Story Starters

Affordable Hardwood Furniture: Personalize with Paint

In today’s housing market, many homeowners are deciding to upgrade their current homes instead of moving. But one challenge homeowners face is tackling home improvement projects without breaking the bank. The good news is many projects are attainable and don’t involve spending a bundle. One such project that can add beauty and personality to your home is incorporating unfinished American Hardwood furniture that can be painted to your liking.

“Paint adds so much light to furniture and to a room,” says decorative painter Michele Ambrozic. “It brings color in where you normally would not see it.”

Ambrozic, who sells custom-painted furniture in Pittsburgh, offers the following design tips to help make your American Hardwood furniture the best feature of your home.

  • Glazes can add a rustic feel to any piece of furniture. A hardwood with strong graining, like oak, can add contrast and texture to some of these finishes.
  • Use distressing techniques if you want an even more rustic feel. For a country French look, lightly sand edges and spots that would normally wear with time (you may need to use a tinted primer to get the look you want).
  • Check out the painting supplies at your local craft or home improvement store. You’ll find stamps, sponges and gloves designed to create special effects. Many stores also sell kits to create faux finishes, including marbling or crackling. Rub-on-transfers that look like painted designs can also add a special touch.
  • Look everywhere for designs you love. A china pattern or fabric design can often be mimicked in painted furniture. Red or blue toile designs, for example, look beautiful on a white piece of furniture.
  • Use different colors, patterns or designs to accent various parts of furniture, even parts as small as drawer pulls.

Last but not least, if you want the color of paint, but hate to hide the beauty of natural hardwoods, consider tinted stains. Minwax offers a line of water-based stains in 60 colors, including red, yellow, blue and green tones.

For more information on American Hardwoods and furniture design, visit

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