My Bamboo is Peacock Blue

July 13, 2011

I have to say thank you to all of you for your suggestions on what color to paint the faux bamboo chest I scored last weekend while out thrifting.  Quite frankly, it’s one of those pieces that would look really good in any color, but there were a few comments that coaxed me toward peacock blue. 

brenda quote

Ooh, rich bluey-turquoise . . .

monica quote

Make the gold hardware pop, yes that’s a must!

andrea quote

Yes, me likey colors of the ocean, thanks for reading my mind Andrea.

conni quote

Amen sister, peacock is da bomb. 

So I busted out of my ‘just paint my furniture white’ box I fit so nicely into, and pulled off a bold shade of glossy peacock blue.  You saw the faux bamboo chest a few days ago that I dragged home from a thrift store.  faux bamboo chest

Check out this hottie now:

peacock blue faux bamboo chest with curtain

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I love it, don’t you? 



From the start, this find required some minor repairs.   First, there was the chipping veneer around the top that I peeled off, then patched with some wood filler.

peel veneer wood filler

Next came the broken leg, with a piece of bamboo falling off.  Some wood glue and something heavy on top (two cans of primer) while the glue dried saved the day. minor repair job


Now it looks like something you’d pay top dollar for on 1st Dibs (double fist bump to the chest, followed up by peace sign to the crowd):

kates blue bamboo chest

Paisley print panels in vivid shades of teal, lime green and soft yellow found on sale at Pier One.


kates gold lamp bird art white bowl vase

The genie lamp was also a Pier One find, on sale and very pretty in brushed nickel, but given a coat of gold leaf spray paint, it plays off those awesome campaign pulls. 

Bowl from Marshalls ($3 dolla, holla!), the vintage framed partridge bird patches also found thrifting last weekend, funny how they fit right in, I LOVE them.  That vase was on a clearance rack at Michaels for $5 bucks and since I collect white ceramics in all shapes that are priced under $10 I just had to have it.  Collecting simple white modern ceramics in all sizes is an addiction of mine because they’re just so darn versatile and look good anywhere from tabletop to bookcase to mantel.  Those fat jungle leaf clippings are from my royal empress tree in my backyard, yo. 

After all these years of teaching myself how to refinish furniture and working with all sorts of paints and products, I still believe if you choose to spray paint a piece of furniture, you can achieve a really nice look if you follow certain steps.  

Here are the ones I followed for this faux bamboo chest:


Remove all hardware and/or hinges. 1) Clean off any debris, fill holes and make repairs (mentioned above, and here); then coat your furniture with a bonding primer;  2) when dry, lightly sand with a fine grit sanding wedge to remove any drips or residue; 3) wipe down any dust with a cloth; 4) freshen the hardware with metallic spray paint (I used ‘Gold Leaf’ by Krylon); 5) apply two light coats of paint with two cans of Rust-Oleum spray paint in ‘Night Tide’ gloss allowing to dry in between coats 6) when dry, wipe down any residue with cloth; 7) apply protective coat to seal and protect. 

Tip #1:  when spray painting furniture, especially drawer or door fronts, it is best to apply the spray paint when the surface of the door or drawer is facing up, meaning don’t paint where it naturally sits in place.  Remove the drawer or door and and lay it down on a painter’s tarp so that the surface you’re about to paint is facing the sky.  I find that makes for more even application and reduces the potential for drips. 

Tip #2: often with spray paint, along long surfaces especially on furniture you will see  a splotchy finish, which I mentioned in this article about spray paint FAQs.  This is frustrating because in any light, the color is even, but the finish is not.  I’ve grown increasingly bothered by this, which is why I often turn to a safe bet: painting a piece with a roller/brush combo and latex paint.  However, there is an appeal to knocking out a quick paint job on a small piece of furniture with a few cans of spray paint, so I’ve been experimenting to get rid of the potential for a splotchy finish.  I think I found the solution. 

The best way to get rid of a splotchy surface that results along long flat surfaces from spray paint is to coat it with one of these protective brush-on formulas with a cheapo sponge brush.  Either one works great (Varathane or Minwax Polycrylic).  They are both water based, and they can both be applied to fully cured oil based completely dry  spray painted surfaces.

final protective coat

Don’t worry that they look milky in the can, they always dry clear.  Choose satin or gloss depending on your preference, and be sure to work with them when the temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees because they dry fast, and even faster in really warm weather. 

To appease both myself and my friend JJ, I chose a gloss finish:

jj quote


And that, my friends, is how this funky faux bamboo chest . . .

bamboo before


. . . turned into this fabulous accent piece. 

peacock blue painted faux bamboo chest


K8 I hope I’ve convinced you:

k8 quote

I spent $25 on this chest, and $8 bucks on spray paint.  By the way, Rust-Oleum’s Night Tide is the perfect shade of peacock blue, I’ve used it here and here in the past and I find it at Lowe’s and Orchard Supply Hardware, but all stores vary their selection.

