What is too much in painted furniture?

OakleySeptember 11, 2012

I have a large LR which has two seating areas, divided by the sofa. Dark hickory floors.

The wood furniture pieces in there is a combo of dark wood (sorry, I'm not good at stain colors), one maple desk, and two old oak pieces with a dark stain. The front door is mahogany which actually matches some of the tables.

The coffee table is a creamy white with a maple top. It's a large piece.

White molding and beadboard in room.

I have two inexpensive tables I bought on a whim just to fill in the spaces, and I've decided to paint them. White is the best color since I'm trying to lighten up the LR.

Oh, creamy white plantation shutters. With all the white in there the room is still a bit dark because of the flooring & tables blending in with the floors.

Since I have a white coffee table, would it be too much to paint the two pieces white? Actually a creamy white.

Neither table will be close to each other. One in back of the room, one in the entryway.

I have no other painted pieces except the coffee table. Would three white's be too much?

Anyone else with more than one piece of painted furniture among dark wood?

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wifisker

No joke... RIGHT before I logged in to GW I was asking myself "How much painted furniture is too much?" I'll be watching this closely to see what others tell you! :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Olychick

Hard to say without seeing your rooms, but if you are concerned, is there an accent color in your home you could paint one of them and have a little bright spot where you use it?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:53AM
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palimpsest

I don't think there is a "correct" answer to this question, but I take certain things into consideration.

All the furniture in a room can be painted particularly if it is a matched suite of furniture like you would use in a dining room or bedroom.

If a piece was added to this I would not do a different painted piece--I would ad a single stained piece, if anything.

If the furniture is mostly stained, I think individual painted pieces can be added but how they are painted, I think, depends upon what they are. I would probably paint similar tables in the same finish. I would definitely paint matched pairs of tables or chairs the same finish.

If the pieces are completely different, say a table and a chest or a commode, they can be painted differently make sure the difference was distinct as well.

All painted, all different and colorful is a casual look that is cottagy or Southwestern/Tex-Mex in my mind. This can look great on a series of chairs with a stained table.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Oakley

Pal, I have a dark stained console table on the small side. Then there's a smallish dark stained demilune.

My accent colors are the jewel tones w/ some light turquoise. Deep red, cream, brass, black, a bit of dark green. The room is more on the rustic side because of the FP and beamed ceiling. So you can imagine how dark the room is even in the daytime w/the dark floor & because we have plantation shutters.

I thought about doing a piece in antique red, and the other a creamy white. Is it okay to have a mixture of painted furniture? That would give me two whites and one red, but none of them would be close together in the room.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Oakley

I spray painted the smallest table, a bit too white but that's okay. I'll find a little nook for it. This was so easy I think I'll do the console in spray paint also, but a different color.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:22PM
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mellyc123

Can you share more pics?
I am thinking of having 2 pieces in different colors in the same room and not sure if it will work.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:36AM
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kswl2

If you are going white the color should be no brighter than your trim color, otherwise it looks like a nursery piece you brought in for temporary use. Can you go over it with a light chocolate glaze?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:56AM
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lynn_r_ct

Interesting thread, would love to see more pics. My3dogs is one of the queens of mix and matching so I don't know if she has any painted pieces to post but if so, would love to see them. Otherwise, just bump...

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 2:35AM
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loribee

I think white is fine but wouldn't it be fun to add a totally different color? Why not try light turquoise?? :)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 4:37AM
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arcy_gw

Again I feel compelled to remind us of "Sarah's rule". You need a minimum of two hits of the same finish in a room to keep it from looking like a garage sale special. To follow this suggestion you need to paint your two pieces with the same finish. Two different pieces can be unified this way. Given that and the suggestions here to use a paler white than your trim and do the two pieces with the same paint, you should be fine. I agree seeing is believing and w/o more reference pictures it is tough to visualize all your possible issues.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 7:05AM
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powermuffin

I think Sarah's rule is fine but one strong accent piece like a red hutch, can really add life to a room. If the room is large, you have both more options and a harder time pulling together a finished look.
Diane

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Oakley

Arcy, is beadboard included in the two hits of the same color? The whole room has white beadboard along with white plantation shutters. More on the cream side though.

I temporarily put the table in the entryway against beadboard. One of the door sidelights lets indirect light in, and the table seems to be a good match. It's too small for that area but I noticed it looks good close to a window.

I'm trying to lighten up my room because of the dark floor and a lot of wood furniture.

One of the reasons I painted it white instead of another color is because I noticed white accessories really stand out in a good way in my room.

