My Bamboo is Peacock Blue

By Kate Riley July 13, 2011

I have to say thank you to all of you for your suggestions on what color to paint the faux bamboo chest I scored last weekend while out thrifting.  Quite frankly, it’s one of those pieces that would look really good in any color, but there were a few comments that coaxed me toward peacock blue. 

brenda quote

Ooh, rich bluey-turquoise . . .

monica quote

Make the gold hardware pop, yes that’s a must!

andrea quote

Yes, me likey colors of the ocean, thanks for reading my mind Andrea.

conni quote

Amen sister, peacock is da bomb. 

So I busted out of my ‘just paint my furniture white’ box I fit so nicely into, and pulled off a bold shade of glossy peacock blue.  You saw the faux bamboo chest a few days ago that I dragged home from a thrift store.  faux bamboo chest

Check out this hottie now:

peacock blue faux bamboo chest with curtain

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I love it, don’t you? 



From the start, this find required some minor repairs.   First, there was the chipping veneer around the top that I peeled off, then patched with some wood filler.

peel veneer wood filler

Next came the broken leg, with a piece of bamboo falling off.  Some wood glue and something heavy on top (two cans of primer) while the glue dried saved the day. minor repair job


Now it looks like something you’d pay top dollar for on 1st Dibs (double fist bump to the chest, followed up by peace sign to the crowd):

kates blue bamboo chest

Paisley print panels in vivid shades of teal, lime green and soft yellow found on sale at Pier One.


kates gold lamp bird art white bowl vase

The genie lamp was also a Pier One find, on sale and very pretty in brushed nickel, but given a coat of gold leaf spray paint, it plays off those awesome campaign pulls. 

Bowl from Marshalls ($3 dolla, holla!), the vintage framed partridge bird patches also found thrifting last weekend, funny how they fit right in, I LOVE them.  That vase was on a clearance rack at Michaels for $5 bucks and since I collect white ceramics in all shapes that are priced under $10 I just had to have it.  Collecting simple white modern ceramics in all sizes is an addiction of mine because they’re just so darn versatile and look good anywhere from tabletop to bookcase to mantel.  Those fat jungle leaf clippings are from my royal empress tree in my backyard, yo. 

After all these years of teaching myself how to refinish furniture and working with all sorts of paints and products, I still believe if you choose to spray paint a piece of furniture, you can achieve a really nice look if you follow certain steps.  

Here are the ones I followed for this faux bamboo chest:


Remove all hardware and/or hinges. 1) Clean off any debris, fill holes and make repairs (mentioned above, and here); then coat your furniture with a bonding primer;  2) when dry, lightly sand with a fine grit sanding wedge to remove any drips or residue; 3) wipe down any dust with a cloth; 4) freshen the hardware with metallic spray paint (I used ‘Gold Leaf’ by Krylon); 5) apply two light coats of paint with two cans of Rust-Oleum spray paint in ‘Night Tide’ gloss allowing to dry in between coats 6) when dry, wipe down any residue with cloth; 7) apply protective coat to seal and protect. 

Tip #1:  when spray painting furniture, especially drawer or door fronts, it is best to apply the spray paint when the surface of the door or drawer is facing up, meaning don’t paint where it naturally sits in place.  Remove the drawer or door and and lay it down on a painter’s tarp so that the surface you’re about to paint is facing the sky.  I find that makes for more even application and reduces the potential for drips. 

Tip #2: often with spray paint, along long surfaces especially on furniture you will see  a splotchy finish, which I mentioned in this article about spray paint FAQs.  This is frustrating because in any light, the color is even, but the finish is not.  I’ve grown increasingly bothered by this, which is why I often turn to a safe bet: painting a piece with a roller/brush combo and latex paint.  However, there is an appeal to knocking out a quick paint job on a small piece of furniture with a few cans of spray paint, so I’ve been experimenting to get rid of the potential for a splotchy finish.  I think I found the solution. 

