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Asked on Aug 8, 2013

THE DREADED PURPLE CABINET/DRESSER! What to do?

Kathryn BotardPorta Verde StudioLiz
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Answered

This lovely old girl was painted a deep purple and when I started stripping it (which has taken me almost 3 days), the purple had stained the wood. Add to that, she's got some pretty deep scratches. Now I don't mind refinishing some of the wood but I'm not sanding or bleaching this whole piece. I couldn't make my money back on it for the time and materials. What would you suggest? I thought about white with some wood showing but I'd like to do something special. It will NOT be painted in chalk paint. Do you think blue or green would look nice.
q the dreaded purple cabinet dresser what to do, chalk paint, painted furniture
q the dreaded purple cabinet dresser what to do, chalk paint, painted furniture
q the dreaded purple cabinet dresser what to do, chalk paint, painted furniture
27 answers
  • Kimberly Barney
    on Aug 8, 2013

    I'm thinking a combination of dark brown and robin egg blue would be a nice combination. The legs and top could be painted the dark brown while the rest of the cabinet, robin egg blue with maybe a stenciled design on the larger doors with the dark brown.

  • MaryKay@Studio23Thirty
    on Aug 9, 2013

    It's a beautiful piece. Personally I would do a distressed ivory and light sand and let some of the purple come through.

  • Ann Sanetick
    on Aug 9, 2013

    What if you just sanded the top and the legs and stained them a deep brown? Then paint the rest of the piece whatever color you like - a light blue or green, like you said, would be pretty. This saves you from having to sand the entire piece ( I don't blame you there! ). It is a beauty!

    • Porta Verde Studio
      on Aug 9, 2013

      @Ann Sanetick I was thinking of staining the top, the back board and the two top drawers in dark walnut and paint the rest ivory. What do you think?

  • Madelyn
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Be sure that you prime it first so that the purple will not bleed through. For a more unusual look you could paint the frame and legs and apply mirror panels to the flat parts of the piece. You could also do a mercury glass treatment on some glass and make panels to cover it. If you do one of these finishes, use mirror adhesive to apply the panels. Mirror adhesive will not cause the paint on the back of the mirror or glass to break down. You could also apply a metallic spray paint or leaf. It would look very high-end.

    • Porta Verde Studio
      on Aug 9, 2013

      @Madelyn I'd love to try this out on something for myself or a client that was willing to pay. This piece has already been spoken for in a painted or stained finish. I use Zinsser primer on most of my projects since it has stain blocker and also has really good adhesion.

  • Madelyn
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Ha! You are an experienced furniture painter.

  • Veronica Patrick
    on Aug 9, 2013

    why not just put a clear poly on it and leave it at that, it is a beautiful piece of furniture.

  • Colleen
    on Aug 10, 2013

    The front doors look like they could use some type of stenciling,or pattern to it.

  • Ann Sanetick
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I think it would look really nice. I did something similar with my dining room table - stained the top dark walnut and painted the apron and legs ivory and I love it! It was an easy project, too!

    • Floy
      on Aug 10, 2013

      @ @Ann Sanetick I think this is a great idea. I was going to say the same thing myself.

  • Kat Tellez
    on Aug 10, 2013

    Actually, I kind of like that weathered look it now has. I happen to like purple too, so that may be another reason I think it looks nice as is.

  • Jossi
    on Aug 10, 2013

    LOL Invest the $40 in a random orbital sander and sand it. You'll be done in less than an hour, and will have the sander for future use. Then, prime well with 2 coats of latex primer. I like Zinssner's in the blue/white can. (you'll have left over for another piece). THEN paint it whatever color you like ! You can also rough it up by hand or with the sander well after the paint has dried for a rustic look...or not. Remove and clean the hardware. Maybe spray paint it too. I don't ever strip anything ! I sand every piece, and it works so well ! Have fun !

  • Camille
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I'm with Jossi - I don't strip anymore..give me my sander. This is a wonderfully shaped piece!! I like the idea of the stained top and legs, then paint the rest in a light blue. It will be gorgeous any way you do it.

  • Mssmatch
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I'm with Kat on this one but which ever way u decide to go please show the results!

  • Judy
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I had a similar problem, but the wood was stained red. I put a dark walnut stain on, and the effect was beautiful! The "blotchy" (for lack of a better word) look added to the charm. I figured if it looked bad, I could always paint. I think I would try a stain, just because I liked the effect of the small piece I did so much.

