Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer
This past weekend I worked on two fun projects — a desk makeover for my niece’s bedroom (more on that later this week) and my piano. I didn’t actually get very far on the piano because I got sidetracked with paint color options, and then almost talked myself out of painting it completely. I had one of those “before I paint, I must see what’s under that thick, old finish” moments at around 10:30pm on Friday night, so I got out the paint stripper and got to work. The next thing I knew, I had paint stripper all over the large front piece, and all over one whole side of the piano.
I was really hoping that piano guy was wrong, and that the thing would be made out of solid pine. Or oak. I have no issue at all painting pine or oak.
It wasn’t. It’s walnut for sure. It’s not burled walnut like he said it was, but it’s definitely walnut. And it’s beautiful.
After seeing that, I really felt guilty about wanting to paint it, and I actually wavered back and forth the rest of the night and the next day. But in the end, I decided to go for the paint. The fact is that I don’t think stripping this piano is a DIY kind of project. The old finish came off in such a thick, sticky mess (kind of like scraping thick, cold molasses off of the piano) like I’ve never experienced when stripping furniture. Not only that, but it took three coats of stripper, with lots of scraping between each coat, and then I still had to use my sander after that to get down to bare wood. That old finish just does not want to let go. And it’s not like this is a solid piece of walnut. It’s veneer, which is only so thick, so I run the risk of sanding right through it if I’m not careful.
And if I had trouble with the large, flat areas, how in the world am I going to get the intricate detailed areas, like the carving on front, and the fluted legs, and the beaded details on the edges, perfectly stripped? I don’t think I have the capability. There comes a time in every DIYers life when she must face the fact that perhaps this project is one for a professional. For me, this is that project.
But of course, hiring a professional to completely strip the piano isn’t really in the budget for now. That would cost somewhere between $2000 and $4000, and that’s money that I can’t justify spending right now on a project like this. I definitely want it done in the future, though. That wood is too pretty to be permanently hidden underneath paint.
But in the meantime, I paint! 🙂 The question is, what color? I’ve been thinking that yellow is perfect for it. Yellow is a beautiful complement to green, and from where the piano sits, you can see my green kitchen cabinets. Yellow also looks great with the coral buffet in the entryway. And yellow is the brightest of colors, and would really brighten up the music room, which has no windows and only gets natural light indirectly from the neighboring rooms. Plus, yellow just makes me smile.
But then on Saturday, my mom said that she thought I should paint it green — one that is much lighter than the kitchen cabinets, but one that will complement the cabinets. I hadn’t even thought about green, quite honestly. So I grabbed some samples at Home Depot to try them out. Hmmm…a green piano.
Actually, none of the samples I bought from Home Depot (green or yellow) ended up working out. They were all way to pale for my taste. But I spent an hour or so mixing my own colors, mostly from paint I already had on hand, and came up with some options that I really like.
Here’s what they look like during the brightest time of the day…
To mix these colors, I used Behr Wildflower Honey (a bright, saturated yellow), Behr Polar Bear (the white I use on my trim), Behr Sap Green (a soft green), Sherwin Williams Derbyshire (the green on my kitchen cabinets), and Behr Pure Black.
1. Behr Wildflower Honey + Behr Sap Green
2. Behr Wildflower Honey + Behr Polar Bear
3. Behr Wildflower Honey + Behr Polar Bear (less white added than in #2, obviously)
4. Behr Wildflower Honey
5. SW Derbyshire + Behr Wildflower Honey
6. SW Derbyshire + (more) Behr Wildflower Honey
7. SW Derbyshire + (even more) Behr Wildflower Honey
8. #7 mixture + Behr Polar Bear + a touch of Behr Pure Black
Interestingly, I tried using the Derbyshire and just adding white to it to make it lighter. That didn’t work at all. It turned this horrible mint green with ugly blue undertones. Any time I added white to the Derbyshire, it started turning blue. In fact, here are the same colors later in the evening (I took this the day before the previous picture, and it wasn’t quite dark outside yet), and you can see how that last one has a touch of blue in it because I added white, and I only added a very small amount of white to it.
I hadn’t intended to post that picture, since there’s a shadow on my favorite yellow (#2) that makes it appear darker than it is (and since there’s a messy kitchen in the background 😀 ), but the rest of the colors look accurate to me, and this picture really shows the differences in the greens.
Anyway, I’ve completely ruled out #1 (too muted, and in that awkward middle ground where it’s not really green and not really yellow), #4 (too bold and saturated), and #5 (too dark). My favorite yellow is #2 (the Wildflower Honey with more white added to it), and my favorite greens are #6 (Derbyshire with Wildflower Honey) and #8 (Derbyshire, Wilflower Honey, Polar Bear, and Pure Black). If I had to choose a green right now, it would be #6.
But anyway, I’m not really concerned right now with the specific tint/shade I should choose. Right now, I can’t even decide on a general color. Yellow or green? I personally think either green or yellow would look good next to my kitchen and dining room. And I think they would both look fantastic against my hand-drawn version of Schumacher’s Birds & Butterflies wallpaper (sans butterflies).
And strangely, I really don’t have a favorite. I honestly think I like the yellow and green equally.
So I’m taking the easy way out and letting you decide. 😀 Yellow or green? Majority rules on this one.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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