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  • Melissa Geskie

How to Design a Colorful Furniture Makeover

How do you design a piece? How do you choose color? I get a lot of questions about this topic, let's dive into furniture as ART!

Art is generically defined as something that has been created with imagination and skill, and which is deemed as adding beauty. When we say art, many would think of museums filled with paintings and sculptors. If pushed, they may begin to consider music, theatre, and literature. For me, I find art when I look at furniture.

My own journey to becoming a painted furniture artist started when I purchased a buffet to update for my own home. I found I was able to breathe new life into a solid piece of wood furniture through cleaning, repairing, and painting. My journey began with neutral colors and simple updates. But, as I began to explore products I saw even more opportunity, soon I was incorporating vivid and bold colors and striking designs. I found inspiration everywhere, including the people who reached out to me for custom pieces. I started with neutral colors but quickly moved onto bold color choices. I started taking inspiration from nature, beautiful textured flowers and patinas, old doors, and color. There is something very gratifying in painting and designing your own piece. Today, I use a variety of techniques - including ombre, stripes, gold leaf, and appliques (Check out Woodubend! It's an amazing way to add decor to old furniture!)- to create bold, functional artwork.

When I look at a discarded piece of furniture I don’t see broken and derelict, instead, I see possibility. I approach each piece with an open mind - I’m not bound by era or style. For me, time periods are a starting point, not a destination. For example, an art deco waterfall armoire from the 20s may be transformed into a boho-chic with butterflies. In an Eastlake turn of the century style washstand, I may see a farmhouse charmer. When I stumble upon flat front dresser with no charm or detail, a scene - perhaps a farm or underwater - comes to mind. In a curvy neglected vanity I envision a gilded mad hatter design.

Wondering where to start?

Find your furniture. You could start with what you have, or wanted to keep due to sentimental value but is hidden away because it doesn't fit your decor. Garage sales, secondhand stores, and online auction houses are other great places to find diamonds in the rough.

Assess your piece. What does it need repair in terms of repair? My trusted go-to is Dixie Belle’s Mud to fix veneer issues and fill holes and gaps in one easy step. Please CLICK HERE to watch a simple video on how to assess and repair damages.

Give it a deep clean. Find or create excellent lighting and get to work scrubbing down your piece, inside and out with White Lightning. It’s amazing what you can find in old furniture, that might inspire your finished design. Over the years, I’ve stumbled upon old coins, love letters, and other memorabilia I’ve woven into the final story of my piece. Be sure you don’t rush this step, you want to make sure there’s no oil or residue that can impede your final product. Once it’s cleaned, rinse with water and allow it to dry.

Buying vintage furniture and updating is not a new trend. Recycling and passing furniture down from generation to the next has always been present. It’s a great way to help the environment and save old furniture from the garbage dump. Dixie Belle paint products can help you with tutorials, blogs, and Brand Ambassadors that paint live weekly on social media. Even the most simple painting technique can help take your furniture from basic to art in your home, with your help.

Want to learn more? Check out and shop Dixie Belle here


The Top Drawer RVA

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