rare antique hand-painted 1940’s Louis XV style Provincial French Country Buffet would be the focal point of any room. This timeless design delivers an elegant French Provincial look and offers lots of storage.

The finish is an antique creamy white with dark brown details. This piece, or one like it, would be perfect for someone who prefers the aged, vintage look or loves French Country design. There’s a bit of Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn in this piece, too!

Black hardware makes a statement on this white design

This hand painted white Antique French Provincial Romantic Sideboard is by Erika Szilvai Design, a top Etsy vintage painted furniture seller.

This is a stunning antique post 1950′s buffet and is exceedingly well made. It is a perfect piece for that country French look, offering as much storage as one would ever want.

The sculpted frieze style of this piece enchants us

The Enchantment Three-Drawer Dresser is certainly well-named –  we are enchanted with the sculptured frieze style. Of course, from who else but Anthropolgie? Carved by hand from tropical hardwood, this stunning dresser adds unparalleled charm to any space.

A vintage farmhouse buffet makes a perfect candidate for DIY painting

This beautiful antique farmhouse Jacobean buffet is courtesy of Redhead Refinishings on Etsy. This beauty’s top and legs were sanded and stained in a weathered finish. The body was painted in a lovely matte gray-beige color, but it looks white! Don’t you just love it?

Leave parts of the furniture in natural wood for a pleasing contrast

This is such a neat idea – to leave some parts unpainted (see above)! This design is a contest winner at General Finishes.

This charming piece combines white and dark wood for contrast

Wow. What a beautifully executed painting idea – to have two highly contrasting colors and in the right places. The final effect is just gorgeous. Read about how it was made here.

Silver / Metallic Painted Furniture

A lot of people are a little nervous about using metallic paints – there’s just something that seems more permanent about it but really, there is no need to fear. If you make a mistake, you’re going to do it over. That’s all.

Some of the best tips include layering paints and starting with a base coat that isn’t metallic. And you’ll even see that a few of the first techniques below create the illusion of metallic paint but are actually finely coordinated layers of regular paint.

Prepping is very important – in fact, it’s pretty much the key to a smooth and shiny surface. There are many techniques and many types of paint. Don’t cheap out – the quality is important. And a wax finish can do wonders for metallic hand painted furniture.

Beautifully detailed and finely crafted - this piece looks incredible painted like this

The paint palette for this Jacobean Hutch includes French Blue and Creamy Whites, plus the light distressing to show off a beautiful patina. It’s made to look like a piece of time-worn furniture you could see on photos of old chateaus. It will add both beauty and extra storage to your room.

Layers of paint give real character to this hand made piece

Four different shades were used when painting this Jacobean Sideboard: grays, blues, whites, and aquas.

Silver metallic paint can make an old piece come to life

Lilyfield Life is the place to go if you want tips on using metallic paint on your hand-painted vintage furniture. For this piece, they used silver metallic paint.

A couple of words of wisdom from Lilyfield: “Use a tinted grey primer as an undercoat,  watch your brush strokes, and do not water down your paint”. More tips at Lilyfield Life.

How about a metallic vintage painted furniture makeover? So glam – but silver metallic paint and glamour seem to go hand in hand. People are justifiably a little nervous about using metallic paint but if you’re looking for inspiration – look no further.

This makeover shows you just how to transform a modern white nightstand into a glamorous statement piece that looks vintage. Learn more about how they did it – and how you can do it – over at JustTheWoods.com 

The transformation from vintage to custom metallic look is amazing

Wow – wait until you see what these pieces used to look like.  This is a fabulous hand-painted furniture project using metallic paint. The original set was just begging for a makeover. Check it out at Girl in the Garage.

A beautiful distressed credenza in metallic silver

Image source

Black handles are a real stand out on this piece of vintage painted furniture

We think this silver dresser is a masterpiece – see details on how it was painted here.

A beautiful cabinet painted battle ship grey

A very elegant display cabinet, one of our favorites (above). Read about the paints that were used to create this amazing look.

This decorative piece has the most charming feet

Here’s a Moroccan pewter idea (above) – see details.

Elegant legs and wood grain elevate this sideboard design

Above is another winner of the General Finishes contest – see details it here.

Metallic paint, highlighted in whites, bring this painted furniture to life

Image source

Silver, gold and crystal handles all work together in this decorative chest

Simply amazing paint work! From a plain boring chest of drawers into a ‘WOW’ piece of furniture in a few hours. You got to learn how it was done – see details.

Can't you just picture this awesome metallic painted piece in your hall?

Image source

Such beautiful lines on this metallic design

Also a painting context winner at General Finishes. “Depth and dimension are taken to new heights using gilding and glaze on this ornate cabinet.”

The silver Buddha head is a perfect item to sit on top of this metallic dresser

The above project is called ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ – see how it was painted here.