The rest of the supplies I had on hand, so this is a $33 dollar investment for me and I couldn’t be more thrilled!  What I mostly love is the statement in now makes in the guest room.  Lesson learned: as tempting and lovely as it is, don’t always play it safe with white, black or gray.  Every room needs a pop of color so why not make it a piece of furniture?  We should all push ourselves to embrace bold colors to bring personality to our spaces. 

Now it’s your turn, so go on.  Paint something blue or pink or green or yellow or red.  It will make you feel really really good.

Thanks so much to Apartment Therapy for this feature!




Tags: , ,

210 Responses to “My Bamboo is Peacock Blue”

  1. Sara says:

    Oh my gosh!!! Yes, I am so happy you went with blue! It looks amazing. Gorgeous!

  2. Christina says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love your site

  3. Julie M. says:


    : )

    Julie M.

  4. Chloe says:

    The colour is absolutely gorgeous.

    C x
    Last day to win a Shabby Apple dress:

  5. Michelle says:

    Wow… just wow! That turned out beautifully. Well done!

    Bok Bok B’Gerk

  6. Cocuklacocuk says:

    So good, i like it too much, love from istanbul

  7. Gorgeous! And now I’m looking around my space to see what I can paint blue. Or green, or something other than the white I’d been thinking about.

    Thanks for the push ; )

  8. Monique says:

    Love it! Another great redo.

  9. tracie says:

    oh that is FAB!!!!

  10. Bev says:

    love it! That color is so beautiful and all of the accessories make it look so just meant to be.

  11. That is the most fabulous $33 dollars I’ve seen in awhile! Love the color, the pulls! And the print on the wall is perfect next to it!

  12. Kathleen says:

    Stunning – great work – it has inspired me to do more DIY painting of furniture!!! I love the colour.

  13. L.Duncan says:

    Bowing down to you!!! This piece turned out beautiful, Kate! My favorite part of this post is when you said “double fist bump to the chest, followed up by peace sign to the crowd”… If my boys weren’t sleeping I really would have laughed out loud!!! OMG, you are too funny!

    Now I’m looking at my campaign dresser saying hmm…I think it’s time for a paint job;)

  14. cassie says:

    LOVE it, kate! that color was the perfect choice!

  15. Tanya says:

    Peacock indeed…that’s a showpiece now!

  16. Elisa says:

    Looks great! Lovely shade of blue!

  17. Pam says:

    I think this is my favorite piece that you’ve done…simply gorgeous!

  18. Kate!! Love love love. This is divine. And your painting is perfect. And I just love how you’ve displayed it all. The bird print is perfect.
    You’ve got lovely taste.
    Gushing, but this is one of the nicest “afters” I’ve seen in ages!
    Cheers Fiona

  19. Jennifer says:

    This is GORGEOUS!!! Love it!

  20. I’ve ALWAYS had that splotchy finish problem with spray paint unless I choose a matte spray paint. I’ve found a great brush-on paint that I love to use (Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch in the non-spray can), but it’s great to know that some varnish can fix the gloss problem with spray paint.

  21. Wow, it came out great Kate!

  22. Katharine says:

    You never seize to amaze me. Great job Kate! Stunning!

  23. Perfection! The peacock blue is the perfect accent with your wall color and drapes.

  24. She’s beautiful, and all her adornments too! Love the color of the lamp and your white collectible vase! Looks Great!

  25. SheilaG says:

    This is gorgeous- if only I had the vision to do such things! :)

  26. maggie says:

    That looks fabulous! Great job!

  27. Beautiful, beautiful piece!

  28. Tiffany says:

    I thrift all the time and I’ve found some cool things, but never anything that awesome. Jealous. It turned out so good that now I want to paint something peacock blue. Hmm….

  29. This is a wonderful before and after. Befores and Afters are the stuff of life! ;-) I love that color.


  30. Kerry says:

    I love the colour you went with! It’s stunning! :)

  31. Karla Davis says:

    Thanks for sharing the journey of your thrift store bamboo chest. I love the color, I love the accents, especially the curtain panels!

  32. lindsey says:

    looks AAAAMAZING!!!! i <3 bamboo anything and this turned out BEAUtiful! so jealous. i think i'll go thrifting this weekend….i need a small dresser in my closet and would love a project like this

  33. Irene says:


    I just bought those Pier1 curtains. I wound up returning them because I thought simple white for our guestroom fit better. But they look so lovely in your space.

  34. Kathy says:

    Wow!! Just Really WOW!!!
    Great Color! Great Transformation!!

