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Painting wooden furniture - how to do it right?

Painting wooden furniture is a great way to refresh its appearance, give it a new character or adapt to changing trends. It is worth saying at the outset that you do not have to be a professional carpenter to change the color of your furniture and enjoy the final effect. All you need is a little time, patience and the right tools, but you will have a lot of satisfaction! Therefore, below we will tell you how to paint wooden furniture step by step and what paints to choose for this purpose.

Painting wooden furniture - how to do it right?

What is painting wooden furniture?

Painting wooden furniture involves applying a layer of paint to its surface to change its color and finish. You can paint both new and old furniture that you want to renovate or protect against damage. Painting wooden furniture, contrary to appearances, is not difficult, but it requires proper preparation of the surface, good selection of paint and tools, and careful execution of the work, which is why we should prepare properly before we start working.

Painting wooden furniture - how to do it right?

Is painting furniture a good idea?

Painting furniture yourself is a very good idea, especially if you want to change the color of your old furniture and give it a new style, refresh it and thus extend its life, as well as save money on purchasing new furniture. Moreover, by doing this work ourselves, we can express our creativity and create a unique interior that will be fully adapted to our needs and expectations. When is it best not to start this work? Unfortunately, painting, refreshing or whitewashing furniture is not for everyone. Therefore, we should not undertake this task if:

  • The furniture is made of precious or exotic wood that has a beautiful pattern and natural color,
  • they are antique or have high sentimental value,
  • the wood surface is covered with varnish or wax that is difficult to remove,
  • we do not have appropriate conditions for painting (e.g. lack of space, ventilation, lighting).

How to paint wooden furniture?

As we have already mentioned, painting wooden furniture is not a difficult task, but it is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Therefore, in order to properly start this task, it is worth following a few key steps.

Step 1. Let's prepare the place for painting. For this purpose, choose a spacious and well-lit room, preferably with access to fresh air. Let's protect the floor and walls with painting foil or newspapers. Then let's move the furniture to the painting area or move it at least away from the walls.

Step 2. Next, prepare the substrate, which will make it easier when painting wooden furniture. To do this, clean the furniture from dust and dirt using a damp cloth or a vacuum cleaner. Let's remove all metal elements, such as handles, hinges and fittings. If the furniture is varnished or waxed, sand its surface with fine-grained sandpaper or use a special preparation to remove old paint (do not do this if you have raw wood). Then it is enough to slightly matt their surface with medium-grain sandpaper.

Step 3. The next step is to apply a paint primer. Paint primer is a special paint that improves the adhesion of the surface layer and evens the absorbency of the substrate. The primer also prevents wood dyes from seeping through the surface layer and protects the wood against moisture and fungi. Let's choose a primer appropriate to the type of surface paint and type of wood. This will allow you to repaint the furniture in the most professional way possible.

Step 4. If we have completed step three, we can start applying the topcoat. It is a paint that gives furniture color and finish. Therefore, it should be appropriately selected to the type of wood and the effect we ultimately want to achieve. We have many types of paints to choose from, such as acrylic paints, latex paints, oil paints, emulsion paints, chalk paints and stain varnishes. Each of these paints is applied with a brush, roller or spray gun, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, you will need two or even three coats of paint to achieve an even and long-lasting color. However, remember to maintain appropriate time intervals between layers and to dry each layer before applying the next one.

Step 5. Time to apply a protective layer. The protective layer is usually a special varnish or wax that protects the paint against abrasion, scratches, stains and fading. The protective layer also gives the furniture a glossy or matte finish, depending on the selected product.

Step 6. Installation of metal elements. After all layers of paint and varnish or wax have dried, we can finally reattach metal elements to the furniture, such as handles, hinges, and fittings.

What tools will be necessary to paint wooden furniture?

To paint wooden furniture we will need the following tools:
  • a painting brush - it is, of course, used to apply primer and paint to smaller and harder-to-reach furniture surfaces. Without it, furniture renovation will not be possible.
  • Paint roller – this is an alternative to a brush for applying primer and paint. It is usually used for larger and smooth furniture surfaces. Another solution is a spray gun, which allows for even faster and even work.
  • Sandpaper - used for sanding furniture surfaces before and after painting.
  • Spatula - used to remove old paint (until we see a living wood structure) or fill gaps in the wood.
  • Painting foil or newspapers - thanks to them we can protect floors and walls from getting dirty with paint.
  • Painting tape - used to mask furniture elements that we do not want to paint.
  • Screwdriver - thanks to it we are able to dismantle and then reinstall metal furniture elements.

Acrylic paints or other types of paints for painting wooden furniture?

The choice of paint for painting wooden furniture depends on several factors, such as the type of wood, the final effect, cost and durability. There are many types of paints available on the market, which differ in composition, properties and method of application. Below we present the most popular paints that give the best results:
  • Acrylic paints – These are water-based paints that are easy to use, dry quickly and have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Acrylic paint is resistant to moisture, stains and scratches, and has a wide range of colors and sheens. Suitable for painting both solid wood, chipboard and MDF. Acrylic paints can be applied with a brush, roller or spray gun. The disadvantage of this type of paint is that it can be more expensive than other paints and requires the use of primer and varnish to achieve the best effect.
  • Oil paints – they are solvent-based. They are durable, resistant to mechanical damage and cover all layers of the product we are painting well. They are suitable for painting hard and exotic woods that have a high resin or tannin content. These paints provide deep color and high gloss, as well as creating a thick protective layer on the furniture. Their disadvantage is that they are difficult to use, dry slowly and have a high VOC level. They require the use of a solvent to clean tools and clothes.
  • Emulsion paints - these are water-based paints that are cheap, easy to use and have a low VOC level. Emulsion paints are suitable for painting soft and porous wood, such as pine or ash. Emulsion paints have a matte or semi-matt appearance and form a thin layer on furniture. They can be applied with a brush or roller. Unfortunately, they are also less resistant to moisture, stains and scratches than other paints, and therefore may require several layers to achieve full coverage.
  • Chalk paints - these are water-based paints that are currently very fashionable, easy to use and have a low VOC level. Chalk paint is suitable for painting solid wood, chipboards and MDF. Like emulsion paint, it has a very matte appearance and also creates a layer with a velvety touch on the furniture. Unfortunately, it is an expensive paint, and with one layer, the furniture painted with chalk paint will be poorly covered with paint and will then require the use of wax or varnish.

Painting wooden furniture - how to do it right?