Chairs, a bench and a table - don't limit your paint ideas to side pieces

Image source

Red Painted Furniture

Red hand painted furniture can really pop in a room. And despite the boldness of the color – the style can be anything from Asian decor to rustic country. It can be French Provincial or it can be Bohemian – it’s partly in the shades and tones and partly in the style and hardware. You can change the whole look of something by changing the hardware! Just look at these stunning works below …

A very formal piece - painted red - is a show stopper

Image source.

This ornate design comes complete with tassels

This sideboard piece has an Asian feel in red

Image source.

It really changes the look of a vintage piece when you paint it red

Image source.

This shabby red sideboard is one of our favorite examples of vintage painted furniture

Image source.

We love the writing on this piece

A unique use of gold - it looks great on the red dresser

Image source.

Red paint goes a long way to updating this unusual antique piece

Image source.

This ornate painting style reminds us of the old tin ceiling tiles

Image source.

Yellow Painted Furniture

We couldn’t find many examples of yellow painted furniture but we did come up with a few. You can go shabby chic, you could go bold with a brilliant yellow or, like our bottom example, go a little more reserved and stately with a mustard hue. It’s time to bring yellow into the hand painted market!

There's something about this shabby yellow dresser that we love

What an amazing rustic look! See paint products used here.

Mustard tones give this custom design an elegant look

Once again, a charming and stately piece by Erika Szilvai.

Gold Leaf Accented Furniture

Golf leaf is in its own special category – and mainly used to add gold accents to another base color. Add it to black, white, grey – any number of base coats. Experiment on pieces you’ve already got or find some old relics at the thrift store (or even garage sales). Don’t be afraid to be bold – a swath of gold, applied in an abstract and artistic fashion, can really elevate your custom painted furniture.

Gold swaths give an artistic touch to these hand painted end tables

This beautiful piece is by Second Hand Studios.

Gold swaths on a rich blue give this federal piece a whole new look

This hand painted Sheraton-style console is also from Second Hand Studios. The artistic swath of gold is their signature! The peacock blue paint is from Annie Sloan (who else?) and it’s lavishly accented with gold leaf.

Another example of using gold paint over colors

This stunning vintage serpentine dark blue and gold sideboard with elegant legs is from Jess Eva Interiors. It was painted in Liberty Blue Fusion paint, which is a dark and deep blue, then black glazed and decorated with gold leaf and varnished for protection. The original door pulls have been restored using gold gilding wax.

We love the abstract look - it really creates a focal point

This gorgeous side table screams style. From Intermission on Etsy.

Gold on black is rich - and check out the interior - that's style

This stunning Bombe Chest with a unique drop-down desk was hand painted in ebony, and then accented with genuine gold leaf. Unique and charming barely begins to describe this custom piece.  From Second Chance Studios.

This copper painted furniture has a unique look

Learn how to create this stunning effect (shown above) using the Old World Rose Gold Tutorial at Tracey’s Fancy. She will guide you through:  basic painting, metal leaf application, detailing, glazing, highlighting with glaze, feathering, crosshatching and more!

Again, gold swaths decorate this antique furniture piece - check out the feet!

Brushed by Brandy is a gallery store in Sacramento, CA – owned and operated by Brandy Kollenborn, a true artisan with her hand painted furniture.

Gold on pink looks great!

The gold distressed dresser (above) is for sale at Second Chance Studios.

We like the gold swaths over blue paint the best

What a stunning piece with gold on blended blue

The making of this beautiful piece above is described here, step by step.

Shades of blue - with touches of gold

Image source.

Starting with a gradient blue, the swaths of gold are stunning

Image source.

Multi-Tone Painted Furniture Ideas

This is where you can totally let your imagination drive your design. Combine your favorite colors to make a work of art with your own hand and a paintbrush. You can go from French Provincial to Patriotic and from Bohemian to Modern Abstract. Which is your favorite?

Shabby chic in rainbow colors - one of our favorite pieces of custom painted furniture

This inspiring pieces uses bold color combinations - and it works!

Image source.

Feeling patriotic?

The amazing paint job and design (above). Source.

A southwest design painted on a white dresser just pops!

This Southwestern design above is one of a kind  – see the list of paints used at the source.

This decorative piece is an antique vanity.

Image source.

A more modern look!

Multi-color design plus the gold leaf detail. Source.

And the interior drawer walls are purple!

This dresser was painted in a decorative pattern

Love the Camouflage chest. Source.

White on black - or black on white? In any event - timeless

Blue, teal, white and gold make this hand painted design look like a work of art

While this beautiful piece, a Drexel buffet hand painted with blue, teal, white and gold, has been sold, there’s plenty more like her available from Etsy seller, KT Lyons. Who says, “There is just something about gold that I can’t resist. It can be subtle or grand … either way, it captures me.” It captures us too – when you use it like this!