Friday, June 6, 2008

Inspiring Update: Painting Furniture Black

Not your ordinary Queen Annes......

Someone asked me after I posted about painting those Queen Anne chairs black in the redesign I recently helped with, to give some instructions on how to do that, so I thought I would. I've been painting furniture black for about 6 years now, starting with my kitchen table and chairs way back then. Now, Pottery Barn is onto the trend (along with some other fun colors!) that I think was started by Ballard Designs in their very inspiring catalogs several years ago. I have always loved browsing through the latest Ballards catalog, even though I don't buy all that much from them, the inspiration is wonderful.
So, in a very humbling moment, here are my table and chairs in their before state from my kitchen in Georgia. You can see I was caught up in the early 90's decor of dark Hunter green and burgandy. That ivy wallpaper was really very stylish for the time....yes, it really was, LOL. You've probably been right there too. When I look back at these pics, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I have learned a lot about decorating after all.

So, let's get started with painting those chairs black.....

I purchased those chairs completely unfinished and stained and polyed them myself . They stayed that way until I decided to paint them black. So, the first step I did was to wipe over them with Liquid Sandpaper. I don't know how it works, but it does. It deglosses the finish and gets it ready for paint. Just get some of this and I wouldn't even recommend priming. I didn't.

I used Satin spray paint from Walmart, but you can use any good quality Satin spray paint. Lowes has a line from Valspar that is very good, as is Rustoleum and Krylon. You'll need about 1 can per chair (if that) . Take them outside in a well-ventilated area with a drop cloth and after reading the Liquid Sandpaper directions and they are ready, begin to spray a light coat of black all over. Try not to let any of it run or if you see that, take a paper towel and blot the drips. Spray a coat, let dry and then go back and touch up as needed.
This is oil-based paint so the finish will dry very nice and smooth. After they were completely dry, I went back with a small hand-held electric sander and sanded off some of the paint in strategic wear spots, which you can see below.
Then I took some wood stain that I had around the house (something like Provencial or Walnut) and rubbed over the bare areas with the stain. This just gives it a nice depth to the distressed areas. You don't have to distress, but I chose to on mine.
Worn spots that mimic real wear.
Base of the table was painted black also.

I went back later and added these appliques with creamy paint added for more of an aged look.
Just adds a little bit of personality to the chairs.
And there you have it...the whole kitchen table and chairs all painted. I've enjoyed them like this for 6 years now and can't imagine changing them back to stained wood (or another color) anytime soon. I really think black painted furniture is a classic now. When I was working for Ethan Allen back in 2003 and '04, they came out with several pieces of black painted furniture and the trend continues throughout the furniture industry. You can find it everywhere now. So why not take something old and give it an updated look yourself without buying new? Old solid wood furniture are good candidates for this paint treatment. It can totally change the look instantly of a dated piece.
This is our upstairs guestbath and as soon as we moved in, I painted it a dark brown/black called Turret Stairs by Ralph Lauren. Really gave it a nice new look too. This was just plain white laminate, so I did have to prime it well and then gave it 2 coats of paint. There is also now a primer just for laminate, which I'd highly recommend if you are painting a lot of the stuff. It's pretty slick and can chip if not primed correctly. I used a roller on this piece, as a small foam roller gives a lot of control.
You'll also probably remember the project (click for details on painting) I did last fall when I bought this cute nightstand for my guestroom and painted it black. I used a foam roller on this too.
It's very hard to get decent pics of black painted furniture, by the way.
It now looks great with the black painted sleighbed that's in this room, one that came from a yardsale and I painted black too.
Down in the den is another yardsale find, a solid wood vanity by Henredon that I decided was a good candidate for painting black. I sanded down the edges again.
And, it has some nice details on the leg which I highlighted with a little gold Rub N Buff.
And last, this is a chest I picked up for $5.00 at a yardsale, definitely not a nice piece, it's mostly particle board, but I painted it black and we are using it in the master bedroom until I find just the right antique chest to go in here. I replaced the pulls which cost a lot more than the piece did. In fact, I spotted a very pretty mahogany chest on chest at an antiques store yesterday, which I think I'm gonna go put on layaway. It will fit perfect on this wall and give us so much more storage. Very good price too!
One tip I have learned is that spray paint works great on smaller things, like chairs, but if you have a large surface, like a headboard or chest, it's hard not to get overlap marks with the spray paint, so in those cases, it's probably best to buy a quart of Satin paint and roll or use a paintbrush. Just something I've learned along the way!

