Muralist, colourist and specialist decorator Oliver Simon Kay has turned his painting expertise to furniture, giving old and previously loved items a new lease of life.

His newly opened shop, in Steyning High Street, is a treasure trove of chairs, wardrobes, sideboards, tables, beds, mirrors, dressers, chests and many other unusual and quirky items for the home.

“We have had a very successful opening period, beyond my expectations,” says Oliver, who has lived in Steyning for around seven years. “Our tag line is ‘furniture for life’.

“I find furniture that is really well-made and which will last forever, and the majority of pieces are upcycled or recycled.”

The furniture is lovingly hand-painted using mostly chalk paints and acrylics, largely in pastels, but punctuated with a few stronger colours.

Items in stock range from furniture more than a hundred years old, to new items which have been custom made using recycled wood.

This eclectic collection includes pieces in many different styles, such as French country, shabby chic, New England, and Swedish.

With over 30 years experience working as a specialist decorator, having seen styles and trends come and go, Oliver is well-placed to transform pieces of furniture using carefully applied paint.

In the past, Oliver has worked on commercial and private commissions including for hotels and casinos around the world, often creating works on a large scale, including giant seascape murals.

Other commissions have included portraits, landscapes, abstracts and horticultural themes. This work has taken Oliver to exotic international locations such as the Seychelles.

He has also created pieces for adverts and films, including Ali, the biopic of Mohammed Ali. For this film he was asked to create a number of period billboards.

“I have worked all over the world; I lived in South Africa for 10 years,” says Oliver. “After 30 years of moving around, I felt like I needed to slow down a bit.”

Oliver was also the designer behind the hand painted wallpaper company Partridge & Green.

With his new shop, Oliver has tapped into the growing desire to recycle and re-use rather than buy new.

Increasingly, people are taking inspiration from the focus of many television shows and other media on vintage finds, and the proliferation of antiques and secondhand shops on many high streets.

This has meant that people often think twice before getting rid of old furniture; on the contrary, they may look to the attic for inspiration.

Oliver sources the pieces in his shop from a variety of places including auctions and car boot sales.

His workshop is at the back of the shop, allowing customers to browse the available range and then also to visit the space where the magic happens.

Customers can also bring in their furniture for Oliver to paint, transforming and refreshing existing pieces that perhaps they have fallen out of love with, but cannot bear to part with.

He works according to the customer’s chosen colour palette, and offers consultations to those unsure or undecided about colour or finish.

In addition to furniture, there is also a selection of smaller items and gifts for the home. The stock is constantly changing and the majority of the pieces are unique, often selling quickly.

Things have been so busy, in fact, that Oliver’s thoughts are already turning to expansion; he has already increased the number of people helping him out in the shop.

• Oliver Simon Kay is at 80 High Street, Steyning, open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. For information visit or call 01903 815043.