Home stagers on a budget -- celebrate with me, because painted furniture is the new look.

The design world has given us permission to paint those pine armoirs, those oak tables and even those (gasp!) mahogany china cabinets.

What We Get 

Let's look at what we gain when we put some paint on the furniture we're using for home staging.

Paint gives us unlimited color choices.

Paint disguises damaged, flawed furniture, saving us money.

Paint adds a clean, fresh look to our rooms.

Today's trend-conscious singles and young families relate to the informal, laid back look painted furniture creates.

Other buyers in all demographics respond well to the pretty-factor of painted furniture. They know they aren't buying furniture, but you and I know they are influenced by furniture.

What to Paint
Don't worry, antique hunters and lovers of stained wood, we won't destroy anything valuable.

We're staging with garage sale finds, not precious heirlooms. If what you're thinking of painting is 150 years old, belonged to your grandmother, or cost you more than a day's wages, don't.

Otherwise, get on your painting clothes.

You do have painting clothes. don't you?

Another favorite blogger who's an accomplished furniture painter is Centsational girl.  Great tutorials at http://www.centsationalgirl.com/tag/painted/
Kristi at Pink and Polka Dot, the slipcover queen, painted a Goodwill table white to match her chairs.  Look how much more important the hardwood floor looks. http://pinkandpolkadot.blogspot.com/
If you're still nervous about covering up natural-looking wood, remember that paint can be taken off furniture.  If you change your mind and need some stained wood furniture in a few years -- like for a man cave -- you can hand him the can of Strip-eeze.

What Colors 

Choose colors that are going to work with you in your staged home as well as your next home, neutrals like white, black or cream. For a little more personality, pale or mid-range grey, blue, or green are good choices.

Of course you'll tie your color to other colors in the room. If there are naturally finished wood pieces in the room, choose colors that are noticeably different. You do not want to look like you are imitating wood.  With a few painted pieces of furniture in the room, the wood pieces will look all the more glamorous. Trust me.

Wicker furniture is always charming. Here, these two wicker pieces make a good first impression because they are freshly painted. Painting wicker is usually a spray paint project.

What Finish

The finish you choose will depend on the style of the piece and the mood of your home. A high gloss sheen looks super on contemporary pieces, and in some formal settings, but furniture surfaces better be in good condition and well-prepped, because every pimple will show. You're safer with a semi-gloss or egg-shell finish.

What's first

Give yourself plenty of room for working on your piece, and good ventilation. Sand the piece well, using fine sandpaper. If it's a dresser, remove hardware and drawers. Go over the entire thing with a tack cloth to pick up dust. Prime with a stain-blocking primer like Zinsser Bullseye or Kilz. Water base primer and water base paints are the way to go.

Use a small roller or a good quality brush and keep checking your work for drips and runs. If you are painting a table or chair, start with it upside down first, and when the legs are done, flip it over to do the top.

If your project piece is small, it's probably easier to spray paint it. You won't have quite as many colors to choose from, and you need even better ventilation.

When the primer is dry, sand it lightly, and apply your first coat of color. Plan on three thin coats for a smooth finish that hides brush marks.  Sand lightly and tack off between coats.  Allow to dry for a full day before moving or adding hardware.
A coat of pale blue paint covered up the dings and
scratches in old these bamboo dining chairs. 

What style

It's common to buy painted furniture with slight distressing or other antiquing techniques.

Although aging furniture this way does add some warmth and character, I generally don't recommend furniture that smacks of shabby chic for staging. I love the look, but not everyone does, especially men buyers and people unfamiliar with the style.

So, give your staged home a new feeling. Paint some furniture, and you'll see what a welcoming air it creates.

What's next

You can find solutions to other budget, decorating, and furniture problems in my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. You can download it NOW and start creating the home that everyone wants.

Top photo: TheNester.com