anyone ever paint their brown wood furniture white / cream?

eldemilaMarch 29, 2007

I'm changing my daughters decor to make her bedroom shabby / cottage chic. The first piece I bought was the headboard and footboard, which happens to be Ethan Allen (anyone who's like my friend, please, don't scold me for wanting to paint EA furniture, I've been given the look of the devil with the mere mentioning of doing this) The second, well, lo and behold, it's antoher darn piece of EA.

Mind you, I don't particularly care for EA furniture, I bought some a few years ago and hated it, but these are older pieces and it just so happened they were EA.

Now, my friend says I can mix white with the brown to get it to go together, BUT, if I decide to paint these a cream color, just trying to find someone else who may have gone this route and can give me some insight on what they recommend, what they wish they'd done differently, how they turned out, etc.

Also, the drawer pulls - UGH! They're so ugly! Any ideas if these can be painted, or a place that has good replacements beyond Ebay?

Thanks all!

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J. Chasens Design

I paint furniture quite a bit. In fact my daughter has a piece in her room that I painted and 'distressed' about 8 years ago and it still looks great. If you are looking for technique/steps/product types, let me know and I can fill you in on all of that.

As for painting EA, don't worry. It is not like it is an antique, and it is good to know that you will be putting your time and effort into well-built pieces. Otherwise it might not be worth it. And really, when is a young girl ever going to want brown funiture in her room? Unless it is light, probably never. Paint it and let it be cute!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 2:01AM
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I would love to see some pictures of your furniture painted - or anyone elses who'd like to share - I have a hard time visualizing in my head, my imagination is nil.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:56PM
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You're not the only one I bought some brown wood furniture 5 yrs ago and now want to go with a cream or pale yellow or celery green color and I've been afraid to get started because some of my friends, like yours ,look at me like I've got 2 heads. Do I need to remove the varnish or whatever is on the wood and then sandpaper? Or can I just paint primer on orginal wood and then paint? I would also like to see some pictures of your finished product.
Thanks Jellybean

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 6:22PM
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Check out the pictures of this eBay auction. The seller posted pictures of her Ethan Allen piece before and after she painted it. Maybe you could email her and ask how exactly how she painted the piece.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ethan Allen Painted Furniture

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 4:08AM
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I do work for a number of furniture stores. One of them was discontinuing one of their suppliers and had a bit of inventory left and a lot of it needed to be changed to a different color. I painted white into yellow, walnut natural into black, and walnut natural into antique white a number of times to get sets of pieces in different finishes than what was left in inventory. So yeah, I've done it. Probably 30 pieces for this one customer alone in the last 18 months. Many of these also had a contrasting glaze and clear coat.

Since the existing finish in all cases was lacquer, I sprayed on more lacquer so it would chemically bond with what was there. While you may not be able to do this, you should check with a refinishing shop and see if they might do it for you. I think you will get a finish superior to a brush on finish.

If you are going to do it yourself, first see if Pledge has ever been used on the pieces. If so, stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 -- you will have severe finishing problems.

Otherwise thoroughly clean the pieces, apply a good primer and an oil-based paint. Do not use latex paint. It is way too soft and will will block (stick to itself and other stuff).

Here is a link that might be useful: Drawer pulls supplier

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:07PM
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Recently I bought (after measuring very carefully to make sure they were not too tall!) floor to ceiling dark brown, stained and lacquered bookcases from a store that was going out of business and selling (or basically giving away) their display cases. I filled in a few screwholes with plastic wood, lightly sanded a few rough areas, painted the cases inside and out with a good-quality white primer (this is the essential step!), sanded away any drip marks, and then finished with two coats of the same paint my daughter and son-in-law had used to paint the woodwork in the house they had recently bought. I had a handyman bolt them to the walls on either side of the living room fireplace and then add trim around the top which matches the rest of that in the room. The bookcases look completely built in. They were excellent quality pieces with crown moldings and striated rails---they look wonderful!! No one would ever guess in their previous life they were old brown dismanteled display cases from a store that had gone out of business! Paint will do wonders. As for the pulls, don't dream of trying to paint them-- take one of the old ones to Home Depot or a local hardware store. They will help you buy new ones which will fit the existing holes (never try to drill new holes--that leads to real problems which a coat of paint can't fix!!) Good luck with your daughter's room--I know it will be beautiful and she will appreciate your hard work as my daughter and her husband did.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 1:35AM
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Most of the Shabby Chic furniture that I see has the knobs and pulls painted the same as the furniture. I looked at the Ethan Allen piece above and would have preferred it if they had left the existing pulls and painted right over them. The ones she chose didn't seem to go with the style of the chest..

We have a little vacation house with an old dining room set that I plan on painting an antique white/yellow next time I spend some time at this house. I post mainly on the Kitchen Forum and have a new kitchen with cabinets painted the same color. (I didn't do them...)

I have seen some nice pieces painted and I think the old Ethan Allen style lends itself to the Shabby Chic look.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:54PM
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