Bring an old, discarded piece of furniture back to life! Shabby and discarded antique or vintage furniture can be brought back to life with a simple can of paint.
For cottage décor, antique and vintage furniture pieces — damaged and discarded — are a treasure trove for achieving a charming and quaint setting. Painted furniture is especially appealing for the cottage theme, where old nondescript furniture can be gathered together and painted to suit any color scheme one pleases. Here the color effects made possible by paints are especially appropriate, their simplicity peculiarly desirable. On a limited budget, nothing can so give life to a room as painted furniture. The decorative value of painted furniture lies in the fact that it adapts itself to any color scheme and can be repainted when the scheme is changed.
The recycled furniture can be painted in one of the dominant colors of the room and decorated in one of the secondary. Thus, if we want a bedroom decorated in greens and white, then the furniture could be white striped with a shade of green. Other choices could be solid white or green with decorative hardware such as drawer pulls or knobs in a floral pattern. The choice of the right color is the secret of success with painted furniture. Having already decided on the bedding and curtains, take a sample of the fabric to the paint store and see that the paint color chosen harmonizes correctly.
Don’t forget to also search for old discarded picture frames — antique and vintage frames come in unusual shapes and sizes, many with carved features. A quick coat of paint will bring the frame back to life and add a new accent color to the room.
The Choice of Backgrounds
One must be careful in the choice of background colors in a room where painted furniture is used. The background color should be unobtrusive and neutral, permitting the furniture to give its full color value. If the walls and the furniture “clash,” the room is immediately made chaotic. If the color and design of the wall are more prominent than the furniture, then the furniture loses by comparison. Therefore, it is always a safe rule in using painted furniture to let the color be found in the furniture and the bedding and keep the wall, as it should be, a background.
An understanding of the types of discarded antique or vintage pieces to be painted is necessary before we can properly use them. Don’t be concerned if the pieces are distressed and show wear, this only adds charm to the overall appeal of the room. Often a simple coat of white paint and a stack of multicolored pillows are all that is needed to bring a discarded piece back to life.
There are three general types of vintage or antique furniture that works best for cottage style decorating — first, the simple primitive or farmhouse variety that fits well on the porch or breakfast room with a cottage theme, where strong natural color is possible. Next, you will find that simple smooth-line vintage pieces such as chest of drawers can be painted for use in bedrooms; and then the more formal carved types of period furniture can be used as an accent piece in living or dining rooms.
In the Nursery
Nothing is more fun in a nursery or child’s room than painted furniture. The odd discarded piece painted in whimsical colors is an inexpensive way to add charm to the room. Moreover, the furniture can also be easily repainted when the theme of the room has changed. The color choice and decorations can be taken from the bedding or represent some Mother Goose storybook figure and be hand-painted or stenciled on. If one wishes, the decorations can be laid on by decal and afterward shellacked. Innumerable vintage or nursery theme designs can be found in stores and online at reasonable prices. Novelty children’s cabinet hardware, including animal and nursery rhyme character knobs and drawer pulls, will make a newly painted bureau or cabinet stand out as the centerpiece of a room.
This whimsical chest of drawers features flower-shaped knobs on multi-colored painted drawer fronts. Decals of vintage Alice in Wonderland characters add to the magic of the child’s furniture piece. Alternately, as the child grows, the drawer fronts can be repainted and the cabinet knobs replaced to quickly, and inexpensively, create a new decorating theme and color scheme.
On the Porch
Used on the porch, painted furniture partakes somewhat of the atmosphere of outdoors, and it can therefore be painted in strong colors — bright reds, blues, yellows and greens, such as Nature herself uses. Here again a definite color scheme should be followed.
Old vintage wicker or rattan pieces, painted in bright colors can showcase dazzling floral pillows and cushions that can only add to the charm of cottage decorating.
Large cushions in vivid colors can be added to a room with painted furniture to achieve the cottage decor look. With white painted furniture, the pillows can be alternated with other color cushions when the seasons change to achieve a different theme as the year progresses.