Painting tips for carved furniture

I think it is time that I should give a little more information about my current decorating dilemmas, so I am going to start with the paint colors in my house. I feel quite sure that I am not the only one who has this problem… MY HUSBAND DOESN’T WANT ME TO PAINT THE WALLS OR THE WOODWORK IN OUR HOUSE. Hmmm…I wonder if this is because he really loves the existing colors or if he doesn’t want me to solicit his help with the project. Well either way, I need to do some painting! So while I am carefully trying to trick him I mean talk him into painting the walls, I will take my painting frustrations out on the furniture…


While shopping at a local antique mall I found this pretty little carved French table which has lots of detail. Yes, it is nice and perfectly finished as seen here but I already have too much stained wood in my home, which is why I painted it a dark warm gray. I did, however, leave the top unpainted so that the beauty of the wood could be admired. Here is what I did…


I began with my favorite paint recipe found here, where you can also find my basic furniture painting instructions.


I then set the table upside down on a larger table protected by a piece of cardboard. (When possible I like to set smaller pieces on a standard height table or counter so that I won’t have bend over quite so much while painting.) I Painted from the bottom of the piece and worked to the top which minimized the mess ups to the top of the furniture while I painted the bottom. Painting upside down first allowed me to hit the piece from different angles insuring that I got better coverage.


I  painted the recessed areas first and filled in the raised areas afterwards.


Next, I painted the carved legs. I loaded the tip of my brush with paint and dabbed it into the crevices with a pouncing motion. (This technique is very helpful when painting heavily carved pieces.) I then painted the raised areas smoothing out and bumps that the the dabbing created.


After I finished painting the legs while the table was upside down I turned the table right side up and finished painting the base, insuring that I hit all the areas I missed while painting from the other direction


Here you can see the unpainted areas I missed while painting the piece upside down. I filled in these spots and swiped over any other areas that needed a little extra paint.


Tip: I like to keep wipes and paper towels handy to clean up my mistakes.


Here is another shot of the table after it has been painted. I hope this has been helpful. Any questions? Feel free to email me or post a question in the comments section below.

Now that I have this project done I will be looking for another one to continue my decorating goals while I reassure Craig that it will be ok to paint the walls. Wish me luck!



Furniture Feature Fridays

12 thoughts on “Painting tips for carved furniture

  1. Just tell Craig I’ll be right over…. We don’t need any help , those walls could be colorful in no time!
    Xoxo, M.A.

    LOVE your blog!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Ahh! You are such a good friend! Thanks so much! You do need to come over soon; I miss you! And you don’t have to paint. We’ll just drink lots of coffee!!

  3. I love this post! I’ve been wanting to learn how to do this. The table is gorgeous. Now, I just need a bigger house to hold some new furniture!

    • Kim, that is a good question. Most of the time I just sand it smooth and call it finished because I like a very matte, velvety look. You may prefer more protection, in which case, I suggest using either Briwax or a water based polyurethane. Hope this helps. I will write more information about finishes in tomorrows post.

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  5. Hi Renee, the grout gives the paint a very matte finish and I think that it helps the paint stick well. The other can must be the container I mixed the recipe in. Happy painting! ~Kristie

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