So, take a look around your house and see if you have some old dated pieces of wood furniture or something else that could use a facelift. It might be that all you need is a few cans of black Satin spray paint to give them a whole new look...for pennies! And if you're a cottage girl, then you can also consider antique white. I know that's a really popular look too. In fact, all of those Pottery Barn colors in the above pic are really fun!

Happy Painting!

I am so excited to be meeting another blog friend. Judy from Gracious Southern Living lives in Montgomery and is coming to Birmingham for the day and we are going out on a shopping/junking spree. I can't wait to meet Judy, since we've been talking for a year now. She has a son who lives very near me, so I hope we can meet up more often. Fun, fun!

Lastly, go on over to Pampering Beki's website for a jewelry giveaway! You have until June 11th to get your name in the hat....who doesn't love new jewelry? Sign me up!

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63 friends stopped by:

Maureen said...

Am I first???? I have always loved your "Ballardized" projects, Rho, as well as shopping the Ballard's Outlet here in ATL! I am sure this post will have many itching to find something to paint!

Diane said...

Love the black painted furniture! I have a bathroom cabinet in a half bath that would probably look better black! Your pics are motivating for sure.

I am so envious of your shopping trip....I bet you know all the cool places to shop in B'ham!

Beverly said...

Rhoda, this was great of you. I love all of your pieces.

I had the vanity in one of our bathrooms painted black, and I love it.

Black is definitely high impact and elegant.

Anonymous said...

Excellent tips thanks Rhoda, wow another blogger you sure do get around LOL, I don't really know her, I will have to check her out !!

Have fun,
Kathy :)

Susie Harris said...

Rhoda, Glad that your little goodie made it home. I LOVE your black style. I too go nuts when finding a piece that I can paint and bring new life to. Thank you for the idea of liquid sandpaper. To think I was doing it the old fashion way, ick.... Hope you have a peaceful weekend. Im off to find some treasure. Who know's maybe I can paint again! Susie H

Valarie said...

Oh I love this!! I think I could do this in my main bathroom. I have been wanting to do something different and this could be just the thing. :)

PAT said...

I've always loved those chairs, Rhoda.

We have several pieces of black furniture. I love it! I have a table, here in the "lodge", I'm planning to "Ballardize" soon!

Great post!

Have a wonderful time, today and say hi to Judy, for me!

Sweet Surcees said...

This is FABULOUS!!!! I just decided to paint our bedroom furniture black and was wondering about the best way to do it! This was perfect! I'll post pictures when our project is finished. Thanks so much for the great advice!

Janet said...

Love the use of black paint, gives some older pieces a lot of character and when it goes out of style, there is always another color waiting its turn to be stylish.


Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Oh Rhoda, you are such a "natural" decorating talent!! Beautiful transformations on the furniture pieces!!



Jenny said...

You're so talented. I love your ideas. I've "discovered" using black in decorating and I just love the look. But I wasn't sure how to paint some of these things. Thanks for the tips. I think I will go out and buy some black spray paint and see what I came come up with.

Brown-Eyes said...

Another GREAT blog from you today! The liquid sandpaper is a wonderful tip...I'm now anxious to try my hand at painting something black... :-) Brown-Eyes

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

I haven't tried that liquid sandpaper but I think I will on my next project! Your painted things look beautiful!

Songbirdtiff said...

There is a spray version of liquid sander, now, which is straight from heaven. I used it to strip the varnish on my kitchen table and it's safe to use inside. It stinks, but it's safe. :)

Your black furniture looks great. I'm a cottage girl myself, but I am really beginning to like having a few black pieces around.