  35. For $33??? Not bad at all. Great choice with the color. I love the lamp too. You did a great job, Kate. :)

  36. Ally says:

    OMG. Breath. Taking. Seriously. The chest ended up GORGEOUS. You should be really proud. And the decor you have with it just looks amazing. I know I shouldn’t be surprised b/c everything you make looks fantastic, but this is definitely one of my faves. Nice job.

  37. Rhonda says:

    Wow..I have never spray painted furniture…just accessories. I’ll have to find “just the right piece” to give this a try! Thanks for the wealth of information! Love the blue……even though I tend to be a “white girl.” LOL

  38. Alicia says:

    Amazing!! The chest looks so high end; no one would ever guess it was a thrift store find. I love this color so much that even as I type this I am looking around the room for something to paint!

  39. Jorie says:

    This is great! I love the new look, but how on earth did you manage to get the metal bits so shiny?! Did you use the gold spray paint from the lamp or is there a cleaning trick you have up your well crafted, perfectly coordinated sleeve?

  40. Joyce Ann says:

    So lovely, such a pretty color, the print pulls it all together. Kuddo’s!

  41. Amy says:

    It. Looks. Awesome!

  42. Heather says:

    I’m in love…now I have to go search craigslist for a bamboo chest.

  43. Perfect! And just the color I’ve been looking for a certain little desk. :) Thanks, Kate!

  44. Jo-Anna says:

    So gorgeous! So jealous! ;)

  45. Wendy says:

    Amazing, stunning – wow! I was jealous of you already for finding this great piece while thrifting, but you just raised the wow factor tremendously with this color!

  46. Livelikeyou says:

    You’re a genius! Peacock blue…a great color.

  47. Amy says:

    Wow. That looks so beautiful! I am particularly coveting the thrift store artwork in the background. Great find!

  48. Lisa says:


  49. Haley says:

    Love, love, love this! Great job!

  50. So beautiful! And I’m impressed with your handiwork!

  51. Wow! What an amazing makeover! Love the colour you choose, and your room looks so fresh with the drapery and artwork, just love it!

  52. julie says:

    Thinking I heard the angels singing when I saw the finished piece! SWOON!

  53. jenn says:

    It looks AWESOME! And I just happen to have a can of that exact spray paint. I bought it with no project in mind.. I just LOVED the color. thanks for the poly tips… I’ve used it to seal paint that I paint on. but never over spray paint.

  54. Amy says:

    Stunning! I love everything about the piece and the room you styled around it!

  55. sarah says:

    LOVE–it looks awesome. and yes, the poly overcoat is a must. i have a couple pieces in the house that i didn’t poly coat, and everything sticks to them like mad. it’s not a big deal because they’re not long term pieces, but still….in our forever house, i will poly coat everything i paint.

  56. Oh my gosh!! I love it so much!!!! It looks awesome!

  57. Looks amazing!! Love the peacock blue and the accessories that go with!

  58. Stephanie says:

    Geez lady! You are crazy talented. Your site inspires me! Now I just need to get rid of “I-don’t-have-a-creative-bone-in-my-body sydrome” and just TRY to do something. Keep on rockin’! :)

  59. Olivia says:

    Super gorgeous! The potential you saw to be such a beauty in that old worn chest is amazing!

  60. You definitely chose the right color for her–she’s gorgeous!! I’m in love. :-)

  61. Loooove it! My master bedroom nighstands are painted this exact same color! And they make me happy every day : ) PS. Did you say what room of your house this is in? Because I’m a stalker like that….

  62. Nice peacock!! Great find!!

  63. MaryBeth says:

    Wow!! Very impressive makeover!!

  64. Debbie says:

    Love it, love it, love it. You’ve given me an idea. Thank you!

  65. Jennifer says:

    Inspiring. I have a chest of drawers I’ve been meaning to do and you just gave me the motivation I needed. Love your blog.

  66. This is wonderful! I love it!! =)

  67. christy says:

    Love, love, love!!!!! I just rushed out and purchased 5 cans of Heirloom White last night (after checking 4 stores) to douse my entire office furniture for my makeover. Methinks I should get my butt in gear, buy some bright orange and put a little color in my life.
    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  68. melissa says:

    That looks AMAZING! I mean everything: the chest, the print and the curtains-fabulous colors popping! I love your projects and they inspire me so much, I just don’t think I have your patience.

  69. COREY says:

    PERFECTION!!! I also painted a Goodwill chest this same color last summer, and it is in our beach condo’s master bedroom. The bedroom paint color is Benjamin Moore Tropicana Cabana…the two colors together are tropical heaven!

    Beautiful job!

