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How To Paint Ugly Mediterranean Style Bedroom Furniture From The 70s

Yes, you can paint Mediterranean style bedroom furniture.…that ugly, overly detailed stuff from the 1970s. The furniture is mostly made of hard plastic and MDF but it can look great painted in a vibrant color. The bedroom furniture I painted for the granddaughter of a friend of mine is bold. The color is perfect for a teen girl. I hope she loves it as much as I do. Not that I’m patting myself on the back or anything.

The granddaughter’s name is Toni. Her grandmother is a sweet friend of mine and asked if I would paint these pieces. I never say no when I get a chance to paint something bright and colorful, and girly.


plastic headboard to paint

The furniture is old style 1970’s. The front panels are plastic and a bit over the top. The curves and curlicues on this bedroom set definitely look great painted if you use a feminine color. I actually like the plastic fake cane back inserts on the headboard. They look good painted and even better distressed. I’ve painted several sets of chairs with the faux cane backs and I love the look.

how to paint a Mediterranean style furniture

The dresser has feet similar to French Provincial furniture and French Provincial style drawer pulls but that’s where the similarity ends.

prepping furniture for painting Petticoat Junktion

Both pieces had been sitting on the front porch of a house for a while. There were dust bunnies, and dirt dauber nests, and a few dead bugs, and other things I couldn’t identify. I vacuumed both pieces then cleaned them with Simple Green. You guys have heard me talk about furniture prep. It’s the hardest part of a furniture makeover. The actual painting is easy and takes no time at all. If you prep properly the final product will show it.

how to paint fake wood furniture

The front feet and the detailed fronts on the drawers are all plastic but the rest of the body is MDF….or fake wood. Where the MDF was a bit ragged, I used a piece of sandpaper to very lightly knock down those puffed-up edges.

Then when it came time for paint, I dabbed primer on the areas a bit at a time so the “wood” didn’t get to wet. After that I was able to apply the paint to the legs without them puffing up again.

ProBond Advanced project Petticoat Junktion

The runner fell off of this drawer so I used a little  ProBond Advanced to glue it back on. No nails or screws are needed. The Probond holds tight.

Glidden Grey Gripper Primer before paint Petticoat Junktion

I applied a coat of my favorite primer…Glidden Gripper tinted gray. I wasn’t sure about the plastic and the slick finish so I thought it best to prime first. The primer also gives a solid colored base to work with.

Spray painting furniture hardware white Petticoat Junktion

The original hardware was all there, so that made my job a lot easier. It’s hard to find replacement French Provincial style hardware. I first painted the pulls a dark antiqued bronze.

spray paint furniture hardware white

But I didn’t care for that look and I spray painted them a second time using white-white spray paint.

how to paint ugly outdated 70s style plastic furniture



The paint is by  Behr and it’s a paint and primer all in one,  color “frosted pomegranate”. I applied three coats of the pomegranate. I find red colors often don’t cover as well as neutral colors so you need more coats of paint.

how to paint ugly furniture from the 1970s (2)




I very lightly distressed the details and the cane on the pieces. The gray primer looks almost white under the reddish paint.

spray paint furniture hardware for a fresh modern look


See, you can paint plastic furniture. I usually pass up the Mediterranean style pieces but I won’t do that again. The dresser looks like it was meant to be painted.


paint old fake wood furniture

As I mentioned, there’s not much real wood here. But it doesn’t have to be the best-made furniture in the world to look nice! See what a little paint can do? What do you think?

how to paint Mediterranean style bedroom furniture

I have more girly projects here…..Coral Bedroom Furniture.… and ……..Coral White Wash Furniture.

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. You’re right about the Mediterranean being uggggggly! My aunt had it and i was always amazed by the horrible furniture. But now, it evokes good memories of family gatherings. So, i would not think twice about it. You made a beautiful transformation. I first thought you would paint it pink. I can see it going that way for a teenaged girl. The bold color also look fabulous! Thank you for your information about dealing with problems.

  2. Not taste but may be right for a teen or someone on the wild side. But, I always love your post and beautiful updates.

  3. I would never have seen this in my mind’s eye. It turned out magnificent! I learned a lot too so thank you so very much. Great post!

  4. I love what you did and all the hard work you put to make this furniture look beautiful. Now I know what to do if I find this type of furniture what to do with it. Hugs

  5. That’s very interesting what you say about red paint not covering as well and needing more coats. I am currently painting two old wooden chairs red which had previously been spray painted in blue with Plasticote. Despite rigorous prep and a good white primer I am having trouble with coverage and already on my third coat of red. I thought it was just me so I was very pleased to find out from you that it wasn’t!

  6. Kathy,I want to say that you are my favorite blogger!!!!! Your pages are always so informative and helpful and I really appreciate that being new to painting!!!! I follow you via email and always open your email first because I know it is something useful. Thanks for always taking the time to explain your techniques, products and also for all your helpful tips!! Your hubby has been in my prayers…glad he is recovering well!! Hugs!!!!js

  7. WOW!!! It took me aback somewhat but the color then grabbed me in a most positive way! I think I must find a “gotcha” color for my bedroom…right now it’s kinda too serene. Thanks so much for post this!!

  8. I brushed all of it but on the top of the dresser I rolled on the last coat of paint.

  9. This is so beautiful!! I love the color.
    Did you spray, brush or roll on this?
    I always like to know which technique you prefer.
    It’s just awesome.

  10. I luv this color….not for me, but it will be great for her room. Looks awesome. Sometimes when you see furniture pieces like this you need some creative thinking!

  11. having slept in this am and on my 1st cup of coffee, when i saw it i said whoa, but waited a minute then went to look again and i really like it…i have seen furniture like this and it is usually so drab..you turned it into fab xx

  12. One would never know it’s the same cabinet. The color is, yes, a little rousingly shocking, but if the customer likes it and can live with it, more power to her. (If in a bedroom, might cause some sleepless nights. Ha)

    That gripper is such a great product.