How to Paint Wood Furniture (Without Sanding or Priming)

If you’re looking for how to paint wood furniture without sanding or priming with no topcoat needed… and a beautiful brush free finish with budget friendly supplies!! Then this gray painted furniture idea is for you! It is daunting to think about having to sand and prime a piece of furniture before painting it, especially if you are new to DIY projects.

Today’s makeover is one that anyone can do! Whether you are a seasoned DIYer or just starting out, this project will give your furniture a modern and stylish update without some of the tedious prep work.

oak end tables before makeover

We picked these oak end tables up from the thrift store for only $10 each! I couldn’t believe it! They were in great condition… but they’re outdated and need some love.

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This is the best type of furniture to paint if you don’t want to sand or prime! There wasn’t any damage to repair and the original finish still looked great.

This means we can skip the prep work and get straight to the fun part – painting!

Plus, if you’re a beginner, working with furniture that is already in good shape can give you confidence and help you hone your painting skills without worrying about potential mistakes.

And if you’re a seasoned DIYer, having the option to skip some of the prep work can save time and energy for other projects.

Supplies Used to Paint Wood Furniture (Without Sanding or Priming)

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Pretty simple huh??

Remove Hardware and Clean Tables

If your furniture has knobs, or handles or anything similar, it needs to be removed before anything happens. This literally took less than 1 minute with my electric screwdriver.

removing hardware on drawers with an electric screwdriver

And now we have an easier surface to work with. Then, we need to clean the furniture.

I like to clean my furniture with Krud Kutter because it easily cuts through the grease, oils, and grime that can prevent paint from sticking to the wood.

wiping table with clean damp rag

Just spray it on, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wipe everything away with a clean damp rag. Get more tips on how to clean furniture before painting here. And then let the furniture dry.

How to Paint Furniture Without Sanding or Priming

Now it’s time for the paint! This is Farmhouse Paint in the color Pumice Stone.

opening a can of farmhouse paint in the color pumice stone

It’s a water-based, all-in-one formula that says it doesn’t need a primer or a topcoat and that it has ultra-adhesion. Learn more about the best paints for furniture without sanding here.

Farmhouse All in One Paint Scratch Test

I mixed the paint well, and then I brushed some of the paint onto a few different areas of the furniture.

Sometimes the different surfaces are made of different materials, so I like to test it all over just to make sure it will work on the whole piece.

brushing some paint on an end table leg

If you’re nervous about your paint sticking to your furniture without sanding, you can paint a couple of samples just like this to test it out before you paint everything.

This post shows the comparison of how to paint laminate furniture with sanding vs no sanding.

We let the samples dry overnight, so it ended up drying for 17 hours. And then I scratched at it with my fingernail.

Typically, if the paint comes off easily when I scratch at it 24 hours later, then I don’t trust it to stick well enough for no sanding or priming.

This paint scratched a little bit, but I had to dig in to get it to scratch a little bit.

scratch testing paint with fingernail

So, at this point, I completely trust that it’s going to stick, especially after it cures in a month.

UPDATE: Months later, this paint still was soft enough for me to scratch off decently easily. So, knowing what I know now, I would recommend that you at least prime with a BIN Shellac primer to help the paint stick better.

Painting Tables with Farmhouse All in One Paint

So, I painted the first coat on. I used a Zibra Round paint brush to brush it on, and I didn’t do anything special to the paint.

Until part way through. I added some water to the paint to thin it out and help it create a brush-free finish.

mixing water to thin out paint

I don’t know that I really needed to thin it out, but I really don’t like brush marks, so I didn’t want to chance it.

I love these round paint brushes though! They are about $10, and the shape of them makes it so easy to paint furniture. You can easily paint round surfaces like these legs, flat surfaces, grooves, and details.

brushing paint all over the table

To help reduce any brush marks, I went over the paint with long brush marks once it was on the furniture.

I also watched for drips in the paint and brushed them out before they dried. Then I let the 1st coat dry for a few hours.

It looked streaky, I could still see the wood underneath, but the paint felt really smooth.

table looking streaky after first coat of paint

The first coat always looks bad with light paint colors, so I wasn’t worried. So I painted 2 more coats, letting it dry in between coats.

Attach New Table Hardware

The old hardware isn’t my style at all, so I changed them out for some cup pulls that I had in my hardware stash.

If you’re an Amazon shopper, head on over to the Best Amazon Deals for these cup pulls and more.

They’re the same size as the original hardware, but I feel like that original hardware was a little too high up, so I drilled new holes a little further down, but where I could still cover up the original holes.

I used this KREG hardware jig to easily figure out where to drill the new holes, and then I used my Ridgid drill to drill the new hardware holes.

drilling new holes on drawer with kreg hardware jig and ridgid drill

Check out this comparison post on the best ways to filling holes when replacing furniture hardware.

Watch the full video of this makeover below…or scroll down for the after photos and additional tips on how to paint wood furniture without sanding!

