How To: Painting Furniture

More often than not, a ratty old piece of furniture can be salvaged and saved at a fraction of the cost of buying a new piece. When Grandma’s armoire or Dad’s old desk is about to hit the last yard sale of the season, try refurbishing it instead with some of these great tips for repainting furniture.

  1. Repainting furniture can be a great way to revitalize your home, however, it’s practically useless if the furniture is already in bad shape. Check to see if the condition of the wood is good and then sand or dispose of as needed. Hardware can be easily replaced, so don’t focus on it.

  2. The first thing to do if you’re painting furniture is to sand it lightly to rub off any coatings that could prevent the paint from sticking. Be sure to use a gentle method if you’re working with antiques. Remove all hardware.

  3. Next, apply a coat of primer, which can help prevent stains from bleeding through the new paint.

  4. Primer must match the type of paint you have chosen. For furniture it’s best to use a satin or semigloss finish in either a latex or an oil-based paint. Never leave primer unpainted.

  5. Once you’ve primed, now it’s time to paint. Latex paint is great for painting most furniture pieces without the odor of oil-based paint, although oil-based paint can offer more stain resistance. Either way, be sure you repaint your furniture in a well-ventilated room.

  6. In addition to choosing between latex and oil-based, choose the right kind of sheen for your furniture piece. Gloss allows for more shine while flat will work as a matte surface. It’s really up to you.

  7. When painting, start at the tip and work down, smoothing paint drips as you go.

  8. Once the paint has dried, spot check for any touch ups and paint as necessary. Reattach hardware.

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