Choosing the Right Furniture to Paint

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For some, choosing the best pieces to paint is the first hurdle. In this section I would like to explain the importance of buying the “right” pieces.  These are pieces that will sell well and sell for a great profit!  

Rewind back to when I began my furniture painting journey. I would get super excited at so many “deals” I would get.  Free, severely discounted and most times, needed a lot of repair work to get them to a “sellable” condition.  My overbuy was on hutches…not just any hutches…huge hutches that most people didn’t want or furniture that needed A LOT of love so after repairs I could never make my time/money back on it.  I would excitedly try to buy every deal I could find! If you ask my husband, way more that anyone could ever need LO

As I said before…trial and error has given me the knowledge to pass on to you! My mistakes are your gain!  You will want to focus on the pieces that sell AND make a profit.   When starting out, buy one or two quality pieces…don’t fall into the trap of grabbing everything you see.  As my husband would always say…and hate to say he is right…there will always be beautiful dressers, desks, and things for sale.  Get your first couple of pieces complete and use those profits to replenish your supply.   If you have space AND funds…feel free to buy away but remember to choose right and know they should STILL be pieces that sell. 

 So what type of pieces?  Pieces that are popular truly depend on the area you are in.  For example, I am in the New England area and here most popular are: Dressers, smaller cabinets and desks…I guess it’s a New England thing! LOL. What is popular in most areas? Furniture Pieces that universally tend to do well: 

    1. Dressers 
    2. Farm Style Tables 
    3. Matching Nightstands 
    4. Buffets/Sideboards 
    Items The tend to Move Slower: 

    1. Large Hutches/China Cabinets 
    2. Coffee Tables 
    3. Large Accent Chairs 
    4. Storage Chests 
    5. ● Headboards 
    6. ● Converted Sewing machine tables 
  • I am not saying they will never sell…I myself have painted plenty of these, but they will need the right buyer and tend to take longer to sell.  My suggestion is to focus on what can sell and bring you a profit to keep your business moving along. 

  • Now let’s talk quality.  I have purchased so many pieces that in excitement of the deal, I buy without inspecting right and then have to lean on the husband to help me fix.  The more complete and in quality shape your pieces are, the better your customer reviews will be and the better chance you will get the price you deserve for all your hard work you put into your furniture pieces.  Quality speaks volumes!

  • Here are a few inspections items to look for: 

    I prefer solid wood- Some solid wood will have veneer over it (it was super popular in the 60’s, 70’s to veneer over wood)- that is ok too, you just have to prep it a little different to make sure you paint adheres correctly- Try to avoid pressed wood or MDF- Both will tend to cause more work with lower quality 

    Furniture will details and curves are always so much fun and customer love a unique piece  

    Look for great structure pieces (little to no structural repairs)- check that drawers open and shut correctly, veneer is not peeling terribly in some areas, chunks of wood missing…yes that actually happens LOL 

    Avoid large pieces unless it is something a customer specifically asks for- Not only do they not sell well- it takes double the time to complete and transport 

    I would also avoid these types of pieces: 

    ● Lots of damage- Minor scratches are fine- typically your paint will cover these or minor “fixing” can be done.  If you know how to repair furniture, then great…but otherwise I would walk away. 

    ● Already painted pieces are tough- You don’t know how many layers of paint there are and how it was applied.  It could eventually peel I areas, so you would have to strip it-especially if the original painting job was done poorly 

    ● Furniture with strong musty smell or nicotine smell.  These are two smells that are difficult to get out of furniture.  It can be temporarily done, but can still come back after your customer has purchased the piece. 

    ● As stated above- Peeling veneer when you are first starting out is a hinderance to getting your piece perfect- Until you learn the techniques needed to make these repairs, I would avoid this 

     What’s next?   How much to pay for your pieces.  When you are looking at projects to by remember you are in this for a profit.  You should set a budget based on what it would sell for.  

    I have competed a great General Pricing Sheet for you to keep and “cheat” with.  These are on the maximum end of the spectrum.  Your goals is always to buy for as low as you can and sell as high as you can to get the BEST profit you can!

    Here is the basic "FREE Easy Peasy Pricing Sheet" Claim Yours Here

    I take on the road with me.  This is for you to use and help when you pick the right pieces that you can make “perfect” you will reap the benefits in sales and loyal customers! 

    Hope this helps and Happy Painting!

    Cheryl Tocci

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