Painting and Slipcovering Furniture for an Updated Look

I love  the look of painted furniture and several years ago
I finally got around to painting four of our six French style
dining room chairs plus our coffee table a lovely soft white.
I’m thinking of working soon on refinishing a little black cabinet
here soon so…
Today I thought we’d talk a little about redoing furniture
to give a tired piece of furniture a brand new look!

In the background, you can see one of the unpainted stained caned chairs to the right of our little china cabinet with flowers in a French style tin.  The other I kept up in our bedroom next to my French style Drexel desk.  🙂
Painting furniture  is pretty easy to do with the right tools
and really all it takes is some sandpaper, a paint brush, your favorite can of paint and a little elbow grease!
I know I’ve shared about repainting furniture here before but
each time I talk about it it’s from a little bit of
a different angle.

Here you can see lots of bits of sanded wood along the chair’s seat top ~ I really enjoy sanding
as it’s something really relaxing to do!

Here’s what you do

Grab some 60-100 grit sandpaper and using a small palm sander or a sanding block sand down all the areas to be painted on your furniture piece ~ this removes the previous wax, varnish or polyurethane finish and will work down through to and remove
the stain, too.
Be gentle when working around any carved detailing as it’s
really easy to smooth it off.
{Ask me how I know this… ;)}

The nice thing about using just sandpaper and NOT using a
chemical remover to take off existing varnish is that there is nothing that has to be thrown away at a special waste site as
may have to be done with some removers.

Afterwards wipe your chair with a clean damp rag to
remove all the sanding dust.
Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper a second time if
you want your piece to feel really smooth once it’s finished.

Perfect paint

Most woodworkers paint “with the grain” but sometimes this is
hard to do around carved details so be forgiving with yourself
if around details your paint looks a bit swirly.
A nice wax finish after your paint dries gently rubbed into and around these carved details will buff out any of this
“ugly part” that happens while painting plus really make these details really pop.
On these chairs I painted two light coats of paint and lightly sanded with 220 grit sandpaper in between the two coats of paint.
After the second coat dried I sanded back to reveal a little
of the original wood and leftover stain giving them a
Shabby Chic look then finished them with a clear wax finish.

Recently I was reading how Cindy of Edith and Evelyn Vintage
added several layers to create a beautifully painted
pink French table.
She used several layers of different chalk paints then sanded back
between coats and lastly waxed this sweet table to give it its museum quality look.
Check out the link above to see more of her lovely pink table and how she created this look plus to visit her lovely website.

The top of the table was going back to its original 1980’s look… Definitely an ugly phase for this poor table!  Love the way
the legs turned out but eventually that washed off, too.  🙁
For the  coffee table I used a wash of white paint with the paint cut down 1/3 with water.
After sanding off the original poly finish and sanding back to the light pine stain the table had that 1990’s white in the grain look
I was trying to achieve.
Above is the first incarnation of this table before I worked
on it a second time.
I made the mistake of NOT waxing it with a clear coat so when
I’d go and clean it the paint would wash off ~ hence why it’s
important to add some kind of wax or polyurethane to seal in
the color and look you’ve created.

Same table with more white repainted on it and lightly sanded over the detailing. 

This coffee table has had three lives so far and I don’t see why

it can’t have another once it gets here to Texas!
I love its size and it’s perfect for putting your feet on and for
serving and with some TLC and a new paint job
it’ll be loved again.

Making slipcovers  for your furniture has the wonderful benefit of creating a totally different look while not changing the actual furniture’s underlying design and fabric.
Slipcovers are great in that they can easily be whipped off
when in need of washing, they update furniture without making
permanent changes which sometimes we are torn about doing
when using paint or recovering a piece, and they can be
created in any number of ways to suit one’s taste.

Last year I shared How to Make a Slipcover in three parts
 here, here and the reveal here.  Slipcovers can be very trendy
and help to update our homes to whatever style
we currently like.

One of two sofa slipcovers made to give our living room a totally different look.  Here’s a better look at the refinished coffee table with its second paint job.

Ruffles and pleats change the entire look of a slipcover such as in these sofa slipcovers I made several years ago out of drop cloths.
Here below you can see the original settee opposite and how both
sofas were covered in floral fabrics.

Adding or not adding piping around the slipcover’s edges
adds another layer to the look.

Here I’ve done both:
The slipcover on the couch has piping trim added to the back of the sofa upper seat {not seen but on its backside} as well as piping along the seat bottom and arms for added
definition and durability.

On the seat covers I did not add piping as I thought it would clash
with the piping already on the underneath fabric, just visible along
the front of the seat edges.

Sorry for the dark photo!  I was just learning how to use our Canon camera when I took this photograph.

On trend

On the  easy chair above I used piping along the chair’s matelasse back pillow edging like the original cover had.
Piping creates a really clean and contemporary look that works
well with all furniture styles making a piece always look
up-to-date and fashionable.

Piping also has the added benefit of stabilizing fabric seams making
a chair’s seams really durable ~ good on furniture which get
a lot of use.

If you’d like to put piping on your next recovering or pillow project read how to make piping or welting here.

Next time  you look to paint or recover a former favorite chair remember these paint and slipcovering tips. Redoing a piece of furniture to suit your current tastes and how your home looks now is a fun to-do project and really makes that once tired piece of furniture a favorite once again.

Recycling at its finest ~ always a good thing.

Sharing with
Snickerdoodle Create Make Bake ~ Shoppe No. 5
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create with Joy
Style Showcase ~ Shabbyfufu
Totally Terrific Tuesday ~ Savvy Apron
Inspire Me Tuesday ~ A Stroll Thru Life
Waste Not Wednesday ~ Fairies and Fauna
Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Keep In Touch ~ Let’s Add Sprinkles
Talk of the Town ~ My Repurposed Life
*Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Courtney’s beautiful book is out this week!
Stop by to check it out then order yours.
Sew It Cook It Craft It ~ Sew Historically
Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Saturday Sparks ~ Pieced Pastimes
Edge of the Week ~ Shelby on the Edge

This post was featured at
Keep In Touch #33 ~ Let’s Add Sprinkles!!!
Thank you, Katie! 

Happy decorating,


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