Asked on Jul 27, 2015

Ways to update my Mediterranean bedroom furniture?

Kerry Holmes
by Kerry Holmes
I want to redecorate my master bedroom, which right now looks very European / Mediterranean - especially the furniture. I don't have a problem deciding on what I want to do with the walls, floors, windows, lighting, etc; but I'm procrastinating starting the project because every time I look at my very Tuscany looking bedroom set, I draw a blank. The dresser and night stands have very dark marble tops. The wood is a deep, dark mahogany; there dark brown iron scrolls on everything, and especially the bed head and footboard. Ideally, I'd like a transitional, traditional leaning, tranquil space: a space that is timeless and not so "themed". I just don't have the funds to buy new bedroom furniture ... any ideas on how to make the furniture I have look more transitional would be most appreciated! I'm attaching pictures of the furniture. There is also a large TV armoire that has all the same features. I could actually get rid of that piece and get some kind of unobtrusive flat screen TV stand.
I know removing the mirror from the dresser would help ... but there's still that dark marble top and all the iron scrollwork at the bottom.
Full shot of dresser mirror
There are iron posts like this on both of the bottom corners of the bed
One of the dressers ... another "Tuscan" element are the drawer handles on all the furniture.
This is the marble that is the top surface of dresser and night stands.
Close up of iron scrolls at bottom of dresser and night stands
  14 answers
  • CJ CJ on Jul 27, 2015
    My very heavy, bulky bedroom furniture looks like something pulled off a pirate ship from England in the 1700's so I feel your pain. I am choosing to chalk paint the pieces in pale grey and antiquing it with rich brown stain. The hardware will be oil rubbed bronze. You could try something like that.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jul 27, 2015
    Honestly loose the old furniture. As far as I can see there is no way to update.
  • Teri Broberg Teri Broberg on Jul 28, 2015
    Oh my gosh! I would love to get my paintbrush on that furniture. The lines and features are gorgeous! You need to discover chalk paint. You can paint right over varnished wood, metal, or even marble. There are several brands of quality chalk paint on the market. Annie Sloan's, CeCe Caldwell's, American Paint Company. They each have their own color palette. I would trust any of those three brands. Order sample jars, or better yet, find a local dealer who can advise you if there are any. The most helpful people in the world are fellow chalk-painters.
  • Kerry Holmes Kerry Holmes on Jul 28, 2015
    Thanks Teri; but I think this furniture needs more than paint. And would you paint all the rustic dark iron on the bed and trim as well? I'm afraid what it needs to satisfy me would take a creative carpenter, paint, and definitely new hardware. I wouldn't even know what to tell the carpenter to do ...
    • Teri Broberg Teri Broberg on Jul 29, 2015
      @Kerry Holmes The rustic dark iron on the furniture is beautiful. That is the sort of thing that highlights well with chalk paint. I would distress the paint so that the edges of the iron detailing is visible. If you distress with a wet cloth, you won't scratch the metal (in case you change you mind about it, and want to restore it someday). But, it sounds like you don't like the furniture. I think the furniture is beautiful, but heavy and dark. That is why I suggested chalk paint. You could commission someone where you live that has a portfolio that you can look at. There are so many talented furniture painters out there. They should be able to describe a vision for it. It would cost you nothing to look into it, and these ladies have done amazing things with a lot less.
  • Dee Dee on Jul 28, 2015
    The iron can be painted with Rustoleum. Chalk paint can be tedious but worth it if done correctly. If you had a paint sprayer you could use a latex paint with glaze or dark wax. This is going to be a project not something fast and easy. Pinterest has lots of tutorials on painting furniture.
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jul 28, 2015
    Since updating your furniture would require painting, why not sell it for whatever you can get for it and then go bargain hunting for pieces that you like better (and won't mind painting).If you can't sell it, donate it and take a tax right off. I have furnished every bedroom in my house with "finds" that cost me only a few hundred dollars for headboard, dresser, chest, night stands,etc. None of my pieces matched when I bought them, but through the magic of paint, they are now cohesive. Each piece I buy is solid wood and in great condition except for the color. Why spend the time & effort redoing something that you don't like. Spend that effort redoing simple solid pieces that won't go out of style. You don't have to have the whole room at one time. Start looking at thrift stores, goodwill, salvation army & garage sales. The hunt is half the fun. When you find a piece you like, buy it and redo it and replace your current piece. It won't be long before you have completed your redo and you will love it instead of regretting settling for something you don't like.(You can buy a simple bed frame to support your mattress/box springs for about $40 and then attach a headboard when you find one you like.)
  • Mary-Ann Mary-Ann on Jul 29, 2015
    Your furniture is beautiful, but theme rooms are a little dated these days. I agree with debi53. Someone with a bed and breakfast would love this furniture. If that does not work, you could replace your drapes, remove the themed bedspread and replace with a hotel type bed dressing. Get rid of the wallpaper panel over the bed or update it. The entire idea is to simply streamline and make classic. Then your furniture would look lovely.
  • Kerry Holmes Kerry Holmes on Jul 29, 2015
    Good advice, debi53 and Mary-Ann. If I don't come up with any more satisfactory solutions, I may choose to do one or the other of your ideas. To be honest, I am NOT a DIY'er - in fact, I remodeled the downstairs area of my house this past year (one of the main reasons I now can't even think about buying new bedroom furniture!) and had several antique pieces upscaled / painted - and paid someone else to do it. Even with the cost of paying a professional to do the painting, I know I can save money shopping for used pieces that have the right lines and are well made and then painting them the color I want. The only problem this presents is that I don't have a pick-up truck so getting furniture to and from anywhere is a hassle. I don't even know anyone with a truck well enough to ask for their help. I had to pay a moving company to transport the pieces I had painted downstairs from the shop where they were painted to my house. This isn't such a bad plan if you are transporting all the pieces at one time; but most moving companies have a trip charge and a 2-3 hour minimum - so you're going to pay the same amount for every individual piece you have moved. This makes Debi53's idea (looking around and replacing each piece as I find something I like) much more expensive ...
  • Ozzys Girl Ozzys Girl on Jul 30, 2015
    You could sell it. Depending on your budget will you get enough to buy what you want. ? If you paint what you have you can always reprint when you change up again. I use a Deglosser I get it at homedepot in a white plastic bottle blue letters. It's like sanding in a bottle. It works great I used on a china cabinet. You have a lot of detail but would great aged out. The iron I have not felt with but you can spray paint it they have so many now I'm sure 1 to fit what your doing. And you could start looking at thrift stores might get lucky find at a price you can afford and sell old. Also check consignment stores might get all in one place buy and sell.
  • Diana Diana on Jul 30, 2015
    Sell it and shop local consignment or craigslist. The design is really to distinctive to alter with paint, etc. and you probably won't be satisfied after you paint it. Potentially, painted the value won't be as high.
  • Donna Pace- Blahut Donna Pace- Blahut on Aug 01, 2015
    I would paint it with a cream color that would go with the tops, then accent with gold.The same with the headboard and footboard. It would brighen things up.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 03, 2022

    You could add a bit more gold to help lighten up the suite. use rubbing wax on some of the inner moldings etc. Also add colour into the room by using maybe Turquoise or Maybe go for Opulence - Rich colours on Bed etc.

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 05, 2022

    Just removing the attached mirror to my dresser made a big difference. The scrolled work on the mirror really dates it.

  • You could try painting it but, if you really want something new, try selling it at a consignment store and then get something more to your liking - maybe at that consignment store!