Stop! Are you choosing how to paint your furniture wrong?

Have you ever tried to cook a new meal without a recipe? Some people can, they have an instinct for it. Most of us can’t, as we usually have to learn though using recipes and trial and error. We need to gain knowledge about what flavors go together and if you should mix citrus and milk…yuck! I know this analogy has nothing to do with if you are choosing how to paint your furniture wrong.

Trust me you didn’t come to a food blog… hang in here with me. LOL!

I believe furniture refinishing is very similar to the example above.. There are many ways to learn the techniques especially now there are sites like YouTube, Facebook and blogs/Pinterest. But is learning the techniques and trying product lines enough?

What if I told you it wasn’t? Does this shock you? What else is there Grace?

Are you choosing how to paint your furniture wrong?

Imagine for a moment you want your home to look amazing, I mean who doesn’t right? When someone walks into the room they say… WOW! I love that! Imagine the way that would make you feel when your guest’s jaw drops when you tell them you refinished it. Take that in and feel it for a moment…

Maybe it was a yard sale find, maybe it was a flea market flip or a precious heirloom from your grandparents. No matter how you acquired a worn, aged and possibly broken piece, there is a way they can be transformed into modern life. 

So how do you transform it? Well, what if I told you not to start by refinishing? But actually you should begin with design elements. Classifying the design style of the room you are decorating or a room you have completed the décor in is a key. If you want a lovely piece of furniture to complement or be the showstopper in the space doesn’t matter if you don’t know what your desired style for the space is.

So yes, techniques and quality products are keys to creating an awesome piece of refinished furniture… Design is your first key… the one you need to start with. Would you buy a piece of furniture from the story that didn’t go with your desired design style? Then why take all the effort, blood, sweat and tears (just kidding it’s not that hard) and waste it just to paint something a color you didn’t like, have the wrong hardware or have a non coordinating technique applied because you followed a tutorial online that didn’t speak to your design style.

Why I do what I do…

My goal in my business is to help educate both furniture refinishers and DIYers how knowledge of design styles, old and current, are important to creating a piece you will like… no love… I mean LOVE in your space. Something that will make your guest’s jaw drop.

Okay, you get it… you say… so Grace… I love Farmhouse… that is everywhere and so many examples I can easily navigate it. True Farmhouse is everywhere and is honestly probably one of the longest running modern design trends thanks to HGTV. But did you know according to there are 7, yes SEVEN, types of Farmhouse style and many of them have an entirely different feel and design elements than others.

1. Scandinavian Farmhouse

2. French or Country Farmhouse

3. Rustic Farmhouse

4. Modern Farmhouse

5. Coastal Farmhouse

6. Colonial Farmhouse (image on right)

7. Industrial Farmhouse

I personally thought I would identify with the French or Country Farmhouse style but I am more of a Colonial babe. I love the rich black accents that anchor  the creamy white finishes, warm rustic woods and heavy early American textured textiles. Cozy, yes please! 

Okay, so now we know there is way more than just a generalized type of style. You are probably thinking what do we do now? Well, no matter what style you love you need to dig down deeper. Investigate and research things you love. 

Your Homework Challenge: Don’t paint your furniture wrong?

When you save an image on your phone, computer or Pinterest board… make a note. What is it in this picture you love? Collect about 10-15 of these. From this collection pick your top three favorites. From those three pick the one you have more stuff in your home that matches the image style. Maybe you have a mirror similar to the one in the photo, or your dining chairs are the same color.

That image… that is the one you want to use to solidify your style. Maybe there is a name for it, maybe not. It could be Eclectic or mid Century Modern… maybe even has a nod to Art Deco.

Are we stuck to just one style? Heck no you could have a blend of styles. This does complicate things a bit. We can get into Transitional styles at a later date. I personally love Modern French Country but due to my travels and collections of European trinkets and furniture I would say what makes me feel comfortable and cozy is what I call Euro Country Chic. 

