Love where you live. Sign up for our newsletter

To Paint or Not To Paint: A Confession

by on Oct 26, 2011

Some of my favorite before-and-after projects are furniture rescues.  I love to see a sad, outdated pieces go from trash to treasure with a good sanding and a coat of stain or paint.  Even though I’m all for sending a sideboard through rehab, there is one particular problem I encounter every so often with these transformations.  What is it, you ask?   Confession: I shudder at the prospect of painting a Mid-Century piece- even though I have done it myself. 

Perhaps it was my classes on the history of interiors and architecture, where I learned why mid-century modern was so unique and innovative.  Or maybe it is because the 50’s and 60’s had some awesome wood choices in their furniture pieces.  Whatever the reason, I usually have a little moment of mourning when I see someone take a piece that I find to be perfectly fine and make it something else… even if it is the beauty pictured above, from BirdHouse.  That fine example didn’t require too much lamenting, since I’m absolutely in love with the final product (those drawer pulls! I die!).

created at: 10/26/2011

I do feel better when I find out that the original was laminate or something like that, or if it is like my t.v.’s dresser that had so many gouges and phone numbers etched into the wood that it was unable to take a new coat of stain and be beautiful (I won’t go into the mysterious white powder we found in one of the drawers…).

The bold emerald green side table above from Find Your Whimsy was a tired-looking creamy shade beforehand, and though I love the new color she used, I wonder what its natural state would be like.

Are you like me?  Do you mourn the loss of the natural wood virtue of pieces of furniture, if only for a moment?  Or are you armed with a paint brush regardless of the table’s era?  Or maybe you don’t care unless it is a real gem, like a Knoll original? I’m curious to know!


  1. Anonymous

    I’m contemplating whether to paint or re-stain my mid-century modern dresser right now!
    Glad I stumbled on your article. It’s real wood with gorgeous natural contrast. It was a pain stripping off the old yellowed white paint so I’m sticking with either staining or using tung oil to let it shine. Thanks!