How to Paint Furniture, with a Flawless Finish!

When I started my upholstery business I also offered a furniture painting service. After time I realised I wanted to concentrate all my energy on upholstery. Plus it’s so easy to do I always encourage my clients to try it themselves. After trial and error and a few choice words here and there, I’ve compiled tips for painting furniture with a flawless finish!

Before you start have all your tools and materials ready. I know this sounds obvious but too often I’ve forgotten something and had to go searching!

Dismantle: Remove all the hardware (handles, hinges etc.) and pull out any drawers.

Clean: Clean your furniture with sugar soap. It only costs about €4 and is available form any hardware store. It’ll remove all dirt and grease.

Fix: Have a look for anything that needs to be repaired. Fix loose joints with wood glue and repair cracks with some wood filler.

Sand: Use a fine sandpaper, about 100 grade. It might seem like using a coarser sandpaper will get the job done quicker but it won’t give the best finish. A lot of people tend to skip this step. I feel it’s essential. Even if the paint you have chosen states no sanding. Sand! Sanding your furniture will remove heavy staining/ varnish and give your paint something to adhere to.

Clean (Again): Give your furniture a quick wipe down, with a dry rag. This will remove any dust left from sanding.

Prime: In my opinion this is a really important step, that is often overlooked. Even with paints that say they don’t require priming, I still do! (Rebel) 😉 It means you won’t get any nasty bleed-through later on.

Paint: Apply the paint in even coats. Make sure the coats aren’t too thick. Don’t be tempted to apply your next coat until the paint is fully dry. It will drag the paint and give a patchy finish. If your using chalk paint and want a smooth finish, sand in between coats with a very fine grade paper. If you want a shabby chic look ignore this stage of sanding and paint to your hearts content.

Wax/Varnish: This step is only needed if you’re using chalk paint. Most brands of chalk paint will have a complimentary wax or varnish. Wax is perfect for occasional pieces of furniture. For furniture that will take more wear and tear opt for a water-based varnish.

Assemble: When the paint is fully dry and not tacky to touch, it’s time to assemble your piece back together.

Admire: Sit back and admire all your hard work and creative endeavours 🙂


Invest in some decent brushes and rollers. They might appear pricey but you’ll be glad you bought them! Spending a few extra Euro means you won’t have stray hairs from your brushes stuck in the paint or bubbles from the roller.

Happy painting 🙂



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