Granny? Not!

Granny? Not!

Did you inherit Grandma’s antiques and can’t bear the thought of painting them, even if they aren’t exactly your style?  Don’t fret pet.  Why not add a little bit of paint, like Debbie at Painted Therapy did with this dresser?  The beautiful wood grain is the star, but the white frame and handles keep it feeling fresh and new.  Granny would enthusiastically approve! 

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  1. March 4, 2013 / 9:50 PM

    I’ve started to realize that I’m “Grandma”! I’m personally not impressed by painting perfectly good furniture (though not opposed to covering up damaged and otherwise unrepairable items).

    I tell my husband, if we could live long enough and be able-bodied, we ought to start a paint-stripping business, ’cause I think there will be quite a market for it 🙂

  2. Anonymous
    March 4, 2013 / 9:58 PM

    Another “Grandma” here. While I think most of what you show is completely awesome, classic antique furniture that’s in good shape is lovely. I have a chest (family heirloom) that’s almost identical, the drawer pulls are even the same, and I’d never paint it. I get compliments on it all the time and it’s a great contrast in style (I think) to some of my more modern furniture.

  3. Lori
    March 4, 2013 / 10:11 PM

    Oh dear, I have to admit, I felt a little sick when I looked at the ‘after’. I have no problem painting a piece that’s in need of a makeover, but this one was a real beauty. sigh…

  4. Anonymous
    March 4, 2013 / 10:33 PM

    I think it’s beautiful! It started out a beautiful piece, so that helps, but I like the fresh new look as well.

  5. March 4, 2013 / 10:54 PM

    I would feel guilty painting any piece of wood furniture that is in nearly pristine condition. If this piece had “issues” that could be disguised with paint, then I’d agree that paint was the way to go. Otherwise, no. Sorry.

  6. March 4, 2013 / 11:12 PM

    I think it’s perfect! Just the right amount of “bling” to really make it shine!

    People always worry about removing “value” from a piece with paint. The fact is, a piece is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. What’s wrong with keeping a family heirloom but making it fit with your style. I’m sure “grandma” would mind if her old furniture was painted as long as it was still being loved and used.

  7. March 4, 2013 / 11:22 PM

    Sometimes painting is not better – it’s just painting. This is like covering up a beautiful hardwood floor with cheap carpet.

  8. Anonymous
    March 4, 2013 / 11:24 PM

    It reminds me of chocolate cake with my grandma’s fluffy white 7-minute icing. It’s yummy…I mean, beautiful. I don’t know if I would have the courage to paint the before dresser, but I really like the after too.

  9. March 4, 2013 / 11:34 PM

    This is perfect . . . I would have never in a thousand years thought to only paint that small amount of the dresser. You have taken it from walk on by, too, stop and look me over . . .because I’m beautiful.
    Great job 🙂
    Your blogging sister, Connie 🙂

  10. March 5, 2013 / 1:37 AM

    I love the pop of white. Painting furniture is fantastic in my book.

    Britt@Creating Space for Five

  11. March 5, 2013 / 1:47 AM

    Man, what a bunch of haters! I think it looks great and more power to Debbie. If you’re reading this Debbie, don’t let all of these opinions get you down. I love your piece.

  12. March 5, 2013 / 2:30 AM

    No hater here – and I’m truly sorry if I got this off on the wrong foot. Just stating a preference…..I had been thinking that I must be one of the last of the lovers of original wood finishes, though – and am actually a little surprised to hear there are a few others who still appreciate “old wood”.

  13. March 5, 2013 / 2:54 AM

    I love the pieces that are painted as well as the refinished wood. This dresser is pretty!!

  14. March 5, 2013 / 2:54 AM

    I love the pieces that are painted as well as the refinished wood. This dresser is pretty!!

  15. March 5, 2013 / 2:56 AM

    I love the pieces that are painted as well as the refinished wood. This dresser is pretty!!

  16. March 5, 2013 / 3:02 AM

    Opening up big issue.Yes I get it really I do.My parents not only inherited but collect antiques. Their last home was a treasure itself a log home on the side a a mountain,a trout creek at the bottom…and a view to swoon over the house full of treasures. Sadly both are gone now and I trully did leave the bulk with my sister because she has a bigger house…I know that my sons are not as crazy about this stuff…SO here is the point. Tis better do a little paint and them fall back in love with grandma’s treasures then, we all will pass and their where does it go….I loved this idea because I have a little desk that yes I am selling.This was my father in laws..I priced higher because of emotion. It is a really hard issue.But you can not keep everything…you have to take the issue of one family to the next and next…and your own!!! I may use this idea…and do just a little painting on some trim…so my thanks for showing how to do a compromise..consider we have huge English highly carved pieces…those will not be touched. But a fellow vendor moved out of the store because their auction finds of high value European Antiques where not selling…the better the item, the longer it has sat. The more primitive sold…OK off my box,and thanks for a great example of a little makes a great impact

