Asked on Aug 17, 2014

To paint or not to paint

Charlotte F
by Charlotte F
I have a fireplace with bookcases flanked on each side. They are oak. I hate oak. Would I be sorry later if I painted all of the above with a slightly off white paint?
  9 answers
  • Hibicus07 Hibicus07 on Aug 17, 2014
    Oak is beautiful. Timeless. If you ever need to sell your house, unpainted oak would be a positive Do not paint is my opinion. :)

  • Wren Smart Wren Smart on Aug 17, 2014
    At the risk of offending everyone who thinks it's a sin to paint wood, by all means PAINT IT! When we moved into our home we had the same thing. Fireplace flanked by book shelves in Oak. Only the previous owner had pickled them and they were pink. Pink oak of all things! I tried sanding, stripping... nothing worked. I hated them. So with wood loving friends freaking out, I painted it all a nice rich black. I painted the backs walls of the book cases white and on occasion I'll use old book pages or other pretty paper and glue stick to paper them. I've never been sorry. It's your home. Make it one that you're happy to be in!

  • Shari Shari on Aug 17, 2014
    I soooo agree with Wren! If you hate it, what good is it? Your home should be your haven and I am a strong believer that we should have nothing in our homes we hate, particularly if we can do something as easy as painting it. Life is too short to worry about who might not like it "x" number of years from now. Paint it. If you get tired of it *someday," or the next person who buys your house doesn't like it, well that's what they make paint stripper for and sandpaper for.

  • Wren Smart Wren Smart on Aug 17, 2014
    Amen Shari!

  • What you decide is dependent upon your own style and feelings. But things to be considered is the quality of the shelves themselves. If they are detailed along with perhaps fancy moldings, trims or carvings, I would lean more towards the stain side, but if they are simple shelves then paint is in the future. Also to consider is not only your own personal taste but what your planning to put on the shelves. As color will show things off more then a simple stain color. Timeless white is always fine with shelves. What is the rest of the trims in the house done like? Are they painted or natural? How about a photo?

  • Kelly T Kelly T on Aug 18, 2014
    I agree with Wren and Shari, if you don't like it and not happy with it you should do what you like. It's your home! If you're a little worried about the paint maybe you could stain it a different color...the choice is yours!

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Aug 18, 2014
    Actually with the trend of MacMansions taking over average homes, whatever you do will be gutted and redone in some style not "in" today. I love painted cabinets, but I absolutely appreciate the convenience of how wood appears cleaner longer! A lot depends on your age, ability to keep the paint fresh or ability to afford to have it refreshed occasionally. Almost at the middle of my 8th decade, I can no longer do the things I once thought so necessary...HA! And a lot depends on how much you use a fireplace...they are nasty little things that will stain paint quickly! Go for it!

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Aug 18, 2014
    What about a light sanding and a dark stain? Am not a fan of painting nice wood, but if you hate it, then paint it.

  • Lex263207 Lex263207 on Aug 21, 2014
    If you seal them with a coat of shellac before painting, then they can be taken back to their original finish more easily later. If you hate oak, paint them. I did it in my own home, and I have not regretted it one bit. If you paint them yourself, I recommend sealing with Minwax Polycrylic sealer in the blue label can-semi gloss... easy to wipe clean & very protective