{How to Paint Old Furniture}

Monday, September 20, 2010
Recently I decided to "repurpose" some old furniture. Just to give it a little face lift, and to save ourselves some money. The first on the list was our "kitchen table." I say it like that because it's really a desk, that just fits into the space we have left in our kitchen. It was a light wood color, that I really just didn't like. In fact, I really don't like light colored wood at all.

Here is a picture of the before table.

It's a sturdy piece, so I thought it would be great to repurpose and paint white to go with our colors. Here is how I paint old furniture. There are a few steps, but they are all really important, so I don't skip any of them ... ever! But I am not a "pro" so if you don't agree with me, that's fine. I learn as I go anyways!

Step 1 - Clean
If the piece of furniture is old or dirty, you really should clean it. Just soap and water is fine, but it's an important first step. I use the Ivory brand, because there are no harsh chemicals, and it's really easy to use. "I used to use this at the fitness club I worked out for the machines, and so that's why I use it."

Step 2 - Sand
I am lucky enough to have a husband that bought me a sander for Mother's day. So it doesn't take me long at all to sand, BUT, if you don't', you'll need to go to Lowes or wherever and pick up some sanding sponges. They do wonders, and are not very expensive. The higher the number the softer the wood ... does that make sense? I usually use 150.

Step 3 - Prime
I always use Bulls Eye 1,2,3 Primer. It just works the best and coats the most. I will do at least 3 coats of primer, letting each one dry completely. Sometimes, this means overnight. I just REALLY want it to be perfect, and I have found if you skimp here, then if your paint should chip at all ... you'll see the natural wood.

Step 4 - Paint
I love using flat latex paints. But that is because it will not leave air bubbles, it's easy to sand and I always use poly. I just think the flat paint sticks better, and looks better on the piece anyways. I usually always use Valspar from Lowes.

** When painting and priming, I use foam rollers. They will not leave brush marks or bubbles. BUT, after each time you paint/prime, you must sand. Use 220 sand sponges. This will leave the cleanest finish. You'll have to wait till the paint is completely drive, but when it is, just make sure you sand enough that all the imperfections are gone. I will usually put 3 coats of paint on each piece.

Step 5 - Poly
Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish is what works the best for me. I have only tried one other brand (a store brand) and it left my white piece looking yellow. SO, in order to save you ... just use this kind. I always sand in between coats of poly too, but not the last one. You'll leave that last so that it's shiny and smooth.

Like I said, I'm not a pro. These painting steps have worked the best for me and produced the best results. Let me know if you follow these steps for any of your furniture ... I would love to see pictures!

Here is my new "Kitchen Table"



Veronika said...

Turned out great!
I am not a fan of light colored wood either... I am a cherry wood girl! (:

JennyLee said...

Your table turned out perfectly! Thanks for the tips. I have a dresser I need to tackle.

Brandon Stevan said...

For furniture it's best to use a satin or semigloss finish in either a latex or an oil-based paint. Never leave primer unpainted. If you choose a latex paint, a latex primer is an excellent choice for most uses. It goes on easily and blocks most stains, but it doesn't have the odor of an oil-based primer. I have also painted my Office Furniture in Melbourne due to Christmas.

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