Stay, Stain, or Paint?

>> 1.13.2010

I'm swimming in a sea of different wood tones over here! I’ve found some great deals on furniture by buying through Craigslist, clearance sales, and accepting hand-me-downs from family… but now I’m stuck with a room full of mismatched furniture.

That’s where you come in! Please help me decide if I should: stay (keep a piece the way it is), stain (I’d love to go darker with some of the wood tones), or paint (I’d like to inject some color in the room, but I know that it’s hard to go back to wood once you paint it). Here are the pieces:

1. Table- Remember when I got the Pottery Barn table and chairs for $200? They came together as a set, but don't quite match up in tones. The table's finish is more reddish than the chairs so I don't mind losing it.

2. Chairs- Again, the six chairs came with  the table for a grand total of $200. I do actually like the honey tones of the wood. (and yes, I do plan on recovering the seats)

3. Buffet- This is actually the most expensive piece of furniture I own. It was purchased at Storehouse about ten years ago and I've had it since. The light tone of the wood isn't my style, but it's finished so nicely that I don't know if painting or staining would be a smart idea.

4. Console- The last mismatched furniture piece sits across the room from the buffet. This console would probably make the best candidate for painting. It's a cheapo Target clearance find.

1. Table
2. Chairs
3. Buffet
4. Console
Stay, stain, or paint?

I’m linking this post up with Amanda’s Decorating Dilemmas Party over at Serenity Now. Head over if you need a little help of your own!


Leslie January 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM  

My 2 cents... paint the chairs & console the same color and leave the table & the buffett alone. It looks like they are not exactly the same stain, but I could see some of the tones from the buffett in the table. Another idea for the table is to leave the top as it is and just paint the skirt and legs. Again... only my 2 cents! I can't wait to see what you decide.

Audreya January 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

Oh wow - Leslie said pretty much exactly what I was going to say! So yes, I vote for that...

If you put any sort of runner or centerpiece on the table or any decorations on the buffet, I think it would make any difference between the two stains not even noticeable.

Mrs. Chic January 13, 2010 at 10:37 AM  

I like the lines of your dining room table alot!! You could paint it white and leave your chairs 'as is' since you like the wood color.

Your buffet is a nice piece - when I was at the paint store the other day they said its hard to match stains. So I might leave it - and do the table 1st and see how you feel, i like it looks nice now maybe just update your hardware...

As for your console table, maybe a dark stain would look nice or white....or a fun bright color!!


priscilla January 13, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

the chairs are gorgeous! i would paint the table black and keep the chairs as is. for the buffet, the finish really does look nice, but you could always spruce it up just a little by painting the drawer faces another color - maybe white? and i love the color of the target console, but that would also look really nice in black. so many options!

Danielle and Clint January 13, 2010 at 10:52 AM  

I personally love the different colors of the wood all together. In my dining room, I have a darker finish table and my chairs are lighter. I think it adds something to the room.

But I have an idea to bring all your dining furniture together. What if you stained the chairs dark like the cosole? and changed the fabric on the chairs? The table is awesome! And what if you changed the knobs on the buffet and console to match?

The Brick Cottage January 13, 2010 at 10:57 AM  

Kasey, I love your dining room chairs~I've been looking for something similiar for my dining room but have not had any luck yet.

My suggestion is to stain the table and buffet so they coordinate with each other(I'd go for a darker stain on both) and then I'd paint the chairs to coordinate with your fabric of choice. I like the stain on the console but I also think it could be a piece to have some fun, so I would paint it.

Looks like you have some fun projects in your future!

The Brick Cottage January 13, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

I'm going to chime in with one more option: since you like the wood tone of the chairs, then painting the table would be a good way to break up all the wood tones. Then I'd either stain the buffet to try to match the chairs or the console.

Meg January 13, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

I totally agree with Brick Cottage. I like the idea of staining the table and buffet and then painting the chairs to go with the fabric as well as painting the console. But I'm very big on bright colors and patterns, so you might not agree with my taste. I can't wait to see what you do with all of this!

I'd love to see the fabrics you're considering as well! So much fun!

Jaimie January 13, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

I think you should paint the chairs white and give them cute cushions, then paint the table a color, like a light green and distress it. I think you should stain the buffet darker and I like the console the way it is! : ) Fun, fun!

