How to Paint Wood Furniture Like You've Been Doing It For Years

Browse the local flea market or scan Craigslist, and you'll find a surplus of affordable but dated wood furniture. From '80s oak dressers to grandmotherly side tables, these vintage pieces might seem beyond saving, but with some imagination and a couple coats of paint, they can be transformed into contemporary masterpieces — if you know the right way to paint them. You don't need decades of experience, just a few minutes to read our pro tips. So pick a color and read on to learn how to paint wood furniture like you've been doing it for years.

  1. Disassemble
  2. Start by removing all drawers and attachments from the frame and taking off any and all hardware. Removing hardware might be a pain in the short run, but you'll be glad you did it.

  3. Clean
  4. Give the furniture a cleansing wipe-down with soapy water to remove any dirt, dust, and grime that may have accumulated over the years.

  5. Repair
  6. Search for any chips, holes, or scratches, and repair them with wood filler to ensure an even application of paint.

  7. Prep
  8. A gentle sanding is almost always needed to give primer something to grab on to. Using superfine grit paper, lightly go over the entire surface, paying extra attention to any areas you used wood filler as these might have drops or bumps that need extra sanding.

  9. Dust
  10. For a flawless finish, you'll want to use a tack cloth (paper towels and rags can leave lint and residue that get stuck in paint) to gently wipe down the furniture again, removing any dust created by sanding.

  11. Prime
  12. Using a high-quality, soft brush or small foam roller (one that doesn't shed bristles or leave bubbles as you go), apply a coat of primer and allow to dry for eight to 24 hours. If the wood's finish bleeds through, you can consider applying another coat of primer after the first one dries.

  13. Paint
  14. Mix paint well, and begin to apply. As with the primer, you'll want to use a high-quality, soft brush or small foam roller, as these are the least likely to leave behind bristles, brush strokes, and bubbles in the paint finish. Once you're done, allow to dry for no less than eight hours before applying a second coat. After this dries, you may also want to apply a third coat or sealer.

  15. Reassemble
  16. After the piece has had a full 24 hours (or longer if the paint still feels tacky) to dry, reattach the hardware and reassemble the drawers and attachments.

  17. Enjoy
  18. Put the refreshed piece of furniture in your home, sit back, relax, and enjoy the compliments as they start to pour in!

Source: Brittany Ambridge for Domino