Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Guest post: Furniture painting do's and donts by Maggie

We're on our honeymoon!

I'm so excited to have some lovely guest bloggers this week while husband and I honeymoon in Hawaii. I'll be back after Labor Day!

Today, let's welcome... Maggie of ByMaggie.com!

Before and After: or, All You Need is Paint

Hey, folks! Maggie here. I'm a huge fan of Suzannah here on Adventures in Dressmaking, and thought I'd lend her a hand while she's out for the honeymoon!

Of course, it had to dovetail nicely with the week I'm moving, and you know what that means. (Okay, maybe you don't.)

Furniture renovation.

I had initially planned on building a brand new entertainment center for myself, customized to fit my 32” TV, set of TV speakers, receiver, Wii, DVD/VCR, cable box and whatever else I needed to hook up. Even had a plan drawn up, and carried it in my purse with all the dimensions written down. I may still build it – I'm pretty proud of that design.

But I hit craigslist anyway, and found this piece for $30:

Now I'm not a huge fan of blonde wood, but I looked at the measurements on the listing and the measurements in my purse and realized that my TV and my good speakers would fit perfectly on the top. Can't pass that up, so I didn't.

I just knew I'd have to paint it.

It was a good chance for me to exercise my own design choices. I knew that with this new living room, I wanted to use deep browns, bright greens, and mustardy yellows. Earthy and bright. And suddenly I knew that I needed this TV console to be bright green.

So I set out to find a color, and decided on a bright cheery green called “Medieval Cloverleaf.” Yes, the name played a part in my choice. What can I say – Dutch Boy has the best paint names out there. I ended up having the swatch color-matched and got a quart of Behr semi-gloss to do the work.

I mixed two kinds of primer from my mom's basement and here's where I screwed up in a couple of ways. I didn't look at them to learn that one was oil-based and the other was acrylic, so I ended up priming the piece with an awful, ugly, grey-brown paste. Learn from my mistake, people, or end up with a piece that looks like this:

The secretary is another project, but I used the same primer. The secretary isn't able to be shown yet because, well, the primer got really sticky and disgusting and I couldn't work with it as well by the time I got to it and it turned out BAD.

But the TV console turned out okay after a quick sanding, and I got back to work, adding the brilliant green over the top with a small roller. I did a couple of coats, and let the green sit for a couple of days.

And then, as they say in the pictures, something went terribly wrong. I tried to put the center shelf back in, and it nicked up the paint on the inside and peeled it. I started swearing. My mom's dog hid behind another piece of furniture in the garage. I alternated between telling my mom to help me and telling her to go away. I sat there, flashlight and screwdriver in hand, acknowledged the problem, and reinstalled the shelf with her assistance. I had to do some patch work on the paint:

...and I ended up leaving the scratched-up parts in the back as they were. Not a huge problem, as they'll be covered up by the components anyway.

And then I waited. And after a few days, it was time to add the doors back on, and tomorrow, this piece will be moved to its new home in the basement of my roommates' house, where I'll be living for the forseeable future.

Once it's moved, I'll be posting pictures of my new place on my blog, www.bymaggie.com, along with my #teamphotoblog pictures and the stories of all the other projects I'm working on!

Because what's life without projects.

Thanks for the lessons, Maggie! I, too, have made (and hopefully learned from!) mistakes with furniture-painting. Learn by doing, I guess!

See you next week, readers!


  1. I love reading furniture DIY's! This looks great with the green!

  2. I love your commentary! I feel like THIS is how it would go if I attempted to paint furniture, whereas Apartment Therapy, etc. always make it sound so straight forward and easy.

  3. I am always on the lookout for new creativity and look across the internet’s many blogs for inspiration. It’s a lot of fun and always finding new sources for projects is rewarding. Thanks for sharing your favorite blog sites with all of us. The giveaway is indeed a sweet bonus.

  4. Thanks for the great post. Furniture is the most important part of any home.Its maintenance increases its life to a great deal.

  5. Love you blog <3

    You can win an O.P.I. nail lacquer on my blog (color of your choice), if you love my fan page and write a comment with your mail, good luck ! :)

  6. Anonymous1/16/2012

    I didn't think the furniture would look so good after just a fresh coat of paint. Would you mind working on my office furniture nyc, too?

  7. Kate Slyth2/02/2012

    Do-it-yourself furniture painting is definitely a streetwise move. Kudos to doing such an excellent paint job.

    luxury home builders

  8. Renovating a furniture can be a very fun work. It brings out the creativity in you. I like what you did with the furniture. It looks great and perfectly beautiful after just a simple coating.

  9. I saw your site on google today and really love the furniture, I bookmarked you and will check back.

  10. The post is talking about furniture painting dos and odnts. Useful item



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