What Do You People Have Against Wood, Anyway?

Put down the devil’s paintbrush!

Michelle Teheux
3 min readMay 9, 2022
Photo by kou kigamine on Unsplash

If you’re an Old House Person, as I am, you have heard this exchange a hundred times:

“We pulled up the horrible old carpeting and underneath we found the most gorgeous wood floors!”

“Who would cover such beautiful wood?”

You’ve also heard this one:

“We spent every evening and weekend for a year stripping all the old paint from the staircase and crown moldings.”

“Who would paint such beautiful wood?”

By now, covering wood floors with carpeting is so recognized as a sin I assumed we’d all learned our lesson. But we haven’t. People today are complaining about “brown” cabinets and furniture, as if beautiful wood tones were the same thing as brown paint.

Perhaps all the cheap and disposable home decor — the kind that looks fashionable but falls apart after a year or so — has taught people bad habits. If you buy a small table made of particle board for $150, there’s no harm in painting it your favorite color.

But I’ve seen posts on social media from people who have purchased or inherited a beautiful piece of antique furniture who want suggestions on what color they should paint it.

The correct answer is “ARGHHHHHH!”

Now, I’m all in favor of bringing new life to old furniture, but if you’ve got a stellar antique, you don’t need to do anything but polish and cherish it. Almost every old piece is better built than anything you can purchase new.

And that fake wood grain you see on particle board? It is awful. If that’s what you grew up thinking of as “wood,” I can see your distaste for it. But surely you can see a difference between the ugly plastic-y surface of a cheap computer desk and a gorgeous old cherry roll top desk … can’t you?

Supply chain issues plaguing the furniture industry have driven some people who would not formerly have been caught dead in an antique shop to…



Michelle Teheux

Lover of literature. Editor of Minds Without Borders. Former newspaper editor. Fascinated by everything. Contact at