Hand painted furniture seems to be all the rage right now. Granted, it's usually not painted by the homeowner. It's usually painted by wherever the furniture store gets it. Then they slap a huge price tag on it and you get to take home your very own work of art. Here are some tips for making your own hand painted bedroom furniture, or at the very least save money on the items when you go shopping.
Fake it. You might want to get this expensive look but you don't have a lot of art skills. You have a few options with craft projects that will help you get the look for less. Try decoupaging old calendar prints to flat drawer fronts. Decoupage is basically a fancy word for gluing and varnishing paper in a way that it won't bubble. Use rose prints for a shabby chic style bedroom. You can also use wallpaper.
The hand painted bedroom furniture that you find in the stores looks effortless, like the furniture was just made with that beautiful pattern on it. A lot of that has to do with the simple, flowy patterns. Both ivy and flowers are a common theme. This doesn't give you license to go out and get a stencil. In fact that is almost a sure fire way to make your piece look crafty and overworked. Stencils look forced and often seem country or dated. You may find that with just a few online tutorials a lot of practice you can replicate the same look and form a new hobby all at once. Scrolls are another common theme in this furniture. Often a piece will look complicated but you can break it down into different stripes and diamonds for an intricate look that you can easily do yourself.
You'll want to pay special attention to the colors and materials used on hand painted furniture. Often, the piece is left in a dark stained wood tone. It may even be black or painted red. This helps balance a little masculine in with the feminine pattern. You might just want to choose different stains. The paint shouldn't be heavy. There really shouldn't be a lot of variation between the different colors. You can accomplish this with glaze or just start out with one color and slowly mix a few different tones into it. You'll also find a lot of gold accents on these pieces. When you finish you may need to put another glaze over top so that your hand painting isn't too glaring.
They key is to achieve a subtle perfection. This way it won't seem like a kindergarten project. You may have to rethink how you interpret colors. The natural inclination can be "flowers are pink, leaves are green". This could look like a little girls room. Instead stick with elegant neutral tones so the piece also looks like it's been carved or imitates inlaid wood.
Know when it's overkill. You might be tempted to go out and get the matching dresser, desk, armoire and nightstands. Oh yeah, don't forget the mirror and the headboard. This can make your room look like you just tore a page out of a catalog and said that you'd take everything. Plus, it doesn't have a lot of durability. You'll have to get rid of every single piece in the room when this trend goes out of style. Instead, look for a dresser that matches your existing furniture. A lot of the painting looks like it's trying to replicate wood so tie it in with what you already have.
Think about how many pieces of artwork you'd put in a small room. Maybe one or two right? This furniture already has art on it. So you might want to keep the rest of your furniture neutral. You may even need to skip the artwork on your walls and just paint the room a neutral color. This way the only pattern in the room (that expensive hand painted bedroom furniture) will really pop.
Another trick is to use dining room furniture in the bedroom. You'll find hand painted buffets all over the place. The Tuscan style transforms utility pieces into the look of Old World furniture, so why not use it for what it's pretending to be? Make a buffet work as a dresser. This may save you money and give you the exact look you are going for.
You can also give new life to night stands by hand painting them. If you are going with a travel or cheerful theme then make it look like a carved chest. Pull out bright yellows, blues and reds. This is a bold statement so realize that you'll have to repaint or junk the piece if it doesn't work out. Look to imported tile patterns and mix and match different patterns. You may even want to trace them and then carefully paint the motif on.
Creating hand painted furniture doesn't have to take weeks or months. It can be as simple as removing the hardware. Then put your favorite motif such as scroll work underneath it to give your hardware more presence and totally change the look of your furniture. Be aware that when you paint over wood there really isn't any going back. You'd either have to sand down the small part that you did paint and then refinish it or paint the entire piece. A little planning and research can help you know exactly what you are in for.
You might be uncomfortable with painting an image, or it just seems too feminine or difficult. You can still give new life to your furniture and give it that hand painted look. Start out with pieces that have a lot of scroll work. You can paint the inside panels of the drawers to look like faux leather or aged parchment. Paint the rest of the piece a solid color and then hit all of the carvings and details with a metallic paint. This is neutral but still has a big presence in the room.
Hand painted bedroom furniture adds a sense of history and character to any room. It makes a statement, but doesn't have to cost a fortune. You might even want to try refinishing your existing pieces yourself for a one of a kind look that you can be proud of.