Trompe l’œil furniture

Painting trompe l’œil furniture…

…is my favourite form of trompe l’œil work. It means I can work in my studio away from the hustle and bustle of a building site. I only need to go out when collecting the furniture and delivering the finished work. It also means the job has my full concentration all the time.

Working out on site always brings its own problems simply to do with the fact there are usually more people about and so the danger of damaging the trompe l’œil is correspondingly increased, keeping dust out of the varnish is much harder and working off ladders and scaffolds bring their own difficulties.

trompe l'œil on furniture
Trompe l’œil toilet seat

If you have an existing piece of furniture I can paint on that. If not I can source the furniture or have it made specifically. Naturally this costs – corner cupboards are not cheap, blanket boxes or toy boxes are much more readily available. If you have an queries please don’t hesitate to contact me using the contact form in the HOME menu.

Do also bear in mind that some furniture simply doesn’t lend itself to a trompe l’œil painting. Fielded panels in doors make it almost impossible. That said, there is no reason why a NON trompe l’œil piece of decoration can’t be applied to the furniture.

In the south of England is Charleston House, home to the Bloomsberry Group including authors such as Virginia Woolf and artists like Quentin Bell. This house’s interior was decorated to the hilt by this group of artists. You can see some examples here to give you ideas.

Please note:

over the years I have been contacted and asked if I have “such and such” in stock?

I don’t generally carry stock, I paint to commission.


Toilet seat trompe l’œil

Most of these toilet seats were painted to commission. As with any trompe l’œil the money is in the details. The mahogany seat with the contents of a handbag emptied on it was painted as a wedding present and obviously took way more time than the others.


Trompe l’œil corner cupboards

These are corner cupboards with completely flat surfaces. The cupboards were made by a carpenter friend to my specifications. The front surfaces were profiled out of MDF board and then painted using the trompe l’œil techniques to make them look 3D. I do not keep stock but paint these to commission. Some existing corner cupboards can be painted on but they require at least a flat central panel.


Miscellaneous painted furniture

Trompe l' oeil furniture
Trompe l’oeil Secretaire with books and a rat

Of all the furniture I have painted my favourite is this secretaire. It was supplied to me in really bad condition which I had to make good before painting. The piece was finished with a drag-spatter before the trompe l’œil was painted. Even the piece of paper hanging out of the drawer is painted.

I was asked to include the client’s daughter’s pet rat that used to go walkabout, he is skulking behind the bowl but he’s hard to see in this photo.

Blanket or toy boxes

Toy or blanket boxes painted to look like hen coops and the like. Not my favourite but the studio I worked for at the time sold many. Some have an item painted on the top too. For example: the rabbit box has carrots on the top and the duck box has a piece of bread.

The school desk

decorated furniture
Trompe l’oeil child’s school desk

The school desk had the usual school items painted on it. Pencils, rulers, a book etc. I bought the desk from a school sale and painted the rest. The book contains maths and logic puzzles, the answers to which I painted on the back surface of the desk so that they couldn’t be seen.