How to Paint Wood Furniture

If you tend to buy a lot of wood furniture at resale shops or garage sales, or have hand-me-down furniture from your family, the easiest way to update it is to give it a fresh coat of paint. This is a simple project that anyone can accomplish in a day, or even a weekend if you are a slow painter or need to apply several coats.

You will need a few supplies:

  • Paint
  • Sandpaper, 220 grit
  • Paint brushes, rollers, roller covers
  • Paint tray
  • Tack cloth or damp rag
  • Screwdriver

The first step is to thoroughly clean and dry the piece of furniture. Paint adheres better to a clean surface. Next, remove any drawers or doors from the piece of furniture. You will end up with a better paint job if you're not trying to paint over and around hinges. Remove any knobs or handles from the doors and drawers. If these are unattractive or dated-looking, drop by a home center to purchase new ones. You can find drawer and door pulls in any style and price range, and this small touch goes a long way toward giving your piece an updated look.

Once the drawers and doors are removed, give the entire piece a light sanding with the sandpaper. Sanding is important because roughing up the surface gives your new coat of paint something to "stick" to. This doesn't need to be an intense procedure, and the goal isn't to remove all of the paint and stain and get down to bare wood. That is just more work than is necessary. Simply rough up the surface. Once everything is sanded, rub the entire thing down with either a tack cloth or your damp rag. This will remove any dust from the sanding.

Now, you're ready for paint. Use the brush to cut in awkward areas, such as where the top meets the sides, and where there is any carving or raised panel detail. Once you've got these areas painted in, use the roller to coat the rest of the surfaces. If you can still see the old color through this coat, don't worry. Most likely, you'll need at least two coats, and it's better to go with two light coats (which will dry faster and more evenly) than one thick, gloppy coat.

After the first coat has completely dried, use the sandpaper to smooth over the entire piece. This will remove any drip or brush marks and provide a perfect surface for your final coat. Follow up this sanding with another wipe of the tack cloth, and then paint on your second coat the same way you did the first. Once this coat is dry, you'll have to evaluate it to see if you need a third coat. Generally, two coats will do it, but if you're painting white over a very dark color, more may be necessary. When you're satisfied with the paint job, reattach any knobs and pulls, and put the doors and drawers back onto the furniture.

For a few dollars, and a few hours time invested, you've got a completely updated piece of furniture that works perfectly with your decor.

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Comments 11 comments

color 8 years ago

Thanks for sharing this practical idea in painting a furniture. Either to restore an old hand down furniture or even a new one that you want to creat a different look.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 7 years ago from America

Good information. I have lots of pieces to paint this year. I'm hoping I can spray paint them all. I love old furniture but all of mine need to be updated.

hkcfurniture profile image

hkcfurniture 7 years ago

Great, well written hub with some solid information. I think the most important piece of advice, which often gets overlooked, is to thoroughly clean the furniture before painting or staining.

sheryld30 profile image

sheryld30 6 years ago from California

This is an awesome hub. Thanks! :)

santosh_leanback5 profile image

santosh_leanback5 6 years ago from Birmingham

Thnx for the info. Some really good helping tips indeed!! Cheers!!

ardyskinner profile image

ardyskinner 6 years ago

Good job, CM... I'm "The Lavish Cheapskate" and I will pass this on to others! ;)

alfredricky304 6 years ago

After reading this post even I feel like painting my wood furniture at my place.

Patrick 6 years ago

I think brushing with sandpaper and then painting it would be the best option.

RoseGardenAdvice profile image

RoseGardenAdvice 6 years ago from San Francisco

Just bought a few wooden used bookshelves. Your hub will come in handy in repairing and painting the shelves. Thanks!

MarkMAllen15 profile image

MarkMAllen15 5 years ago

Informative hub!

rileydavidd00 3 years ago

Thanks for teaching us how to paint a wood furniture properly.

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