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How To Paint Wooden Furniture

by bilal shaikh 29 Mar 2024

Here's how to paint wooden furniture easily: clean, sand, fill cracks, prime, paint with quality paint, apply clear coat, and admire! Do not throw away that old wooden piece of furniture. You can give a wooden table or chair a new lease of life by removing the old finish. Follow these steps to learn how to paint wooden furniture. Expert tips will help you achieve the best results. This process is the same if you use water-based or oil-based painting.

Painting wooden furniture can breathe new life into older furniture. Painting wooden furniture can be a great way to update a family heirloom or to change the scheme of your home for less.To ensure a flawless, long-lasting finish, patience and steady hands are needed when working on a furniture project. You can ruin the piece by rushing the process. Some people do like to complete painting projects outdoors, which would make spring, summer, and fall ideal times to paint.

How To Paint Wooden Furniture

How To Paint Wooden Furniture

Take a look at how to paint wooden furniture, as well as the materials you'll need.

  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic bag
  • Drop cloth
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (80, 120, and 220 grits)
  • Anti-vibration gloves
  • Tack cloth (or damp cloth)
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush (A 2-inch high-quality brush is a good default but having small, medium and large brushes in your collection can be useful)
  • Sealant

1. Remove hardware and drawers

Remove any existing hardware (knobs and pulls), then place them in a bag to keep safe. Remove any drawers as you will need to paint the front of each drawer separately.

2. Drop Cloths

Drop cloth or a tarp (also known as the red carpet in the world of painting) should be rolled out and placed at the center. This will prevent paint splatter and drops from falling onto the ground. This will stop paint from splattering or dripping onto the floor.

3. Sand

The most difficult part of painting furniture is the sanding. Start with a lower grit, and then work your way upwards. Casey says that he uses 80 grit first, then 120, and 220 for a smooth finish. (FYI, the lower the number of grits the rougher texture. Wear a dust mask to prevent inhaling the particles. Anti-vibration glove protection is also recommended.By the end of the process, the wood grain should be visible and the wooden furniture should look and feel soft.

This process may take several hours, depending on the size of the piece.It's not necessary to sand to the wood grain if the furniture is in good shape and you are repainting it with the same paint. Just lightly sand to give the surface some texture. This will make the paint stick better.Sand the furniture lightly before painting it if you have never painted, sealed, or stained it. To prep unfinished wood furniture, prime it before painting. This will prevent the wood grain showing through.

4. Wipe Down

After sanding your furniture, use a damp cloth to wipe it down. This is a cloth that can be found in hardware stores. It will grab even the smallest debris. Before moving onto the next step, you want to ensure that your surface is completely clean and free of debris. Wait until the furniture has completely dried before continuing.

5. Prime


Casey recommends that you apply one or two coats of primer to the surface before painting. She says that many paints come with primer already built in. However, with furniture you should prioritize durability and do as much as possible. Primer allows paint to adhere to furniture. This makes it more durable. Once the second primer coat has dried, lightly sand it with 220 grit. This will give the surface a little texture and help paint stick. Before painting, make sure you remove all dust.

6. Paint

We've finally arrived after a long journey. Dip your paintbrush into the paint and wipe away any excess. Then apply a thin coat to your furniture. The instructions on the can of paint will tell you how long to wait in between coats. After that, lightly sand the furniture with 220-grit paper, wipe it clean with a Tack Cloth, and then apply the second coat.

You'll want to wait for the paint to dry completely before applying the next coat. Casey warns that rushing things can cause streaking, bubbles, or a gloppy situation. If you see any bumps or streaks, lightly sand the surface after it has dried.

Repeat if necessary for a second coat.

7. Seal (Optional).

Choose the same type of finish (wax or oil) as your paint. Casey says that a topcoat is essential to protect the paint from staining and water damage. "I like a wax finish, because it is easy to apply and ready to use right away. You will need to reapply the wax if you notice it is wearing off.

Polyurethane is another popular choice. It's an oil- or water-based sealant which protects and waterproofs your furniture. Choose your desired sheen, such as matte, semi-gloss or satin, and make sure you work in an area with adequate ventilation.

8. Put it Back Together

Replace the drawers and hardware after your furniture has dried. You can give your hardware a new look by switching out the old hardware or giving it a thorough cleaning.

It takes time for paint to fully cure or dry completely to a hard surface, even if it is dry at the touch. Before placing anything on top, wait the curing time recommended on the can of paint. This could take a few days or even a week.

What Is The Best Paint For Wood?

Latex Paint is a popular paint for wood. It is easy to use, and it dries fast. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners. It is also available in many colors and is inexpensive. It is not as durable or suitable for exterior surfaces and high traffic areas as oil-based painting.

Is It Better To Spray Or Brush Furniture?

A paint sprayer will help you achieve a professional finish on your cabinets and  save time.

What Spray Paint Finish Is Best For Furniture?

When selecting a spray paint finish for furniture, it's essential to consider both aesthetic preferences and practical needs. Satin and semi-gloss finishes are popular choices for furniture, offering a balance between durability and sheen. Satin finishes provide a subtle shine that adds elegance to pieces while being forgiving of imperfections. Semi-gloss finishes offer a slightly higher sheen, providing a durable and easy-to-clean surface suitable for high-traffic areas. Matte finishes, though less common for furniture, can create a contemporary or vintage look, but may require additional protection to prevent wear and tear.

Flat Enamel Spray Paint

Flat Enamel Spray Paint

This type provides a hard finish to tables and other furnishings, indoors or outdoors.


Find out how to paint wooden furniture in the end. Painting wooden furniture can transform its look. Start by cleaning and sanding the surface. . Fill cracks, sand again for smoothness. Prime the surface for proper paint adhesion. Choose quality paint for wood surfaces. Apply thin, even coats for best results. Add clear coat for durability. Enjoy the transformation of your furniture!

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