Your Complete Guide to Painting Wood Furniture—From Sanding to Sealing. Breathe new life into dilapidated chairs, dressers, desks, and more by adding a fresh coat of paint.
Whether it’s a dresser you’ve had for years or a unique chair you found in an antique shop, there are a handful of creative ways to breathe new life into worn-down furniture. One of the most common materials you’ll run into when refreshing old pieces is wood, which can quickly be transformed into something beautiful with nothing more than a coat of paint.
“Painting or repainting your furniture isn’t just a budget-friendly way to personalize your home, freshen up tired furniture, or disguise aesthetic damage,” says Annie Sloan, paint and color expert, and creator of Chalk Paint Annie Sloan. “It’s a way of life, rejecting the buy more, buy new, buy now culture, and embracing hands-on, do-it-yourself, creative expressionism.”
The best part? The process of painting wood furniture looks the same across the board, meaning you can use the required materials for more than just one project—whether it’s a desk, chair, dresser, or vanity, the same steps apply.
The Materials You’ll Need
You’ll need a few basic tools and materials in order to complete this project properly:
- Drop cloth
- Painter’s tape
- 180- and 220-grit sanding sponges
- Damp cloth
- Paint brush
- Safety mask
Type of Primer
The type of wood you’re working with will dictate what type of primer you use. Wood that isn’t stained needs a high-quality latex or oil-based primer, while wood that is stained needs a stain blocking primer (as does redwood and cedar). Additionally, furniture that has exposed wood, chalking, or chipped paint needs an oil-based primer. Sloan also notes that you should use water-based primer if you’re using water-based paints, and varnish-based products if you’re using varnish-based paints.
Type of Paint
Experts recommend using chalk paint, which is also known as chalk-finish or chalking paint. It’s an easy and stylish way to improve and transform your furniture, says Gary McCoy, Lowe’s store manager serving the Charlotte, N.C. market. “Different from chalkboard paint, it’s a latex paint that has a fine powder added to the mix to create a unique matte finish,” he says. “The brushstroke and imperfections become part of the unique look.”
Type of Paint Brush
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