How to Paint Furniture - Home & Texture
DIY Painting Furniture

The Right and Wrong Ways to Paint Furniture

Paint your furniture like a pro and avoid common mishaps.

May 28, 2024 at 11:48 AM PST
Updated on May 27, 2024 at 10:48 PM PST
DIY Painting Furniture

The Right and Wrong Ways to Paint Furniture

Paint your furniture like a pro and avoid common mishaps.

May 28, 2024 at 11:48 AM PST
Updated on May 27, 2024 at 10:48 PM PST

Sometimes, the interior design stars align and you find yourself with the perfect piece of furniture. You’ve dreamt of a specific look, style, material and size, and everything aligns! The only problem? The color is way, way off. Maybe it’s something you found and had to have, or it’s a piece you inherited and just can’t part with. The good news is, applying a coat of paint is more than often doable.

Flowers on dresser
Photography Credit: Yusramizgingunay

The Right Way to Paint Furniture

While you might be excited to reach for the paintbrush, getting it right means following a few steps. Give your favorite furniture a makeover that’s flawless by knowing the right and wrong ways to paint it.

1. Prep Like a Pro

Proper preparation is key to a professional-looking finish. Start by cleaning the piece thoroughly with a mild soap and water. Remove any dirt, grime, or old polish that might interfere with the paint. Next, sand it down. While, sanding can seem a pain, it’s essential. It helps to smooth out any imperfections and gives the paint something to grip onto. Use a medium-grit sandpaper for the initial pass and then a fine-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. Your furniture should feel as smooth as your favorite pair of well-worn jeans.

Photography Credit: Skylar Kang

2. Prime Time

Just like applying primer to your skin to keep makeup in place, a good primer does the same honor for furniture. Choose a high-quality primer that works for the type of material you’re painting. Apply it evenly and let it dry completely.

3. Choose Your Medium

When it comes to picking your paint, quality matters. Some ideas you can choose from inclue a high-quality latex, acrylic, or even chalk paint for a durable and beautiful finish. Chalk paint might surprise you, but don’t knock it . . . it is especially popular for furniture because it’s easy to work with and gives a lovely matte finish.

4. Apply with Finesse

Now for the fun part – painting! Use a quality brush or foam roller to apply the paint in thin, even coats. Don’t glob it on; multiple thin coats are better than one thick one. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. This is where patience pays off.

5. Protect Your Masterpiece

After all your hard work, you’ll want to protect your newly painted furniture. Apply a clear topcoat to seal the paint and provide extra durability. A water-based polyurethane is a good choice for most projects, offering protection without yellowing over time.

Wood bench
Photography Credit: Rachel Claire

The Wrong Way to Paint Furniture

It’s easy to cut corners, but don’t do yourself the disservice. The last thing you want is for your newly DIY’d piece to start chipping in a few months.

1. Skipping the Prep

If you’re aiming for a professional finish, neglecting prep is a big no-no. Skipping cleaning and sanding can result in a paint job that chips, peels, and just looks plain awful.

2. Forgetting the Primer

Painting directly onto bare wood or an old finish without primer is a quick way to results you may not like down the road. Primer provides a solid base for your paint and helps to prevent stains from bleeding through. It’s an extra step, but it’s one you won’t regret.

3. Using Cheap Paint

Low-quality paint can be watery, requiring multiple coats to achieve decent coverage. It can also lead to a streaky, uneven finish. Invest in good paint, and you’ll thank yourself later.

4. Slapping on Thick Coats

Thick coats of paint are prone to drips, uneven coverage, and a longer drying time. Plus, they’re more likely to chip and peel over time. Patience is key – apply multiple thin coats for the best results.

5. Ignoring the Finish

Skipping a protective finish can leave your piece vulnerable to scratches, stains, and general wear and tear. Think of it as the top coat of nail polish – it’s what keeps everything looking fresh and polished.


Whether it’s luxury or ease, every area of your home should be as fabulous and unique as you.



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