The Two Colors Every Furniture Painter Should Have in Their Arsenal


I was pulling colors for a project in my studio and was thinking, what colors should every furniture painter have in their arsenal? 

One of the most enjoyable things about being a furniture painter is mixing colors. I gave this question some thought and the answer became clear. The two colors every furniture painter should always have on hand are black and white. With black and white paint, you can make shades, tones and tints with all your other colors. This creates endless color possibilities! Let's look into how this actually works and how you can use it for your own furniture painting.

Hue, saturation and value are the three main aspects of color. Hue is the color itself, saturation is the intensity of the color and value refers to how light or dark the hue is. Along with hue, saturation, and value, it's important to also know what tints, tones, and shades are and this is where black and white come in.

What is a tint?

A tint is created when you add white to a color, you can go from almost the full saturation of the color to a very pale and pastel color. It’s important to always add the color to the white paint and not the other way around and slowly increase the amount of color added to the white until you get exactly what you want.

What is a tone?

A tone is when you add grey to a color. With your black and white paint you can mix a grey and create a tone by adding your color and grey together. 

What is a shade?

A shade is when you add black to any color. You can add just a touch of black for a barely shaded color or add a lot of black for a deep black color that’s in the color family of the original hue.

How do I mix the paint?

First, I really recommend playing with your paints. Get some brushes, heavy paper and lots of water for rinsing your brushes. In separate containers, pour out some black and white paint, in a third container mix up a medium gray. Grab the brightest most saturated colors you have like a bright red or blue and on the heavy paper put a couple of spoonfuls of your white paint on one side and a spoonful of a bright color on the other. Then gradually add the bright color to some of the white and note how the color changes. Do this with the black and gray paints as well. All this mixing will get you familiar with the process and open a whole new world of color possibilities!

Here's a great black and white in the AHAH line and a great black and white in the Miss Mustard Seed's line.

How do I apply this to furniture painting?

I know you've noticed all the blending and ombre painting techniques going on! With your new ability to mix tints, tones and shades you can create those dreamy effects with one color melting into another easily or go from a pale tint to the full saturation of a color. Being able to mix your own unique colors gives you the ability to create a palette that reflects your vision as a creative decorative painter. 


                             Happy painting!

1 comment

  • You’re awesome! I need to read more of your stuff! :)


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published