  17. March 5, 2013 / 5:11 AM

    Differences of opinions are fine. We all like different things. Hateful comments with absolutely nothing kind or constructive to offer will be gleefully deleted! 🙂

  18. March 5, 2013 / 12:31 PM

    I love, LOVE it!!
    & You may see me copy this one, coming soon to a cottage bedroom somewhere in Mi.
    Very creative!!

  19. March 5, 2013 / 12:55 PM

    LOOOOVED it!!

  20. Miss Em
    March 5, 2013 / 1:00 PM

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’ve been thinking for a while that I can’t stand to see another skittle-colored piece of furniture, especially when the before was classic and not so easily found anymore. I think this piece has been cheapened and ruined.

  21. March 5, 2013 / 4:26 PM

    Wow! So much venom being spewed! You’d think that this was the Apartment Therapy site. While I may have VERY negative feelings about some of the transformations presented on this site, I keep those opinions to myself. I’m sure that everybody who posts negative/hateful comments have showpiece homes! Please consider the feelings of others before you unleash your venom. This is a happy place, y’all!

  22. Anonymous
    March 5, 2013 / 5:07 PM

    I’m a professional refinisher and furniture painter. I cannot tell you how difficult it can be to repair and refinish antique and vintage furniture so that it looks good without being overdone. Add to that that not all wood is beautiful and not all wood can be saved to be brought back to a nice finish. Especially since most of them are wood veneer over a primary wood. In the case of this dresser, it looks like mahogany veneer, which can be notoriously difficult to work with. If you cannot refinish a piece properly, then it’s best to paint it. Nothing looks worse than a bad staining/sealing job. I think that a house full of dark wood antiques can be depressing so painting them can often be uplifting to a space. There are also many lovely quality wood pieces of which this is one. I think that she did a good job of keeping the integrity of wood while incorporating a fresh look. After all people, its only furniture and painting it can always be reversed.


  23. March 5, 2013 / 5:22 PM

    I agree! I think a piece is only as beautiful as you think it is, and is only as valuable as you think it is. If this piece holds no emotional value, and it matches her home and she brought it a little more up to date, then who cares! Furniture is an accessory in our home. It should be our taste and it should be relevant to what we love. If the piece before doesn’t look like you, regardless what condition it’s in or not, you should change it to make it look like you. And I, for one, thought she did an amazing job. Great job Debbie!

  24. March 5, 2013 / 6:12 PM

    I think it looks great! It’s not like it’s painted bright pink or green! And if you like it, that’s all that matters 🙂

  25. March 5, 2013 / 6:12 PM

    I LOVE your after-piece. I have been in such a mire, thinking I HAD to refinish, sand and stain a whole bunch of pieces in my home because my husband liked it and it was the style of his family members. But honestly, I don’t personally care for the style. I totally with Jacqui that a whole bunch of dark wood antiques can make a home feel morose and heavy.
    This has seriously inspired me to do some staining and painting to specific pieces – it’s a wonderful compromise! I never thought to do it – and it looks fresh and more modern.

  26. March 5, 2013 / 6:27 PM

    I love the way you added a touch of paint but paint is paint and love what you did with it!! Dianntha

  27. March 5, 2013 / 9:38 PM

    LOVE. And also, Genius.

  28. March 5, 2013 / 9:40 PM

    It astounds me that people can have such vituperative responses to what is only the personalization of an *object*. One which, as the professionals here have noted, can be redone as wood-finished later or may not be as good a candidate for wood-finished rescue as the photos show. I did a very similar treatment on a very similar dresser my sister had, because the wood drawer fronts and part of the top and sides were lovely but all of the trim edges were beyond salvation. What we ended with was a piece so pretty that we still love it, its beautiful natural-finished wood *enhanced and framed* by the contrasting high-gloss black enamel, and no regrets about not having been able to afford replacing the damaged areas rather than covering them. Ultimately, those who have pointed out here that these are our own personal tastes and belongings and not deserving to be the subject of small-minded crankiness get my vote. I love what you share here not because it’s all to my taste but because it all inspires me with the inventiveness and dedication of those who make, and make do with, things that improve the environment of their lives.

  29. March 5, 2013 / 9:55 PM

    Love this translation on a painted piece & I love that it gets so much discussion!

