Some of my least favorite words to hear are “I just want to paint it white.”
I really try to avoid painting anything white . . . Not because I don’t like the style, but more so because I want to be creative and try something new and fun.
I know I’m probably sounding snobby, and I promise I’m not meaning to be! Not liking to paint things white is really a result of one of my (many) character flaws.
This specific one is called “Getting Easily Bored.” It’s true, I’m like a 7 year old when it comes to painting furniture: You know the child who is 3 days into summer vacation and turns to you and says, “Mom, I’m bored!” That’s me.
But truthfully, painting a piece white is almost never a bad move. White is classic, timeless, elegant, and if you paint pieces to sell, then white is an easy seller.
So in an effort to re-ignite my passion for painting furniture white (and maybe your passion too), I’m going to share 4 pieces of mine that show different ways of how to “do white.”
A piece painted white doesn’t always have to follow the exact same formula–you can change out the style to refresh the look by using different techniques and different paints. Let’s make white fun again!
Solid and Sleek
This is probably the style of white we are all most familiar with–painting an entire piece a solid white. This style works well in a space with a lot of cool colors and will lighten up a piece of furniture dramatically. This china cabinet was such a heavy looking piece, but painting it a solid white makes it blend in more to the background and not take up so much visual space.
White with Wood
One way to change-up the solid and sleek style is to paint only part of the piece white, leaving some of the warmer wood tones still showing. Personally, I think this style works best on smaller-scale pieces. It creates a lot of contrast, and lots of contrast on a large piece of furniture can take over a room.
When you pair white with wood though, it keeps the white from looking so sterile. It warms it up and adds a little more visual interest to the piece.
Another way to warm up a piece painted solidly in white is to add an antiqued finish to the white, using either a glaze or a dark wax. If I am going to paint a piece solid white and not distress at all (usually because the underneath surface is a weird color), I almost always add an antiqued finish.
I think the solid white really benefits from having just a little bit of depth to it. And when you can’t get that by doing some mild distressing, adding an antiqued finish is the way to go.
Primitive and/or Whimsical
Lastly, you can change up the solid white finish by making the white paint very distressed or “chippy,” like with my Cherry Blossom dresser. If you want this look, milk paint is the way to go. You can read more about milk paint and how I use it here.
Adding some fun, whimsical details to a white-painted piece also will give it a little more life. The flowers on the dresser above are hand-painted, and I promise it’s not near as hard as it looks! In fact, I wrote a post a while back walking through how to hand-paint designs the easy way. If it seems too difficult for you though, you can get the same look using a stencil.
So there you have it: 4 different styles for white painted furniture. Now we can take white and make it a little more interesting and fun!
And. if you’re looking for more white painted furniture ideas, you may enjoy these other white painted pieces: