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 post is for you!

Get more ideas for gray painted furniture here!

two oak end tables before makeover

Today’s makeover is one that anyone can do!

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They were in great condition… but they’re outdated and need some love.

How to Paint Wood Furniture (Without Sanding or Priming)

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.

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Supplies Used

Pretty simple huh??

Remove the Hardware

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.

Clean With Krud Kutter

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.

Just spray it on, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wipe everything away with a clean damp rag.

cleaning furniture with krud kutter and a damp rag

Get more tips on how to clean furniture before painting here.

And then let the furniture dry.

Painting 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 paint for furniture without sanding here.

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 between painting 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.

Painting Furniture 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 furniture

Read through this post to learn more about the best paint brush for painting furniture.

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

Learn more about how to paint furniture without brush marks here!

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.

brush streaks 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 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.

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 an electric drill

Check out this comparison post on the best ways to fill hardware holes.

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!

gray painted oak end tables
close up photo of oak end tables after painting
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. I’ll keep you updated, though!!

scratch test on furniture 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.

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 painting 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 post.

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?

More Resources:

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??

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 with a screwdriver.
  2. Clean the furniture to prep for paint.
  3. Apply 3 coats of paint.
  4. Attach new hardware.

More Furniture Makeovers Without Sanding

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oak end tables before makeover

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