Sheila said...

Rhoda love love love the pieces you have redone! Thanks so much for sharing all of your creativity, you make it look so simple. I may try it this summer too. Thanks for the info. on liquid sander never knew about that one. I so love to visit here and see all the talent you have, whether pics, decorating, cooking, you always have great post!
I hope you have fun on your shopping trip with you blogfriend.
Have a beautiful day.
Smile :)

Leigh said...

What an awesome post! Great suggestions! I recerntly painted my kitchen cabinets black and I love them so much better. It looks so streamlined in there now. You can see a before and after on my blog if you search.

Ok, a think I am about ready to have you over. I will hang my head in shame at you seeing the sad state of my home, but I need HELP!

Have a great visit!

aimee said...

So wonderful! Thank you for the tutorial.

The Nester said...

i have heard about liquid sandpaper but didn't know you just wipe it on--genius!

everything looks fabulous--of course!

Donna Kay said...

I love the black furniture - Thanks so very much for the tutorial - I am very much a visual person. You can tell me all day long, but I really need to see it done!!
Thanks again - love your table and chairs...

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing! I've been looking for wooden chairs to replace our current ones. Today a friend called asking if we wanted six wooden chairs for free. We're blessed! I love how your chairs turned out and I'm going to do the same treatment to our *new* chairs. I posted on my blog and linked to yours. Thanks again!

Tonja said...

Hi Rhoda,
Enjoyed your tutorial of the painting. I have done some of that before, and I have a few pieces that I can use in my new house that just need to be 'blackened.'

I recently ordered a floor length mirror from Ballard's. The glass is distressed and it has a bronze finish. It is for the new house and the funny thing is, I found a picture in one of my decorating mags showing this mirror and I tore it out because I liked it so much. Just a few days later, the Ballard catalogue comes and there it is! I took that as a sure sign I was supposed to have it!

Have fun on your shopping adventure and I hope to be able to come up some time this summer and do a little shopping myself. I will give you a call.

Have a fun weekend!


PamperingBeki said...

I'm so glad you've updated your kitchen from the first picture. Haha!!

You've done a great job with all the black paint!

Thank you so much for mentioning my jewelry giveaway. I love a good freebie! :)

Berry Family said...

I've been wanting to paint some furniture black and didn't have any idea how. Thanks for the step by step guide. The furniture looks great!

Picket said...

Ohhh I love this post girl!!! Just the past year I have loved black painted furniture...I painted my oak bathroom cabinets black and sanded the edges to give them that aged turned out so great I have painted several pieces since then...Ohhhh this is fabulous info and I love the richness of you chairs and table..just this afternoon I sat looking at a set of dark stained end tables and coffee table that use to be my parents from the 70's...I love these but I was wondering what they would look like painted because I don't like stained wood anymore...I am scared to make that first brush stroke because I love these tables but seeing all this inspiration and know how I love black furniture..oh my word..I think I can do this!!!! I love Ralph Lauren's Chocolate is a beautiful black...I have never tried to spray paint furniture and you say it is oil based...I will have to look into that..ohhh I feel a burst of energy...thanks girl...have a great weekend and a great day shopping with your friend!!!

Layla said...

Love those dainty little legs on the sweet!

Judy said...

Yes, yes, yes! We had soooo much fun (even tho it was hot as blazes)! Went by son's house after I left yours and they got 2 parsons chairs in the back of the VW plus my chandelier. Hubby didn't even roll his eyes when he got it out of the car, just asked where he should put it. I have no idea where I will use it but I couldn't pass it up.
It goes without saying that I love your house...even more in person. I told my DIL she needs to get over there and check it out....maybe we can do an "intervention" for her.
You are one sweet, classy lady and I look forward to more outings and junkings with you in the future.
Right now I'm cruising the 'net looking for that perfect kitchen wall color and all I can say is IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

Love ya much!

