To Paint, or Not to Paint - The Daily Debate

Now that I'm settling back into things in Brazil, I'm beginning in earnest to assess our furniture and homescape situation. Ben has done a great job going through the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of boxes and arranging our old, new, and newly acquired furnishings.

Among that last group of items are some pieces we received from Ben's Grandparents' estate. This is where the debate begins.... I'm not a big fan of natural wood - I do appreciate fine wood grain, I just don't like a lot of it - too many pieces of the look I call "oaky-oaky" (regardless of wood type) seems dull and depressing to me. Soooo....we got this furniture, and it's ALL got the wood-grain thing going on - some of it in better condition than the other. Ben, on the other hand, doesn't really mind the all-wood look - plus, he's much more sentimental about keeping things the same as they were in his Grandparent's home...and I understand this.
He also argues that "according to Antiques Roadshow," refinishing, painting, or otherwise altering wood finishes can ruin their value - true, but that generally only applies to finer woods or higher-quality pieces of furniture - things that don't really apply to this decision. So, as oft happens in a marriage - we're splitting the difference!

Here's the items in questionHere's a small French Provencial writing desk Ben assigned as a sofa table - it's part of a 5-piece set! I think it works in that spot, but HAVE to do something with the finish - I'll preserve the leather inset, don't worry! (That drop-leaf coffee table being stashed underneath is probably one of the things we'll be saying buh-bye to - at least, if I have my way! ;)

Here's the commode that belongs to the same set - thinking of doing something fun with it for Avery's room - been more or less given the green light on any of the FP stuff - Yay!

This one's a toughie....I had envisioned a beautiful, lacquered poppy red, with a cool, graphic print upholstery (although the vintage Brunschwig & Fils, Les Fougeres is still very groovy and appropriate, unfortunately, a little discolored and worn...) but Ben put the MAJOR kabash on that! He's right, though, the wood is beautiful...I'll work around...

And here's the infamous Chinese Chippendales I've been blogging about for two months - definitely repainting, definitely doin' something fun, fabric-wise (Just don't know yet where I'll put them!)

Welcome any suggestions, thoughts, or idea pictures I may have missed!