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Painted Dining Set

This looks like a much quicker project than it was. I love working with designers and decorators to help clients update pieces. This painted dining set was one of my favorites. I am only sorry I don’t have shots of the final pieces in place at their home.

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A local decorator contacted me about working with one of her clients. They were looking for ideas to keep their current dining set while giving it a fresher look. I headed to their house to get a feel for the whole space. It was fun to spitball ideas. You really can completely update pieces without completely changing everything.

Wood china cabinet in a dining room of client's home. full of china and light blue walls.
close up of top of china cabinet with tape and chalk lines on places to consider painting
bottom of china cabinet. layered square design with chalk and paint marks for area to paint.

Rather than paint the entire piece, we decided to try something a bit different. Highlighting some of the features and unique characters of the pieces would give it a completely different feel.

side of dining table with tape and chalk on area to be painted.

They have this unusual server too that just felt as though it didn’t belong with the set.

server in dining room of clients home. chalk and black panel to get a feel for the areas to add paint

Once we settled on the areas to highlight, they hired movers to bring them to my workshop. What a delight that was!

full view of china cabinet in workshop setting with wood panels over the doors after being dropped off by moving company.

I didn’t have to lift a finger and these nice gentlemen just brought everything in and set it up.

full view of dining table before paint added.

I was really impressed with how much care they took in wrapping and transporting everything to make sure it arrived safe and sound.

full view of front of dining server piece before paint added.
view of server piece with side visible

We all knew we wanted a REALLY deep dark blue but the Sherwin Williams deck we were working from didn’t have anything quite right. So I mixed up a custom color from In the Navy and Inkwell.

Sherwin Williams paints before mixing. In the Navy on the left and Inkwell on the right. Paint sticks in cans on top of wood surface

It’s always interesting to me how color changes from wet to dry paint.

mixed paint colors in a new container showing a deep black-toned navy color.

Then the tedious part began… taping. This was SUPER important and I was at it for hours. My shop has a lot of natural light, but after dark, it can be tricky. I pulled out my Ryobi Hybrid LED Work Light and was amazed at how much easier it made everything. The hybrid part is because it runs off both a battery and power cord. I really wish more tools had this option.

bottom of china cabinet in process of taping for new paint areas. A few areas have been primed as well. Entire space lit well with a Ryobi hybrid shop light plugged into an extension cord in rear and sitting on a stool.

Between taping, I was also priming everything. This step is really important because if you missed anything when you clean, primer gives you extra “insurance” to make sure everything adheres well. I had the primer tinted gray since the top coat was a dark color. It helps cut down on the number of final coats needed to cover everything completely.

view of china cabinet in painting process with primer added.

I went through a LOT of painting tape in the project and really got a good feel for how both Frog Tape and Scotch Blue perform.

Very top of china cabinet taped off ready for paint. Using Scotch Blue painting tape.

After all that priming and taping finally the color got to be added!

Server piece with first coat of paint added. Primer is still visible through the darker paint color.

It did take two full coats of paint to cover everything properly and I went back over a few areas a third time to be certain it looked the way I wanted it to.

side of server with second coat of paint added.

There was one part we were all uncertain of so when I got to that place, I was able to send the decorator a photo of the area painted and not painted so the client could choose which they preferred.

china cabinet painted with out the front edge painted.

I added a filter to the second photo to try to give them an idea of the true color of the paint. Our eyes can play such tricks on us sometimes.

close up of china cabinet front edge painted to choose which way the client would prefer.

In the end, they chose to have the ledge colored and I think the whole painted dining set came out beautifully!

China cabinet of painted dining set complete

The color highlights give the entire painted dining set a “Mid-Century” vibe and really make it much more modern.

table of painted dining set complete

The paint even gave the server a much less “moroccan” feel and it now felt like it belonged with the rest of the set.

front view of painted dining set server complete
front and side view of painted dining set server complete

The clients were absolutely thrilled with their pieces and I was happy to have been done with taping for a while. I will say this is still probably one of my favorite transformations.

Things I learned in this project:

  • Because of the multiple layers, wait for the paint to dry COMPLETELY before trying to remove the tape.
  • Using a utility knife to score the edges of the tape helps tremendously with removal.
  • Using small artists brushes help if you have a spot or two that need a touch up. (The white nylon bristles give the smoothest finish)
  • Frog Tape is honestly far superior to the Blue stuff. It’s more expensive for a reason…. it works REALLY well- just burnish those edges. (I explain that technique when painting my door and stair railings)

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pinnable image leading back to a post on a painted dining set

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