How To Paint Furniture

One of the most rewarding and cost-effective household creative projects is repurposing an old piece or dismissed piece of furniture with a fresh coat of Ben Moore paint.

Painted furniture can freshen up the look of any space—and you can easily change the color to coordinate with a room’s color scheme. Good candidates for painting are dressers, tables, bookcases, mirror frames, and non-upholstered chairs. They can be right in your house, or stored away, or even that which is being discarded at the curb!

Choosing the Paint Colors for Your Furniture

Enjoy the creative part of painting your own furniture by selecting just the right hue to harmonize with the color scheme of the room in which the piece will reside. Do keep in mind that darker colors will appear larger and can overwhelm a small room.

Brighter colors and colors that contrast sharply with the walls and other furnishings will draw attention to a piece and make it the focus of the room, while lighter colors will help a piece blend in.

Preparing Surfaces for Painting

Preparing your furniture for painting is simple. Just follow these steps:

Rough Sanding: Start with a medium-grit sandpaper to remove and dirt and residues from polishing or waxing compounds, which can interfere with both a primer and the paint itself.

Repairing: Next, attend to cracks and joints that have expanded, and nail holes with a good wood-patching compound. We have the best on our Red Star shelves. After the compound has thoroughly dried, sand it down to make it even with the surrounding wood.

Fine Sanding: Using fine-grit sandpaper, emery cloth, or sanding block, lightly smooth the surface so that there are no drop-offs, or ledges, between sections of remaining finish and bare wood. Then wipe the entire surface with a damp, clean cloth to remove any remaining traces of dust and particles.

Priming: Unless you are repainting a previously painted piece, you should prime the surface, particularly when bare wood has been exposed. In some cases, spot priming will do. Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start primers are an excellent choice.

Choosing the Right Paint

High-quality latex paints are easy to apply, easy to clean up after, and create a smooth finish. When painted with care, they generally require no more than one coat. The type of finish will depend on whether your painted furniture will have a purely decorative function or a practical use. If the piece will be touched often, choose a protective gloss or semi-gloss finish that can be easily wiped clean. Our Regal® Select latex paint is ideal for these projects.

How to Paint Your Furniture

The actual painting is the simplest and easiest step in the process.

First, paint the larger, flat surfaces. Start near a corner, but not on the very edge, and work outward, brushing with the grain. Be sure to not overload your brush with paint. If you want a thicker coat, let the first coat dry before repainting rather than using too much paint the first time. Continue by painting the edges and trim. If there is too much paint on the brush when you brush up to or over an edge, some of the paint might run over, so be especially careful and wipe any drips or overflow immediately with a clean, damp cloth. Finally, all that’s left to do is let it dry and enjoy the beautiful results!


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