Painting Furniture

If you want to add some unique pieces to your space or maybe just refresh some of your current furniture, painting is the perfect solution. 

When it comes to painting furniture, there are definitely some guidelines to follow to provide a professional looking finish that’s going to last. 

We are going to go through the process step by step so you can achieve a beautiful and unique piece that adds character and your own personal touch to your space. 

First and foremost is prepping. Now this task may seem daunting, but it’s the most important and must be done to achieve a long lasting quality product. 

First wipe down your piece with a rag and degreasing cleaner to remove any residual wood oil and dust residue. Then remove all hardware and any drawers or doors. At this point check any areas for damaged wood and apply wood filler. Once the wood filler is dry, sand it down to a smooth finish as well as the rest of the piece if you’re using latex or spray paint. You will also need to add primer if using those paints as well.  

If you’re using mineral or chalk paint, then just sanding the rough spots and areas with wood filler is fine. 


Mineral paint and chalk paint are the two paints you can use that require little to no prep work. Mineral paint also requires no sealer and brush strokes are much less visible. Chalk paint however does require a sealer and brush strokes are much more visible. 

Next comes the painting. Now there are many different techniques, finishes and ways to add character to every piece.

You can paint the piece a solid color and leave it at that.  However, you can also add a hand painted pattern to different areas of your piece to add design appeal and character. Also using stencils to paint the inset of dresser drawers or doors of cabinetry can add an elegant touch that will make the piece timeless. 

You can breathe life back into a vintage piece with a bold color high gloss lacquer. Using bold tones on the furniture and lighter tones on the hardware to create the proper balance. This will give your vintage piece a modern twist. 

You can use metallic finishes to transform your furniture adding depth and character throughout. Applying to wood furniture especially with ornate detail can turn a once dull, lackluster piece into beautiful furniture showcasing the intricate details and design. Using a lighter tone metallic paint on the detail with a darker toned paint on the furniture base will bring out the beauty of each design. 

To achieve the farmhouse or shabby chic, look you’ll need to add distressing to the fully painted piece. After prepping the furniture as listed above, start by adding the base coat of paint. If you’re using contrasting colors use the darker shade for the base coat. Make sure to spread the paint thin and allow cracks to show through. Next, place a small amount of the lighter shade in a container and mix in small amounts of water 1 teaspoon at a time until the paint is thin but not so watery that it bubbles when you apply it.  Apply this layer of paint with a foam brush and wipe areas with paper towels to achieve a distressed antique look. You can also achieve this look by lightly sanding the piece with a fine grit sandpaper concentrating on edges where there’s natural wear. You can also use a wire brush, steel wool and wax to shine and scuff the piece giving it that authentic vintage charm. 


If your looking to achieve a very unique and distressed piece try layering paint. First prep the piece by sanding off the old finish. Then add different colors of paint in different areas one layer at a time allowing each layer to dry before adding another color and layer on top. Use as many colors as you desire and be as random as you like as to where you paint the colors on the piece. Lastly partially remove the paint in various levels with sand paper or an electric sander. Then apply stain and a sealant. 


Painting your furniture can be a fun project and a great way to breathe life back into older pieces. As you see, you have many options when it comes to painting and the amount of prep work required so it doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task.  You can create a one-of-a-kind piece that provides unique design, character and vintage appeal. It’s not only a great way to enhance the beauty of your furniture, but also your home.

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