5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Painting Furniture 

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Painting Furniture

This week I’ve been trying to persuade others to take the plunge and paint furniture, I love that people tell me the pieces I’ve done are great, but seriously guys, it’s pretty easy! It’s hard work but not much technical work goes into most furniture makeovers.

With that being said, there are still a few things I wish I knew when I started, and I thought I’d share them here for you lovely people in the hopes that it can inspire you to crack on and have a go

1. Primer

As with most things in life, taking time to prepare properly can save you time, money and in some cases, sanity.  There’s great appeal in the new Chalk Paint movement sweeping the universe, advertised as “Prep Free” I would have to agree that it is an awesome invention by Anne Sloane, however, the amount of prep or lack thereof still has its variables depending on the piece being painted.  For example: this TV console I painted for a friend (pictured below) was fine with a quick wash down and then straight onto the painting process. 


Whereas this desk gave me all sorts of problems with stain bleed and required priming before painting, a fact I didn’t realize until after two coats of paint, you can read all about my frustration here.


2. Sanding

There’s not much I can say about sanding except be careful! If you’re sanding a veneer be careful to not sand too hard or you risk sanding through the veneer and exposing the glue, this is bad, see my dining table redo here. Also, if you are sanding wood to be stained, always try to keep with the grain of the wood to minimize scratches showing when you apply the stain, sanding in sweeping circles is not a good idea!

Dining Table Makeover

On the subject of sanding, I don’t usually sand in between coats of paint unless I’m aiming for a super smooth finish or I need to sand out drip marks, however, I ALWAYS sand between coats of Poly with extra fine grit sandpaper to reduce brush marks and tiny bubbles in the varnish.

3. Paint/Stain Stripper

I never thought I’d say this but I now strip like a pro on a regular basis! 😉  I discovered Citristrip this year and it’s been amazing, you put it on, go do something else for a few hours, come back and scrape off the gooey, gunky mess, wash the piece down to remove any stubborn spots and you’re good to go.  This works especially well on flat surfaces such as table tops, I don’t like to use it on more detailed furniture or chairs as it can be a pain to scrape off properly but for tables it’s my new best friend 😊

Desk Makeover

4. Finish

I can honestly say that I don’t have a favorite when it comes to the different finishing products available, it would depend on the type of paint used and the amount of usage the furniture piece is going to get, for example, the dining table above is finished with high gloss Spar Urethane varnish which is splash proof, perfect for a family with small children, whereas my desk at home has a coat of clear wax on the painted bottom half and the top is left with just bare stain as I love the soft feel of the nicely sanded natural wood.  My end table is also finished with a combination of clear wax on the bottom and Polycrylic on the top to help protect the areas that will get most use.  I like how clear wax dries to a matt finish, and also gives you the option to buff it when it’s dry to get some shine.

This is all things that I’ve picked up as I’ve gone along, one of the first things I painted, my thrift store hutch, I gave one coat of poly…..not enough as I later found out.  It now has marks from the items that have been sat on the painted areas and will need to be touched up before long.  I would say overall that if you’re painting a piece that will ‘work hard’ such as a table or dresser, definitely choose a hard-wearing finish such as poly.


5. Clean Up

Just a quick final word about clean up.  So, I am lazy, to the point where if I use an oil based product I’m more likely to throw away the brush than mess about with cleaning it, seriously!  Saying that, chalk paint is a breeze to clean up, for staining wood I use old rags, most polycrylic seems to wash right out of brushes with soap and water, the only brush I meticulously clean is my wax brush, I bought this one from amazon and its awesome, it was also way more expensive than my regular brushes 😉 again, clear wax washes right off with soap and water.

That about rounds up my little list of tips that I wanted to pass on to you all, hope you found at least one thing helpful, let me know in the comments below, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.


One Thought to “5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Painting Furniture ”

  1. […]  Now this has happened to me before so I really should’ve known better (check out my post on 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Painting Furniture).  I also know (from experience) that even applying an additional coat of chalk paint at this […]

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