Knowing what things make you feel the way you want in your home, those design elements are what you want to apply to your furniture. 

Let’s look at another example…

Say you love Rustic Farmhouse…

If you love old rustic woods you shouldn’t just paint a solid coat of paint all over the piece and call it good. You should apply the techniques that help create a distressed worn painted look. Your metal choices may be more of a black or oil rubbed bronze, if you like a splash of luxury it could be a polished brass. So you want the hardware on your piece to reflect that as well. You won’t want to put a high gloss on the wood top or paint either. You will need to choose a matte finish. See where I am going here?

Painting to see is slightly different. You are not painting for a specific space. However, knowing the current design trends, colors of the year and such are very helpful to help you sell. Even local design trends are super helpful. For me I live in San Antonio Texas. Whenever I get in a large set I need to move quickly… Rustic… Down right old west distressed rustic! I can almost paint it in any color because we have a very vibrant culture here… but it must be Rustic.

So now you know how interior design styles should influence your decisions when choosing how to refinish furniture. What next? 

Ways you can research design styles to help you not paint your furniture wrong:


The best way in my opinion is to utilize Pinterest. It is free, takes less time than traditional methods and you can find almost anything on there. But beware if you go down a side track you may wind up in a rabbit hole of makeup tutorials and gardening tips.

  • Create a board for each specific room in your home you want to work on. Collect pins of only things you would be overjoyed if your home looked like that. Once your board has about 10 pins or so… narrow them down. Make comments as to what you like in the photo or how it made you feel.
  • Search for more than just “farmhouse”. If you like old rustic woods try searching “rustic farmhouse” or maybe you like a bit of a formal feel… try “French farmhouse” to get real specific till the search engine is not showing up with any or only a few results. Narrow it down. Try words about how you want to feel also… like “Cozy farmhouse”.
  • Let’s talk about color… Farmhouses can have wonderful splashes of color as long as you keep your main white/creams and warm greys as your base. What colors do you love. Pin those also. They can simply be a bouquet of flowers on a night stand in a mostly grey and white bedroom. Maybe you want to go bolder with color in your powder room. Or maybe you want splashes of color with your favorite rug or art work.


Going old-school… I use Pinterest but there is nothing like diving into some magazines and pulling out your favorite images. I circle the items you love in that image and put them on a vision board in the room you are designing. In the past I have created a vision binder. I find the board to be super helpful as you can see it in your space and determine if that design style will make you feel loved, safe and cozy in your space. This option can get a little pricey unless you find a source to find them used or a bundle discount. I love Southern Living Magazine.

Design Articles Online:

These are gold mines because not only do they provide digital photos you can usually just pin but they give you descriptions, they talk about textures, colors and even lighting for your reference. Reading these will not only help you decide what to do to your furniture piece but it will help you decorate the room around it.

Design books:

Last but not least these are also a fantastic choice. They can be pricey but look stunning on a coffee or hall table, so use them as a design element too! More bang for your buck. I have several of these, bookmark the pages and reference them as I refinish my pieces. I look at the colors, textures, metals and wood tones. Choosing those before I begin. My favorite one is about designing a home you love by Joanna Gains, Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave

How You can get more from me…

I am very excited about my next project after my eBook is launched for beginning refinishers. I am going to be working on an eCourse on this very subject. 

Leave me a comment below letting me know what your current or desired design style is so I can make my first course relevant to you.

Help me decide what to do first! If you would love a comprehensive step by step eBook about how to benign refinishing furniture, please check mine out.

Now through August 1st 2021, it will be $10 off for a pre-launch sale. 

If you are new to refinishing furniture you got to grab this freebie that helps you prepare for your first project. It is chalk full of details and you probably have most of what you need around your home. If not 80% can be found at the Dollar Store! Not only is it chalk full of details in this NINE page FREE download about the tools there are Pro Tips also included along the way.

Computer and phone with the cover and insiders peek into the ebook 5 tools you need to begin refinishing furniture

I have a free gift for you so grab it while you are here.

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