New Life for Old Furniture: Trendy or Neutral

By Dahna M. Chandler

You recently acquired that old furniture piece you’ve wanted for a while, the one that fits perfectly with your home’s design theme. To freshen it up, you want to paint the piece so it’s more “you,” but should you choose a trendy color or a classic one? Will a bright color work, or is it better to go with something neutral? A paint company will steer you toward its color of the year, which might work fine — if you like it.

“Whatever you decide, you should go with what you love,” says Juliette Abeille, owner of Loverly Cottage and L’Abeille Vintage Boutique in Lake Bluff, IL. Don’t turn your weekend project into a weeks-long quest for the perfect color. Instead, weigh these pros and cons of trendy vs. neutral hues.

Trendy Looks Most Current

Using a trendy color — the Pantone Color of the Year or one the decorators say is hot — instantly gives the furniture a vibe that’s in vogue. Fashionable colors go a long way toward updating a space you haven’t changed much in years.

Go with the bright color du jour if you’re adding the furniture to a room where neutrals reign or if you want to reflect more of your personality in a shared place. “If you have a vibrant personality and love bright colors, use a bright color,” says Abeille. She repaints furniture regularly as an eco-friendly, sustainable reuse and restorations expert.

Trends Come and Go

In all likelihood, a trendy color will go out of style quicker than a classic color. After a while, the piece may seem outdated, or it could stick out in a space. You’ll find yourself repainting the item at some point, so make sure you’re okay with that before choosing the color of the moment.

“You also can add trendy colors in accessories around your home rather than painting a more permanent piece,” Abeille explains. That way, you can easily swap out the surrounding décor to fit next year’s trend, investing less money and time.

Neutral Shades Stay in Style

Pick a neutral shade if you don’t want to repaint the piece. Classic tones don’t usually go out of style, and they work with a rotating palette of accent pieces if you’re prone to changing pillows, curtains, and picture frames when the mood strikes you.

Neutrals can be interesting, too, especially if you pick muted versions of the colors you love. In a sense, it’s the best of both worlds. Your piece stays fashionable longer and can still make a statement in the room.

“I love the soft, muted serene blues and greens,” says Abeille, who specializes in French Country design. “So, my house is filled with those colors, except my bedroom which is pale blush pink with gray, brown and ivory accents,” she continues.

Neutrals Can Be Boring

Although playing it safe can be smart, going too neutral makes for a dull home. A space filled with primarily beige, off-white, gray, or even wood furnishings can seem lifeless.

If neutral tones fit your personality or meet your living needs for the moment, then go with them. But, if you’re leaning toward a bland hue out of fear of making the wrong choice, then you’re probably not going to be happy with the result. Instead, take Abeille’s advice and go with what you love, be it edgy or evergreen.

Make Your Choice

You’re the one who has to live with your choice, so make one that fits your style, needs, and personality. “Your home is your sanctuary,” Abeille says. “Whether it’s timeless or trendy, choose a color only if it works in your home.”

Whatever color you settle on, make sure that the furniture piece you’re planning to paint is well made and sturdy. No amount of paint can refurbish a rickety table or crumbling chest of drawers. If you’re having trouble finding the right item, then check out CORT Clearance Center, where you can get high-end, quality used furniture at great prices.