walnut and white credenza and an unusual use for a brown paper bag, painted furniture, The hardware is original patina and all

Walnut and White Credenza and an Unusual Use for a Brown Paper Bag.

This was a custom job. I used Minwax Antique Walnut stain and Benjamin Moore Linen White for the piece. A trick: use a brown paper bag to smooth down your newly stained surfaces. It has just enough grit to settle any areas that are slightly rough. I used the bag before applying the Varathane semi-gloss poly sealer.

try this red technique on your next piece, chalk paint, painted furniture, The finished piece

Try this red technique on your next piece

If you love red furniture, you might want to try this super technique. In a nutshell, here's what I did: I painted the piece in maroon homemade chalk paint, then applied two coats of red paint/glaze, then rubbed on/off Minwax Red Mahogany stain, then finished it with Minwax Wipe-on Poly for protection. You can visit my blog to get more detailed instructions along with a couple of product recommendations.

main disadvantage of using homemade chalk paint, chalk paint, painted furniture

Main Disadvantage of Homemade Chalk Paint

Although it's less expensive than Annie Sloan and other commercial chalk paints, homemade chalk paint has its disadvantages. As you can see in my pictures below, it leaves white specs on the piece, even after sanding to a smooth finish. Those specs come from the Plaster of Paris that I use to convert latex paint to chalk paint. Sometimes I love that texture... other times I don't. Although it's super convenient to grab any can of latex paint from my supply and convert it, I have to say that Annie Sloan and other commercial chalk are better.

best yard sale find gets serious makeover, painted furniture

Best yard sale find gets serious makeover!

Chairs might be my least favorite type of furniture to paint. It seems to always take more time than I expect. But the result is always worth it. This chair is no exception. We found it at a yard sale for $20. I didn't even negotiate the price as I could tell it was well worth it! Here is the before and after shot. Visit my blog for more info on how I did the transformation.

a dresser inspired by astronomy, painted furniture

A Dresser Inspired by Astronomy

An idea has been brewing in my head for over two years and this dresser is the first attempt to make the idea a reality. It's inspired by astronomy maps, something that has always fascinated me. It's been painted two shades of gray and heavily sanded with 60 grit sandpaper. The lines were hand drawn and are imperfect in the execution.
Tip: I find that if I'm planning to paint an image or design on a dresser, the simpler the dresser, the better. More ornate dressers compete with the design. That's why either waterfall dressers from the art deco era or mid century pieces are my favorites. Check out my "Furniture as Art" category in my portfolio on my blog to view more pieces like this one: http://marthaleonedesign.com/portfolio/furniture-as-art/

just the right shade of yellow, painted furniture

Just the right shade of yellow

Yellow can be tricky... too bright, too dull, too cremy, too lemony... you get the idea, right? However, there are many perfect shades of yellow paint out there and I think I've found the one that works for me every time I use it. The color is Spiced Mustard from Benjamin Moore. If you would like to find out how I got the super smooth finish or read more about this piece, check out my blog post!

first project in general finishes milk paint a new favorite paint, chalk paint, home decor, painted furniture

First Project in General Finishes Milk Paint.

My top three reasons to use this paint: It's super smooth and doesn't need sanding after application; It's opaque and didn't require more than two coats; It dries quickly to a super matte finish. Before trying this paint, I was interested to know if it would perform differently than chalk paint. Based on my limited experience with it, I would say the main distinguishing feature is that this dries to a very smooth finish without sanding.
This piece was sealed it with Varathane Satin Poly with brush and had minimal brush marks after the poly dried. The paint color is General Finishes Driftwood.

how to style furniture photos tips, home decor, how to, painted furniture

How I Style My Furniture Photos: TIPS

I've grown to enjoy styling my furniture pieces as much as I enjoy painting them and if you're like me, you probably don't have a massive stash of props for your shoots. Furthermore, we don't want to reuse the same props over and over again. So, here's my first tip for styling your furniture photo: Come up with a theme for the shot then take a walk around your garage and home, collecting objects that fit within that theme. With a specific theme in mind, you'll see your objects in a new light and maybe will consider styling a photo with objects that would never have been considered before!
For example, desks are used for various types of "work." So, for the photograph of this mid century desk, the theme of work became the driving force behind my choice of objects. Saw blades, a hammer, a wrench, cables, pages of a book, etc were used. In the background a calendar hangs, representing time, which is one of the ways we measure our efforts. Each object is made of the materials used to construct the desk: wood or metal (except for the glass container).
Visit my blog for more photos of this piece and for more resources.

old army crate turned into coffee table, painted furniture

Old army crate turned into coffee table

An old WWII army crate with original hardware was painted, glazed, and painted again to get this layered effect. Lots of layers of paint were used on this chest till I arrived at the desired color. First white, then Annie Sloan Provence, then BEHR California Poppy were applied. Then I applied Annie Sloan Coco on top.

black and gold embrace what s already there, chalk paint, painted furniture, Black homemade chalk paint was used on this piece

Black and Gold: Embrace What's Already There

I knew what I wanted to do with this piece even before picking it up from the Craigslist seller. The golden tones in the veneers are just wonderful. So, I embraced the beauty that was already in the piece and accentuated it with black. The black frames the golden panels and just the right amount of distressing brings out the glow of the light tones. Best advice I can offer today is to take stock of the beauty of a piece before painting the entire thing.

Martha Leone Design
Martha Leone Design
About meI'm a graphic designer turned furniture renovator. Visit my blog for more inspiration.