Flavia @ Estilo Home January 13, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

I think all of these are great suggestions, but here is what I thought might be cool:
Leave the buffet and chairs as is. Upholster chairs in a fun fabric with some white and another color in it. Then paint the table white, and the target piece the other color that's in the chair fabric. If that's too much, maybe just paint the target piece white as well.

Amanda January 13, 2010 at 11:36 AM  

Ooh I actually love the console the way it is! But I would paint the table. Leave the chairs- I love the honey tones too. And the buffet... hmmm. It does look nice the way it is, but I'm just not much of a fan of that color. It could look REALLY cool painted a bold color, like the one posted on YHL a while back.

Heather @ McKinney Living January 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

Oooh lots of good options! I love the idea of using the fabric you choose for the chair (would love to see what you are considering!) to inspire a paint color choice for the chairs and console (maybe something punchy for the chairs and more neutral for the console?) and then staining the table to a darker tone similar to the buffet? You have a ton of brilliant ideas already, though!

dolores @ "Welcome to My Humble Ablog" January 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

I would stain the table and chairs and paint the buffet and console. Adding fun fabric to the seat cushion will give the table that extra color pop. I'd be afraid to paint the table and lose that precious smooth top surface. Since you've had the buffet for many years, it wouldn't hurt to give it some pizazz. Turquoise? Can't wait to see what you decide. Good luck!

The Pampered Mom January 13, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

The other day on HGTV they had the same dilema. They stained the table and buffet a dark wood color, it was beautiful, and then they painted the chairs white. It really made everything pop and I REALLY wanted to use that in my house as well! Good Luck!

Confessions From A Working Mom January 13, 2010 at 1:39 PM  

They're all in the same room, right? Then, I think you should paint them the same color. Wait... did I say paint? That's not precisely what I meant; paint them with a tinted stain-- something darker. I actually like the tone of the Target piece the best, although I like darker woods personally, so that's probably why!

Confessions From A Working Mom

Kendall at Finesse Your Nest January 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

Leslie is a genius. That's exactly what I was thinking. Paint the chairs and the console. Leave everything else "as is". I'm thinking black??

Amanda @ Serenity Now January 13, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

Hi, Kasey!

I like the lines of your table alot! I'd follow Kendall and paint the chairs and console to start. The console will probably be harder to paint though...I'm assuming it's laminate?

Thanks for linking up, and for your suggestions! :)

LizzieBeth January 13, 2010 at 2:25 PM  

If you are feeling really crazy, I'd say paint it.

I have a vision- paint the top of the table a pretty apple green, and the base and the chairs white. Recover the seats with something like this.

Just some ideas. But I love color.. and I'm a whore for green..


Sarah E. January 13, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

Love the chairs and buffet! I would paint it all black, maybe even antique it by sanding some off after painting BUT I'd leave the legs of the table and the console alone. My two cents.

Anonymous,  January 13, 2010 at 3:33 PM  

Wow, lots of opinions! I'll leave mine and look forward to see what you decide to do:

1. You like the chairs as is (they're gorgeous!). So leave them and choose a great fun/colourful fabric for the seats.

2. Paint the table & buffet... a colour to complement your new counter and the rest of your space. Like gray, white or black?

3. I like the colour of the console table. But if it's damaged or just doesn't go, then paint it out the same colour as the table. OR, a colour pulled from your new seat fabric.

Good luck!


Heather January 13, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

Thank you so much for the window treatments link! I think I am going to attempt a pelmet - we'll see what my husband thinks!

The different wood colors would bother me too. I would keep my favorite one and paint or stain the other pieces.

Nicole R.J. January 13, 2010 at 4:45 PM  

I would leave the chairs as they are, then paint everything else.

Consider painting either the console & table the same, or the console & buffet the same.

Can't wait to see what you decide to do!

alanna rose January 13, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

I'm in for as little work as possible :)

I'd paint the console - because it has the least amount of surface area and is the most different of the finishes. And then swap out the hardware to either something artsy or something to match the buffet.

Then you can play with table runners and centerpieces/display items to join the buffet, table and console.

I say leave the chairs alone until after you've reupholstered, then if the difference in finishes still bothers you consider upholstering the upper back of each chair. I think that would be less work (and easily reversible) than painting the chairs.

frugalapolis January 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM  

I would leave everything except the console as a STAY. Not sure paint would improve the console, maybe just do nothing and seek to replace it with something that matches the light wood of the other stuff.

