How to successfully paint furniture

There is a big difference between furniture that has been professionally painted and a piece that has had a thick coat of unsuitable paint glooped onto it.

How to successfully paint furniture

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There’s even more of a difference after six months, when properly painted furniture will still be looking great and badly done pieces will be patchy, chipped and flaking.

Follow this guide to get a great professional look when you paint furniture.

Don’t paint round handles

To get a really good finish on painted furniture, you need to take off any handles or knobs on the furniture before you start. Use a medium sandpaper to sand the piece fairly lightly. You are only getting a surface for the paint to grip onto, not seeking to remove a layer. When you have finished sanding, wipe down with a moist cloth and wait for the furniture to dry

Use a primer

You can use a specialist wood primer if it’s bare wood or a multi-surface primer if the piece was previously painted. Let the primer dry completely before continuing.
This time, choose a fine sandpaper and lightly sand down the primed coat. As before, wipe the surfaces down with a moist cloth to remove the sanding residue.

Select an appropriate paint

Be imaginative. Take a look at metallic and glitter finishes for detailing or for smaller pieces and decide whether you want a flat matte, satin, eggshell or gloss finish. This will depend to some extent on where the furniture is going to be placed. Glossier surfaces are easier to clean and may be more suitable for children’s bedrooms. Look at inspiring furniture sites for ideas.

A 3-inch brush will be suitable for most jobs, and a 1-inch brush is ideal for detailing. The better the quality of the brush, the fewer brushstrokes you will see and the less time you will spend picking hairs off the painted surface. Expect to apply up to three coats of paint to get an even finish.

After this, some experts recommend a final, very light sanding with very fine paper followed by the moist cloth treatment.


For a speedier job, you can use a combined paint and primer. Some of the new ranges available in DIY stores are also specifically designed for painting furniture.

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