The best way to get rid of a splotchy surface that results along long flat surfaces from spray paint is to coat it with one of these protective brush-on formulas with a cheapo sponge brush.  Either one works great (Varathane or Minwax Polycrylic).  They are both water based, and they can both be applied to fully cured oil based completely dry  spray painted surfaces.

final protective coat

Don’t worry that they look milky in the can, they always dry clear.  Choose satin or gloss depending on your preference, and be sure to work with them when the temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees because they dry fast, and even faster in really warm weather. 

To appease both myself and my friend JJ, I chose a gloss finish:

jj quote


And that, my friends, is how this funky faux bamboo chest . . .

bamboo before


. . . turned into this fabulous accent piece. 

peacock blue painted faux bamboo chest


K8 I hope I’ve convinced you:

k8 quote

I spent $25 on this chest, and $8 bucks on spray paint.  By the way, Rust-Oleum’s Night Tide is the perfect shade of peacock blue, I’ve used it here and here in the past and I find it at Lowe’s and Orchard Supply Hardware, but all stores vary their selection.

The rest of the supplies I had on hand, so this is a $33 dollar investment for me and I couldn’t be more thrilled!  What I mostly love is the statement in now makes in the guest room.  Lesson learned: as tempting and lovely as it is, don’t always play it safe with white, black or gray.  Every room needs a pop of color so why not make it a piece of furniture?  We should all push ourselves to embrace bold colors to bring personality to our spaces. 

Now it’s your turn, so go on.  Paint something blue or pink or green or yellow or red.  It will make you feel really really good.

Thanks so much to Apartment Therapy for this feature!





  1. Oh my gosh!!! Yes, I am so happy you went with blue! It looks amazing. Gorgeous!

  2. love it! That color is so beautiful and all of the accessories make it look so just meant to be.

  3. Bowing down to you!!! This piece turned out beautiful, Kate! My favorite part of this post is when you said “double fist bump to the chest, followed up by peace sign to the crowd”… If my boys weren’t sleeping I really would have laughed out loud!!! OMG, you are too funny!

    Now I’m looking at my campaign dresser saying hmm…I think it’s time for a paint job;)

  4. Kate!! Love love love. This is divine. And your painting is perfect. And I just love how you’ve displayed it all. The bird print is perfect.
    You’ve got lovely taste.
    Gushing, but this is one of the nicest “afters” I’ve seen in ages!
    Cheers Fiona

  5. I’ve ALWAYS had that splotchy finish problem with spray paint unless I choose a matte spray paint. I’ve found a great brush-on paint that I love to use (Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch in the non-spray can), but it’s great to know that some varnish can fix the gloss problem with spray paint.

  6. I thrift all the time and I’ve found some cool things, but never anything that awesome. Jealous. It turned out so good that now I want to paint something peacock blue. Hmm….

  7. Thanks for sharing the journey of your thrift store bamboo chest. I love the color, I love the accents, especially the curtain panels!

  8. looks AAAAMAZING!!!! i <3 bamboo anything and this turned out BEAUtiful! so jealous. i think i'll go thrifting this weekend….i need a small dresser in my closet and would love a project like this


    I just bought those Pier1 curtains. I wound up returning them because I thought simple white for our guestroom fit better. But they look so lovely in your space.

  10. OMG. Breath. Taking. Seriously. The chest ended up GORGEOUS. You should be really proud. And the decor you have with it just looks amazing. I know I shouldn’t be surprised b/c everything you make looks fantastic, but this is definitely one of my faves. Nice job.

  11. Wow..I have never spray painted furniture…just accessories. I’ll have to find “just the right piece” to give this a try! Thanks for the wealth of information! Love the blue……even though I tend to be a “white girl.” LOL

  12. Amazing!! The chest looks so high end; no one would ever guess it was a thrift store find. I love this color so much that even as I type this I am looking around the room for something to paint!

  13. This is great! I love the new look, but how on earth did you manage to get the metal bits so shiny?! Did you use the gold spray paint from the lamp or is there a cleaning trick you have up your well crafted, perfectly coordinated sleeve?

  14. Amazing, stunning – wow! I was jealous of you already for finding this great piece while thrifting, but you just raised the wow factor tremendously with this color!

