One of the biggest interior trends of the last few years is upcycling. Faced with an old pine chest of drawers from the 70’s or a black ash shelving unit from the 80’s, rather than buy new, more and more of us are now revamping our old furniture to reflect our taste.
Most furniture, if prepared properly, can be painted and protected. Add some new handles, or line drawers with some wallpaper, and you have a brand new piece that could’ve set you back hundreds if bought new.
A great example of some up-to-the-minute furniture that may inspire you to upcycle is the Old Boys Club collection from Oliver Bonas, a beautiful collection of wooden furniture with mix and match painted drawer fronts and shelves. Why not try creating something similar yourself with a junk shop find and a few tins of paint?
What paint can I use on furniture?
So once you have a project in mind, it’s a good idea to choose the best paint for the job. Some finishes are more hardwearing than others, or better suited to certain surfaces.
Here are our top finishes for furniture:
1. Acrylic Eggshell. Acrylic Eggshell paint gives a very soft and subtle sheen, much less than that of a satin paint, and is strong enough to protect wooden furniture and skirting boards from any knocks and scrapes that they may encounter on a daily basis. Our Authentic Period Colours are available in Acrylic Eggshell.
2. Chalky Emulsion. Chalk paints are now extremely popular for use on furniture. Matt paints tend to be less resistant to heavy wear, so if using a chalky or matt finish on furniture, you should protect the surface with a wax or varnish after painting. Our Dead Flat Acrylic Varnish is perfect for this. All of our Authentic Period Colours are available in Chalky Emulsion.
3. Metallic Paint. Metallic Paints are strong and versatile and look fantastic on ornate furniture such as dressing tables. Metallic paints were often used on furniture during the Rococo period – the swirling shapes of rococo chairs, tables and bed frames were often painted in golds and silvers.
The importance of preparation and finishing
Preparing your surface well before painting will ensure the best finish possible, allow the paint to adhere better to the surface and help the paint to stay where it should for as long as possible.
Top tips for preparation:
1. If the surface has previously been painted or varnished or has some existing scrapes on it, sand the surface lightly to smooth it down and remove enough of the previous finish to allow your new paint colour to adhere to the surface.
2. Think about using a primer. If you are painting over an old oil based paint with a modern waterbased one, or if you are painting over a new, unfinished surface such as new wood, it may be better to prime the surface first. Our Acrylic Primer undercoat can be used on most surfaces to prepare for waterbased paint.
3. It may sound obvious, but make sure that the surface is clean before you paint it! Dust or dirt can cause your paint to dry with little lumps in it, which is very frustrating when you have spent a lot of time on your project. Give the piece of furniture a thorough clean before you start.
So next time you look at an old piece of furniture with a critical eye, think twice about chucking It out, and consider giving it a new lease of life with your very own upcycle!