To paint or not to paint. That is the question.

While I usually stay away from blog controversy of any kind, I'm making an exception today to get your input on whether I should or should not paint this dresser.

Two weeks ago I was arrested by this ombre paint treatment and wanted to give it a try for my shore bedroom. This traditional style dresser that would do the trick. So what do you think - go for it or leave it be?

To paint or not to paint? That is the question.

Most people seem to fall into one of two sides on this issue. On one side those think stained wood is special and shouldn't be covered. On the other side those who don't give covering wood in paint a second thought. I tend to fall into the latter category as I hold no sacred place in my heart for wood finishes - I can take it or leave it.

I really don't like the reddish stain on this piece so I'm not sure why Im hesitating. Maybe I am afraid I wont like the ombre once I do it myself and then curse myself for not leaving as is?

So what do you think? What side do you fall on?

98 comments:

  1. MFAMB8:04 AM

    i think the piece of furniture should tell you what to do.  in this case i think it's telling you to ombre the shit out of it.   i believe you will love it best if you paint it.

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  2. ymc_sarah8:05 AM

    I saw that painted piece too and wanted to try it out too. LOVE it. If you are unhappy with the stain, then I say go for it! My only hesitation is that it may not be as effective with three drawers/threee colours. Can't wait to see what you decide!

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  3. I'm in the 'go for it' camp unless it's a piece that is worth something and/or has a gorgeous finish already.  If you'll use it more or love it, GO FOR IT.  

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  4. i am always for painting pieces, but i do try to find those that have a rough finish.  this piece appears to have such a nice finish that i am not sure!!!  but it sure would look better according to your and my aesthetic painted! :)  go with your gut.
    and i have been looking for a piece to do the ombre treatment you shared for my own home- i love it!

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  5. Kathleen8:21 AM

    PAINT! 

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  6. Cottageandvine8:28 AM

    I'm kind of wishy washy about this, but if you don't like it the way it is - paint it.  If you don't like it you can always re-paint it.  Now if I could only convince myself to do this :)

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  7. Angela8:29 AM

    Since the furniture in its' current state won't work in the shore home, I think you should paint it.  Otherwise, it may stand out like a sore thumb.  This is  just my opinion.  

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  8. Ivette8:31 AM

    I say go for it, you only live once!

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  9. MrGWHunting8:38 AM

    I am of the latter persuasion as well. Unless its ebony hardwood flooring, I say paint it!!



    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

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  10. debbie8:39 AM

    I think it looks like a nice piece of furniture-if it was mine I would not paint it....but thats me.

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  11. rowhousenest8:40 AM

    DO IT!!!!!!!

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  12. Miss Hayley8:45 AM

    Paint it! If you don't like it you can either paint over it or sand it back and refinish it in a stain you like. There's not much that can't be salvaged if it all goes pared shaped. Btw completely love the ombré dresser.
    Good luck!
    misshayleysprettythings.blogspot.com

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  13. Cara H8:48 AM

    Unless it's Grandma's antique dresser or worth more than your mortgage payment, go for it.  You can always strip it and try again.

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  14. Michelle Scheibe8:55 AM

    I almost always vote paint.  My dad recently asked my why I hadn't painted my wood floors yet.  :P

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  15. Michelle Scheibe8:55 AM

    I almost always vote paint.  My dad recently asked my why I hadn't painted my wood floors yet.  :P

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  16. I love your idea, but you'd have to execute it to perfection if you want it to look good. I know my furniture painting skills wouldn't be up to par, but if they were, I'd be all over painting it. 

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  17. I love the natural look of wood, maybe re staining it another color is an  option.  It is however a lot of work to sand down and start the re staining process.  Painting is a quick alternative to spice it up especially since you on't like the color, why hesitate? Go for it!

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  18. Lisa Rozario9:02 AM

    If you do not like the piece as it is, you should change the look and put your personal stamp on it. Try something different like the ombre...it can always be repainted if you are unhappy with results. We have a similar vintage dresser which it is perfectly utilitarian but the exterior is begging to be revamped. It is on my list to be repainted but I have not quite decided on the look yet.

    http://www.lminterirorsllc.blogspot.com

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  19. Cathy9:03 AM

    I'm usually in the wood-finish camp and the first to cringe when someone suggests painting over wood trim, but this particular piece is too dark for a beachy retreat as-is.  Go for the ombre!  Worst case - you can paint over it in a solid tone.  Maybe it's the white balance/reflection from the yellowish floor - but the hardware looks like brass and I think silver hardware would look better with the turquoise tones you're looking at.  If it's silver already, all the better!

