Easy Tips for Painting Furniture and my latest furniture flip
My parents are getting ready for an office makeover of their own and my mom offered me my grandmother's sewing cabinet. At first glance I wasn't sold, but remember how I felt about that antique wood bench I flipped??? I had a hunch this cabinet would look gorgeous with a coat of flat black paint - and the worst case scenario was that if I didn't like it, I could gift it to someone else!
But this little makeover turned out so beautifully that my mom joked that she wants her cabinet back! Sorry, Mom!
While showing off this beauty is a blog post in and of itself, I want to share my easy tips for how to paint a piece of wood furniture that you don't want to strip (meaning remove the finish and stain).
Take note - make sure your furniture is actual wood and not covered in veneer. If you're dealing with veneer, never fear! There's just one extra easy step that can't be missed for a flawless finish!
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First and Foremost - Clean
Your project is not going to be successful if you don't start with clean surfaces. Warm water and mild dish detergent like Dawn are an easy option. I like to use Krud Kutter, which is a degreaser and easily removes everything without harming the wood. Also, remove all hardware to make painting much easier!
You don't need any special tools - just sand paper with a low number grit and your hands. This will rough up the surface enough to allow the primer and paint to hold on and will prevent scratches or chipping down the road. Once you're done sanding, wipe all surfaces down with a damp cloth to collect all the dust.
If you are working with a piece of furniture covered in veneer like this hall tree I refinished, you are going to want a good quality primer. I asked the associate at Home Depot what they recommended (that's always the best thing to do!) They recommended PPG Gripper primer. This can be applied with a paint sprayer, by brush or by roller - painter's choice! Make sure to follow the drying/curing instructions on the primer container!!!
antique hall tree covered in veneer
primed with PPG gripper
painted flat black
If you're working with real wood, there's no need to prime separately as long as your paint has a primer in it! Major time saver! I love to use Behr Marquee in a matte finish on wood furniture. Below, you can see a few examples of the pieces I have painted! Again, make sure to follow the instructions on the paint for drying and curing. Just because paint feels dry to the touch doesn't mean it has cured fully!
$20 Facebook marketplace bench
painted with Behr Marquee matte finish with a brush
painted with Behr Marquee and a roller
antique armoire also covered in veneer and primed with PPG Gripper
paint sprayer for the outside, paint brush for the inside
Yes, I used canned spray paint on this sewing cabinet! I followed all of the steps above and used my favorite - Rust-oleum Painter's Touch in flat black. If you have a smaller piece like this cabinet and want a basic color like black or white, spray paint may be the way to go. I love the convenience of it! A large piece like the dresser I will be repainting for my office is not something I'd want to spray paint because I'd be spending WAY more money than simply buying a quart of Behr Marquee.
If you've got yourself a vintage or antique piece of furniture, it is definitely worth considering cleaning the original hardware versus buying new. Of course this depends on your style and the condition of the hardware! I thought for SURE I would be replacing all of the hardware on this sewing cabinet...until I cleaned it! Hello gorgeous gold patina!!!
If you're noticing that the larger cabinet handles look a little different in the "after" pictures, it's because I broke off the heart-shaped top parts. The metal was thin between the top and bottom and easily bent until it snapped in half. I used a metal file to smooth any rough edges. I think it tremendously elevated the piece! In theory, it could have ruined the pulls, but I thought it was worth the risk. If you are happy with the clean original hardware, that is a major money saver!!!
Here's how to clean it. Run your hardware under warm water and lay on a towel or work surface. Sprinkle hardware with Bar Keepers Friend (which also comes in a liquid form now) and use a toothbrush or rag to buff and clean the metal. Every few minutes, rinse off the BKF and dirt, and repeat the process until the metal is shiny. Rinse well when you're finished and dry thoroughly.
I'm not going to be using this sewing cabinet to actually sew (that's what my new work table is for!!!) But it has such great storage for all of my sewing materials! And it looks pretty gorgeous in front of this window as a plant stand! Talk about the perfect accent for my vintage boho glam office!
My new desk/work table is the next reveal coming up and you are not going to want to miss that transformation! Make sure to subscribe at the bottom of the page to receive email updates when new posts are published! And follow along on Instagram for more peeks at the home office transformation!