P.S. That plant stand looks like your yellow 3 tier planter in your kitchen....if you want/need it, its yours!

One Woman's Cottage Life said...

Beautiful pieces, Rhoda! Black really is such a classic and beautiful color and you've done a fabulous job with your furniture.

I had ivy wallpaper in the mid-90's, along with hunter green and burgandy, too! Lots and lots and lots of burgandy and hunter green...hehe!

Wanda said...

Oh, my gosh Rhoda! Those are all absolutely fabulous! You really have a talent for painting things. I want to so badly, but it just isn't one of my talents.

I haven't had time to visit in awhile. Been terribly busy getting ready for the grand opening - which I want to invite you to. It'll be next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 11, 12 and 13. The address is 800 Seminole Ave. MapQuest and GoogleMaps get you close, but not quite there. It's on the corner of 8th Street and Seminole Ave. Directly across the street from B. B. Comer school in Sylacauga.

Hope to see you there!


Sandi McBride said...

The thing is my friend, you make it look so are showing these wonderful "looks like actual aging" shots and I am saying I can do that...then lovely appliques of color medalians and I say I can do that...who the heck am I kidding? I can't do that! Your plane ticket is on the way, I'll cook, you'll'll be a wonderful collaboration!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and inspiring! Julie Schaal (Carroll, IA)

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Great work Rhoda!

I hope you and Judy had a fabulous time together!


Carolina Mama said...

Rhonda, you do amazing things with furniture. I always love stopping by to see all your goodies. If you're answering questions, if I launchout and paint black - how do you get the paint to stay. Will it chip easily? I'd hate having another project on my hands.... ;)

And I'm hosting my first "WinItWednesday" if you and yours ;) would like to register here:

Christy said...

Rhoda, I remember you painting that table & chairs way back on GI. I actually have some dining room chairs that I may try to paint. One more thing to add to my project list.

Husband and I stayed the night in Birmingham on our way to the beach..I thought about you but we were just there for the night.

jennifer said...

Love the black! I am considering painting ours black. It is a sleigh bed like in your photo. Thanks for the inspiration!


Kristi said...

Very interesting! We have a kitchen table that has a deep cherry top and a green base, the chairs have a deep cherry seat and green elsewhere (green stain, not paint). The set is wearing out with the children doing all kinds of things to it. It is a nice piece and wasn't cheep. I was fretting we might have to toss it (the green is getting a little old for me too). But maybe I'll have to consider doing the black stain sometime. I'm not sure it will work with the style, it is more farmhouse. What do you think?

Kari & Kijsa said...

Love black painted furniture...we have been distressing away for years on our pieces!! especially love a glossy black wood frame with creamy white upholstery- very chic!!! Have a fabulous weekend!

kari & kijsa

daisy cottage said...

How sweet of you to take the time to share, with great visual detail, your magical secrets for transforming furniture into fabulous pieces! You definitely were cutting edge with your painting... Pottery Barn and Ballards need to hire YOU!

Anonymous said...

I love love this post, love the black furniture. You are so talented, Rhoda!
I have now spray painted black, per your instructions. One thing I wanted to share- when I was done spray painting my chair, it felt like it wasn't as smooth as I would have liked, there were a few fuzzies. So I used 0000 steel wool, lightly, and it smoothed them down, added a little bit of sheen. Also, waxed the chair, and I love it.
Your how to blogs are my favorite!!


Things That Inspire said...

You forgot to add the extra component that is needed to paint fear about the results! I always have grand plans for painting furniture, but get so worried about whether I will mess the furniture up that I never end up doing the project!

I have an antique French sideboard that is an ugly brown, and I have always thought about painting it. It does not have a modern polyeruethane varnish...I wonder if I would need to use the liquid sandpaper? I imagine the liquid sandpaper is to get the varnish off, but I don't know.

Great post! I just read another post about an artist and designer who lives in the northeast, and he says that new wood makes him crazy, he likes old wood and he likes to paint it regularly to suit his mood. He is currently painting a lot of things gray, and his favorite gray is called 'aluminum' from Walmart (a flat latex). He says it is the perfect French gray.