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  20. Susan9:12 AM

    PAINT.....that color card is wonderful and who cares if the wood is a pretty stain, if it isn't usable to you like it is then make yourself happy.  I am sure by the time you get to this comment, the paint brush is already out and the painting has begun.  Have fun...Susan

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  21. BethCrouser9:19 AM

    You will love it even more if you paint it.  Do it!  I can't wait to see the end result.  :)

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  22. Molly9:26 AM

    thumbs up!  give it a go.  it's only paint :)

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  23. I say paint it! If you will love it more painted. I paint most wood without hesitation unless it's birdseye maple or something like that. If it's really a high end piece in wood...I won't. But any piece that isn't anything special to begin with is ready to be painted in my book. I think this piece is one....paint away!

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  24. If you don't love the wood tone, paint it.  If you don't like the ombre effect, paint it again! 

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  25. If you don't like the finish, paint it. Painted furniture will fit the vibe at your shore place better anyway. If you change your mind down the road, that's why they make stripper :)

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  26. Dyoung3219:45 AM

    if you hesitant, find a contact paper that you like and apply some to see how it looks.  it always comes off later if you decide you don't like it 

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  27. My take on painting wood is this:  if the piece is made out of a lower grade of wood - such a s fir or pine - paint away!  If it is oak, cherry, mahogany, etc., sand it and restain it in a shade that you like.  Gorgeous piece by the way!

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  28. Newburgh Restoration9:52 AM

    NOOOOO don't paint it! I'm all for painting furniture when it looks ugly in it's current state, or when it's 70's or 80's furniture that will only look good with a coat of paint on it. This dresser though looks great in it's current condition and don't think it's needs to be paints. Well that's my 2¢ :)

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  29. I love that ombre paint treatment, but note that the example has 5 drawers, allowing for a more gradual gradient. Since your dresser only has 3 drawers, the transitions will be more jarring. Based on that, I vote for painting it one color. Best of luck!

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  30. Shannon10:21 AM

    I agree that this piece wont fit in at your beach house in its current state. However... I'm not sure it's the right piece to try the ombre paint style on. It probably won't have the same impact as the piece you fell in love with since with just 3 colors.

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  31. Kate B10:22 AM

    Personally, I love that piece and if it were in my house, I would not touch it.  However, it is in your house.  You should finish it to your tastes.

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  32. I say paint it!

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  33. Jillstigs10:26 AM

    PAINT it!  You love the look, your "world piece" in your BL living room looks awesome! 

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  34. Debra Malone10:29 AM

    Capital G, Capital F, Capital I . . . 
    GO FOR IT!

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  35. Dana Amos10:33 AM

    please don't. just don't.

    for all the reasons i can list, none will persuade you if your mind is already made up. i will be the first to tell you to paint a pine ikea cabinet, but this piece has a story. someone put hard work into that beautiful dresser--let it tell it's story. let it be what it is.

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  36. Nichole@40daysof10:38 AM

    I think painting or staining one color is the way to go.  As someone already pointed out, the transitions on a three drwer piece will probably be too jarring.  Either way, I know it will look good in the end. 

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  37. Heather10:47 AM

    paint it!!

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  38. There is no shortage of stained wood in the world. You don't have a rare, endangered species on your hands.  Paint it.

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  39. Have you tried Annie Sloan's chalk paints   http://www.anniesloan.com --- would be gorgeous on this. Thumbs up for painting : )  

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  40. Have you tried Annie Sloan's "Chalk Paints"  ( www.anniesloan.com ) ? Could be beautiful on this piece. I vote to paint (surprise,surprise).

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  41. From the photo on my monitor, the stain doesn't look that red and I actually like it. Although I usually fall into the "leave it unless it looks like serious crap" category since I have very little patience for painting. But the bottom line is that if you don't like the color it is now, paint it! You will regret not trying the ombre if you don't do it. The other option is to try ombre on a smaller, less conspicuous piece if you're not sure if you'll like that paint treatment.

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  42. Courtney11:16 AM

    paint it...it will be fabulous!

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  43. Susan Ator11:18 AM

    If that were in my house I'd leave it as is but, you know? it's in your house. You should paint it if that's what you want. If you don't like the ombre effect you can always paint it again.

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  44. I'd say paint it... I think the Ombre would look great. If you don't like the stain colour now, and the ombre doesn't work, I doubt you'll regret covering it. You can always repaint if the ombre doesn't work out the way you imagined... but I can bet you will do a fantastic job! :)

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  45. If you have the time and know-how I say paint. One thing though I am not sure how I feel about the multiple colors on one piece for an adult room (perfect for child's room). Maybe stick to two colors max. Just a thought.

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  46. If you have the time and know-how I say paint. One thing though, I am not sure how I feel about multiple colors on a piece of furniture for an adult's room (perfect for a child). Maybe just stick to two colors max. Just a thought. Good Luck!

