Learn how to paint your furniture and thrift store finds. With these steps, you’ll be painting all your furniture like a pro in no time!
Welcome friends! Let’s talk about how to paint furniture!
But let’s just make sure that your paint is going to stick and that all of your work will last a long time.
How to Paint Furniture
Let’s break it down into steps, and then I’ll go over every step in detail and link to all the products you’ll want to use on your painted furniture.
- Remove the hardware.
- Clean any dirt, grime, oils or wax off of the furniture.
- Fill in scratches, dings and holes.
- Tape off drawers.
- Give the paint something to hold onto.
- Paint at least 2 coats.
- Distress. (optional)
- Seal the paint
- Re-attach the hardware
Get your FREE “How to Paint Furniture Checklist” printable to remember all these steps when you’re painting.
Another great resource is these five biggest furniture painting mistakes you need to avoid!
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You’ll Need these Supplies to Paint Furniture
- Screw Driver
- Krud Kutter and a Damp Rag
- Wood Filler
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Tack Cloth
- Painters Tape
- Paint Brush
- Primer (for very slick and shiny surfaces)
- Chalk Paint
- Painting Sponge
- Varathane Polyurethane
Remove the Hardware
Most furniture will have hardware. Everything needs to be removed for a clean paint finish.
Clean the Furniture Before Painting
What does dust, dirt, oil, wax and grime have in common?? They mess up your paint!
So we need to get them removed before we go any further.
So grab some Krud Kutter. This stuff is so amazing that I use it on every furniture painting project.
Then let your furniture dry.
Fill in Scratches, Dings and Holes
The next step in how to paint furniture is to fill in any imperfections that you don’t want to show anymore.
I use this wood filler.
For smaller scratches, be generous with the wood filler and fill the damage completely.
Make the Paint Stick to Furniture
If you skip over one step, please don’t skip over this one. This is the most important step in making sure that your paint will actually stick to your furniture.
You can use can scuff sand, or use a mixture of both scuff sanding and adhesive primer !
Scuff sanding is a light sanding with 220 grit sand paper that really only takes a few minutes. The goal is to make the old finish a bit rough so the new paint has something to hold on to.
Just grab 220 grit sandpaper and lightly sand everything down. Just a couple of passes over everything should do.
When to use Primer on Your Painted Furniture
If the old finish on your furniture is super slick and shiny you really need to prime your furniture after you scuff sand. This one is the very best!
How to Chalk Paint
They usually don’t require a primer, and most say that you don’t need to sand either. Both are true to some degree.
Chalk and clay based paints are super flat, and they have an additive in them that helps them stick to a lot of surfaces. They usually won’t stick to super slick or shiny surfaces on their own though.
My Favorite Furniture Paint
My favorite brand of furniture paint is Country Chic Paint. They have so many good colors, their customer service is amazing. They are also super environmentally friendly!
The best part about chalk or clay based paints is how well it distresses. Latex paint doesn’t like to distress, it just gums up. So if you’re looking for a worn feel, chalk paint is the way to go.
You can also make homemade chalk paint with latex paint if you’re on a budget.
How to Paint Furniture
How to Paint Furniture with a Brush
Brushing is pretty straight forward. A nicer brush (like this Zibra brush ) will help eliminate brush marks.
I love that Zibra has specialty paint brushes that are in different shapes. Their round brush is my favorite brush to help get into details on furniture. Their square and triangle brush are amazing as well!
Read through this post to learn more about the best paint brush for painting furniture.
How to Spray Paint Furniture (My favorite way!)
If you have a large project(s), don’t want brush marks, or you want to get the painting done quickly, use a paint sprayer!
This paint sprayer
- doesn’t need an air compressor
- easy to set up and clean up
- you can put any paint in it
- I even use it for my topcoats
Painting is so fast with a paint sprayer, and it doesn’t leave brush marks! So it’s my go to. If you want more details on how to use a paint sprayer, head over to my 3 part guide to learn more about using a paint sprayer on furniture.
No matter your method of painting, you’ll want to paint at least 2 coats of paint for complete coverage.
How to Distress Painted Furniture
If you’re wanting a worn farmhouse or shabby chic look, you’ll want to distress the edges of your finish just a bit.
There are a few ways to distress painted furniture, but my favorite is to use 220 grit sandpaper.
Here are 6 techniques for distressing furniture!
Applying a Topcoat to Seal the Paint
Finally you’re onto the last step in painting! This one is very crucial, especially when you’re using chalk paint.
Chalk paint or clay based paint is super porous and will attract dust like none other. It also isn’t very easy to wipe down if something gets on it.
So we always use Varathane Polyurethane Interior in Satin.
This poly is the best! It is sooo durable, it doesn’t yellow, and it makes the finish feel super professional and smooth.
I’ve found that using a sponge like this really helps the application go on smooth and better than a brush!
But I personally like to spray the polyurethane. Learn ALL of my tips and tricks on How to Spray Polyurethane here!
3 coats of poly is recommended.
Your DIY Furniture is Finished!!
Now that you’ve learned how to paint furniture, you’re ready to rock! Your old ugly or outdated furniture is going to look so good painted!
- What Paint to Use on a Dresser
- How to Paint Furniture Without Sanding
- How to Paint Laminate Furniture | Without Sanding VS Sanding
- The Secret to Painting Furniture with Latex Paint
Get more furniture makeover ideas here!