"TV show" furniture painting. What are the real results?

I have a suspicion. On several of these "quickie makeover" shows (Trading Spaces, etc.) the "cast" is frequently seen painting furniture, usually with small foam rollers or brushes. They paint old furniture as well as custom MDF or plywood pieces.
Is there any chance that this results in a decent looking finish? I strongly suspect that what may look OK on TV, in a quick camera pan around the room, looks pretty ugly in person. As far as I can tell, they are using wall paint most of the time.
Doesn't a good furniture paint finish require a professional sprayer, low dust, special paint and perhaps SKILL?
Greg Guarino
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I shudder when I see some of the things they do, although the shows are kinda fun to watch. I have good furniture and some antiques. I would kill anyone who did that in my house. Not to mention what they do to some of the room surfaces that would take considerable effort to reverse, such as feathers or paper bags glued on the walls.
I guess the only safe way to participate in one of these shows is to have nothing of substance or value, or simply not care. I think they have to sign a contract to the effect that almost anything goes.
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Wayne in Phoenix

If there's a nit to pick, some nitwit will pick it.
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Wayne wrote:

What most of these shows do is have you remove from the room in question anything you don't want touched. Some of the more notorious problems have resulted from incomplete homeowner instructions -- there was a glorious old mantelpiece that was cut out with a chainsaw in one show, simply because the owners hadn't considered anybody would actually mess with the structure itself.
As for the end results not being pleasing, keep in mind that the shows get most of their interest from created drama. That is to say, the "best" shows, from a viewership standpoint, are the ones where the makeover causes some sort of anguish or regret.
If you want to stay friends with someone, don't makeover their house on a TV show (or vice versa).
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i'd like to see them revisit the sites after a year. i bet you see a lot of it has been torn out again or is already showing signs of premature wear.
randy
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xrongor wrote:

I always wonder about the stuff they put outside on decks and patios. Can furniture stand up to the weather? I must be buying too cheap. <G>
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN

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wrote:

No. The foam rollers do a very good job of applying the paint, especially on flat and smooth surfaces such as the MDF. Backbrushing can remove roller patterns easily. And virtually none of your antique furniture had finishes applied by sprayer.
This also depends on the look you want. Hand rubbed lacquer is different from a paint wash treatment which is different from a stain and linseed oil finish.
And remember, the furniture cost a couple hundred bucks, not ten grand. You get what you pay for.
Jeff
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Let me put a little finer point on it. I'm not talking about when they do a "wood finish". It's the painted furniture I'm curious about. It seems to me that even cheap "store bought" painted furniture has a smoother finish than could possibly result from rolled-on wall paint.
Last year I built a "temporary" desk/study area for my wife, who is studying for the CPA exams. I had a couple of shelf units that I had built a few years ago and I put a large piece of MDF on top as a desk surface. I decided to paint it, mostly just to make it a cleanable surface. I also thought it would be an interesting experiment. I used black high gloss paint from HD and applied it with a foam roller labeled "extra smooth".
On the positive side, the surface is amazingly tough. I can't even put a mark in it with my fingernail. But it doesn't look so hot. It's got a "texture" to it, plus you can see the roller marks. I'm sure that flat paint would be much more uniform looking, but I don't think it would be practical, or very attractive. Satin might be OK, but I have that on some of my walls, and it just doesn't look like a "furniture" finish.
Last night I happened to catch the end of another TV show where they were showing the results of the makeover. They had made an armoire and painted it brown. They happened to show a closer than usual shot with a reflection highlight in it. It looked exactly the way you might imagine furniture painted with satin wall paint would look.
By the way. The "temporary" desk is still there. I may formica it.
Greg G
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Greg G wrote:

broadcast.... when they were finished it looked like on TV that they had bought all new counter tops make of mahognoy or walnut wood... looked great.. it was all made up of cheap 1/8 in. plywood and particle board stuff that was painted with a faux finish that they made up themselves.. on camera it looked real expensive and geat.. in person you could see it was just junk...alot of cardboard in the background with glitter and such for a street scene.... looked real.. these guys are real artist to do the job they did but not in my house.... its only for looks...
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Not really. I refinished our dining room table using a sander, some spray paint, and a top coat of satin finish urethane. I got the exact look I was aiming for, and it is holding up just as well as the original finish.
I wouldn't do this sort of thing with a valuable anitque, but I probably wouldn't refinish one of those anyway.
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wrote:

Experience, quality tools and materials help. Good results comes from lots of careful preparation rather than special equipment. Low dust and the proper temperature helps too.
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