Friend, I’m about to get very honest with you. There are so many things I cannot do. One of those things is bake a cake – I have tried and tried and it just never turns out (thank goodness bakeries exist!).
Another thing is: I can’t keep my house remotely clean and organized for more than a few hours – not with three messy boys and two dogs – nope, not happening. Something else I cannot do is keep a plant alive – heck I could probably kill a fake plant. And those are just a few examples.
But you know what? If I really practiced, learned some tips, had patience, and gave myself grace to make a few mistakes along the way, I’m pretty sure I could manage to do an okay (or even decent) job at some of those tasks.
So when I get emails from people who tell me they can’t paint furniture because they lack the confidence, I say YOU CAN DO IT. It takes practice, education, patience, and grace.
Don’t let fear or uncertainty scare you from trying something that you really want to do.
(And I bet many of those same people are phenomenal bakers, organizers, or gardeners!) *Friend, you might want to go read this post right now: Why Done is Better Than Perfect
Today’s post is all about easy painted furniture ideas that anyone can do. While each piece may have had different types of prep work involved due to wood finishes and repairs needed, I’ve handpicked these projects based on the simple painting techniques used.
Psssst: What’s the first step before painting furniture? –> Click here to read my detailed guide for prepping furniture for painting.
I invite you to look through the easy painted furniture ideas below and visit any of the posts for the full step-by-step tutorial. You’ll find furniture makeover ideas for dressers, side tables, chairs, bookcases, desks, and benches. You might be surprised at how easy some of these projects are, and some you could finish in only a few hours!
Easy Painted Dresser Ideas
These painted dresser ideas will inspire you to update your own outdated bedroom furniture.
The easiest way to update furniture is by choosing one paint color and giving it a fresh new look. You can even save money and paint the hardware.
If you only want to paint part of the dresser, leave other areas unpainted like the drawers. This is a quick update and you'll just need one color of paint, some painter's tape, and maybe some new drawer pulls.
With the layered paint look, imperfections are expected and welcomed. You'll need at least two paint colors and sandpaper for distressing.
The outside look of this dresser isn't very complicated - one color of paint, a stencil, and then sandpaper for distressing.
Dry brushing furniture is almost impossible to mess up. First, paint the piece in one color. Then with a tiny bit of paint on an almost-dry paint brush, lightly brush it all over your painted piece. It gives more dimension and some texture.
This one takes a little more effort but involves gluing a poster onto the drawer fronts. How cool is that? You might want to practice the technique on something smaller first if you haven't done decoupage before.
For this dresser makeover, use an easy rub-on image transfer to transform it into a stunning statement piece. Learn all the tips and tricks in this helpful blog post.
Easy Painted Side Table Ideas
Side tables are great starter projects because you can always find them for cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. Plus they're small, so they tend to be quick and easy makeovers.
Choose 2-3 paint colors and get busy layering for a unique textured look.
For a striking look, choose a bold color like dark gray and add new hardware that makes a statement. If you're feeling adventurous you can also add paper inside for decoupage drawers.
If the top is in great shape, leave it alone and paint the rest of the table. Add a small stencil on the side for a sweet touch.
This painted table idea includes painted stripes with a French stencil over the top. It looks difficult but it's actually quite easy!
This pair of nesting tables got a two-tone finish and coordinating easy rub-on image transfers on top.
Update old yellowed French Provinicial furniture with metallic paint. It's simple - start with a smooth surface and use primer before giving several coats of metallic paint. You'll end up with a stunning, expensive-looking makeover.
Easy Painted Chair Makeover Ideas
Don't be intimidated by updating a basic chair. As long as it's structurally safe, you can confidently tackle painting the wood and even changing out the seat cushion and fabric.
This chair was painted in one color and then distressed to let all the details pop. The seat was recovered in charming ticking fabric.
One of my very first projects was this plain wood chair. It turned out bright and fun in pink and white - so easy.
This old chair looks stunning now in blue paint and new grain sack fabric.
A simple yet beautiful update with white paint and new damask fabric.
Easy Painted Bookcase Ideas
Bookcases are great storage pieces not just for books, but for just about anything you want to be displayed. Here are some easy painted bookcase ideas that you can definitely learn to do.
Here's another example of how one paint color can completely transform outdated furniture.
This project is a little more advanced because it involves removing the back of the bookcase and gluing floral napkins onto it. You could make the technique easier by leaving the bookcase on and decoupaging old book pages on, for example.
For this project, I removed the back of the bookcase and stenciled it all over. Of course you could also try the stenciled look without removing the back.
Once again, I removed the back of this bookcase. If you have any experience with power tools (or someone to help you), cut thin wood planks for the new back. Here I whitewashed the planks before nailing them in place.
Easy Painted Desk Ideas
Studying won't seem as boring on a custom painted desk. Learn some simple techniques below.
This primitive desk was painted, aged with dark wax, and distressed with sandpaper for a rustic industrial finish.
A yellowed French Provincial desk was painted fresh white - with a fun pop of color inside the drawers.
Here are two separate pieces that were turned into a sweet set with similar paint colors and coordinating fabric on the chair seat.
Here's another mismatched pair made to look like a set - a painted metal desk and plain wood chair with grain sack stripes.
Easy Painted Bench Ideas
Bench makeovers are really just like chairs, but I couldn't leave these sweet & simple ideas off the list. Enjoy!
This oak bench just needed a little bit of paint and some distressing for a perfectly weathered finish.
This bench went through two different makeovers, finally winning with painter's drop cloth as the new fabric and stencils on top.
This bench is really just the lid from a busted cedar chest with modern hairpin legs added underneath. It takes a little bit of work but it's really not too hard!
Similar to the weathered wooden bench above, this one was given a distressed finish and a stencil was added to the seat.
Some fresh paint and new fabric easily gave this thrifted vanity bench a completely updated look.
We all start at the beginning, with no experience whatsoever. You can read my story and learn about my first project here if you’d like – for some reason I thought it would be fun to redo a huge TV armoire, ha.
Friend, I hope these easy painted furniture makeover ideas have given you some encouragement to go for it! If any of these techniques sound like something you’d try, would you leave me a comment below? Or if you have any other simple painted furniture or decor ideas, feel free to chime in and share so we can all benefit.
I’m cheering you on! – Jen
Where is a good source for hairpin legs?
Jen, Girl in the Garage says
Hi Glenda, I’ve ordered them off Amazon before. They’re very reasonably priced and they have many height options: https://amzn.to/2SBEu7f
Hi Jen! All of your pieces are beautiful. I think my favorite is the white desk with the red, flowered drawers. STUNNING!!! Where do you buy your drawer pulls, specifically the large keys and the spigot thingy’s. (I’m sorry, I can’t think what they are called 🤣)
Jen, Girl in the Garage says
Thank you so much Kim! Each post usually says where I bought the hardware from, but I often find really unique ones from Hobby Lobby (and they’re 50% off every other week!). I’ve also found a lot of vintage-looking card catalog pulls and pretty crystal knobs on Amazon. Hope that helps! 🙂
Joann J Moree says
Hello Jen! very nice furniture ideas you have shared. I liked your floral bookcase with napkins. Really nice makeover.
Manco Painting says
Amazing! Thank you for sharing these ideas!