Keep These Things in Mind When Painting Your Own Furniture

Tangerine Louis XV Bedside Table- Sweet Pea and Willow

A single piece of painted furniture in a room can shine like a star. It can add focus, drama, color, and personality all in one. And there is probably a piece of furniture somewhere in your house (or garage or attic) that could use a little love and become that piece. It’s not hard to do, and with just a few tips, you can paint a piece of furniture yourself and have something brand-new to spice up any space.

Open Your Mind

When deciding if a piece of furniture is worth painting or not, or where it will fit, open your mind. Focus on the lines of the piece, not the color or even its use. Try to imagine it somewhere else, in a different color, maybe with some added accents, serving a new purpose.

You can paint an old bedroom dresser a bright apple red or dramatic black, change the hardware, and you’ll have a great dining room storage piece. Turn a boring nightstand into a glamorous end table with a bit of paint and new hardware. You can do it – just envision it!

Take Necessary Steps

Once you’ve decided on painting, take a good look at the piece. You will probably have to remove the old paint or finish either by sanding or using a paint remover (even if you use a paint remover product, you will probably need to sand before painting to ensure a smooth surface).

Make sure the piece is clean before painting. You can wash with something like Murphy’s oil soap and make sure all dirt, grime, paint or finish reside, and dust is gone. This will help ensure your new paint job is smooth and even. Plus, it will help it adhere better.

Priming the piece before painting will again ensure a smooth, finished look. Priming helps paint adhere and will help hide any imperfections that may show through the paint. Give that furniture a quick sanding, too, and you are ready for the fun part!


Once you’ve prepped your piece and chosen its new look, you are ready to paint! Depending on your piece and its new function, you will either want oil-based or latex paint. Latex is much easier to work with, but oil will have a more durable finish and won’t peel or chip as easily. If you are positive you’ve gotten all old paint and finish off the piece, you’re probably safe with latex, but it you are painting over anything, go with oil-based paint.

Make sure to get the paint in all nooks and crannies; take the drawers out if your piece has them and work around both the drawers and the piece. If you want a distressed look, you can be a bit less precise (but that is a technique in and of itself). Once your paint is dry, give it a light sanding and go for another coat if needed. If you are doing accent painting, let the base dry completely as well.

If you want to give it a clear coat of protectant seal, it’s not a bad idea, especially for high-use pieces, like tables. Then let it dry for a good 48 to 72 hours, and you are ready to use your beautiful new piece.

Your new painted piece of furniture is one of a kind; you did it yourself, and it can be the new highlight of your space. Just keep those few tips in mind and get ready to paint!

Heather Legg is a blogger who writes about creative home tips, the advantages of open plan furniture, and healthy lifestyles, and who also loves painting furniture now and then.

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