Email us now

Top Tips for Painting Furniture

Created: 19/06/2017

If you find yourself thinking your place could do with a bit of a makeover, but don’t want to embark on anything too colossal, a great place to start can be painting your furniture. It’s quite incredible what a difference it can make, depending on the colour chosen. It really has the potential to transform a room. You can take a table that has seen better days, or chest of drawers that was once a bit bland and boring and really make them come alive.

Just remember before you begin, as Mike Edwards of DIY Doctor told us, “the 12 P’s of decorating anything: preparation, preparation, preparation, preparation, preparation etc…”

If you are excited by the prospect, consider the below tips for painting furniture. However, if you don’t think you have the time, asking for help from a handyman service is always recommended. 

painting table

Move furniture into a safe place

When your’re painting, the last thing you want is to spill any materials onto the floor or stain beloved items, so therefore the first thing you should do is move your item to be painted into a safe place. Try taking the item outside, or somewhere that you can reach all sides of the piece easily, this way you will allow for a smooth paint job without making a mess in the wrong places.

It would also be a good idea to cover the floor below the piece of furniture. An unwanted blanket could do the job, or picking up a dust sheet from someone like Tool Station would certainly be a benefit. 

Paint stripper

DIY Doctor provided some great advice for those looking to paint their furniture, suggesting a particular product to help strip old paint and varnish from your pieces.

Having reviewed this Eco friendly home paint stripper, they informed us that not only does it do a great job, but because of its water base, it is also safe on the skin.

“Many people use solvent based strippers which stink the house out and are pretty hazardous on the skin and in the eyes. They also open the timber grain up too much making the paint blotchy when repainted. Home Strip does none of this and is guaranteed not to harm any surface it is applied to.”

Sand before painting

Sanding might not be what comes to mind but it’s a pretty essential element if you want to get the job done right, especially as stripping off the old colour will allow for the best coverage.

We spoke to Brewers, an independent decorator merchant, who told us to "make sure you sand the surface to ensure a key for the paint to adhere to, be sure to wipe down the surface before painting to remove any loose dust."  

It is recommended that you sand all surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper and use an orbital sander like this one from Axminster. Just be careful not to damage the surface. The idea here is to rough up the surface a little so you can add primer later in the process.

Also, once the painting has begun, you will want to sand again between coats should there be any drips or residue left on the piece.

painting furniture

Remove residue 

Speaking of residue, it’s very important that the surface of your piece is completely wiped down. Use a tack cloth, not a paper towel, and make sure to use a new cloth to wipe down the item in between each coat of paint, once it has dried of course. This step is important as you need to remove all signs of lint and dust before applying protection at the end.

Use primer

Once all residue has been removed, you will want to apply primer as if you don’t, there is a very good chance that paint will chip off and not last as long. Apply the primer with a roller and make sure to get into those hard to reach areas. Once the primer is dry, you can then sand away any drips, and wipe down again with your tact cloth.

Use roller first

When you start painting, try using a foam roller first, giving your item a nice even coverage -about three coats will do it. Brewers recommend: "When painting, always start at the top and work down, making sure you smooth out paint drips as you work downwards."

Leave six to eight hours between these coats and remember about sanding and wiping down between these coats.


Brush for gaps

Also remember to use your traditional brush as you will want to make sure to cover and reach all those gaps that you might have missed. Complete coverage is very important as the last thing you want is to have put the piece back in place and realise that your coat is uneven or patches have appeared. Take your time, follow the steps above, and make sure all is well before moving on.

Add protection

The final tip and step in the process is to add a layer of protection to your painted piece of furniture. Here you will want to apply a thin coat of varnish or other clear sealer using a new foam roller. Once applied, go over again with the roller with a very light touch to ensure that no bubbles are occurring. After this has been achieved, leave the item to dry for as long as possible, otherwise the piece of furniture could get sticky.

And there you have it! Your piece is done, and you are ready to put it back into place. You will be surprised at how different the room will look with it, and thanks to a bit of hard work, you will have essentially given yourself a brand new piece of furniture. Enjoy!

Back to News