16 Clever Painted Wood Furniture Ideas for a Style Boost

salmon pink dresser detailed drawers gold accents mirror
Photo: Carson Downing

Paint can work wonders for old or bland furniture. A fresh color or painted design can completely revamp a plain table, dresser, desk, and more. Try these clever painted wood furniture and fabric ideas to create your custom pieces.

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Painted Cabinet

cornflower blue painted chest of drawers artwork chair
Carson Downing

When painting furniture with many intricate details, like this mid-century cabinet, reach for a paint sprayer instead of a brush to achieve a drip-free finish. Thin, even coats of blue paint help play up the paneled door design. A new cement tile top adds a punch of pattern.

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Vintage-Look Painted Wood Furniture

shabby chic whitewashed dresser brick ornate gold mirror
Nicolas Gourguechon

Applying a brown glaze on newly painted wood furniture can mimic an antique look. This technique works best on pieces with architectural details such as columns, scrollwork, and grooved designs the glaze can catch and emphasize.

After painting your piece, brush a brown stain or glaze onto the surface using a horsehair brush, then wipe off using a lint-free cotton cloth ($7, Lowe's). Use a soft dry brush to feather in the coloring and spray with a clear, low-sheen lacquer ($48 for two, Amazon) to finish.

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Painted Dresser Makeover

salmon pink dresser detailed drawers gold accents mirror
Carson Downing

Add new dimension to an old dresser with square wood dowels and a fresh paint color. After cutting the pieces to size and sanding the edges, use a pin nailer to attach the dowels at evenly spaced intervals to the drawer fronts. Coral paint highlights the grooved design. When painting wood furniture, clean, sand, wipe down, and prime all surfaces before painting for best results.

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File Cabinet Painting Ideas

tan bathroom vanity blue painted cabinet labels
Marty Baldwin

Update an old file cabinet with paint to repurpose it as stylish storage. After removing the drawers, pulls, and label holders, spray the cabinet with an oil-base primer ($11, The Home Depot). When dry, sand the surfaces, wipe clean and paint with your desired colors before reassembling.

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Antique Painted Wood Furniture Idea

jungle green painted vintage secretary with Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper in background
David Tsay

Vintage furnishings with pretty silhouettes and decorative details make great candidates for painting. Make an antique feel brand-new with a refreshing color, like the bright green hue that coats this vintage secretary. A creamy white color gives the interior a clean, cohesive look.

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Painted Furniture Drawers

side view white desk pink painted drawer sides
Adam Albright

You don't need to paint an entire dresser or desk to change its look completely. For a fun pop of color, try painting just the sides of the drawers. Choose a vibrant hue contrasting the piece's overall color for maximum impact.

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Painted Table and Chairs

detail painted white chair table neon colors
Marty Baldwin

Accent a simple table and chairs with spots of neon green, yellow, and magenta against bright white. First, paint the set white using a product like Amy Howard One-Step Paint ($35, Amazon), which doesn't require stripping, sanding, or priming. Once dry, tape off desired areas and add neon color-blocking details. Next, apply clear wax over the dried paint and buff it to create a durable finish.

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Detailed Dresser Makeover

green dresser white outlined edges
Cameron Sadeghpour

Peppy green paint was only the beginning of this gorgeous dresser makeover. The enamel semigloss gives it plenty of shine, but the detail work makes this piece really stand out. To replicate the look, paint around the edges of drawer fronts and decorative details with a paint pen or a small paintbrush dipped in white enamel paint. Of course, a steady hand is a must, but you can also use a straightedge or painters tape to help you out.

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Painted Upholstery Project

You can even use paint to revive tired upholstery. It takes a special kind of paint and technique, but it's easy to pull off. Watch and see how it's done.

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Painted Furniture Cushions

painted designs pillows
Adam Albright

If you just want to dip your toe into painting upholstery, give a pillowcase a painted facelift. We updated this plain blue cushion with a herringbone pattern in just a few steps. Slip cardboard inside your pillowcase while painting to prevent paint from bleeding through. Tape off desired angles and apply paint using a stencil brush.

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Painted Table Ideas

painted coffee table runner
Adam Albright

Mimic the look of a stylish table runner by painting a pattern on a tabletop. To showcase this table's wood grain, we watered down our paint slightly so the texture and pattern of the grain would show through. Stencil on your design, sand lightly when the paint is dry, and apply a clear sealer or wax coating.

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Ombre-Effect Furniture Paint Project

pink ombre painted vanity
Adam Albright

Achieving an ombre look on your furniture is easier than you think. Select colors from the same paint strip and use the lightest on the top drawers, the next darkest on the middle, and the darkest on the bottom. You can also accomplish a similar effect by diluting a bright color with varying amounts of white paint.

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Side Table Paint Ideas

front porch yellow swing colorful decor
Adam Albright

Blue paint adds a splash of color to this metal side table. Adding a hand-drawn pattern makes it even more special. We used a white oil-base Sharpie marker ($6, The Home Depot) to draw on the stylish fishnet pattern.

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Striped Dresser Paint Idea

teal dresser stripes
Adam Albright

Go asymmetrical in your pattern placement for a unique twist on this painted furniture idea. To paint stripes, tape off the areas you don't want to be painted and fill in with your desired color (or several colors!). For extra panache, extend the stripes from the front of the dresser to the top, too.

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Distressed Painted Wood Furniture Idea

blue distressed coffee table
Greg Scheidemann

Give a new piece timeworn appeal with a little distressing. The trick is to thin the paint with water to help create the antiqued look. This technique will help new pieces look at home in cottage, farmhouse, or country decor.

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Geometric Painted Furniture

orange geometric painted dresser
Adam Albright

You don't need to be an expert or a full-fledged artist to give a flourish to plain pieces. Having the right tools in your back pocket will make all the difference. The keys to this geometric dresser are a straight edge, pencil, and painters tape.

After taking out the drawers, prime and paint the drawer fronts. Using your tools, block off a geometric pattern. To get this tonal look, we used three shades of the same color and applied them at random to the drawer fronts. Another secret to this dresser's success? We alternated directions and flipped the pattern upside down on adjacent drawers. Once your paint is dry, reinstall the drawers and admire your handiwork.

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