  30. March 5, 2013 / 10:51 PM

    Well said Kathryn. I say if it suits your home and it’s the look you were going for, well done you for getting off yer backside and “recycling” an old piece! I find some people have a lot to say about painting old pieces, but a lot of the time they’re the ones who have a “granny’s antique” being utilised as storage in the shed. I like antiques too, but I’m not going to saturate my home with it as it doesn’t suit. My husband also likes his old leather pants from the eighties but HELL NO is taking those things out again! If I can upcycle and old piece and save money at the same time I will! Not all of us can afford what we want unfortunately.

  31. March 5, 2013 / 11:00 PM

    I LOVE it! It looks so great and fresh-just perfect! Well done!

  32. March 6, 2013 / 1:33 AM

    Thanks so much Lindsey for posting my piece. I’m just getting here and taken aback by the discussion this piece has started, although not surprised. Painting wood can be like politics — you’re not sure you want to bring it up lest a heated debate ensues. But seriously, everyone is allowed their opinion. For this particular piece, it had been painted numerous times and then stripped before it came to me. But all that work had caused some damage that could only be hidden by a little paint. I think I kept the integrity of the piece by highlighting the gorgeous wood. But that’s only my opinion. 🙂

  33. Aimee
    March 6, 2013 / 2:51 AM


    You did a great job! Thank you for sharing this with us. As mentioned by several others, I never would have thought of doing this. I have an antique piece I absolutely hate but have been reluctant to paint. Something like this might work!

  34. March 6, 2013 / 4:04 AM

    It’s just freaking furniture. You cant take it with you. I’m glad you turned it into something you can enjoy. Folks, she didn’t paint her child. (Which brings to mind people who DO paint their children. Or poke painful holes into their itty bitty tender ears so as to add ornamentation. Do you object to that?)

  35. March 6, 2013 / 5:30 AM

    Whoa! wonderful it looks so stunning piece of furniture. you did a great job I have a chest of drawers and now I must try to paint it. The uses of white color is really looking great and gives a fresh look.

    Find out more here

  36. March 6, 2013 / 4:18 PM

    I’m not always a fan of painted furniture and I do like some wood but this is gorgeous! I love that she didn’t paint the whole top and sides like so many people seem to be doing now (leaving the drawers the wood finish). I thought this really made the piece so much prettier.

    As a side note, I work in a profession where I rent dumpsters to people who are cleaning out granny’s home – so much goes to waste and gets tossed out. Kudos to keeping old furniture and doing so in a way that you love!

  37. naiad
    March 7, 2013 / 8:43 AM

    I dont understand why you delete comments? Care to explain?

  38. March 7, 2013 / 12:38 PM


    I made a comment and deleted it myself because I wanted to add more. It says “deleted by author”, which was me, not the owner of the blog.

  39. Jenn
    March 7, 2013 / 7:15 PM

    I LOVE this. I would personally walk right by the old, unpainted dresser without taking a second look, it’s boring to me. The contrast of the paint against the reamining wood makes it pop, and I would certainly notice (and admire) the finished product! I love for furniture to have a “pop” to it – something unique that makes it one of a kind!

  40. Jenn
    March 7, 2013 / 7:16 PM

    ugh, *remaining*

    I hate typos. Thats what I get for simultaneously eating Triscuits and typing.

  41. March 8, 2013 / 4:28 PM

    Wow, can’t believe all the controversy. I saw the post yesterday and liked it but never looked at the comments. Funny thing is that I have this exact same dresser in my basement and the wood is in very good shape, only a couple of scratches. It just wouldn’t fit with my aesthetic but seeing this before/after made me see that a little paint can add a lot of update and I just might try this.

  42. March 8, 2013 / 8:12 PM

    What an absolutely fabulous piece!
    I love putting paint on EVERYTHING!
    I’ll put a coat of paint on anything that it will stick to!
    The beauty of painting is, once the “painting furniture trend” is over you can strip it off and refinish back to the wood. no harm to the gorgeous piece. This piece looks awesome, best of both worlds. LOVE!

  43. March 27, 2015 / 8:54 AM

    I’m really sad to see all the negative comments here. I think she did a beautiful job of giving this piece new life. Whether it’s done to the specifications and scrutiny of a professional antique collector is irrelevant. She saved this piece and styled it in a way that suited her taste and home decor.

    I think it’s lovely and the paint is just enough to make the grain of the wood on the rest of the piece pop. As another mentioned in another comment, a house full of dark wood antiques can be depressing. The white paint here is refreshing. Bravo! It’s beautiful!

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