  70. Robin says:


  71. perfection!!! I can’t believe how great is looks. also, thanks for including the drape info. they’re to die for. i must have them.

  72. Gorgeous!!!! It looks like a piece you would have paid a LOT of money for!

  73. GoHausGo says:

    OMG! I gasped when I saw it! Absolutely amazing color! Searching my Craigslist now for bamboo…

  74. Ann says:

    LOVE the look! Great color!!

  75. Amber says:

    I love this! You did a beautiful job, I also love rustoleum!

  76. Mindy says:

    I am completely in love with those curtains. The blue turned out fun – especially in its surroundings.

  77. Erin says:

    Oh my goodness! The color is SPECTACULAR! I am in love! And thank you for the tips on spray painting furniture. On smaller pieces I do sometimes like to just spray and get it over with and I appreciate the tip to use the poly!

  78. Ginger says:

    I think the white always transforms a piece, but this time, the peacock blue knocked it out of the park. If I wouldn’t have seen the before, I would NEVER have believed it came from a thrift store. It looks so high end now. Great choice. Those curtains are gorgeous too.

  79. Tanya says:

    Looks amazing! I love how you accessorized it also. I have to admit that I struggle to get out of the safe white and gray rut too. But this piece you did makes me crave color!

  80. lisaroy says:

    wow – what a beauty! I have to admit, I would never have chosen that colour myself – I usually play it safe but it looks stunning, especially with the gold hardware. nice job! :)

  81. It looks gorgeous, Kate! My problem isn’t ‘going for it’ and painting something bright…my problem is knowing when to NOT paint it bright! :) But my highboy painted cherry yellow is def my fave piece in the house. I’ve got my eye on a beast of an armoire that’s going ‘plummage’ next.

  82. amykdee says:

    perfect in peacock!!!

  83. Wendy says:

    SHAZZAAM! You really brought home the bacon and fried it up with this little hottie! EXCELLENTE!
    I like it muy mucho!

  84. Helena says:

    Love it! Night tide is my favorite color and I have painted several pieces with it. I have been searching and searching with no luck for bedding that is night tide and chocolate brown. Any suggestions?

  85. elaine says:

    Wowza! Absolutely gorgeous! I voted for yellow (but loved all the options). I’m glad to see you proved me wrong! It’s beautiful and stunning.

  86. Libby says:

    wow, that looks incredible! great job!

  87. CC says:

    HELLO GORGEOUS! I’m now, officially, super jealous. Beautiful job!

    Your post has good timing. I just spray painted a desk and was having issues with splotchy finish. I bought some polycrylic (same kind as you!) for something else and was wondering if it would help my splotchy desk too. Now I know, it will! Thanks for the confidence in my purchase!

  88. Dang, girl – it’s fabulous! what a perfect color to coordinate with the new drapes and that fun vintage print. Love it! You have the best thrift store luck.

  89. Christina says:

    Love it! I have what is probably a far too ambitious idea to paint my wood dining set. It is an old inexpensive set that can seat about 4 (I have 5 chairs though) that my parents gave to me. I have never painted furniture before. Do you think it would be wise of me to start with something smaller? I’m also unsure of what steps would be necessary to paint the very glossy surface of the table (and make it food safe). I’m fairly certain it’s just a thick layer of gloss but it seriously looks like plastic it’s so thick.

    The current light-to-medium yellowy wood color they are right now clashes with my wood floor and is just not appealing to me at all. I’ve been imagining them white with dip-dyed legs in minty blue-green. Or something like that. Anything but the way they are now!

  90. Debbie says:

    Hi, it looks great and you chose the right color..OMG i’m ready to do one. Thrift shops here i come.

  91. Debbie says:

    thanks so much for always putting the products you use in your redo’s. It makes it so helpful to us who don’t know that much about doing these projects..Your a doll!

  92. Brenda Moore says:

    Looks like a million bucks! WELL DONE!

  93. You did a wonderful job! Great color choice.

  94. Paulina J! says:

    LOVE IT!!! Your are so uber-talented! Quick question: have any of your painted furniture developed a yellow tint because you used a water based finish? I’ll read the FAQs too :)

  95. AnnW says:

    Now you can list it on 1st Dibs! Spectacular. Ann

  96. It looks AWESOME!!! I’m jealous!

  97. RLynn says:

    You are a cotton-pickin’ decorating genius! It’s gorgeous.

  98. damn, gina!!!

    love the color, love the gloss, love the accessories, love love love!

  99. Jennifer says:

    I love it!! It’s fabulous in every sense of the word. I have an old secretary that I’ve been wanting to paint a fresh color and this has given me the inspiration to “Just Do It”!! I’m not sure what color yet, but I’ll keep you posted!!
    Thanks for sharing such a fun project.

Leave a Reply