Painting vintage furniture 

Hello Dear Reader,

Im a great lover of all things second hand and I love French charity shops! On our last trip to Emmaüs, we bought three pieces to dot around the house and today, I’ve been sanding and painting and it’s been great fun. The furniture cost under 20€ a piece with some bits being as little as 5€. We bought water based eggshell paint in a vintage colour to mimic, Farrow and Ball’s ‘old white’. It was half the price and almost the same in colour.

I used a small palm sized electric sander to remove the top coat of varnish and then sugar soap to remove any last traces of grease. The sugar soap comes in a spray which I used to coat the furniture liberally and then, using hot water, a cloth and making sure I used rubber gloves, gave it a good wash and then allow it to dry.

It’s really important to use thin coats of paint and allow it to dry for two to four hours, depending on atmospherics, between coats. Remove any handles before you sand and then paint. 


Here’s the results of one small table that we’ll use as a bedside table. Now it’s your turn. Any upcycling furniture painters out there? Do you prefer chalk based paint? Or, like me, eggshell? If so, water or oil based? Have any of you had any luck with charity shop furniture?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

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10 thoughts on “Painting vintage furniture 

  1. They look great. With bedside tables and coffee tables I like to get a piece of glass cut to size and stick one of those little silicone dots (from the hardware store) under each corner, between the glass and the table top. Voila, inexpensive , scratch proof and water resistant table.

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  2. Like you most of my furniture is second hand and picked picked up (often very cheaply bar a couple of pieces) from antique and household auctions. My bets buy was a 1930s bedroom set (single wardrobe, small chest of drawers and dressing table) for £3. Got it home, got some Nitromors on it to strip of the dark brown varnish and satin and found some glorious honey gold quarter sawn oak underneath.

    I’m a huge fan of wood – I love the warmth of the material and pattern of the grain – so I don’t paint mine, just varnish or polish it. 🙂

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  3. What a transformation! Well done!
    It seems the older I get the more I want/need light colours around our home. You have turned an orangey, dull piece of grot into a light, beautiful piece of furniture. We did the same with an old, heavy, brown coffee table bought in a charity shop for £10. It looks so much better painted Antique White.
    Because we’re both disabled with painful, joint problems, a local lady in Camborne painted our table for us. Even after paying her, we still had a bargain!

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  4. Just to add to my previous comment, my husband and I cannot stand the fumes given off by oil based paints. About 8 years ago (before painful osteoarthritis took hold) we painted our skirtings in our sitting room. We needed to go out for a couple of hours and I’m sure we must have looked stoned to the people who passed by us sitting on a park bench! 😉

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    • Oh dear LOL re the stoned bit. Kay, good on you and your husband for your tenacity. Sadly I know all about arthritis. I guess we will all keep plodding along as best we can x

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  5. Love the effect on the furniture of paint. I was given two white melamine wardrobes so rubbed them down and painted them in cream melamine paint, did the same for some old melamine chests that the kids have. Sits in our spare bedroom and looks like we spent a fortune on them. Everyone loves them who comes to stay and gives us great storage. Would have preferred wood but they were free so paint was the answer.

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  6. I prefer to use chalk paint, simply because of no sanding ! I think most of my repurposed furniture has been at the mercy of my brush, especially the orange pine that we had new in the 80s.Crystal handles bought from Homebargains cheaply really finish bedroom furniture off nicely too.Old brassy chandeliers, clocks mirrors have all been given a new lease of life.I love what you have created so far.

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  7. We used an egg shell paint about 10 years ago when we helped a friend to paint some furniture. It came up lovely and she has only recently replaced it with some new furniture.

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