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  47. Stephanie11:43 AM

    Eee! Don't paint it! It's GORGEOUS as-is!

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  48. Do it!  The hardware is gorgeous too! 

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  49. HhelleR11:49 AM

    Paint it! It'll look lovely!

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  50. Kat Polkadot11:53 AM

    No!!

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  51. Um, excuse me, have you met Mrs. Limestone? Trust yourself and do it!

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  52. If it wasn't for the fact that this looks to be in such beautiful condition, I'd say paint it.  Just tell me there's a big water stain or gash somewhere.  If not, I'll say put it in your Brooklyn home and find another worthy of painting.  I also think a more modern or cottage style piece might lend itself better to the paint treatment you want to do.  Just my opinion.  
    I know how you feel though.  I have a similar piece.  Don't care for the red stain on mine either.  I would say it would be lovely in a darker stain (if you put it in  your other home).
    FYI - after seeing your painted sideboard piece, I purchased an old dresser which I am going to paint and put in our bedroom.  The finish on it is worn, in case you were wondering.  ;)

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  53. DIY Newlyweds12:04 PM

    I vote to leave it as-is.  I'm a big fan of painting furniture, but this looks like a quality  piece in great shape.  When it comes to "classic" pieces, I have a sweet spot for leaving them au-natural.  But you have to look it, so if it makes you happy to paint it, go for it.

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  54. I think you should paint it--you don't like it as is, so why not?  And I think it will look awesome with all ombre-d up.  

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  55. It sounds like you want to paint it, so paint it.  It's a beautiful piece of furniture as is however, it's yours and if you don't like the stain color do something different. I'll be interested to see how it turns out.  Good Luck!

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  56. Melinda12:19 PM

    Late this - but it's soooooooooo beautiful! No paint!

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  57. Amy Provisiero12:32 PM

    I say go for it, the worst that can happen is you dont like the hombre, and you can repaint the dresser a soft grey or neutral even color.

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  58. Kelly Lautenbach12:46 PM

    DO IT! :) Can't wait to see it. If that piece was in my house I'd be starting on it this afternoon... want to bring it over?!??! :)

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  59. Ombré the shit out of it. Exactly.

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  60. Jennifer Ellis1:18 PM

    It has such a nice finish, I wouldn't paint that particular piece.

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  61. Jennifer Ellis1:19 PM

    It has such a nice finish already, I wouldn't paint that particular piece.

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  62. For me, it depends on the piece of furniture.  If you don't like the current wood finish on this piece, and it's not a "precious" antique, I say paint it!  

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  63. Lady Bug591:47 PM

    How about this approach.  This piece would look lovely "as is" in your home.  Find something there to exchange that would look better painted for your cottage.

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  64. I'd find another piece of furniture before I'd ruin this one. Personally I feel the ombre thing is geared more for children.

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  65. printemps3:25 PM

    It really looks like a beautiful finish on the chest and it would pain me to paint it. I love furniture from the 40's however, and this piece would fit in with everything I have so well. However it's not mine, it's yours, and you can do what ever you want with it. I love so much of what you've done in the past, it will probably turn out great. But seeing how many bloggers are out there painting beautiful old furniture makes me sad. Sometimes I have a fear all the beautiful old stuff that is affordable is going to be painted before the trend changes. And when you strip something and refinish it, it's not the same beautiful patina, ever. I wish people would pick out the more damaged or uglier stuff to paint. Some of the ugliest designs are the ones that turn out cutest and funkiest ((in a good way) when they are painted.
    That being said, once again, it's yours, you can paint it any color you want, but wouldn't the ombre look be better on something with more drawers/levels where the ombre could have many colors in the gradation to give the ombre effect to the best degree? Just a thought...  

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  66. Go for it - no one will die! If you hate the ombre, paint it white and distress it in the style of 'Life in the Fun Lane' blog xxx

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  67. LifeAnalytical3:29 PM

    I say go for it. You've said you don't like the color, so you won't miss it. Worst case scenario is you hate the ombre and need to repaint it in something you do like. 

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  68. It breaks my heart to see you cover that chest with paint, but if you don't like it that way - sell it or paint it.

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  69. Sharon S4:34 PM

    It's hard to tell on a monitor, but the colour and condition of the piece looks good.  I'm all for painting wood and have done it numerous times (and actually prefer painted wood cabinets, furniture, etc).  But I'm no the fence with this one...

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  70. It sounds like you already know what you want to do, so paint it.  I'm sure it will turn out great.

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  71. I would like that chest painted in a metallic....or a high gloss color.  I think the ombre might work for more of a mid-century piece....just sayin.
    pve

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  72. Erin R.5:35 PM

    Leave it!  I'm down to paint most anything...but this should be spared the brush :)

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  73. Who says you have to use three colors just because there are three levels? Each drawer row could have a gradient, giving it even more ombre than a 5 drawer! It does appear to be in pretty good condition though... Would the hardware get a makeover too or stay the same?

