To Paint or Not to Paint?…

I’ve had many discussions over the years about painting  wood.  Usually they start something like this,

“You’re going to paint over that nice wood???”  {Gasp. Gasp.}

Perhaps you’ve had one of those conversations with someone you know.

After wrestling with this issue for a while, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

First of all, there are a few things I own that I just cannot even consider painting.

Our Dining Room buffet is one.  It is the buffet that sat in my childhood home in Montana all the years I lived there.  It brings me a ton of good memories and I love it just the way it is.

buffet 2

The other thing is the little dresser in our bedroom.  It was my first (and probably last) refinishing furniture project.  It took me 3 years to complete.  After stripping off 7 coats of paint and sanding and sanding…  I just can’t bear to paint it now.  (Although I’m sure I’d really love it if I did!)

refinished dresser

Other than those two things…I’d probably paint everything in the house!  In fact, if I moved in to a house that had solid oak kitchen cupboards, I’d want to paint them white.  Yep, I would.  Because I know I love white cupboards best.

I think it really boils down to a preference thing.  It’s important to me how a space feels.  I like to be in places where I can both relax and also has a “cheerful” atmosphere.  Our upstairs when we moved in didn’t fit either of those descriptions.  It was small with little or no natural light.  {Size of space and natural light makes a really, really big difference when talking about the dark wood vs paint issue!}


Some of the walls were 70s panelling and some were the real fir boards.


It all added up to an overall dreary feeling.  I admit that I was a bit terrified when I first touched a real fir board with my foam roller filled with primer…


But, once I saw the bright and cheery results, I’ve never hesitated again.

the landing after

{The upstairs landing area was the first thing I was brave enough to paint.  It was before my blogging days, but you can see the office makeover here, here, and here.  The beach bedroom makeover is here.}

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  1. Rita,
    I love what you are doing to your upstairs! I know exactly what you mean about painting wood. I’ve always loved painted wood but unless it is a family heirloom which just screams “leave me be!” It took some time but now my husband has decided he likes painted wood as well! It might have to do with the fact that he also loves little houses… cottages are right up his alley! 🙂

    Have a wonderful day! I have so enjoyed seeing what all you have been up to recently! Now I must be off… lots to sew up for the benefit Silent Auction for Andy & Cari Chastain. Please keep them in prayer as they are going through such a trying time right now! I might even do a little painting… yes we are working like mad to bring things in to auction. 🙂

  2. Rita, I recognized the dining room buffet immediately!!! I remember it sitting your folks house everytime I came and spent Sunday afternoons with Susan! some things just don’t change do they? I wish you could come to my house for about a week ( or 2! haha). you do wonderful work and it is fun to see what you have been up to.
    Love Kristen

  3. I love your outlook on painting, Rita! I’m a wood painter myself. 🙂 In fact, I’d have my entire walnut dining set painted white if I could get away with it! I enjoy seeing what you’re doing with your home — lovely job!

  4. I certainly struggled with that-to paint or not. And have kind of come to similar conclusions. If its not a family heirloom , or a fine antique, or is already painted, it’s fair game to paint. That being said, I have a lot of antiques. Our house is a 1930’s craftsman home and valued for the natural, warm brown trimwork and oak floors. It was hard to look at decorating blogs ,initially,that featured white kitchens,bathrooms and light, bright airy rooms. Part of me was just so envious. But then I happened upon blogs that featured craftsman restorations. And these home owners would go through hours of hard labor of stripping painted trimwork and floors. And I already had that. So I now embrace the warm intimacy of wood everywhere. My colors are rich and warm tans,greens and reds.
    I do have a sunny, yellow kitchen with white woodwork/ white cupboards. It was painted by previous owners and have no desire to strip it down.
    I think when your home has a lot of different wood going on, like your sons room,painting is very unifying. I have 2 sets of cupboards in my kitchen ,similar but a little different. But since I painted them all white, I’m sure no one realizes that they’re different.

  5. With today’s paint removers, you can sometimes remove as much as 5 coats of paint without too many hassles… you shouldn’t be scared that much to make experiments, especially when they give good results like this 😉

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