Should I paint my Ethan Allen furniture if I want to sell it?


I just bought this Ethan Allen dresser for $50. Clearly, there needs to be some work done to it. I dont know if I should paint it black and replace the handles and give it a modern look or if I should try and keep the look as original as possible by just sanding down all the scuff marks and staining the wood. I also dont know how to price it and where would be the best place to sell. I know people sell on Craigslist, Offer up, Facebook market place; however, a lot of people sell for cheap on there so I was wondering if there are specific groups to join to sell this for an appropriate value.

q should i paint my ethan allen furniture if i want to sell it
  16 answers
  • Personally, I would sand and stain the top and paint the rest. As for selling, all of the places you mentioned are good. It just depends on the area you live in. You can look for buy/sell groups online - facebook has many.

  • Judy in Canton. Judy in Canton. on Aug 04, 2021

    I would try to get a price as it looks now and then compare it to your costs and labor if you were to change it, If you do chose to refurbish it I would definitely change out the white knobs and stain it a lighter wood tone.

  • Seth Seth on Aug 04, 2021

    Depends on how much work you want to do on it. You could sell it as a project piece for someone to customize the way they want it or you do it and hope to get more money. You are looking in all the right places in terms of selling it. The only other suggestion I have would be a consignment shop, but you would have to deliver it there.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 04, 2021

    Hello. Thats tricky. You may want to check your local pricing and see active listing ranges. Supply and demand review.

    Painting your furniture will take lots of time paint product I’m not sure if the market would increase the profit enough to warrant the work if demand is there.

    People are very successful painting furniture. Have a look at one of my favorite blogger she sells painted furniture all the time.

    From the link below -You will see an overwhelming library of her chalk painted flips.Hope this helps.

  • William William on Aug 04, 2021

    I love the mixture of paint and wood. Paint the case. Stain the top and drawers.

    Here are some ideas from other Hometalkers

  • Em Em on Aug 04, 2021

    It is a lot of work but would probably bring up the value quite a bit if you chalk paint it. As it sits it is pretty rough. A neutral like grey with a bit of antiquing will make it look like a TOTALLY different piece of furniture. Go for it.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 04, 2021

    Definitely fix it up first. Painting a off white with a brown glaze and replacing all the pulls will increase the pricing. As far as a fair price in your area, I would go on a few sites and see what similar painted pieces are going for.

    As a tip, I usually scuff with fine steel wool then clean with TSP as a prep. Then prime and paint. I know chalk paint is very popular however it does scratch easily so keep that in mind. It's supposed to be a no prep and that's why people love it but prep isn't that bad IMO.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Aug 04, 2021

    I agree with a few of the other answers. Right now the stain and paint combo look is really popular so should give you the biggest bang for your buck. I would think a piece refinished like that could go easily for $200+ Yes Facebook marketplace tends to go pretty inexpensive but that's not always the case and if people can easily come just pick it up they'll be more willing to pay more as well.

    Here's an example of a gorgeous paint and stain combo here on Hometalk:

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Aug 04, 2021

    I would first find the maker's mark on the piece so you know precisely its age. Price out what such a rough piece is selling for vs one that is fixed up. You can figure you reno costs and then decide what the smartest thing to do is.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Aug 04, 2021

    Paint and wood refinishes would be nice, you could also put some wood transfers on it to glam it up.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Aug 04, 2021

    most states or areas have online yard sales - look on there and also to see what used furniture is selling for to give you an idea for your area

  • Mogie Mogie on Aug 04, 2021

    Sand it down and refinish it. Clean up the hardware and possibly paint it. That will make a huge difference. I would wait until stripping the dresser to decide what to do next. The look of the wood will determine that.

  • The best thing to do with this is to sand it down and stain the top, just paint the rest. And there a lot of Facebook groups available where you can sell this piece for a reasonable price.

  • Is your goal to sell it? You could try selling it as is, see if you get any feedback. After that I’d sand and restain, leaving paint as a last option. Unless it’s in bad shape, then painting it might be best.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Aug 06, 2021


  • Sharon Sharon on Aug 08, 2021

    I wouldn't do black if your planning on painting as thats an 80s look, and you will also have to change all the hardware if going modern. A medium gray might be a better option as many folks are painting their bedrooms gray.

    You could make it look more country by sanding the top down and strip the stain from the top and restain either a pine color. Then paint the rest of the dresser and off white or country blue chalk paint.

    You have to know your market, visit some local used furniture and boutique furniture places to see what is popular where you live. You might introduce yourself to the shop owner, and see if they might be in the market for some repurposed furniture. Show her a picture of the piece and see what she might like done to it for a consignment piece.