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Monday, October 10, 2011

Ugly Furniture Turned Lovely

I can’t get enough of painting ugly furniture (please note I mean "ugly" in an endearing sort of way). 
Remember this ugly desk I found at a garage sale?
If you’re into vintage retro, this is the desk for you.
A client of mine fell in love with it.  She asked if I’d paint it black and leave the wood paneling natural. 
After staining the wood paneling, I used a varnish to seal it in.  Isn't it amazing.  
I found this highboy dresser at Goodwill. 
The same client who purchased the ugly retro turned beautiful desk asked if I’d paint it purple for her daughter's room.
Her daughter loved it and I loved painting it.
I found a cute (I mean ugly )little night stand/end table and painted it to match.
Remember my ugly credenza,
with the gold-pillowed drawers
and the ugly fixtures.
It turned out beautiful and is ugly no more.
When it sold, I was sad to see it go.  I really bonded with this credenza and the color turquoise
So, I decided to paint a piece of ugly furniture to keep myself.
About a year ago, I found this ugly 1950's buffet cabinet at an estate sale.  I love the design.
I have no pantry in my home, so this thing has worked out great.  It has tons of storage.
For months, I've had it in my kitchen, but it's been ugly because I wasn’t sure how to paint it.
You see, it had this ugly laminate glued to the top of it.  
Once Kelly and I peeled the top of it away, it left behind about an inch of backing and glue.
No more procrastinating.  
The ugly pieces I've worked on lately have given me a lot of confidence.  
I rolled up my sleeves and figured I’d just figure it out as I went.
I sand it for about 1/2 and hour before I realize the laminate backing is not going to come off without a fight.
I apply some wood putty over the top of the laminate backing to seal it, then sand it down smooth.
My catering neighbor taught me a secret to painting.  Use a similar color of spray paint as the base coat, or at least in the corners of the piece.  
This gives dimension and depth in the color when I'm finished, plus a head start in my painting.  I find spray painting is  a much quicker process then hand painting.
Here she is before she gets her make up; a good sanding and some ebony stain.
I’ve always loved turquoise.  I love red coral with blue turquoise. Here in the Southwest, I see lots of jewelry contrasting these two bold colors.
Suddenly I feel inspired.  Once I finished my buffet, I had to paint my wall red.  
Just a small project (NOT!, but it was a lot of fun) that made a huge difference.
(Disclaimer:  My kitchen is rarely this clean, if ever.  It is quite possible that this now beautiful piece of furniture will not stay displayed like this.  By tomorrow, it will be covered with homework, laundry and random items that don't belong there.)


  1. Wow, they all look great! I think the desk is my favorite. I would never have thought to do that, but it looks awesome. ~Marily

  2. Fun, Laura! These colors are great. I don't know how you do all that you do.

    A fan,

  3. You ar so talented! I love seeing the end results of your projects!

  4. Oh gosh....that turned out beautiful!!! I love it.

  5. I really like the jewelry comparison to the furniture and backdrop. Perfect combination! You did a great job Laura!

  6. This is great, but half this furniture made me want to throw up. I am happy to say that furniture is not always that way. Near Arnold, MD, you can find better quality stuff for a lot less expensive. Thanks for sharing this information. I really appreciate it.