Yesterday a reader asked about painting caned furniture. Her question reminded me of this vintage chair uncovered by India Hicks and David Flint Wood when they moved into their island home. According to India's book, Island Life, the caned chair was originally a shocking blue. Following the example set by her legendary dad, David Hicks, she sanded the piece well and refreshed it with white paint and simple pineapple print upholstery.
Unfortunately the book doesn't address the caning. But a few years ago I had success lightly painting a cane-back chair with a brush. (A previous owner had already painted the natural caning.) Some people have success with spray paint. The trick is not to apply the paint too thickly, I think.
L.A.-based designer Carla Lane opted to spray paint the chair above. Other times though, she has her vintage wood furniture painted by a pro.
As she told us last year, “It’s expensive, but it’s worth it and you can customize your color...when you do anything in a high gloss you want there to be as few pits and dents as possible." Professionals can do a thorough sanding and patching job first, then spray furniture in a booth.
For more on caning in general, see this helpful Martha Stewart article. And let us know if you have tips of your own.
Photograph by Robert Capa, Magnum Photos, Copyright 1996 Estate of Robert Capa
Side note: ever since I spotted this famous 1948 photo (Francoise Gilot and Pablo Picasso) tacked to Hicks' "scrap wall," I've enjoyed keeping it on my own inspiration boards.
Top two images are from Island Life, Harry N. Abrams, 2004