Painted Furniture Controversy: A Message to all my Paint Haters

By on March 28, 2014
Stop Painting Furniture

Normally, I try to remain bubbly…I try to share tutorials, projects or ideas, but today…today I must fizzle out the bubble and vent just a little.

WARNING: Rant Incoming!

I was recently watching a youtube tutorial from fellow furniture painter Christen Bensten and I thought the video was great so I scrolled down to leave a comment but the comments below it caught my eye. Honestly, they were downright rude. In fact, one person even said “there is a place in hell for people who paint over antiques like that”. Really? So now we are doomed to hell for painting furniture?  Apparently we are all just stupid dumb monkeys who don’t understand that to be a “wood purist” is above and beyond all things. You my friends are simply paint haters.

Yes paint haters. You know who you are. Those of you who think you need to tell other people not to paint THEIR OWN furniture. Paint haters think they need to scream it from the roof tops…”stop painting wood furniture” or “you’ve ruined that wood furniture“.

Ruined it for who exactly? If I have a piece of wood furniture that my grandmother left me and I decide to paint it white with purple polka dots…you hate it…but I absolutely love it…who exactly have I ruined it for? Oh! That’s right. I’ve ruined it for you. I’m sorry, but where exactly does it say I’m saving this furniture for you to display in your home? Where did I say I would be turning it over to you so you could make a profit from it?

Okay, I get it. It absolutely makes your toes curl at the thought of someone painting over a decent solid wood piece of furniture, or even worse…an antique. OMG the horror!

When you leave comments on someone’s website or youtube video and tell them “they have ruined it”, it just makes me want to ask…why? Maybe it’s ruined for you, but why would Jane Smith who’s painting her antique china cabinet care if her own personal furniture piece holds no value to you anymore? She didn’t paint that furniture for you, so the only person your negative feedback is talking about for absolute certainty is you. The person painting that piece of wood furniture, I’m just taking a guess here…but probably didn’t paint it with you in mind.

Wood furniture can be beautiful. Antiques may even hold a high value if they are treated well and in decent condition. Heck you might even collect those pieces and that’s a business for you to turn a profit in. But I’m sorry…who are you to tell other people not to paint their own furniture? Even worse, to openly harass them for doing so! You can love your wood furniture and I won’t tell you not to. But why is it so wrong for someone to turn their wood furniture into something that is beautiful in their own eyes?

Sure if I was in the business of buying and selling antiques then maybe I’ve just ruined it for the antique qualities (although I do own a bottle of paint stripper so maybe not). However, someone who is painting a piece of furniture to keep for themselves or someone who has a business selling painted furniture, it’s not ruined for them. In fact, it’s better for them.

The goal of the decorating and refinishing furniture is not to keep yucky brown boring wood furniture in pristine condition under all circumstances. Some of us don’t feel like looking at brown all the time…I mean really…how completely boring is that? Isn’t the goal really to create and decorate in a way that makes you happy? Painting over a side table that had monetary value and now it doesn’t hold as much because you painted it, doesn’t ruin it. Guess what…you can still use it. You can still display it in your home. Not everyone is buying furniture to turn a profit in the antique world. You paint haters need to start realizing this.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve got a piece of furniture that is REALLY valuable, as in several thousand dollars, as much as the choice is still yours, of course I’d probably try and talk you out of painting it…though I wouldn’t judge you or think badly if you if you chose to paint anyway. But for the majority of pieces out there, I say paint away if that’s what you want to do and that’s what makes you happy.

Then again….haters gonna hate.

Now that my rant is over, if you’d like to see Christen’s hellish act of painting furniture (avert your eyes children), I thought I’d do a little share here. Rock on sister!

About Misty Spears

I absolutely love all things DIY, especially when it comes to decorating my own home. I’m a thrift store junkie and my head just explodes with ideas to repurpose old junk into something practical and beautiful when I come across that perfect treasure. I’m a wood furniture rebel and try to paint every surface I can to bring color into my life. My life revolves around my family and enjoying every moment that life serves up to me. You can connect with me on Twitter @diyhomeinterior, Instagram @mistyspears and see my pins on Pinterest for a sneak peak into all the DIY projects I am working on and crazy life happenings.


  1. Michael Levanduski

    March 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    LOL – Great Rant! I never knew there was such opposition to painting furniture!

    I can see it now, people with posters of beautiful antique wood furniture outside your home protesting. Shouting, “Stop the Hate, Don’t Paint”

    Some people must just have too much time on their hands. lol

    Good post as always


    • Misty Spears

      March 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      If you ever see that Michael, I want pictures. LOL I don’t understand the opposition either unless I ran into someone’s house and painted their antique furniture against their will.

  2. Valeria

    March 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Don’t the haters realize any painted furniture can be stripped and reverted back to boring brown at any time.

    • Misty Spears

      March 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      They must not. Or maybe they are referring to the “original” value.

