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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

When to Paint And When To Strip - a flipping debate

If you don't know by now, I love to find old furniture and make it my own by either stripping it down to the original wood or painting it a fabulous color. But have you ever wondered how I decide which one to do? Let's get to the flipping answer, lol!

mustard yellow side table, end table, night stand

farrow and ball pigeon, bench makeover, family room

| lamp | throw |

I take a lot of things into consideration when making my decisions, but let me preface all of that with this: It is YOUR home! Do what makes YOU happy! My logic is not the end-all-be-all answer to life's questions. :-)

Is it wood?

One of the most important questions I have to answer before deciding to strip or paint is what material I'm working with. You may have seen my dining table saga where I REALLY wanted a weathered wood, French farmhouse inspired dining table and I was on the hunt for the perfect Facebook Marketplace score! When I started to sand my table I discovered it was actually veneer and not real wood, so all sanding would do was expose the MDF hiding underneath. That "cherry wood" table would have looked stunning painted a flat black or weathered gray, but it wasn't what I was looking for. If you find yourself with a veneered piece of furniture, your best bet it to paint it.

I have painted lots of furniture with a veneer top layer and the most important step you should NOT skip is to prime it! PPG Gripper and Kilz Primer are both excellent options for a flawless finish. If you have a smaller pieces of furniture like my grandmother's sewing cabinet, spray paint with primer can also be a great option!

black sewing cabinet with loloi allice rug

Where is it going?

blue armoire, lego storage, black cube storage, toy storage, moire blue dots peel and stick wallpaper tempaper

| rug | acrylic bins | black bins | shelving unit | basket |

antique armoire used a game toy art storage play room

If you've scored an awesome piece of furniture on the cheap, make sure you know where it's going before choosing whether to strip or paint. We inherited an antique armoire from my husband's great aunt, which we converted into an awesome storage piece for our son's playroom. The original wood color was beautiful and would have looked gorgeous stripped down to the raw wood, but I wanted to bring this antique into the modern age. By painting it a gorgeous blue gray, this pretty lady pops in our playroom and helps the space feel whimsical rather than granny chic.

UPDATE! The armoire now has a new home in my office!

What is its value?

dining room, antique vintage decor, gold antique wall candelabra, farmhouse french turned leg dining table, bejamin moore nocturnal gray, black Windsor chairs

I strongly believe that first and foremost, you should do whatever brings you joy, but if you're working with a highly valuable or family heirloom piece of furniture, think twice before painting. Altering furniture can diminish the value if you ever plan to sell it down the road. Or you might have inherited a piece that family members would feel strongly about if you painted it. My parents have always insisted that once I have a piece of family furniture in my possession, I can do with it as a choose. But I always ask before making any changes out of respect for our family.

lolois alice rug and farrow and ball dead salmon

home office, farrow and ball dead salmon, farmhouse table desk with wood top and black turned antique table legs

When I changed out the legs on my now office desk, I made sure to check in with my mother in law first to make sure she was okay with me disassembling the table her father had commissioned for their family. She, like my parents, was completely fine with it, but it always makes me feel better asking.

refinished antique bench coffee table in playroom, raw wood edge

On the flip side (pun intended!) years ago, I painted a bench that came from my grandparents' basement rather than stripping off all of the polyurethane because it was the "easy option." About 6 months ago, I learned how special the wood top of this bench was to my family and immediately decided to strip off, not only that thick coat of poly, but alllll of the layers of paint I had applied over the years. That was not a fun project but 100% worth it to know I was honoring such a special piece of my family history.

playroom, moire blue dots tempaper wallpaper, blue antique armoire, charcoal sofa, lego storage

Have you flipped furniture before? How do you decide whether to strip of paint? I'd love to know, so leave a message in the comments!

xoxo, L

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dining room with farmhouse wood table, black cane dining chairs, vintage area rug, antique wall candelabra

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1 Comment

Jan 13

In my world, no piece of furniture is sacred. Other than a very few highly valuable/historically significant/museum quality items, if I don't love it, it gets updated to my taste or it goes.

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