  15. Wow. That looks so beautiful! I am particularly coveting the thrift store artwork in the background. Great find!

  16. It looks AWESOME! And I just happen to have a can of that exact spray paint. I bought it with no project in mind.. I just LOVED the color. thanks for the poly tips… I’ve used it to seal paint that I paint on. but never over spray paint.

  17. LOVE–it looks awesome. and yes, the poly overcoat is a must. i have a couple pieces in the house that i didn’t poly coat, and everything sticks to them like mad. it’s not a big deal because they’re not long term pieces, but still….in our forever house, i will poly coat everything i paint.

  18. Geez lady! You are crazy talented. Your site inspires me! Now I just need to get rid of “I-don’t-have-a-creative-bone-in-my-body sydrome” and just TRY to do something. Keep on rockin’! :)

  19. Loooove it! My master bedroom nighstands are painted this exact same color! And they make me happy every day : ) PS. Did you say what room of your house this is in? Because I’m a stalker like that….

  20. Inspiring. I have a chest of drawers I’ve been meaning to do and you just gave me the motivation I needed. Love your blog.

  21. Love, love, love!!!!! I just rushed out and purchased 5 cans of Heirloom White last night (after checking 4 stores) to douse my entire office furniture for my makeover. Methinks I should get my butt in gear, buy some bright orange and put a little color in my life.
    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  22. That looks AMAZING! I mean everything: the chest, the print and the curtains-fabulous colors popping! I love your projects and they inspire me so much, I just don’t think I have your patience.

  23. PERFECTION!!! I also painted a Goodwill chest this same color last summer, and it is in our beach condo’s master bedroom. The bedroom paint color is Benjamin Moore Tropicana Cabana…the two colors together are tropical heaven!

    Beautiful job!

  24. I am completely in love with those curtains. The blue turned out fun – especially in its surroundings.

  25. Oh my goodness! The color is SPECTACULAR! I am in love! And thank you for the tips on spray painting furniture. On smaller pieces I do sometimes like to just spray and get it over with and I appreciate the tip to use the poly!

  26. I think the white always transforms a piece, but this time, the peacock blue knocked it out of the park. If I wouldn’t have seen the before, I would NEVER have believed it came from a thrift store. It looks so high end now. Great choice. Those curtains are gorgeous too.

  27. Looks amazing! I love how you accessorized it also. I have to admit that I struggle to get out of the safe white and gray rut too. But this piece you did makes me crave color!

  28. wow – what a beauty! I have to admit, I would never have chosen that colour myself – I usually play it safe but it looks stunning, especially with the gold hardware. nice job! :)

  29. It looks gorgeous, Kate! My problem isn’t ‘going for it’ and painting something bright…my problem is knowing when to NOT paint it bright! :) But my highboy painted cherry yellow is def my fave piece in the house. I’ve got my eye on a beast of an armoire that’s going ‘plummage’ next.

  30. SHAZZAAM! You really brought home the bacon and fried it up with this little hottie! EXCELLENTE!
    I like it muy mucho!

  31. Love it! Night tide is my favorite color and I have painted several pieces with it. I have been searching and searching with no luck for bedding that is night tide and chocolate brown. Any suggestions?

  32. Wowza! Absolutely gorgeous! I voted for yellow (but loved all the options). I’m glad to see you proved me wrong! It’s beautiful and stunning.

  33. HELLO GORGEOUS! I’m now, officially, super jealous. Beautiful job!

    Your post has good timing. I just spray painted a desk and was having issues with splotchy finish. I bought some polycrylic (same kind as you!) for something else and was wondering if it would help my splotchy desk too. Now I know, it will! Thanks for the confidence in my purchase!

  34. Dang, girl – it’s fabulous! what a perfect color to coordinate with the new drapes and that fun vintage print. Love it! You have the best thrift store luck.

