Directions For Painting Wood Furniture

jars of paint on a table

Don’t be in a hurry to throw out that piece of tired-looking wooden furniture. Giving the wooden table or chair some new lie is not hard to do. You just need to strip the old finish off and paint it with a new coat. Use the following steps to repaint furniture. We will be providing you with expert tips on how to get the smoothest outcome possible. On our chair, we used oil-based paint. However, you can follow this process if you are using water-based paint as well.

Also, we want to say Thank You to Melanie at Lost and Found Decor for her advice to use on this.  We reached out to her because she is an expert in the space and she was super generous with her time and answered all the questions we had.

Step 1: Test For Lead Paint

Before you begin, you need to ensure that the paint that you want to remove is not lead paint. Local big-box stores have inexpensive lead testing kits available. The followings steps only apply to items that test negative for lead paint.

Step 2: Remove Any Loose Paint

Scrape any loose paint off. Be careful that you don’t gouge the wood with your scraper. Hold the scraper parallel to the wood and evenly apply pressure.

Step 3: Sand The Furniture Smooth

Use a palm sander to sand the whole chair to even the surface out. First, use 80-100-grit sandpaper to sand the whole chair. Then switch over to finer grit of sandpaper from 150-200-grit to achieve a smooth surface (finer grit sandpapers have a higher number).

Pro Tip: Whenever you are sanding, you should always move with the wood grain.

Step 4: Hand Sand Any Crevices

To reach the crevices you might need to hand sand. After you are finished, use a cloth to wipe the chair down to eliminate the dust.

Step 5: Apply Coats Of Primer

For even neat coverage, a spray primer should be used. For uniform coverage, a dark primer should be used under a dark color of paint, and a white primer should be applied under a light color of paint. Start with the underside part of the chair. To achieve a consistent spray pattern without overspray and drips, spray slowly. Follow the chai’s natural lines using a back and forth motion. Two or three light coats of primer should be applied. Each coat should be dry to the touch before applying the next coat of primer. Check the label on the primer since drying times can vary by quite a bit.

Step 6: Sand if Needed

If the surface of the wood feels coarse after the last coat of primer has dried, use very fine sandpaper to lightly sand the piece and then use a tack cloth to wipe it down to eliminate the dust.

Step 7: Paint Your Furniture

Use nice smooth strokes to apply the paint and follow the piece’s natural lines. For best results, a high-quality nylon bristle paintbrush should be used. To achieve an even finish, go over the previous stroke with your brush. If a drip appears, drag your brush lightly over the area to prevent the run from spreading and then smooth it out before you move on. Two or three light coats of paint should be applied. Between applications, allow each coat to fully dry. Check your paint label since drying times can vary from one product to the next.

Step 8: Apply A Clear Coat

An additional layer of sheen is provided when a polyurethane clear coat is applied. It also protects and hardens the paint. A water-based topcoat should be matched with water-based paint, and oil paint with an oil-based topcoat. The can should be held 10-12 inches away while spraying with a back and forth motion. To achieve an even coat, the chair’s natural lines should be followed. Once the first clear coat has dried, use 200-grit sandpaper or higher to lightly sand to provide a professional finish before you spray the final coat on.

Step 9: Allow it to Dry

Allow the piece of furniture to cure completely in a dry, warm well-ventilated area before you use it – which will typically be about 24 hours. After you discover just how easy repainting wood furniture is, you will be able to see how all types of pieces have so much hidden potential.

Additional Painting Wood Furniture Tips

It is best for all painting surfaces to be primed to prevent the bleeding of stains through your new paint.

The primer that you use should match your type of paint. It is best to use a semigloss or satin finish on furniture with an oil-based or latex paint. The primer should never be left unpainted.

If you are using latex paint, for most uses a latex primer is a good choice. It is easy to apply and most stains are blocked. It also does have the smell that oil-based primers do.

Oil-based primers can be used with latex paints. However, an oil-based primer must be used with oil-based paints. Superior stain blocking and adhesions are offered by oil-based primers. However, they have a strong smell. Be sure there is good room ventilation when you are using oil-based paints and primers.

Whenever you are painting, begin at the top and then work your way down. As you working downward, smooth out the paint drips.

There are various sheens that latex paint is available in, including oil-based enamel, and semigloss (if you’d like to learn more about semigloss paint, read this excellent article: What is Semi Gloss Paint? – Flat vs. Satin vs. Semi-Gloss Paint Styles ( ), low satin or sheen, and flat acrylic latex. You can use oil-based paint on both interior trim work and exterior painting. It is easy to clean and very durable as well.

What is the best type of paint to use on a piece of furniture?

Although dedicated furniture paint is carried by some paint brands that are designed to protect against scuffs and dissuade brush marks (such as Valspar’s Furniture Paint that is carried by Lowe‘s), it is expensive. A 29-ounce can may cost up to $26. That might be more than what you paid for your furniture from the thrift store.

Fortunately, it is possible to save money on your furniture painting project when you use standard paint that is well-suited to the material you are going to refresh and to make sure to prepare, prime, and protect your piece of furniture properly.

For a majority of furniture pieces, semi-glass or satin paints are ideal.

Whether you are selecting an exterior or interior paint there is a range of different sheens that are available, including high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, and flat (matte), in order of highest to lowest. The middle-of-the-road sheens are easy to wipe clean and dry better to slick surfaces than less lustrous finishes, while also hiding scuff marks and scratches that would be emphasized by more reflective high-gloss sheens.