Add Life to Old Décor: A Guide to Painting Furniture

June 14th, 2013

In your home décor, a little change can make a big difference.  A great way to give new life to an old piece of furniture is to paint it. Giving it a fresh coat or bold color can update the piece and change the feel of a room.  Before you decide to jump into a project like this you’re going to need to take a few essential steps.

To begin:

  • Evaluate the furniture.  Are you painting over a bold color, discolorations, or stains?  Then you’ll need a primer.  If there are holes and other damages, you’ll want to get a wood filler to fix these and even out the surface before painting.
  • Get the right tools.  You’ll need sanding paper, primer, the right paint, a sealant, and a good paint brush.  If you have an electric sander, feel free to use it, but be sure not to over-sand.  Not every project will require primer, but it helps the paint adhere to the surface.  Don’t skimp and buy a cheap paint brush – this could make or break your paint job.

Ok, now that you’ve got the right supplies, let’s start!

  • Step One – Prep.  The first thing you’ll need to do is clean your furniture.  There are special cleaners out there, but generally, some warm water and a little dish soap will work.  Remove all the drawers and hardware and give your piece a good wipe down.
  • Step Two – Sand.  After it is dry, sand to even the surface and remove any old, peeling paint.
  • Step Three – Prime.  Now that your project is clean and smooth, apply a coat of primer and let it dry completely.  Talk to your local expert about whether a water-based or oil-based primer is best.
  • Step Four – Sand again.  With fine-grit sandpaper, lightly sand your furniture in between paint layers.  This will help keep all coats even. Just be sure to remove all dust as well.
  • Step Five – Paint.  Again, talk to your local painting pro or hardware store about which paint is best.  Generally, you will want to pick a paint that wears well and is easy to clean.  Depending on the furniture 2-3 coats of paint will get the job done.  Some people prefer to seal their project as well with a paste wax or polyurethane.

Remember, you’re going to need time and patience when completing a project like this.  Make sure every coat of paint is dry before you apply the next layer.  Skipping steps or taking shortcuts will change the outcome of your paint job or shorten its life.  Nobody wants to spend time sanding, priming, and painting only to have it chip and peel quickly.

Happy painting!