Kimba said...

This is a wonderful post! I'm always painting furniture but I never knew about the liquid sandpaper. I'll be picking up some of that next time I'm in Lowe's.

And It never occurred to me to just stain over the distressed areas of my painted furniture. I'm always trying to put a base coat under the main color that will look good when it's showing through. LOVE IT!!!

Catherine said...

Hi! Thanks for the antiquing/distressing tips. As soon as wedding season is over, I have some projects to get to and this info helps a lot.

There's a rock song called 'Paint it Black". I don't know who sings it, but the school band did it this year. Every time I buy something at a yardsale and plan to paint it black, my daughter starts singing that song! It needs to be a theme song somewhere ;)

martha said...

Your "hot to" posts are always my favorite. So inspiring. You have a special way of finding an object, renewing it, and then you're even able to teach us how to do it ourselves! Priceless.

martha said...

Your "hot to" posts are always my favorite. So inspiring. You have a special way of finding an object, renewing it, and then you're even able to teach us how to do it ourselves! Priceless.

Lily Bart said...

You can paint Laminate???

BYW - Your site is lovely - such a joy to read. Thank you for sharing.

Mind Your Manors said...

OKAY....I have to know where the bunny/artichoke fabric came from?? I LOVE IT!!! I NEED SOME NOW!!! Great post!


Amber Kay said...

I have a quick question: I'm going to paint my kitchen table and chairs black this weekend. Would you use spray paint on the table?
Love your website!

a day in the life of bella said...

Looks like a page out of a decorating magazine, so pretty, Rhoda!


cara said...

Oooh Rhoda! Beautiful! Most of the wood furniture in my home is painted black too! I think it looks great!!

Cameo said...

I think I have commented on this post before. If not I meant to. They look great. My dinning table needs to be redone. I just love what you have done with yours.

frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Those look fantastic! I wonder if the Liquid Sandpaper trick would work on the bathroom vanity I want to paint white--right now it is stained oak.

~ Sarah

Tricia Anne said...

Everything is so pretty!
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Love all of your black furniture. I have a dining room table I would love to update, but unfortunately it has a formica top. Got any suggestions? Your projects and finds are definitely inspiring. Jackie

Joy said...

I remember looking at this back in June and loving it then (although I didn't comment).
I have a kitchen table that I painted black and I never got around to painting the chairs. I think you've inspired me to put that project a little higher on my list.
Your furniture looks lovely in black. I think that's why we're all so addicted to that color.
I'm so happy that you added this post to the party!

Melissa Wertz said...

Rhoda, I am so glad that I am not the only person who has heard of liquid sand paper! I needed help on a project I wanted to start and emailed someone about using it (I have used it with much success in the past) and she had never heard of it...

Thanks for posting this!

ROXY said...

WOW!! I'm impressed! Great job on those pieces

Cherry's Jubilee said...

Well Rhoda....I have always enjoyed your projects...I remember when these were on Great Impressions. They look just as good today as they did than. Glad you joined the party. cherry

Debbie @ said...

Rhoda, this is soooo lovely. Oh my goodness, does it get any better. My brain is buzzing with new ideas just looking at your chairs. Wow...I'll never go to sleep. Love what you did.
Blessings, Debbie

Nikki said...

Rhoda, your chairs are beautiful!

Blissful Nikki said...

all of these are amazing! Im totally speachless!

Smilingsal said...

I came here by way of Diane at 1000 pictures. WOW! You really are amazing.

At Home In Georgia said...

WOW~ I love the way your table and chairs came out. That antique look is awesome. I like some black too.

Susancnw said...

Did you know that it is even harder to get a decent picture of a black cat than it is of black furniture? I'm going to talk to our landlord and see if I can paint our master bathroom (small) vanity black. I think it would look great.

mary'smom said...

Oh! I want to paint my bathroom vanity black! I need some hints, and now I know where to get them.