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Interior Design blog

To Paint or Not to Paint??

by Suzanne M. Harvey

I am the first to admit I am not a big fan of painted wood.  There is something so unique and beautiful about wood grain.  And when stains are applied the results can be outstanding.  But there are always exceptions.  Just like anything else in design, nothing is set in stone.  Yes even I can be persuaded!

Some of my aversion to painted wood comes from seeing beautiful, old homes that have been ‘restored’ to current standards.  What happened to trying to maintain some history…holding on to the character of these old details?  I recently attended a show house that was sponsored by a well-known design magazine.  In the main living room the beams of the coffer ceiling had been painted a lovely shade of blue. Sounds great right?  My issue was that the designer had created a beautiful space while painting over mahogany!!!  Mahogany is one of the most beautiful woods and is very expensive and hard to find.  Just seems really crazy.  But enough about my issues.


As I said, sometimes it makes sense.  There is no reason some woods shouldn’t be painted.  It can look great and be a great money saver.  So here was my dilemma. In our guest bath we had a great oak vanity.  It was in perfect condition.  It was solid and sturdy and I needed to save some $$$.


I had to update this bath for my son.  It obviously didn’t look very boyish like this.  I hate to waste something that is perfectly good.  So I decided to paint it.  I know it’s shocking but I am so pleased with the results.  It was really easy and cost effective. Plus I had save enough money to buy a custom vanity top.

clover house 008 copy

So am I convert? No.  But I can admit that no rules are hard and fast.  Each renovation presents its own challenges and sometimes the right choice is to paint the wood. 🙂

Thanks for continuing on this journey with me.  Until next time….

Make the most of what you have wherever you are.

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