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  74. christine {bijouandboheme}5:44 PM

    I say paint- I don't find stain any more inherently special than paint personally...unless itès book-matched or has some kind of crazy fabulous grain etc.

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  75. daisyandjack8:47 PM

    I say go for it - you can always change it back later but I'd love to see it painted.

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  76. MrsLimestone8:52 PM

    You totally need to embroider that on a pillow!

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  77. Janette@the2seasons.com10:24 PM

    I love the shape of the dresser, but the reddish stain is not my thing.  I vote to paint it.  I am painting a too red mahogany armoire this week.  Most people gasp when I tell them, but I think it looks dated.

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  78. hawleywood10:36 PM

    I love wood furniture, in almost any condition, but seeing as it's your furniture and your house, do whatever you want with it! If you want to ombre it (I don't know if you can use it as a verb or not...) then go for it! If you don't like it you can always sand and stain it again.

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  79. leave it alone!  I think I'm in the minority.

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  80. ohhhh...good one... gosh..I think it depends on the age of the piece or what the condition is. I have a vintage bookcase with carved detail and a dresser with inlaid wood. I don't have the heart to paint either. Though, in someone else's hand they would probably be white or something. I also have chairs that I'm debating about... okay, your dresser... go on, ombre the shit out of it! :) {that was fun!} If you don't like it, paint it again!

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  81. I have no qualms with painting wood, and I love the ombre look, but I'm not sure that piece is right for the ombre. Maybe just a solid colour? Just my thought though

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  82. ramblingrenovators11:21 AM

    While I like the ombre technique, I'm not sure this is the right piece for it. It seems a little fancy for your beach house. On the other hand, I can immediately picture this dresser in your beach house sanded down and left in the natural colour for a more Belgian white washed kind of look.

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  83. I haven't read all of the comments, so someone may have already suggested this.  I have seen several blogs recently about Chalk Paint by Annie Sloane  (Centsational Girl is one of the sites)  Supposed to be very easy to use,  low odour, and  easy clean up.  May be worth checking out

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  84. Amanda Gonzalez11:42 AM

    It's too pretty the way it is...leave it. 

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  85. Amanda Gonzalez11:42 AM

    It's too pretty as it is...leave it. 

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  86. Crystalhunt712:31 PM

    I would definitely NOT paint it.  I'm thinking that piece will always be in style if you leave it.  It could easily be blah in several years if you do.  If you do anything just stain it a different shade.  

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  87. Rochelle4:53 PM

    I fall into the second category as well--wood finishes are not very special to me. It is a gorgeous dresser and I believe it would look beautiful and original with your colors! One of a kind. Go for it, for sure!

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  88. Oh girl, I don't know.  I'm really digging its original state, but I like the painting effect,too.  I'm totally no help!

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  89. xoxo, gina8:11 AM

    I think the lines of this will definitely work with this fun treatment, but I would change out the knobs!

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  90. xoxo, gina8:13 AM

    She can just rough it up with some sand paper or some liquid sand.

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  91. Katie C.8:55 AM

    I haven't read through all the comments, so I'm not sure if I'm repeating myself, but here goes: I think this particular piece will not benefit from ombre. The number of drawers in the original piece you showed lent itself to that finish; the more drawers, the more of the ombre effect you will create. Your piece only has technically three 'levels', so it may end up looking like you just painted the drawers in different colors unless you choose colors very close in tint. Just my two cents!

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  92. It looks too nice from the picture to paint... but maybe the picture isn't giving the piece a fair representation.

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  93. Depends on where its going- if it wasnt really working in any of the spaces you have then yes :) Go for it!

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  94. Elizabeth L11:22 PM

    NO!! Never, please!  I am all for painting furniture when it isnt in good condition, is something IKEA like or something trendy but this is classic, well made and in amazing shape (wow I want that in my bedroom).  Dont paint it.  I agree with others that with only 3 drawers you arent going to have th ombre look you want anyway - i am seeing something more like 70's zebra striped gum :-)  Find a sad, thrift store piece and paint that.  Wow - long comment.  Sorry :-)

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  95. Ourhomewish2:13 PM

    I love the idea of the ombre paint scheme, but I think for this piece you may be happier with painting it a solid teal or other fun color due to the traditional look of the piece. 

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  96. Michaelroddgers11:35 PM

    I think that you don't have to paint it. Its looking cool in this simple way. This table is nice polished.  A table is wonderfully designed and giving pleasant look to bedroom. I like in this simple way and looking best in this wooden color. 

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  97. Tbrandt339:51 AM

    I say leave it as it.  It's in very nice condition.

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