Paint can give furniture new life - East Valley Tribune: At Home

Paint can give furniture new life

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Posted: Friday, August 3, 2007 2:21 pm | Updated: 7:46 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Q: I found an old dresser at a junk sale. It’s in good shape, but I want to paint it for my 4-year-old son’s bedroom. Have you any ideas for a kid-friendly design? What kind of paint should I use?

Q: I found an old dresser at a junk sale. It’s in good shape, but I want to paint it for my 4-year-old son’s bedroom. Have you any ideas for a kid-friendly design? What kind of paint should I use?

A: It’s always a brilliant move to recycle furniture, and this is a perfect time of year to shop the secondhand sales in the country and at urban yard sales. I have only two rules: Make sure the piece is not damaged in any way that you cannot fix — broken doors or drawers, cracks in the wood, warping — and have a place in mind for it to go when it’s refinished. You have thought of both of these points, so now for the fun part.

I was inspired by a box of brightly colored wooden building blocks when I painted this young child’s dresser. The design was marked off with tape, but if you have a steady hand, draw in the lines with a ruler and chalk, and then paint. (Pencil lines can show through paint.) It’s helpful to draw a sketch first and color it in so that you have a guide from which to work. For a professional finish, remove the doors and drawers, and paint them separately. An old dresser will have paint or varnish on it, so sand first and apply a high-adhesion primer. Use water-based (latex) or acrylic paint with a semigloss sheen for durability.

Q: The previous owners of our new home carpeted the family room in bold-blue Berber. The carpet is in excellent condition, so removing it is not an option. However, this strong shade of blue is not to our taste. How do we neutralize the color? What do you suggest for wall color over wainscoting? Thank you for considering this question.

A: It’s worth noting that the carpet will be partially covered by furnishings. I would see the positive in the blue, and instead of downplaying the carpet, paint the wainscoting in a fresh white to create a real Nantucket beachy feel. Add blue-and-white checkered fabrics in cushions and long, flowing white sheers at the window, and you will start to love that blue Berber. That’s my first choice. A different approach would be to paint the walls light ocher yellow. Add rust-red accents, and the blue will become a complementary background. Either scenario will make a welcoming family room.

Q: I’m updating the kitchen countertop, replacing cabinet hardware and painting the kitchen cabinets and walls. I really need your help with colors. Right now the adjoining room colors are: a sage-green foyer, deep-gold living and dining rooms, and deep-red, navy and gold/bronze in the lower-level family room. Could you provide me with some fresh ideas for paint colors on the cabinets and walls, and suggest a coordinating countertop material?

A: You have chosen a warm, traditional palette for your home. When you say fresh ideas, I wonder if you are thinking about something a little lighter for the kitchen. I’d start with the counter — what about wood for a new classic approach, or one of my favorites, dark slate? Choose off-white, antiqued cabinets, which will be stunning alongside the wood or deep-slate-gray counters. For the walls, paint them pale yellow or creamy white.

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