Young woman in red shirt painting a white wooden chair at home

Five Things You Should Know Before Painting Your Furniture

It’s happened to all of us. That chair is looking a little worse for wear, and you now must decide if it’s best to refresh or replace. Although it might seem like the only option is to replace it, painting old furniture is a great way to restore your furniture to its former glory—and save some money.  

To help you out, we’ve assembled a list of 5 things you should know BEFORE you start painting so you can make your old furniture look great again. 

Five Things You Should Know Before Painting Your Furniture 

  1. Sand Off the Old Paint 

Repainting furniture that has already been painted requires removal of most, or all of the old paint. Neglecting these important steps can create two problems that will have a negative effect on your results:  

  • Painting over old paint can make it hard for the new paint to adhere to the surface of the furniture. 

  • Leaving patches of old paint creates an uneven surface that will affect the overall look of your finished project. The finish won’t look as smooth as it would if you remove all the old paint.  

The type of paint you’re using is another factor you should consider before you start your project. If the furniture you plan to paint was originally painted with an oil-based paint, using a water-based paint might not work too well. Water base paints don’t adhere as well to oil base paint and vice versa. This is why removing the old paint is important. It gives you the option to use whatever type of paint you think is right for the job. 

If the furniture is very ornate or the paint is in good condition, you might not need to remove all the old paint. Lightly sand the original finish and make sure to use the same type of paint (oil base or water base) when repainting it.  

Are you considering painting a piece of stained furniture? If so, you’ll need to remove as much of the stain as possible. Same is true if you want to stain a piece of painted furniture. It’s a little extra work, but it will pay off in the end with better results. 

Related Topic: Different Types of Paint and When to Use Them (link to be added) 

  1. Using Primer 

Although different types of paint can used for your furniture project, before you start painting, you should consider applying a coat of primer to prep the surface.  

However, keep in mind that if you are using a water-based paint, you should also use a water-based primer. The same holds true for oil-based primer and paints. Using a primer helps ensure your new color looks crisp and adheres well to the surface, which will give your furniture the new, refreshed look you desire. 

  1. Choose the Best Paint  

Is the furniture in question wood? Metal? Maybe you’ve decided to paint that weathered vinyl yard chair on your patio. If so, it’s important to understand the surface you will be painting because different type of paint will bond better to certain types of material. 

After you’ve sanded the item to remove the old paint, choose a paint that bonds well to the surface you are painting. Since acrylic paints are more UV resistant; they are an excellent choice for exterior furniture.  

Enamel paint (despite losing popularity as an oil-based paint) is also good because of its durable, and smooth finish. Latex paint is another option, since it is the most affordable and can be easily cleaned, both important features for furniture paint. 

Homeowners looking for a rustic appearance for their furniture should consider using chalk paint (different from chalkboard paint). The paint itself is latex-based, which means it cleans up with water instead of mineral spirits, and tends to be thicker and easier to work with than standard paint. Commonly used for furniture, chalk paint gives a gently aged appearance and is easy to distress. It’s a great option when working on furniture that has an intricate design. And here’s the good news, you don’t have to sand or prime the surface you’re painting. It’s also very forgiving, making it a good option for beginners new to DIY furniture painting. 

  1. Plan Ahead 

If the furniture you plan to paint is used often, make sure you schedule accordingly when it comes to painting it. Latex paint dries quickly, but acrylic takes longer, and enamel (as well as other oil-based paints) can take up a few days to fully dry. So before you begin your project, make sure you can give the furniture ample time to dry before you use it again. Also take into consideration you might have to apply multiple coats, which will add time to the project.  

  1. Pick the Right Tools 

Now that you’ve sanded, primed, picked the paint, and planned your project out, the next step is choosing the right tools. Depending on the type, shape and detail of the furniture you plan to paint, you can use a foam roller, brush, or both to complete the job.  

If you’re using a foam roller, evenly apply as many coats as required (usually 2–3 thin coats). A small brush (2-inches or smaller) will help you apply paint to those tight areas that your roller can’t reach. Be sure to let each coat dry fully and lightly sand down and repaint any drips or uneven spots before applying a second coat.  

After your final coat has been applied and the paint is fully dry, you should apply a sealer, like polyurethane. A sealer adds another layer of protection to your furniture that can help minimize scratches, stains, nicks, and other damage. If the furniture you painted stays outside, applying a sealer will also protect your paint job from the weather.  

How to Get Started Painting Furniture 

Painting furniture is not for everyone. However, bringing a favorite piece of furniture back to life with a fresh coat of paint can be very satisfying. And if you combine the five things you need to know before you start, with a little patience, your chances of success are really good.  

For great results on your bigger painting projects, talk to your local pros at Five Star Painting. We have the experience, expertise and tools to give the interior or exterior of your home a fresh, new look. To learn more, give call at (888) 261-3633 or request a free estimate online