Furniture Painting For Beginners

Furniture painting for beginners is an exciting and rewarding craft that can help you transform your furniture and give it a unique and personalized look. With the right supplies and a few simple techniques, you can easily learn how to paint furniture like a professional. The process involves cleaning the piece of furniture, filling in any damage, and then applying primer, paint, and sealer. The type of paint and finish you choose will depend on the type of furniture, the look you want to achieve, and the amount of time and effort you want to put into the project. With a little practice and patience, you can create beautiful pieces that are perfect for your home.

What paint to paint furniture?

  1. Professionals recommend choosing coatings that are suitable specifically for furniture. If you take a composition designed, for example, for the ceiling or walls, and paint a chair with it, the coating may not work the way you would like it to, and in addition will be short-lived. As a last resort, you can take a universal paint, but it is better to clarify in advance on the manufacturer’s website or with the salesperson in the store whether it will be suitable for your project.
  2. A safe and modern choice is water-based coatings. They dry quickly and do not emit harmful substances, which is important when we are dealing with items used in residential areas.
  3. Water-based acrylic paint is one of the most common choices. However, this coating is not recommended for lacquered surfaces, LDPE products or items already painted with some other types of paint (such as glue-based).
  4. If you need to decide what paint to paint chipboard furniture or lacquered furniture, it is better to take eco-paint options: chalk, mineral, milk paint. They are safe and, if you follow the recommendations for use, adhere well to various surfaces, up to and including plastic, metal and glass.
  5. Oil paint is used less and less nowadays. They take a long time to dry and release strong smelling and not very useful compounds. When working at home, it can be hard to put it on straight. But if you’re not afraid of these peculiarities, but you need a strong and durable coating, this option is fine.
  6. Latex paint is a pretty popular option right now. It is good with a variety of textures and colors. But, although it dries quite quickly, the surface after drying does not become so hard to call this type of coating durable and wear-resistant. Simply put, for a bench on which you daily stand with your feet, it is better not to take this option, but for a decorative shelf it is quite suitable.
  7. Finally, let’s talk about the finish. This can be varnish or wax. Varnish gives a stronger, more wear-resistant coating, so it is better suited for items that you use often and intensively. That said, you can choose a varnish with different textures, such as matte or glossy. Wax looks and behaves more softly, and it also doesn’t tolerate high temperatures. It is not suitable, for example, for the seat of a chair or a tabletop, but it is quite possible to use it for a dresser or shelf.

How to Paint Furniture: Sequence of Steps

1. Needed for painting


  • paint of one or more colors (in the store, focus not only on the color, but also on the type of paint – take into account the tips above, plus if possible, consult with a salesman, explaining to him the essence of your idea and plans for its implementation);
  • degreaser (alcohol or mineral spirits);
  • putty and spatula, if necessary;
  • primer;
  • if you need a craquelure effect – an appropriate coating;
  • finishing coat (varnish or wax);
  • rollers, brushes, sponge, paint tray;
  • sandpaper of medium grit and fine grit;
  • masking tape, if you need to protect any parts;
  • gloves and clothes that you can’t be bothered to stain with paint;
  • a protective mask;
  • newspapers or polyethylene to cover the floor;
  • several lint-free cloth rags (microfiber rags work well).

2. Preparing the furniture

First, examine the piece of furniture selected for painting. You will need to keep it clean by wiping it with a cloth soaked in a detergent solution. Then wipe the object with a clean, damp cloth and dry it thoroughly.

Then fill in the cracks and chips with a special filler. Wait until it dries and sand the surface with an emery cloth, first coarser, then finer grit.

If you decide how to paint furniture without removing the varnish, it is worth sanding the entire surface: this way the coating will lay better and will hold longer.

Then dedust the surface: to remove sanded off particles from the previous coating, go over it properly with a microfiber cloth.

Then degrease. What can be used to degrease a furniture surface before painting? Alcohol or mineral spirits will work. Apply the liquid to a rag and wipe the surface, then wait until it dries. Remember to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

3. Priming

The next step is priming. Only go to this step after the preparatory step described above! Coat the surface with primer, wait until it is completely dry and then sand it with a fine sandpaper. After a good dedusting, that is, remove the sanded particles of coating with a microfiber cloth. For best results, apply a second coat of primer, dry, sand and dust again.

4. Paint

Finally, let’s move on to painting. You can use a brush, paint roller, spray paint. Try to put the paint evenly, without drips. It is better to put a thinner layer and then add more than the other way around. Depending on how you want to get the result, you may need to put 1-3 layers of paint. Be sure to dry each coat well. After each coat has dried, you can sand the surface with a fine sandpaper and dust it: this gives a more even, homogeneous finish.

5. Finish Coating

Apply the topcoat after the paint has dried. You can use a matte or high gloss lacquer of your choice. The lacquer is usually applied with a brush or a soft cloth or foam pad. You can also use varnish in a spray. Usually 1-2 coats of varnish is enough. Allow the coating to dry well between coats.

If you are using wax, rub it vigorously with a soft cloth into the surface. Then go over the surface with a clean cloth to remove any excess.

Ideally, after applying the finish coat, the object should not be used for 2-3 days to be less likely to damage the coating.

Furniture Painting

Painting furniture with your own hands: 5 main rules for a great result

1. Do not skip the sanding stage

There are quite a few master classes and guides, assuring that this step is optional, there are paints, labels which say that when working with them to sand the surface is not necessary, but the practice-professionals unanimously assert: for good results – necessarily sand! If you are repainting a large object or furniture that needs to remove old varnish or paint, you may need a sander. But, if you are patient and have enough gloves and a protective mask (so as not to breathe the dust), you can also sand the wood properly with an ordinary sandpaper, by hand. For objects of complex and rounded shape this method is even more preferable. First, remove the old coating and smooth out the irregularities with a coarse sandpaper (take care not to overdo it by removing too much, especially for chipboard furniture). Then – go over the entire surface with a fine sandpaper.

2. Dust properly

If the dust from the sandpaper stays on the wood, the paint will lay unevenly, and later may well start to come off in pieces. An aged or craquelure effect is better to achieve with special techniques. When you want a good, even finish, after sanding, wipe the surface properly with a soft, lint-free cloth (lint can “litter” the finish).

3. Primer 

Be sure to prime the surface before you paint. Primer not only helps the paint adhere better to the surface, making the finish stronger and more durable. It impregnates the wood, protecting it from destructive external influences (moisture, sun) and fills in small cracks and irregularities. Prim wood by following the instructions on the package of your chosen product. General advice: Try to prime even the hard-to-reach areas with primer (use a brush for this) and let the primer dry well.

4. Better a few thin coats than one thick coat.

To get a good-looking and long-lasting finish, don’t try to cover the entire surface with a thick coat of paint at one time. It’s not likely to be perfectly flat, and you’re more likely to get runners that will negate any effort to prepare the surface beforehand. It is better to put a thin layer of paint, let it dry properly, then estimate the result. At this stage, by the way, it is easy to get rid of minor flaws – those same runs or flecks stuck to the paint (sand these places on the dried paint with sandpaper). If, in your opinion, the coverage is not dense enough, add a second coat. After it dries, check the result again, and so on. However, too many thin layers of paint may also not look very nice – usually three is enough.

5. Use a finishing coat

When choosing a paint, ask for advice about the type of finish that will go best with it (this is also worth doing when buying a primer, by the way). When the painted object is perfectly dry, give it a protective finish coat, and you’ll enjoy your work much longer.