  • Christine
    on Aug 10, 2013

    Woah Nellie! I had a fuschia refinishing project! Here's what I learned -- with out sanding and without repainting: First, get your bad self some Citristrip. It is nontoxic, smells good, doesn't burn and you don't need a space suit to use it. Put it on 1/8" think as per directions and go to bed. Go to work. Just LEAVE IT. Your layers will come off in sheets (I have pictures!). I am doing 15 antique doors and I do a door a weekend. Plus, it's so easy I've done 3 kitchen cabinets and my mahogany front door and sidelights at the same time. Then, to get stain out, put another layer on. Yes, even the purple/pink/red/burgundy mess. The Citristrip will start to look like BBQ sauce. Still, give it at least 20 minutes. Use a plastic scraper and scrape down all the goop. Now, get a rough kitchen scrubbie and WATER (not mineral spirits) and scrub off the remaining goop and color. Scrub with the grain and it removes almost 100% of the remaining stain. I've had doors where I had to put a bit more on, but all in all, it's A.M.A.-zing! I haven't mentioned that: 1) I haven't sanded a thing, although I'll probably 220 it before I put my finish on. 2) I'm down to lovely bare woods 3) It teaches patience when you must leave it alone. 4) I did the cabinets in the kitchen -- no smell. Factory finish took 2 coats. 5) Paint comes off in wrinkles and if it dries? It doesn't settle back down on the wood. You can pull it off with your hands. 6) On a windy day this week, I layered plastic wrap on the door to keep it wet. This is important because the stripper doesn't dissolve it. ("It" being the plastic wrap!) 7) do NOT wipe down with Mineral Spirits. It dissolves the stain back into the wood and you have a horrible pink/red/burgundy/blah blah mess again and you just have to reapply the Citristrip. I'd do ads for this stuff. But don't give up and don't go ruining your wood with a sander. Be careful with any detail, because the extended period of stripper on the detail can make the wood soft. I use an eyeglass repair tiny screwdriver to pick out the detail or corners. This is actually fun.

    • Porta Verde Studio
      on Aug 15, 2013

      @Christine Well, I couldn't find it in Canada but found a similar product called Smartstrip which is much less evil than my toxic, burning stripper! I'll let you know how it works out. As for the purple dresser, she is now white with natural stained wood. I'll be posting pics soon!

  • Hilliriah Jacobs
    on Aug 10, 2013

    i love the purple, it's a beautiful piece of furniture. i would sand it and paint it green with a nice floral stencil (the color should be your choice you are the one who is gonna live with it)

    • Kathryn Botard
      on Sep 3, 2014

      @Porta Verde Studio Why do you not want to paint with chalk paint? I've seen on a blog where a lady did not like chalk paint. Do you have any info to share? I haven't gotten in to the chalk paint craze yet. It's kinda expensive.

  • Sandy Tyler
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I would paint the body of it a medium brown,then the drawers,legs,and the top a lovely hunter green,with nice crystal pull knobs..my friend had a side table,she painted the top the same as i have suggested here,and the rest hunter green,its gorgeous..and yes,it has dings and things in it,but that just adds character to the piece..just my opinion..:)

  • Frankieh
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I would put a nice stencil on the front doors, then sand the stencil until it looked faded. Then, I would give the whole piece a rubdown with an old amber or walnut glaze and finish off with satin varnish. Maybe even add touches of gold metallic that has been sanded and scratched.

  • Christine
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I don't know if it's available in Canada, but I picked it up at both HD and Lowe's. If it came in 5 gallon buckets, I'd buy it. Speaking of buckets, I scrape the sludge into a drywall bucket lined with a simple store plastic bag. It doesn't eat the bag. I also hear that Soygel is even better than this. I can't find this locally, but frankly, I don't care. This stuff is a stripping dream come true!

  • Denise Rankin
    on Aug 11, 2013

    I think anything mentioned so far would look great. Just make sure you are gentle with the piece, it has wonderful form. A stencil across the drawers would be an interesting feature. Good luck and have fun!

  • Eleanor G
    on Aug 11, 2013

    I liked it purple! But good luck on finishing it. I would use an orbital sander on it also, much easier.

  • Gail lichtsinn
    on Aug 12, 2013

    If you have it stripped and sanded you might be able to stain it with a red based stain like red mahogany or cherry..I think it you paint it your going to have to seal it first..Red bleeds through..

  • My Wonderful Walls
    on Aug 12, 2013

    Beautiful piece but I think no matter what you do if you try to go too light it may not work. I like the idea of doing it a cherry or mahogany color.

  • April E
    on Aug 12, 2013

    what about decoupage instead of paint the lines of this piece make it a great candidate for such a finish. I have used old grocery sacks wadded up to give it creases, and over stained before sealing it to get a great "leather" look.

  • Sia@South 47th
    on Aug 13, 2013

    @Jacqui , what EVER you do it will be beautiful. @Porta Verde Studio painting and restoring is truly heirloom quality. I loved it purple, but obviously your client didn't LOL!! I'd LOVE to see you do this in a shade from the 'Green" family, with some of the wood showing. What do you plan on doing with the inside? Painting it the same as the outer main body or staining it to match whatever wood colour that will show outside, (if you choose to show any)? Can't WAIT to see this one!!! Oh will you be using Chalk Paint? JUST KIDDING!!!!!! xoxoxoxx

  • Liz
    on Aug 16, 2013

    I know what ever you decide, it will be gorgeous! Any progress???

  • Kathryn Botard
    on Sep 3, 2014

    Lol, the dreaded purple cabinet/dresser. Your title made me smile.

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