Homes Design Ideas Freehand painting But the lure to paint furniture lies in the fact that, unlike walls where you have to be able to repeat endlessly the same design to get an even finish, here you may only need to produce one motif whose irregularity is part of its charm – freehand painting is a possibility not to be despised. Any post on folk art will show you that perfection is not the aim. Look for motifs that you like and plagiarize them shamelessly – originality never was part of this tradition. And beyond the familiar motifs of roses and fruit, there are less obvious designs of equal charm -take a quirky menagerie of animals and birds, or the elegant seriffed letters and numerals of Fraktur style, adapted in Pennsylvania in the nineteenth-century from old European illuminated manuscripts. Adding names and dates to your design give it the authentic touch of customized furniture — which is what you are tackling; you could look for inspiration for lettering on a handsome old gravestone. Your design should exploit the particularities of the piece of furniture – panels can be painted in a contrasting colour and their edges framed by a detailed border; locks and handles can provide a focus for a small flurry of intricate geometry. And then, if you have the courage, worry the finished article with sandpaper to simulate years of affectionate use. Using colours authentically There is a perilous line between the vulgarity of folksy and the dignity of folk. A useful discipline is to banish barge-painting completely from your mind and look instead for the mellowed blues and greens of antique Scandinavian painted furniture, the battered scarlet, black, cream and cerulean of French, and the weathered earth and sea spectrum of American. The background colour is important and must provide a careful complement to room and painted artefact. Dark colours provide a flattering foil to touches of brightness in a design.

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