  3. Bonnie Gean

    March 29, 2014 at 6:27 am

    I can’t stand boring brown. :) If the piece was an antique and could fetch good money, then I would hesitate to paint it and ruin the value of the furniture. However, if we’re talking about mismatched furniture that has no hope — paint it the color you want and enjoy the journey!

    Disregard the haters. If they didn’t have her to pick on, it would be directed to someone else.

    • Misty Spears

      March 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Bonnie that’s how I feel. If I come across something that I know is worth a lot of money…I’d sell it, not paint it. But I guess that number of “worth a lot” is subjective to all. To me…unless it’s valued at well over $1000, it’s free for my paint brush!

  4. Luke Dennison

    March 29, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Cool article misty. Paint gives me a headache 😛

    • Misty Spears

      March 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Luke maybe you need to open some winddows. lol

  5. Edie Dykeman

    March 29, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I can see both sides of the debate, but to get nasty about it is just wrong. Some people are possessive of original antique furniture while others enjoy updating the antique in whatever style they want.

    I don’t see the need to get nasty. I enjoy leaving comments on various media when something strikes me, but I’m often shocked at the “haters” that leave such horrible comments. Sad.

    Your rant was fine and maybe someone who needs to read it will find it. Hopefully, anyway.

    • Misty Spears

      March 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      I agree as well Edie. It’s ok to not love paint, just like it’s ok to not love wood in it’s natural state. What I love about decorating is making it my own and doing what I love…not what someone else loves. You can love your wood furniture, but leave everyone else alone.

  6. Jen

    March 30, 2014 at 2:10 am

    You tell em, Girl! I agree a thousand percent. The piece should reflect your own personal style when it’s displayed in your home. Isn’t that what decorating is all about? You know I’m a fan of restoring old furniture. Sometimes that means sanding, stripping and staining and sometimes it means paint. Lately I’ve done some pieces with a combination of wood and paint, which I love. It goes back to the old saying – if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all (and seriously, if you don’t like painted furniture don’t watch a video tutorial on how to make it). But like you said, haters gonna hate.

    • Misty Spears

      March 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Jen, I’ve got a small table I’m doing now that is painted except the top is wood that I’ve sanded and restained and I love the look. Just because I love to paint furniture, doesn’t mean I absolutely hate wood either. Maybe one day people will learn to decorate for their own style and tastes and forget about making everyone else feel the way they do.

  7. Jan Kearney

    March 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I was sobbing, I quite liked that dresser how it was lol I can understand people getting upset if a piece of furniture had true value. But most people painting are upcyling furniture and giving it a fresh lease of life and use.

    At the end of the day it’s no one else’s business what you do with your furniture.

    • Misty Spears

      March 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      That’s exactly right Jan. It was a nice dresser, and if it was worth $1000, sure maybe we might not have painted it (that’s our prerogative), but it’s her furniture…none of us have a right to be nasty to her for painting her own stuff. I think most of us are level headed enough to get it…but those few who don’t…whatya gonna do? lol

  8. TJ

    November 6, 2014 at 8:36 am

    There is controversy over painting furniture for sure. Personally, do what you want to your own furniture. It’s yours after all. The issue I have is when someone takes a beautiful antique, paints it and then distresses it and tries to sell it in a shop. There have been so many times that I have seen an awesome cabinet or table in a consignment store and someone has made it “shabby-chic” and basically ruined it. The worst is when the hardware is painted. That should never happen, even to your own stuff because it looks like you, the painter, are a total hack and also takes away from the functionality of moving parts. If you want to paint an antique chair like it’s for Rainbow Brite and it’s going to sit in your living room and be adored, do it. Just don’t ruin things for others and stick ’em in a shop!

    • Misty Spears

      November 11, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Tj, your thoughts are exactly what this was written about and I’m glad you posted your thoughts! For you…as you stated when someone paints it shabby chic it “basically ruined”. You even say that painting it and sticking it in a shop ruins it for others. The thing is…it doesn’t. Maybe for you….but it doesn’t just in general ruin anything.

      What about someone who walks into the same shop you did and see’s an awesome cabinet but this time it’s all ugly old wood? Does the other person not have a right to the same opinion…that it’s ruined? I mean it’s old, may need to be refinished, could have scratches, etc.

      And before you use the same old excuse that other wood purists use “well you can always paint it”, the same applies to wood. It can be stripped and restained…I know because I’ve done it.

      I don’t personally sell in a shop, I do this for myself mainly, but I do BUY from shops all the time. The best thing we can all do when it comes to paint versus wood in commercial shops, is just keep shopping around and respect the fact that people have differing opinions, but in the end, there will always be at least ONE person who will buy the wood piece and one person who will buy the painted piece, so it’s not truly ruined for everyone…just for the side that it doesn’t cater to.

      P.S. I’m not sure if I should even address the issue of the hardware because that’s completely false information. I’ve yet to experience any degredation of hardware due to paint…if I painted it myself or from pieces I’ve purchased from others.

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