Guest post: Why Do Men Fear Painting Wood?

Today's post comes from Kristie Barnett, the owner of StoneBrook Staging and Interior Styling. Additionally, she blogs about decoration inspiration, collections, bargain hunting, party planning, and using color in your home.  Kristie says, as a Home Stager, she knows that paint colors have a profound influence on a buyer's perception of a property's desirability.  And she's seen how the right colors can improve the place we call home and the way we live in it

Take it away, Kristie!

Thank you, Rachel, for letting me hang out on your fabulous blog today!  As an interior stylist and home stager, my job sometimes requires me to ask (and answer) the hard questions.  Read on:

Why do men fear painting wood
By Kristie Barnett

It's an age-old question:  why do men fear painting wood?  I can't tell you how many times the following has occurred:  I have a color consultation with the lady of the house.   There are some horrible 1970s-1980s pieces of wood furniture, dreaded fake paneling in the den, or  dated wood cabinets in the kitchen.     

After discussing budget and options, the lady and I come up with a frugal but dramatic plan that includes painting said bad furniture or paneling.  I show her relevant photos to build her confidence in our choices.  Lady is thrilled, I leave, she calls me the next day and says her husband vetoed painting the wood.  Vetoed?  What is he, the President of the United States?

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I've learned my lesson.  Now when I know there might be wood paneling involved, I insist on the husband being present for the consult.   Surely, I can make him see the error of his ways!  Well, sometimes I can.  Other times, not so much.  What's interesting to me is that men have difficulty articulating WHY they don't want to paint the wood!  Is this primal?  Genetic?  Hormonal?

So I've been asking men all over the same question:  why are you so resistant to painting wood?  Here are some of the responses I have gotten:
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1.  "You should never paint good wood."   Uhhh, do you call thin 1970's fake paneling "good" wood?  It's not even real wood, is it?  Just wood-like.  Woodish.  I can understand not wanting to defile the real tongue and groove heavy-duty stuff (I'm not completely heartless), even though I might try to talk you into painting that, too, if it's holding back the overall design.

2.  "It's just not right.  It compromises the integrity of the wood."  Well, if you put it that way . . .  OK, do you really believe that painting wood is immoral?  A crime against nature and all that is natural?  Can knotty pine feel pain?

 I guarantee you that this kitchen was in a lot more pain before I got my hands on it.

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And my favorite:  3.  "You can never go back once you paint wood."  Why would you want to go back?  To 1972????  I have never known anyone to strip the paint off of painted wood paneling once it's been done.  And I've NEVER heard of anyone in the last 35 years running out to Home Depot as soon as they close on their brand new home to purchase some fake dark wood paneling to install in their den.
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After shot of same bricked-in den. Way better now, right?

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That's about it.  Those are the best arguments I've heard.  So I guess I have to delve into their psyches and take my best guess as to the real reasons underneath it all (my husband HATES it when I do that).   I have no doubt it is in large part due to testosterone and DNA.   Hunters don't paint their hunting lodges, do they?  And I suppose some men have fantasies of living off the land or in the woods, for at least a week or two.  No mountain men ever painted a tree stump they used to sit on while they skinned their meat. 

Guys, you can still have your man cave!

But with a little style and personality, like this transformation I did for my hubby.

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Most men don't like the idea of not being able to see the grain of the wood, which is covered up once painted.  Is there some correlation to preferring women naked rather than clothed, even though clearly most of us look better clothed? 

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It's still somewhat of a mystery to me.   But rest assured that I will continue to try to understand why men fear painting wood.  And I will continue to stamp out those fears and seek to beautify the earth.  With a fresh coat of paint. :)