How to Paint Furniture Like a Pro

Aug 29, 2022
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Have you ever skipped a great piece of furniture just because it was a little worn or needed a coat of paint? Thanks to the following tips you won’t have to do it again.

Not all dressers were made equal

Furniture that needs flipping can be easily found in flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales. But you have to sort through a lot of trash to find the treasure. Also, don’t shy away from online sources for your furniture hunt. When something catches your eye, try to get answers to these questions: what are the damages? Is the piece fully functional? Is it solid wood? Once you have your answers, re-evaluate and think if the restoration is worth it (or if you could use it as haggling leverage).

Get the right supply

If the piece you chose has curvy details and embellishments that need painting, get round brushes. If the parts that need painting are flat surfaces, a flat brush would be fine. If you have a large surface to cover, you might even want to opt for a foam roller, though you don’t have to. In terms of paint, you can use virtually any kind of paint (latex, mineral, milk, or chalk) but you will have to prep the piece accordingly. Latex paint, for example, will provide great coverage but require more preparation than the other ones.

Do your prep work

Start preparing your piece by cleaning it. Remove any kind of grime and debris before you paint or the color won’t have a solid grip on the wood. Then, you go on to sanding, which will remove scratches or imperfections, leaving you with a smooth surface to paint. If your piece has drawers, don’t forget to sand their sides and bottoms so they slide into place better. Next, pick up a paintbrush and start applying primer. This barricade between the paint and the wood will help the paint get a better grip and a solid, opaque finish.


Get to know your piece’s details

Intricate details might need specific brushes or tools to help you cover them completely. If you want to paint the details a different color than the rest of the piece, layer your paints. This means you want to start with the darker colors first on the larger surfaces and then apply the lighter colors on the details you want to pop. Don’t forget to top it all off with a water-based sealant!

Wax your drawers

Vintage drawers usually don’t have a modern sliding roller to sit in, so they are a little harder to open and close. To restore the drawers some of their functionality, wax their sliding sides.


It takes longer to dry

The paint may look dry after a couple of hours, but the truth is that it remains vulnerable for 30 days. Don’t touch the piece or lay anything on it for a month after painting it. Be patient and enjoy your furniture only when it’s fully dry.

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