Boho Furniture Renovation

May 17, 2024 | 0 comments

Every month in my Creative Connection membership group I share a tutorial for either a canvas painting or a furniture makeover. Last month, I chose to complete a furniture renovation in honor of a dear member of our group who was taken from us too soon after a long battle with cancer. Erin was a beacon of light and beauty in our community and it is my hope that her radiant positivity shines through in this piece. This furniture makeover features a moody background covered in lots of vibrant leaves and flowers for a beautiful secret garden sort of effect, which is why this piece is called “Erin’s Garden.”

Check my shop to see which furniture pieces are still available!

Easy Furniture Renovation Tutorial

Before you dive into painting, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need to complete  the piece. The use of DIY Paint is key in in my furniture makeovers because DIY Paint is clay-based and specially formulated with only 9 ingredients. This means that there are zero harmful VOCs (so I can paint in just about any room of my house as long as I don’t make a mess) and, most importantly, the paint itself blends with a seamless finish with the help of just a little water!

Furniture Renovation Supplies

Paints

All of the DIY Paint colors that I used for this furniture renovation can be found in my shop and you can use your preferred brand of acrylic paints for the accents. 

Base Layers:

  • Cherry Picked
  • Cowgirl Coral 
  • Bohemian Blue (color wash)

Leaves & Flowers:

  • Monet’s Garden
  • Gypsy Green
  • Queen Bee
  • Crinoline
  • Bohemian Blue

Finishing Touches:

  • Golden Ticket (accents and highlights) 
  • Black wax 
  • Clear wax

I also used the following acrylic paint colors for highlights:

  • Magenta
  • Peach
  • Titanium White
  • Burnt Sienna

Tools

Step by Step Furniture Renovation

For this makeover, I was working with an already-painted piece of furniture and the nice thing about DIY Paint is that it will cover just about any surface! Sometimes I like to lightly scuff the surface of whatever I’m painting so that the paint has something to hold onto. This is especially important if you’re painting a piece that has a lot of lacquer. 

The Background

The base of this piece started with two colors, Cherry Picked and Cowgirl Coral. If you’ve ever seen me paint a piece of furniture, then you’ll know I almost always start with a large brush like the Caddie or the VIP Brush from Paint Pixie with a very small amount of paint. DIY Paint is highly pigmented, so a little bit goes a loooong way! Cover your piece in your base colors and let those vivid, warm colors dry before applying your color wash in Bohemian Blue. (Read my tips for applying a color wash to your furniture here if you’re unfamiliar with the technique.) Remember to add lots of water with your continuous spray bottle to get a true wash effect. This also gives you lots of yummy drips and layers which will create some nice moodiness and depth for the background of the piece.

The Leaves

Once your wash is complete, it’s time to go in and add your leaves and flowers. The most important part of this step in your furniture renovation is allowing your body to MOVE when you paint. Try not to stand still! You’ll find that you get more organic shapes and lines when you allow your whole body to twist and turn, almost like a dance, as you create your leaves and flowers. Hold your brush with a loose grip and a relaxed wrist in order to create more realistic elements. 

I like to play around with different colors and blends for the leaves, like Gypsy Green with Bohemian Blue or burnt sienna and white, in order to get some variation of lights and shadows like we would see in nature. Try to paint the darker leaves first and then add the lighter leaves in order to create those layers and shadows that add depth. I usually dip my Dusty brush in 2 colors at once, like Monet’s Garden and Crinoline, and apply them using a big sweeping motion so that they blend together on the furniture itself.

I decided to paint some leaves coming up from the bottom of the piece, like they were growing out of the ground, as well as some leaves swooping in from the top of the piece like tree branches or hanging vines. Allow your leaves to dry before you go in and paint your flowers. Since green hues and pink/red hues are complementary colors, mixing them while wet can lead to muddy tones like brown and gray. Fortunately, the clay in DIY Paint makes it dry rather quickly!

The Flowers

When the time comes for you to paint your flowers, trust your instincts! Don’t attempt to create picture-perfect blossoms; we’re going for a more impressionistic feel with this piece. (If you’re struggling to create beautiful blooms, you might want to read my tips for painting abstract flowers.) The key is to focus on the colors and shapes of your blossom to create a balanced composition on your piece of furniture. I used my Short Stop brush from Paint Pixie with two shades of pink to create the petals of my flowers and then I went back in with the Queen Bee yellow shade to highlight the center of the flowers. I also added some highlights with Crinoline and white on some of the petals so they look like they are catching the light.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve gotten all your leaves and flowers painted, it’s time to go in and add your highlights. I like to use Golden Ticket by DIY Paint to highlight all the beautiful features of the furniture I’m painting like carved wood, inlays, knobs, handles, corners, and more. This is also when I tend to add small amounts of acrylic paints to add a few highlights that really pop! I finished this piece first with black wax to get in all the nooks and crannies for depth and then clear wax to protect the paint finish. 

Want more furniture tips?

If you want to see the full tutorial for this piece along with other art tutorials, please join my Creative Connection membership group! You’ll find a vibrant community of artists ready to learn, listen, and share. In addition to the dozens of creative tutorials, you’ll also find our weekly Best Self Book Club, monthly creative challenges, dozens of guest expert interviews on every subject from encaustic painting to digital marketing and building a website for your creative business. We are always accepting new members! Join today and transform your entire life through the power of community and creativity. 

You can also visit my YouTube channel to see more furniture transformations!

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