  35. Love it! I have what is probably a far too ambitious idea to paint my wood dining set. It is an old inexpensive set that can seat about 4 (I have 5 chairs though) that my parents gave to me. I have never painted furniture before. Do you think it would be wise of me to start with something smaller? I’m also unsure of what steps would be necessary to paint the very glossy surface of the table (and make it food safe). I’m fairly certain it’s just a thick layer of gloss but it seriously looks like plastic it’s so thick.

    The current light-to-medium yellowy wood color they are right now clashes with my wood floor and is just not appealing to me at all. I’ve been imagining them white with dip-dyed legs in minty blue-green. Or something like that. Anything but the way they are now!

  36. Hi, it looks great and you chose the right color..OMG i’m ready to do one. Thrift shops here i come.

  37. thanks so much for always putting the products you use in your redo’s. It makes it so helpful to us who don’t know that much about doing these projects..Your a doll!

  38. LOVE IT!!! Your are so uber-talented! Quick question: have any of your painted furniture developed a yellow tint because you used a water based finish? I’ll read the FAQs too :)

  39. I love it!! It’s fabulous in every sense of the word. I have an old secretary that I’ve been wanting to paint a fresh color and this has given me the inspiration to “Just Do It”!! I’m not sure what color yet, but I’ll keep you posted!!
    Thanks for sharing such a fun project.

  40. AMAZING transformation! I love everything about it! You have a very tropical thing going on. It makes me smile!

  41. From firewood to fabulous furniture! You are simply the best. Totally unbelievable!!! Well done!

  42. It is DIVINE! I was hoping you would paint it a shade of blue.

    Just found your blog and look forward to your posts.

  43. This is stunning Kate and so well put together. I have a T.V cabinet that I need to spray and you have inspired me by the choice you have taken on. Thanks also to all of your readers who have great taste too!

  44. Kate, Did you sew your drapes? I have been searching for a fabric in those exact colors. Would you share your source? Love the chest!

  45. Love this color, love the bamboo. But how did you paint the campaign pulls so that they still… pull?

  46. Looks great Kate! I painted my daughters rocking chair in this exact color a few months ago and I love it. It turned a piece of furniture that was dated and out of place in her nursery to something modern and fresh. I’d definitely use this color again.

  47. What FUN … I’m echoing everyone’s comments when I say that I LOVE the color … you truly made that little ol’ table come alive !!


    I’m a big fan of the peacock and of the faux ‘boo. Looks stunning in your space and the gold lamp with it-yowza!!


  49. This turned out amazingly…I so love the gorgeous blue with the asian style of bamboo! Congrats on the fantastic inspirational piece!!!

  50. I was so excited when I opened up the page and saw that you had chosen peacock blue and then to have my comment on your page was great! I think it turned out beautifully and I love how the pulls just “POP” now!

  51. I Love it! It goes so well with your drapes and that birdy print is so perfect with it!

    Yo bamboo is da Bomb!!

  52. This is gorgeous! The blue looks so beautiful with the glam gold handles, like a pricey piece of furniture! Question…did you replace the veneer with another strip of new veneer? How did you use the wood filler?

  53. Looks awesome! I’m diggin’ the blue! Thank you for all the tips also, they will be handy when I decide to tackle a desk I have sitting around.

  54. oh and how did you make sure that the edges of the gold hardware stayed crisp (i.e., clean lines) when spraying the drawer blue? thanks!! did you just tape it off with painter’s tape?

  55. Hey Jess, I linked to the window panels in the post, look for it towards the top!

    RKLewis and Angela: the pulls were already gold, or shiny brass. I removed them first, then took them apart, cleaned them and gave them a light dusting of the ‘Gold Leaf’ spray paint. Once dry, I put them back together and reattached them to the painted piece. :)

    Debbie, I did not replace the veneer, it peeled off pretty easily and underneath was just wood that I sanded. Some spots needed filling, but overall, the sanding down to the wood was all it took!

