Basic Steps for Painting Furniture

I often get emails asking how I refinish a piece of furniture. This is a bit of a hard question for me to answer because for me it totally depends on the piece. I am not an expert by any means, there are many ways to refinish. This post will go over the basic steps I normally use to refinish a piece.

Step 1 : The first step to refinishing is to find a piece of furniture worthy of your efforts. I always look for solid wood pieces. Dove tailed drawers are a good indication of quality. For the beginner especially, I would stay away from pieces with faulty drawers or doors. If they stick before they are painted, it will be worse after. Here is this dresser before I painted~
I had already removed the drawers, oops!
Step 2 : Sand. This is every ones most hated step. It is the step most likely to be skipped. I find that   sanding gives a much more durable and even finish. If you properly sand your piece the rest of your job will be easier. I always start with 80 grit sandpaper, it works fast but is rough. I go over everything again with 150 grit for a smoother finish. This 9 drawer dresser took me about 2 hrs to completely sand. Here are the sanded pictures~

Step 3 : Prime. Lately I have been using spray paint primer . It is a huge time saver for me. It prevents any problems with bleed through and dries very fast.
I used red primer even though I am painting with white. I want to distress this piece and the darker color showing through looks better than the lighter sanded wood.

Step 4: Finally it is time to paint! I recommend Behr Ultra Premium Plus paint. It has primer in it and lays on very smooth. I do sand in between coats but usually only on the large flat surfaces. I use 220 grit after the first coat and 320 grit after the others. This gives a very nice smooth finish. I normally do 2 coats on the body of a piece and 3 on the top, again this varies.

Step 5: Decorative finishes. If you plan to distress or glaze now  is the time for that. I also do my drawer interiors after I paint. With this dresser I painted the insides of the drawers and lightly distressed the edges. I always distress manually with a sanding block. If I am going to paint my hardware I do that now too. Wait until a piece is painted to decide for sure on your hardware, I have learned that the hard way.

Drawer interiors are Behr Agave.

STEP 6: Finishing. For me this is the most difficult part. There are so many options for finishing. Right now I am mostly using Wipe on Poly by Minwax. The Wipe on Poly is very easy to use. You just wipe it on! I use old socks, rags or whatever. After the first coat dries I sand and apply a second coat. 
The finished piece~

Happy Painting!

Todays Creative Blog

Furniture Feature Fridaysvif187