And here’s what they look like now!

close up of gray oak end tables after makeover
gray oak end tables with black cup pulls after makeover

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

side angle of oak end tables after makeover

These tables are so stinking cute now! The paint seems to be an eggshell finish. Not matte, but not shiny either. I love it!

I scratched at the paint a couple of days later, and it came off when I scratched hard. I’ve seen similar results with other paint, and after 30 days, it shouldn’t scratch.

UPDATE: Months later, this paint still was soft enough for me to scratch off decently easily. So, knowing what I know now, I would recommend that you at least prime with a BIN Shellac primer to help the paint stick better.

scratch test on table after a couple of days from painting

This makeover cost $97 between the paint, cleaner hardware, and brush. They took less than 5 hours total to paint, and I can use those supplies on a few more of these makeovers too!

How do you prepare wood furniture for painting?

The best way to prepare wood furniture before painting is to remove the hardware, clean, scuff sand, and prime. All of these things will help the paint not scratch or ding easily.

Here’s exactly how to prepare furniture for paint.

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What happens if you don’t sand furniture before painting it?

If you don’t sand furniture before painting it, the paint might scratch, peel or chip easily. This is especially true if little kids or pets are near the furniture.

Learn more about sanding before painting furniture here.

How do you get paint to stick to wood without sanding?

You can get paint to stick to wood furniture without sanding if you use a primer and/or paint that has excellent adhesion. Here are the best bonding primers for furniture.

What kind of paint can you use on furniture without sanding?

Not all paints are created equal. The best kind of paint to use on furniture if you want to skip the sanding are mineral paints, chalk paints, acrylic paint, and all-in-one paint.

Check out the best all-in-one paints for furniture here. Here are more specifics on the best paint for furniture.

You can also check this test I did on chalk spray paints and see how it sticks to wood furniture without sanding or priming.

How to paint furniture without brush marks?

If you brush paint onto furniture, you’re most likely going to be left with a bunch of brush marks in the paint. Here are a few ways to minimize the brush marks though!

Use a self leveling paint that will flatten out as it dries. The brush you use matters too! Use a high quality synthetic paint brush to brush the paint on.

Here are a couple more tips and tricks for painting furniture without brush marks.

Is it better to spray paint or brush furniture?

This is a matter of opinion and what kind of space you have for painting your furniture.

A paint brush is easier for beginners to paint furniture because you can paint anywhere without worrying about getting overspray on everything.

But spraying paint will get the job done faster if you have a large project.

A paint brush might leave brush marks behind, but you can get a completely smooth finish with a brush if you do it right. It’s easy to get a smooth finish when you spray paint.

What works best for you? And what look do you want?

Read through this post to learn more about the best paint brushes for painting furniture. Check out the best HVLP paint sprayers for furniture here.

What do you seal painted furniture with?

Painted furniture can be sealed with water-based polyurethane. Some paints can be sealed with wax instead of water-based polyurethane.

Read through this post to learn about the best polyurethane for furniture.

In this makeover, this Farmhouse Paint can be sealed with a water-based polyurethane if you want (but it’s not required.) Learn all about topcoats for painting furniture here.

What do you think of this makeover? Are you looking for a simple project like this or would you rather sand and prime??

What are the potential risks of not using a primer on furniture before painting?

Skipping the use of a primer on furniture before painting can lead to a variety of potential risks.

Firstly, without a primer, the paint may not adhere properly to the surface and can easily chip or peel off over time.

This can be especially problematic if the furniture will be frequently used or exposed to harsh elements.

Secondly, without a primer, any stains or imperfections on the furniture may show through the paint, resulting in an uneven and unprofessional finish.

You can learn more on how priming stops stains from coming through paint here.

Lastly, a primer can also help to seal any pores or knots in the wood, preventing them from showing through the paint and creating an unwanted texture.

In addition to these risks, not using a primer on furniture before painting can also result in wasted time and money.

If the paint does not properly stick or the finish is not smooth, you may have to redo the entire project, costing you more time and money in the long run.

What are some tips for painting furniture without a primer?

If you choose to paint furniture without using a primer, make sure the furniture is clean and free of any dirt, grime or previous coatings.

Choose a high-quality paint with good adhesion properties or consider using a self-leveling paint. You should also use a topcoat to seal the paint and protect it from wear and tear.

However, keep in mind that the risks of not using a primer may still apply. It’s always best to use a primer when possible for the best results.

How to Paint Wood Furniture (Without Sanding or Priming)

after photo of oak end tables painted without sanding or priming

Give your furniture a makeover that is beginner and budget-friendly. Here's how to paint wood furniture without sanding or priming!


  1. Remove old hardware from the furniture with the electric screwdriver. Then clean it for paint with Krud Kutter. Spray Krud Kutter, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wipe everything away with a clean damp rag. Let dry.
  2. Paint the tables with the Farmhouse Paint in the color Pumice Stone using the Zibra Round paint brush. You can add some water to the paint to thin it out and help it create a brush-free finish. Watch out for any drips in the paint and brush them out before they dry. Paint 3 coats in total and let dry between coats.
  3. Attach your old hardware back or add new hardware.

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    two oak end tables before makeover

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