I have a confession.
I’m a 37-year old woman who doesn’t want to chalk paint or milk paint all the things.
I know. Shameful.
Now, I acknowledge that some thrifted items need a good paint job. There are some types of wear and tear that you can’t come back from.
But I live in an apartment. I don’t have a garage to paint in, my kids would crash into whatever I could try to paint in the living/dining/multifunction area, and my landlord would frown on me painting my furniture out on the sidewalk. What’s an apartment dweller to do?
First, it’s important to remember that your house is your house.
That means that it should be a reflection of you (and, well, your family too, I GUESS). So even if all your friends have got their farmhouse decor on chippy-paint point, that doesn’t mean you need to feel left out.
So here are some things you can do if you have no way to paint.
Ok, don’t get sad, hear me out. I don’t really mean nothing. Some of the furniture you’ve already thrifted just needs to be accepted for what it is, and be seen as an opportunity to get creative with styling. Could you hide those mug rings with a tray? Could you layer some big fat coffee table books over the place where there’s a deep gouge in the paint? You have options, people.
2. Clean it.
Sometimes a piece just needs a good cleaning. I’ve found this to be the case with a number of items. My wall lamp (ain’t she cute?) was dust covered and dingy. I disassembled it and cleaned the individual parts, and now it’s as good as (early 00’s) new. I may paint the blonde wood at some point, but for now I’m embracing the aughts-chic.
3. Only buy furniture that you can love as is.
If you do not have the time, space, or money to repaint your furnishings, for goodness sake do not buy something with the idea that you’ll refinish it “someday”. You do not know what the future will bring. Work with the options you have now, and only bring home what you’ll love as is (or with the above treatments).
4. Recognize that your thrifted furnishings are already “distressed”
I once saw an end table at Target that looked exactly like a beat up stool. It was $60. I went to Goodwill and found a beat up stool. It was $3. It’s now my end table. And it’s solid wood, so it’s sturdier too.
Another example is my aforementioned coffee table. It’s a 1940’s mahogany veneer with intricate marquetry (inlay). In my opinion, painting it would remove all its character. It has some chips, wear, and dings. But I love it more than I would if it was brand new.
I hope that I’ve given you some ideas on what to do with what you have, and how to make good choices when thrifting in the future.
To the thrift store!