painted furniture

Inspiration Monday: Black Is Back





I’m suddenly obsessed with black. It’s everywhere and I have some pieces waiting in the wings that I know would shine with

a coat of soft black paint. More furniture coming this week, including a teal dresser!



Technique: Primer

The next step in our refinishing process is often primer.

Primer is important for stain blocking, for smell (ew) blocking and to use less paint. If I use a primer it’s serious, dude.

I go for an oil-based stain-blocking primer. A lot of people have a favorite, and this is mine:

The only recommendation for a first-timer would be to use a mineral spirits to clean out all the brushes and rollers. Or just buy something cheap and disposable. And wear gloves. Not that, like, I’ve ever spent a week with ghostly white hands, or anything.


The Bohemian Writer’s Desk








This desk was a test of my patience. I tried. I painted her a fun, bright yellow.

But it wasn’t meant to be. She wanted to be moody, gray and distressed. The age of the piece can sometimes dominate any plans to bring it into another decade. It just wasn’t happening. She reminds me of 1870’s and 1970’s bohemian influences. I love the idea that she was used for creative uses her whole life, and now she needs a new place to be useful. And now that she has a new coat of paint (and stain) and snazzy new handles, she is ready for action.

And it turns out that the yellow paint wasn’t wasted, because when I distressed the desk, a bit peeks through, and coordinates so amazingly with the Anthropologie handles. Perfect!

42 in-W

20 in-D

30 in-H


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Technique: Prep

Here’s a little bit about how I do what I do……

Each and every piece of furniture needs a good cleaning. No matter how “clean” the home is it came from, furniture gets years and years of whatever on it, and it needs to come off for paint to adhere or stain to cure.

Ok then so….regular dawn soap and water work great, but to cut out a little bit of sanding I like to use TSP.


I really, really like using this product. It gets the grime off easily and takes off the glossy topcoat you’d otherwise have to sand through. Win-win.

Then, sanding. With furniture, the more sanding you do, the better the end result will be. This is the time consuming part; prep work. I can’t stress that enough. I cringe when I’m on Pinterest and I see blog posts for “No Sanding AT ALL” painted furniture tutorials. Sure, it may work, but what will the end result look like? (Don’t even get me started on tutorials for painting laminate furniture with no sanding, bah!)

Sanding isn’t just for removing old finish, but for smoothing out dings and cracks. Painting directly over them simply magnifies them. Yuck. So, sanding must and does happen with all my furniture pieces.


Another step to a seemless finish is filling those dings and holes too big to sand out. I recommend a wood filler, because it hardens nicely. This is what I use to fill drawer holes and anything else. Letting this stuff cure is important too, there really isn’t a way to skip or shorten prep work, there is no substitute for it. (Yes, even “chalk paint”)


Next week, I’ll talk about the kind of paints I prefer.

Thanks for reading!


Monday Inspiration

Mondays always seem to drag.  No matter what you are doing, the day seems a little dull. I thought I’d share some furniture and decor inspiration on Monday’s, to jumpstart my brain and remind me to blog 😉

Yesterday (Monday) was a Holiday, so I’m sharing this on Tuesday, but nobody has to know that, shhh.


There is always something super fun about taking traditional lines and adding a dose of the unexpected.

thanks for reading,

allie + ryan