Because furniture is intended to be used, painting it is a different experience from painting a wall. You don’t put books on your walls or sleep there. So, a few coats of paint on a wall could last for years, but it might not last as long on a bookshelf or bed. Here’s a step-by-step guide to painting wood furniture, with tips and advice from professionals.
Want to give an old piece of wood furniture a new lease on life? A fresh coat of paint is a simple way to change the way it looks and make it your own. Whether you want to use white paint or a fun color, chalk paint, or semi-gloss, you’ll want to make sure that your finished project looks as professional as possible so that it looks good on your patio or inside your home.
Even so, it’s easy for a painting project to not go as planned. You might find that the paint chips off quickly or that the finish isn’t as smooth as you had hoped. In the worst case, if something goes wrong with a project, you might have to start over. So how do you stop that? How can I do that? What is the best paint to use on wood furniture?
We know how to help you! After collecting the most common mistakes we’ve seen over the years, we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to paint furniture the right way.
Follow these instructions for painting furniture to get a perfect result, and look at the most common painting mistakes to see what to avoid.
Sand bare wood in the direction of the wood grain with medium-grit sandpaper before painting. Use a soft-bristled brush to vacuum the project and the area next to it. Then, use a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust from the project.
If you’re painting something you’ve already done, make sure it’s clean. If the project has a high gloss finish or a clear top coat, use a medium-grit sanding block to lightly sand it. This will make it possible for the new paint to stick to the old paint. Use a vacuum with a soft-bristled brush attachment to get rid of the dust left over from sanding. Use a tack cloth to remove all sanding dust from your project.
Primer is a base coat that helps the paint stick to the project. Most projects that have been primed need fewer coats of paint, which saves you time and money in the long run because the primer is usually cheaper than paint. Use a brush to put on a light coat of primer, going with the grain of the wood. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer for how long to let the primer dry.
After you’ve mixed your paint, dip your brush in it, wipe off any extra paint, and then paint a thin layer on your furniture. Follow the instructions on the paint can for how long to wait between coats, then lightly sand with 220-grit sandpaper, clean with a tack cloth, and paint a second coat.
How to Paint
- Start by putting the primer on your paintbrush. You can use paint straight from the can, but I usually use paint that has been poured into my painting tray.
- Pour the paint out of the can or painting tray onto the inside edge. You will not need much. My paintbrush doesn’t have much paint on it, as you can see.
- Brush a small area, making sure to get the brush into the cracks.
- Put primer on a painting tray and a roller. Roll the roller into the paint and dump the paint on the raised flat part.
- Use the roller to spread out the brush strokes. Roll back and forth over the area a few times.
Every kind of paint is different, but you should always wait until the first coat is completely dry before applying the next one. If you hurry, you might end up with paint that is streaked, bubbled, or gloppy. Once the piece is completely dry, sand it lightly if you see any paint streaks or bumps.
Let your furniture dry completely before putting the handles and drawers back on. For a new look, you can replace your hardware with something new or clean it really well.
Even when paint feels dry to the touch, it still needs time to cure or fully dry to a hard finish. Wait as long as the paint can say to before putting things on top. This could take up to two weeks.
What’s the Best Paint for Furniture?
How you’ll use a piece of furniture and how you want it to look will determine the best paint to use on it. Matte finishes are in right now, and they give things a soft look. Casey says that eggshell and satin finishes give a more polished and classic look. “If your style is more eclectic or bohemian, a bright color with a high-gloss finish would be a great choice,” she says. Also, remember that a satin finish is easier to wipe clean than a matte finish.
If your style is more rustic or shabby chic, chalk paint might be a good choice. Chalk paint, as its name suggests, gives painted furniture a chalky, matte look, and it can be worn down to make it look old.
When to Paint Furniture
You can paint your furniture at any time of the year, as long as the room you’re working in is dry and well-ventilated. The air should not be too hot or too cold, and it should be as dry as possible. Most primers, paints, and sealants have instructions on the label about the best temperature to use them. Some people do like to paint outside, so the best times to paint would be in the spring, summer, and fall.
You can paint furniture like a pro if you follow these steps. If you take the time to do it right, the furniture you paint will last for years. Safety always comes first! Please look at the Product Label, Technical Data Sheet (TDS), or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for instructions on how to use the product safely and in detail.