L@Craftaholics Anonymous January 13, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

I say leave the table. You don't want to mess up/not finish it right and risk ruining it... For the chairs, you could reupholster them in a fun color fabric. I think it would be fun to stain the chairs a dark maybe cherry wood. The buffet, Let's be daring and paint it. You could have fun and paint it a white or red and then sand the edges, and wipe stain over the entire thing for a fun distressed look. Good luck! You can't go wrong with such awesome furniture!!

evitafjord January 13, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

I would *stain* the table a dark, maybe even black color (and maybe just the top and not the legs, depending on just how off they are from the chairs) and either paint or stain the small table to match. Leave everything else as is except the seat cushion fabric.

I should do what you're doing and get some opinions on my dining table - except that I hate the table itself so hard that I don't even want to change it at all so that it looks so bad that we have to replace it :-)

Laura January 14, 2010 at 8:44 AM  

It seems that since your floor is a wood tone also, an area rug might help break up all the wood in the room. You just might find one at a thrift store or garage sale.

I love the idea of painting the cheapy console and chairs, and leaving the buffet and the table as is.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog January 14, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

@Laura~ Thanks for the help. I agree, getting a rug is a must!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno January 14, 2010 at 9:27 AM  

Leave the chairs! They are great as is.

Paint the table black or white.

Paint the heck out of the console, a fun accent color like green, aqua, red, something that goes with your seat fabric.

The buffet? I'm torn. I probably wouldn't paint it. I say leave that for last and see what it 'tells' you after the other changes are made. Maybe it will be happy as is!

Xazmin January 14, 2010 at 11:35 AM I am currently a HUGE fan of the painted look. So that's my vote. Color depends on the rest of your decor. I would recover the chair seats with a coordinating printed fabric.

Now for the other pieces I LOVE the look of using fabric mod-podged on to add color and design...either to drawer fronts, or top surfaces. Here's a link to one of my favorite projects:

Also, I re-did my end tables wit a faux leather brown paper finished top, and painted's the link to those:

PenelopeLovesLists January 14, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

I gotta say, I just love painted furniture, so I'd always go that way. It's a lot of work, though!

Can't wait to see what you decide to do!

Joanna,  January 14, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

I have the rectangle version of your table and the exact same chairs (whole set for $100 on craigslist- potentially the best purchase of my life) and I love the knotts in the wood and staining the table might take away from that.
Have you thought about any fun table runners? They might let you keep the wood color but distract the eye from the slight mismatch. I also plan on recovering the chairs and would love to see your how-to and finished project! good luck!

Nicolette Stephens January 14, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

I like your furniture. Very nice!

I love wood, and the only reason I ever paint it is if it cannot be salvaged to look beautiful without paint. From personal experience, I would not paint the tops of any surfaces that will have things slid across them or set on top of because you will forever be repainting. Also-these suggestions come with the idea in mind that the furniture will remain in the same room together for a while- although nothing we ever do has to be permanent.

Since the quality of your table is so nice, I would leave it alone. I would then figure out what color your side console table is and stain the dining room chairs and the fronts of the buffet drawers that color. (Additional Option: Sand and stain the front of the console drawers a lighter color).

Cover your seat cushions. Let them bring in the color. (Make sure its a wipe-able material, food will get on them).

Then I would pick out matching hardware for the buffet and console (I would pick silver drawer pulls if you don't stain the console drawer fronts, or paint wood ones the color of whatever fabric you choose for your seat cushions)

Then top you table, console, and buffet with a centerpiece that pulls out one of the colors in your seat cushions.

I think this will be the least amount of permanent work, will tie both light and dark colors into each piece, and will tie them all together.

Hope this helps rather than overwhelms!


chacha January 14, 2010 at 7:20 PM  

Holy comments!

Anyway, I am going to concur with painting the chairs and console. I would probably pick a color other than white to spice it up. Like a grey blue or a muted spring green or something.

micah @ the yellow front door January 14, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

This is a tough one! I can't even decide to do with one piece of furniture, let alone several! I really like my dark table/white chairs combo but if you like your chairs then I say keep them au naturale. I think the buffet and/or console would look great painted a fun color. Can't wait to see what you do!

Aeron Chair October 16, 2011 at 9:51 AM  

That is amazing! I wish I knew how to paint like that. I can't even paint one a solid color without messing it up!
Thanks for post.

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