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We’ve seen a spike in the number of online readers searching for tips on how to paint furniture. It’s a quick, inexpensive way to give old pieces a dramatic new look, which can transform an entire room.

Designer Tyler Wisler says, “Painting is always the easiest and quickest way to give any outdated piece of furniture an instant makeover, but the key to all of it, regardless of the color choice, is to prep. Prep, prep, prep those pieces correctly! Just grabbing a can of paint and having at it will inevitably end in cracked and peeling paint in no time. A good once over with a fine grit sandpaper, then a thorough wipe down with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust particles, is the simplest way to get the paint to stick to the piece and will last so much longer!”

How to Paint Furniture


If you want to give it a try, follow these “8 Simple Steps on How to Paint Furniture.”

After you’ve done the prep work, get creative!

The October/November 2012 issue of HGTV Magazine featured DIY projects using inexpensive mini sample jars of paint.

How to Paint Furniture with Sample Jars of Paint, from the Experts at HGTV Magazine

If you’re going for a vintage look, check out our step-by-step guide on “How to Distress Furniture.”

How to Distress Furniture

Tell us what DIY projects you want to try this month…or just keep clicking.

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23 Responses

  1. [...] on HGTV.com: How to Paint Furniture HGTV Design Happens Sat, January 5, 2013 11:00 AM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate Share (function(){var [...]

  2. Jan Kaplan-CCS says:

    I love the idea . . . any information on how to paint an inexpensive dining room table? Would like to go from brown wood to white . . .

    • steve horan says:

      prime with white sandable pimer, sand, prime again, sand, then paint with high gloss cabinet latex or an oil base. Sanding sponge works great.

  3. Coastalfarm says:

    Re: Jan Kaplan
    Use a deglosser product instead of sanding. It makes your surface ready for paint, then use flat paint in the color of you're choice. Finish with paste wax our poly.

  4. Moira says:

    Has anyone ever tried painting an IKEA Expedit before? Mine's black, and I'd like to go for a lighter color, but it seems a little intimidating…

  5. Sue says:

    Good grief! Sand? Prime? Haven't you heard of Annie Sloan Chalk paint? Expedit black could be painted in two coats with no prep. This is life changing paint because you can finish a project soooo quickly.It takes 20 minutes to dry and you can distress with a damp rag.

  6. Karen Smith says:

    I recently painted my old dresser that I had when I was a teenager, to give you a hint, I am 49. What would make me want to paint a solid oak wood vintage dresser? One I was wanted to bring life back in to the dresser other than sanding and staining, but was afriad to go bold until I had a problem. I had let my daughter who is 20 now used it upstairs where she had the tv on. She had spelt a tea on and left it there. Which made the top part crack. So I decided to put wood putty in between the busted crack and sanded, then I went with a seafoam green and took the solid silver handles and sprayed painted them black. To my surprise I love it! So glad for that crack now I might have never gone bold. Karen Smith

  7. Kathryn Cain says:

    Amen on the sand and prep and nope, Annie Sloan chalk paint to the rescue….it will cover anything…I had got a shelve at Lowes and I wanted it to match the aged look of a mirror…this was a dark ebony look…I painted first ASCP old white, then dry brushed linen…then I used ASCP dark wax. I used a old brush and brushed on the dark wax…came out matching the weathered look of the mirror who knew contemporary ebony

  8. Joyce says:

    I want to paint my bedroom furniture black. It's currently an orange-color (overlay) wood-look. It's in excellent condition, is a beautiful style, but needs an updated look/color. My husband is dreading the project, but I know it will be worth the work and it's better than buying new furniture. Is purchasing a sprayer the way to go, or will cans of spray paint be just as effective? Is a satin finish appropriate? The style is updated cottage with a nice finish (not old and rustic). Suggestions?

  9. Judy says:

    With spray can paint it is hard to get an even finish, especially on a large piece of furniture, it is best saved for smaller pieces or pieces where there is a great deal of detail. I would go with a sprayer or old fashioned paint brush.

  10. Denise says:

    I want to paint my bedroom furniture white. The style is country French, and the wood is a dark brown fruitwood. The pieces are detailed with a lot of grooves. What should I do? What should I use for prep and for paint? Also, the furniture is a bit beat up with scratches from several moves and age. It is thirty-seven years old.

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Sarah HerronSarah is the HGTV.com Programming Coordinator. For Design Happens, she tracks online trends and shares treasured family recipes. Sarah is also HGTV’s in-house Pinterest guru. When she’s not pinning like...

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