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How to Paint Kids Furniture

Furniture Ideas, Painting

Decorate your kids’ bedroom in style. Learn how to decorate wooden chairs and transform them into modern kids furniture that’s fit for a princess or a prince. In this example, I’ve converted a plain wooden IKEA chair into a ‘princess’ dream come true’ seat.

Child Furniture Painting Success Formula

Here is the magic formula for success, which of course you can use for a chair for any room.



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1. Define the basic color scheme of the larger, more permanent items in the kids room, such as bed, bedspread (if it is a stayer/was expensive), cabinets, and lamps even. Of course, consider wall papers and curtains and possibly the art on the wall as well.

In our case, we knew that this chair would dragged into the living room on a regular basis, so while it had to be matching with a ‘pink’-loving girl’s taste, we’d liked the back of the chair to be mostly white.

How to Paint a Princess chair

This girls bedroom is pink and red, combined with neutrals. So, we used bright pink and red for the hearts and crowns as well as the inside panels of the chairs and the top of the backrest ~ in sum as accents and in ‘hidden’ places. The overall effect was that the chair is rather white, which is made sophisticated by pastel orange stripes of the seats. (design tips).

2. Decide the ‘look’ or theme of the chair. This of course has to fit in with the overall theme of the room. If your child is a jungle, then the chair can be a tiger, for example. If your daughter wants to be a princess, then the chair can be a throne to suit her castle-oriented bed- or playroom. We used stick-on jewels to give the chair an even more of a royal throne-like look.

3. Decide on a limited number of colors. With these colors, create a design of the chair on paper or on your computer. See the impact of subtle color shifts. For example, had we chosen to make the seat red and the hearts white, this chair would have been cute but not as regal.

4. Look at some toy websites with child furniture before you finalize, to get good ideas for embellishment, patterns and other details. You might pay a visit to your local craft shop to find wooden elements that could help you to create the design you’re after. In my case, I wanted to feature crown. I considered purchasing a wooden crown cutout to be painted and glued on. However, I could not the right size. I decided to paint the crowns on instead. Design tip: keep it simple. Repeated patterns look better than 15 different patterns all over. Repeat design elements of all kind.

5. Different patterns create different feel. Colors adjacent to each other in the color wheel feel harmonious. Primary colors with either black/white added feel more sophisticated. White makes the chair larger and more airy and possibly more feminine. Darker tones make the chair more mysterious, masculine, earthy, animal / nature-themed.

back of princess chair

6. Now get to work: lightly sand the wooden chair. Dust it off. Put a ground paint on it (I used gesso because I had it) so that the wood will not soak up too much of your colored paint. Let it dry. You could sand it again lightly, if you wish. Now paint it according to plan.

7. Painting accident? No problem. Let them be. Use spatters and drips to create unplanned embellishments and whimsy. You will like the results usually better than your original design if you do.

8. Let your design dry thoroughly, i.e. overnight. Finish it off with one or more coats of varnish for shine and protection.

Have fun painting!

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