  56. Whoa, whoa, whoa, what a beauty! I know I’m probably the 1,283rd person to tell you that, but seriously, this is awesome. I LOVE the color, it goes so well with the gold. I’m feeling really inspired now! Xo, Katie

  57. Gorgeous! I saw this post and headed out to two local thrift shops today to begin my search for a bamboo-ish accent table for my living room and I couldn’t believe my luck when i found the perfect one for $20! I am ecstatic to say the least! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

  58. OOOOH AHHHHH! It’s B-yoot-eful. I couldn’t wait to see it! Now I want one to replace my living room end table.

  59. Really beautiful Kate! I’m a fan of gorgeous, bold color. I recently made a coffee table for our living room (from a plan on Ana White’s website), and I painted it a rich eggplant purple. I hand painted some decorative knobs for it a lovely pumpkin color with purple flowers on them, and it provides a beautiful spot of color. Thanks for the in-depth painting information too. It’s not easy to paint something and have it look good. Any tips are very appreciated!

  60. Quoting Rachel Zoe… “I DIE!!” It’s beautiful. Went thrifting today and found absolutely nothing. Sad day. Will try again soon with this as my inspiration!

  61. Wow, so glad I came across this today! I’m embarking on my first spray paint journey and have yet to figure out how to fix the blotches it was leaving (esp. with it being black!) but after reading this I went and got the MINWAX protective finish in satin and what do you know… no more splotches! Thanks so much :) The bamboo piece turned out B-E-A-utiful!!

  62. Thanks Kate! I’ve been staring at the peacock blue all day, I think I need some!

  63. Beautiful – like everything that you do! The curtains go SO well with the table… I LOVE them..

    AND thank you so muchhh about the tip on temperature for poly! We put poly on our recently painted nightstands and I really can see the streaks on the poly finish if the light hits it in a certain way and I wondered why… now I know! We poly’d them outside in the 100 heat. Lesson learned. Thanks!!

  64. I love the color!!! It is like a totally different piece of furniture:D..You do such a great work!

  65. AB.SO.LUT.LY Gorgeous!!! Ridiculous vision!!! I think I would have walked right past that piece, maybe, just maybe a second look but that would be it. Qx: How many times a year do you redo each room??? lol I wouldn’t know where to put all these great finds.

  66. Wow!!! That turned out great! I love your tips and tutorials, thanks for sharing with us! I’m about to paint a couple of dressers and I think I will for sure go with the gloss finish too!

  67. It’s beautiful. I am SO ready to do some great stuff in my craft room with the random peices I have in there right now. But I seem stuck until I figure out what color direction I want to go in that room. I find so much inspiration on your blog!

  68. Love Love Love it! You made such a great choice. Thanks for finding a great shade of peacock blue for me. I have been slacking on painting a small table for our living room. Guess I can’t slack now.

  69. Alright Kate, you have insprired me! I nabbed a $35 couch table while hunting at a garage sale this morning. I have my supply list to hit up the Home Depot this afternoon. I am hoping to have created my own Peacock Blue masterpiece by the end of the weekend!

  70. This is gorgeous! You go, girl! & Thank you so much for posting where you got the curtains from. I was just going to ask, but when back to re-read and see if you’d mentioned. Love those curtains!

  71. I’m hoping to finish my bathroom counter and it’s recommended I use this polyurethane stuff. Do you know if it is ok and will last if I’m putting a curling iron on it? Will it melt/burn/mark?


  72. Hi Kate! Thanks for your tips on painting with spray paint! I love how it covers small areas but hate the splotchiness! Do you typically use the Polycrylic on the whole piece or just the splotchy top, for example? Thanks!

  73. Love the color! Can you tell me what color the bedroom walls are, what color bedspread you have in the room and is the other furniture (dresser, etc.) in the room painted or stained? Thanks!

  74. Love what you did with this! I am now completely inspired to start painting my daughters furniture. She has a few black and cherry pieces (they were on sale), but I feel it’s way to dark for a young teenagers room. Guess I’ll be making a trip to Lowe’s. :)

  75. Where did you get those curtains? I love them. This is just the inspiration I needed. I’ve been trying to figure out what to paint an iron bed, and I think I may have just figured it out.

  76. Now that is a statement girlfriend! Wow,it says, look at me! And the price? Beautiful! I am doing the double fist bump to the chest, followed up by peace sign to the crowd right back at ya!