I'd take a picture but that means I'd have to clean the room. :) I'll check this weekend to see if I kept any of my pictures I had on file.

While we're at it, I've been talking to some about GW opening an accessories forum. If anyone is reading this, what do you think?

I didn't want to do another topic so I'm just throwing the idea out there.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 5:04PM
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funkyart

I think too much white/cream can emphasize the darkness of a room.. also what looks great in a small accessory can look misplaced in furniture. I fell into the same trap with a very dark room. If what you want is to "brighten" the room, then I would experiment with some other colors. Without a photo of the room, I can't suggest others.. but you did mention red and turquoise. Do you have a quilt or throw you could toss over a table to just "test the color"?

I like mixed woods and mixed colors(within a reasonable range). I find a room with a mix of colors, textures and grains creates a cozy style that feels like it has been lovingly collected and nurtured over the years.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:09PM
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mary_ruth

My OPINION:
I think only 1 painted piece looks too much like the 'newcomer' to the group, and not fitting in yet especially if done in bright white (and no other white is featured in the space).

2 pieces (like someone mentioned Sarah's rule) is good, but may be only visible by looking in one or two directions.

3 pieces painted (3 light, or 3 dark, or 3 white, or even 3 of different colors all coordinating) looks more balanced such as when doing floral arrangements and working in odd numbers such as 3, 5, 7, 9, etc.

Bright white is not attractive unless all your trim and other woodwork is bright white also.

Knock down the brightness of the white so it is softer by using an off white, creamier white.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 9:13PM
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janroze

I have only one piece of painted furniture in the living room, what I call a gramma green chest, but I often use table clothes to change colors or brighten the space with white

What might you do without painting? We rented a winter place and I couldn't stand the dark depressing feeling in spite of white walls, carpet and off white, with modern geometric designed coffee and end tables. I thought of a rule I had read, " use a third painted furniture pieces. Of course, I could not paint.

My solution was to get rid of everything dark and black, such as the black, dark teal and forest green pillows and dining tablecloth and dishes.

That left the dark elephant in the room - the floor to ceiling dark red brick fireplace. I put a huge patterned tray of mostly off white on the mantel beside only two of her multitude of black wrought iron candle sticks and put white cylinder candles on them. and a bouquet of live flowers in front of the fire box and a green plant on one end of the hearth with lights and a large fancy aqua pot on the other.

Light and color was still lacking. Moving two collections of colorful jars, candlesticks and votive holders to opposite ends of the pony wall with a plant reflected lots of light and color and they shown beautifully when not against a wall.

Still, I needed more light, so I put the tiebacks nearer the top of the curtains. WOW, what a great difference, that brought in more light and nature and made the sliders seem taller and the patio more inviting.

So I say forget all the rules, just use what you have that works and you like and purge or hide what you don't. Use light covers for some of those dark tables and beautiful light rugs on those floors, add reflective material to the center of the room. Add and subtract until you get the look that appeals to you. Best of luck and trust your own instincts. You know what you like and that is all that counts in your own home.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:49AM
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lynn_r_ct

oops

This post was edited by lynn_r_ct on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 19:31

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:13PM
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lynn_r_ct

Bump - hopefully more pics with examples of multiple painted pieces in a single room. Thx.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:14PM
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lucillle

Great thread. I'm fixing to paint some furniture in order to lighten up and make the living/dining room more colorful. I have a nice oak table with benches, and a couple of side tables that are going to get painted.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 4:48AM
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Oakley

I forgot about this topic and I'm glad you bumped it, lynn!

The table is still in the entryway but it has a large ivy on it which hides a lot of the white.

I still want an accessories forum. :)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 6:42AM
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lucillle

"So I say forget all the rules, just use what you have that works and you like and purge or hide what you don't. Use light covers for some of those dark tables and beautiful light rugs on those floors, add reflective material to the center of the room. Add and subtract until you get the look that appeals to you. Best of luck and trust your own instincts. You know what you like and that is all that counts in your own home."

Gramma Jan I think this is great advice. I just did a search for 'painted furniture' and what comes up? A thread about what people hate and of course that included painted furniture :(
Then I reread this thread and your comment, and am going ahead with my dining room painted table project:)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 5:27PM
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yayagal

I'd paint both pieces a muted turquoise and not bright at all. It's amazing how that color can lighten up a room. You could do a turquoise wash on the white table and then, when it's dry, knock it back with a very thin thin glaze of brown stain. You get the color and a soft glaze that compliments your browns.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:43PM
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