So, this is the blog post that I started many months ago and realized it was way too much information for one post and that I needed to some additional research. You can find the first segment, How to Select Quality Made Furniture, HERE. The cheat sheet for it is HERE. The second segment, I was so lucky to have help from some ultra-talented painters. You can find, Is It a 20-20 Paint Job or One That is Still Beautiful in 20 Years? HERE.
Before I get to the worth and value, I want to address an issue that comes up frequently. Does painting a piece of furniture devalue it? Of course it does – wait, wrong answer! It does not – wait, wrong answer! There is not an answer that is correct for every piece of furniture, all of the time.
If a furniture piece is a true, uncommon antique (100+ years old) or a vintage (no set age, but commonly used for 50+ years old) specimen with an established, esteemed, and documented provenance, then painting or re-staining will probably make it less valuable. However, there are many true antique pieces and many more vintage pieces that painting or updating the stain color will actually increase their value.
Maple furniture is a good example. So much of it was fabricated to last a lifetime, and it has because maple is a dense and strong wood. Unfortunately, a lot of the vintage maple furniture that I run across is in that same orangey-gold mid-tone color and often has Colonial or Early American styling and hardware. Sadly, for the owners of that style of maple furniture, there are not a lot of buyers that are looking to decorate their homes with it today. It is one of the hardest to sell in its original state, even if it is pristine. With some paint, stain and new hardware, it is pretty easy to transform it into a “farmhouse-style” piece that many will love and want in their home.
In this segment, I am going to give you some idea of what you should expect to pay for a piece of professionally painted furniture. I covered what to look for in a professionally painted piece here. I wish it was as easy as saying a painted 5-drawer chest should cost $400.00. It isn’t because you must take into consideration so many points. Original quality of the piece, size, specialty paint finishes and even the original style all will affect the price. At times, a painter will leave cosmetic defects of the furniture and work them into the design/look/style of the piece. While it is appropriate to do so, that should be considered in their pricing. Those pieces can be great bargains when priced accordingly.
Most painted pieces are not found curbside for free or from a midnight dumpster dive. Do not think just because you found it for free that it will be a quick and profitable flip. Those pieces often need a lot of repair work and the labor cost offsets the free price.
Once you become “the furniture painter,” you may find that people will unload pieces they don’t want any more to you. Or perhaps you are painting a home or family piece you already had. While some painters may take that into account and sell the piece under its value, most learn quickly that is not a sound business practice. These ‘free/cheap to you’ pieces are where you make up for those others where you might have run into issues.
All experienced painters have worked with pieces that, for some reason, took much longer than they should have to paint. Sadly, for the painter, that additional labor cannot be added to sell price, as it does not affect the value of the piece. Sometimes the painter will miss defects or needed repairs on a piece when purchasing. Perhaps the piece is an unexpected bleeder, or they missed the mysterious odor being emitted until they had it in their workshop.
Remember, whether you under pay or over pay for an item, it does not affect the actual value of the finished piece.
In the above prices, I have added some of the factors that are taken into consideration when pricing furniture for sale. Additionally, the size of the actual piece (square footage that must be painted) should be a factor that goes into the ranges. Also, it assumes that the pieces are painted well and of average quality. The pricing is for a single color of paint with a sealing finish. Specialty, multi-layer, and furniture art will cost additional. It is very similar to buying a new car. That base model with a plain, solid paint job is less expensive than the fully loaded LS model with the metallic pearl paint.
I hope this makes evaluating the piece and the price easier for you. VALUE YOUR WORK AND TALENT! We shared insight on how to shop for quality pieces of furniture and how to recognize a quality paint job on a piece of furniture with you. I hope you have found this series on the value of painted furniture helpful when shopping for painted furniture. Just like with the car, the $50 dresser you find in a Facebook Marketplace® is often a lot different from the $700.00 dresser you find on Chairish®. Be selective, ask questions, and have fun shopping.
Oh, and I haven’t posted a Mixology Monday recently, so look for a new one coming soon!