5 Essential Tips to Know Before Painting Furniture
Use these critical tips to ensure the best outcome when giving your furniture a much-needed facelift.
Adding a fresh coat of paint to breathe life into an old piece of furniture is an easy process that can completely transform hand-me-down furniture or thrift store finds. Although the process may seem straightforward, there are a few important things to know so that the paint adheres properly for a perfect finish.
1. Choose the Piece You Want to Update
The first thing to consider when choosing a piece of furniture to redo is whether it is an antique. If so, will painting it harm the value? For example, Midcentury modern furniture is typically best left untouched if you’re planning on selling it later. But your grandmother’s hutch in the garage that has been collecting dust for decades? It’s probably a good candidate for painting since you’ll never use it without an update.
If you don’t plan on reselling the piece of furniture, then its value is only based on how much you treasure it. If you’ll use it and love it more with a bright red paint job, then by all means go for it. Give it the makeover and put it to use instead of letting it sit in storage.
2. Select the Appropriate Paint
When it comes to paint, you’re going to want to choose a paint specifically made for furniture, such as spray paint designed to adhere to wood surfaces. Also, think about the finish you prefer, whether it be smooth, glossy, textured or distressed. Milk- or mineral-based paints, acrylics or chalk-style paints all make good options for furniture and offer a variety of looks. Just like choosing a color, paint comes in a wide range of options and is limited only by personal preference, for the most part. To start, just head to your local hardware or paint store, grab a few samples and experiment until you find a finish you love.
3. When Unsure, Prime Before Painting
While looking at paint, you’ll find that some paints say that they adhere to furniture without it being sanded first. However, there are always exceptions. To ensure the best results, consider using a primer before painting. Primer will prevent stubborn old paint or stains from bleeding through the new paint — stains that show through no matter how many coats you apply.
As a rule, just go ahead and assume pieces that have a red-tinted stain will show stains. And if you have any doubts at all, it’s best to prime. Better safe than sorry!
4. Prepare Surfaces Before Painting
Adding paint to furniture that previously had a stained finish will emphasize its features, from striking architectural details to any imperfections. For optimal results, be sure to sand out scratches and fill holes before you paint. Even if you’re applying a distressed finish, it will benefit from a bit of prep work beforehand.
5. Tools to Have On Hand
If you anticipate renovating more pieces of furniture in the future, consider adding these tools to your arsenal:
Electric Sander — It can be an orbital, belt or sheet sander. Regardless of which you pick, this tool is relatively inexpensive and will save you time on projects.
Drill — A handy tool for making repairs or modifications to an existing piece. Available for less than $100.
Brad Nailer — A battery-operated nailer helps with repairs like reattaching the back on a chest of drawers. A bit more costly than a drill, it can be a good investment for someone who plans to keep renovating.
Staple Gun — Whether manual or battery-powered, staple guns are used a lot for repairs and reattaching backing. A higher-end model can also be used for reupholstery.