  77. This is the perfect example of what makes your blog so addictive! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  78. this is just beautiful. while i can’t seem to find these treasures at my local thrift store, i have decided to tackle my own dining room table b/c it has terrible water marks on it. i’m toying with the idea of also using a stencil…. we shall see. thanks for the constant inspiration!

  79. OK, I can admit when I am wrong. I thought you should have gone with a classic color but wow! This blue is beautiful – bold but not too crazy – and fits the piece perfectly. You may be starting a new color trend!

  80. Beautiful! Can you tell me what color the walls are? They are beautiful with the blue and the curtains!

  81. Hey Stephanie, the walls are Ben Moore’s Camouflage, same as my kitchen, family and dining room!


  82. i was wondering if you can tell me about the curtains, where you got them and how much material do you know to buy

  83. I am searching and searching for this Night Tide, and can’t find it anywhere! is it a color they still carry? any tips on where to find it?

  84. That looks great! I have the opposite problem. I always want to paint everything some bright color, usually a shade of blue, and rarely go for neutrals, so sometimes my rooms just seem kind of child-like.

  85. THIS is DOPE!!!! You are such an inspiration! I have the same dresser, its missing one of the pulls, do you have any idea where I can find one?


  86. You have a gift! I will need to start looking at things with your eyes…and collect more white ceramics :-)

  87. You are not only incredibly talented but also very inspiring! I am dying to start a DIY project now!!! I was wondering if you could share the paint color on the wall behind the GORGEOUS peacock blue chest? Thank you!!

    • Thanks so much Amy! That color is Ben Moore’s Camouflage, a nice grayish green!

  88. Did you make your curtains or buy them? I love the fabric. It is EXACTLY what I am looking for.

  89. Kate, awesome job! Thanks for including the tips about the protective finish! That’s the part I struggle with most….great tips! Love this makeover! I’m like you and usually opt to ‘paint it white!’, so I love this idea to break away from the norm! Well done!
    ~ Virginia

  90. Love this look, especially the color. And the fact that it cost you a mere $33 buckaroos! I featured this chest on my blog today too, were on a mission to find the perfect chest for a makeover as we speak.


  91. I am spray painting a dresser and I keep getting lines that are darker in some spots and lighter in others. Its hardly noticeable now but its still bugging me…any tips?

    • Hi Jessica, like I mentioned sometimes spray paint can get splotchy across larger surfaces – try the protective coat method I mentioned, that just might even out the differences.

  92. I love this blue color! I’ve been searching for awhile and can’t seem to find it (even on the RustOleum website). Do you think it could be called by a different name? Where did you purchase it?

    • Hi Rebecca, it’s from their Gloss collection in a white can – look for it in a different section than the standard 2X coverage spray paints.

  93. This project is beautiful! I am going to be repainting some furniture for my son’s room and will definitely use spray paint now! Have you ever used navy or orange spray paint? Any product recommendations? Those are the colors my son has picked for his room. Thank you for any information you may have…and also thank you for sharing your beautiful work.

  94. It looks so fabulous! Love how the gold hardware pops on the blue. I am in the process of painting my bedroom a peacock blue and it’s such a beautiful color!! Where has it been all my life?

  95. Wow! I’m so impressed. You made an old beat up piece of furniture that I probably would have thrown out look so cool and modern now. I love the Peacock Blue color on it! Fantastic job!

  96. Does the polycrylic/polyurethane ever dry with a yellow-ish hue? I’ve heard other people say that it tinted their projects so I’m afraid to use it. I’m painting the lids of my food storage bins (for pet food). First I primed it, then painted it with acrylic. I’m wondering what I should use to seal it. We use it multiple times everyday so I want it to be scratch/chip resistant. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Lucy, I haven’t had an ambering problem with any color other than cream or white, so if you’ve used a color, don’t sweat it. If it’s just white, you can use a clear wax to protect it.

  97. the results are stunning! I’m in the midst of redoing a set of nightstands and a campaign desk. I’m paintng them both Kelly (Kermit) green. My next piece will be this peacock blue for sure!

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