There’s Always Something That Needs Painting!

I am super excited to have my mom as a guest poster! She is wonderful, and I’m a very lucky lady. She is a student of life, wearing many hats – as many women do. Never idle, she spends her spare time sewing, knitting, reading, writing, and painting. She is also a newbie blogger herself, at Living, Loving, Cooking. Let’s cheer her on so she’ll post more on her own blog!

I like to paint things.  I like to paint rooms, but I especially like to paint furniture.  Almost all our hard furniture is painted because I bought it at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets, and it needed a “makeover.” Sparky calls this activity “dragging stuff home from the junk shop,” but I call it “rescuing nice things that need some work to restore their usefulness.”  Over the years, he has learned to trust my vision.  Most of the time.

This painted, made-over furniture puts our house squarely in the decorating style that magazines devoted to categorizing decorating styles call “cottage style,” which means “a house in which most of the hard furniture is painted because it needed a makeover – said furniture was probably bought at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.”   “Better Homes and Gardens” often features rooms decorated in cottage style.  There is a magazine called “Cottage Style,” and I recently saw a magazine called “Flea Market Style.” These magazines feature pictures of rooms in which all the hard furniture appears to be painted.  Just like in my house.

I also like slipcovers, which also fall into that style of decorating, but that’s another story.

This preference for painted furniture is partially innate – one of my earliest memories is of my mom painting a little 3-drawer washstand gloss black – but it mostly stems from the fact that – except for mattresses, our sleigh bed, and one or two chests of drawers (which we bought unfinished), I’ve always had to buy furniture at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.  It’s an economic preference; I’ve never bought new, finished furniture because it’s just too expensive.  Luckily, I like to paint furniture!  A fresh coat of paint on furniture or walls makes the whole world seem brighter.  With a little effort and a very little expense, I can have brand-new things whenever the spirit moves me to change colors.

And therein lies the problem.  There’s always something that needs painting!  Of course, our house was a fixer-upper, and every room and all the trim needed paint; even the ceilings had to be freshened.  The process of painting each room brought me A LOT of happiness.  Covering up the dingy, circa-1970 paint with new, updated colors – mad fun!  And I thoroughly enjoyed finding some similarly-styled dining-room chairs and painting them all the same color (“Better Homes and Gardens” hint:  if they’re all the same color, each one can be different, but they still look like a set).  Things get dicey when I bring home another new-to-me old piece of furniture, like the dining-room chair I recently bought at a thrift store:  after I painted it, all the other chairs looked shabby.  Not shabby-chic, a look I admire on other people’s furniture, like Elaine, who has a set of beautiful shabby-chic chairs that look aged – no, patina’ed – by time and loving use.

To my eye, my furniture doesn’t acquire a patina, it looks old and chipped and in dire need of a new coat of paint.  So painting one chair led to painting all the chairs, which made me look at some other painted pieces with a critical eye – and the next thing I knew, I was rooting through my paint chips, trying to decide what color to paint the table in the sun room.  And a little 4-drawer chest I use as an end table in the sun room.  Brand-new things with a few brush strokes!

I ended up making an extensive list of projects, including new paint for the hallway and my bedroom and spray-paint for a patio table.  I’m psyched!  I’m ready to start!  And I may look at slipcover fabric this weekend.

About Robin:

I am Robin – wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher, but I don’t define myself by any of those roles, although I take pride in being a responsible adult since that’s what I’ve done best for two-thirds of my life.  I’m a seamstress, gardener, reader, painter, baker, writer, and student (in no particular order), all of which define me.  I have been a student for most of my life, finally making it through graduate school (in 1999) to a Masters in Creative Writing; my current course of study is Culinary Arts.  I can’t wait to be called Chef Robin.  I spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen at school following my Zen Master, Chef Alex, around, trying to tap into everything he knows.  He is patient with me, as are my husband (who will always be my sweet boyfriend) and 3 daughters.  There are many days when I listen to loud Neil Diamond in the truck and drive fast – at the same time – and some days I would keep driving if I could, without looking back.  But I’m a homebody, so I always end up back at home.

About Laine

Elaine GriffinElaine Griffin (a.k.a. Laine) is a freelance WordPress designer, content creator, and speaker. She brings her background as a sociologist, advocate, and educator, to her work and her writing, which has been featured on BlogHer and The SITS Girls. On The Laine List she spills her guts about life, motherhood, and balancing work and family. She also sprinkles in some fun recipe and cocktail posts. On Elaine Griffin Designs, she writes easy to follow tutorials about WordPress, social media, SEO, and blogging.
Working from her home office in Finger Lakes Region of NY, Elaine, a wine lover, also enjoys the beauty of living in wine country!

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  1. says

    What a great post! Elaine, your mom is awesome. I see myself in her…or, at least my former self. My husband used to come home from work, see the paint cans and wonder aloud, “What did you paint now?”. Mostly it was walls. Now that we’ve got a brand new master suite, EVERYTHING in the house needs to be painted. The floors need to be refinished. The furniture needs updating. Everything must be new(ish)! It’s funny that you posted this now, because while laying in bed this morning I was looking at my son’s old dresser, which became mine…but which will now live in my new closet. Even though it will be hidden away, I think it needs a new coat of paint. And…maybe some new knobs, with bling. And…some decorative accents for the drawers. Uh oh…here we go again! Great post, thank you for sharing, Robin!

  2. says

    I love painting furniture! (Walls not so much) My husband tends to hate anything painted… which makes decorating our home a long drawn out battle, lol. Welcome to the blogging world! <3

  3. Elizabeth says

    I just spent the morning priming my laundry room cabinets and laundry room so I can paint them. I am not a fan of painted furniture though. I prefer the wood look for the most part. Love painting walls!

  4. says

    Wish I could find a round table like the aqua one in the picture. Its just stunning! We have a rather small dinning room that just calls for a round table. I would love to paint it some fun color to match the decor of the home. No luck so far though so I’ll keep on my search.

  5. Elaine Plummer says

    Robin: I enjoyed your creative painting of furniture and, especially after seeing the photos, wish I could convince my husband to let me paint the oak guest room furniture. It sure would look better with a coat of white paint on it. Your post was a nice fresh and creative read.

    We are watching fireworks and he is sitting nearby. As soon as there is a lull in the action, I will share your photos and see what he thinks.


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