Painting Furniture

June 12th, 2020

With a lick of paint and a bit of imagination, it's easy to fill your home with bespoke pieces tailored to your personal taste.

Whether it's a dated piece you're tired of or a vintage gem you've discovered when rummaging around in car boot sales and charity shops, a restoration makeover is sure to save you cash and you'll be left with something unique that feels personalised.


Priming depends on your surface and the paint you are using, so always check the instructions on the label before you start.

There are different primers designed specifically for wood, plastic, metal or ceramic surfaces. The job of the primer is to seal the surface, provide a good key for the paint and provide a uniform base to apply your paint to, all of which improve the durability and appearance of your paint finish.


Whether you’re priming or applying your paint direct it is always recommended to make sure the surface you are painting is completely clean, dry and free from any surface contaminants such as wax, furniture polish, dirt or dust etc. that will prevent the paint from achieving a good key.

Our recommendations are to wash the item thoroughly with a hot water/liquid detergent solution, rinse away any soap residues with clean warm water. Allow the surface to dry before a final wipe with mentholated spirit or white spirit.

It is generally a good idea to lightly abrade an existing paint or varnish to help the next coat to adhere and to make sure that the existing paint or varnish has a good key, ensuring loose or flaking paint or varnish is removed back to a firm feathered edge.


If you are painting wood, abrasion is important to allow the paint to grip to the surface. If the surface is free from contaminants, a light sand will do the trick. 

For heavy sanding and stripping, you’ll need to use a coarser sandpaper with a 40 to 60 grit. If you think there might be varnish or other contaminates which could react with the paint on your surface, then once you have finished sanding use white spirit and wire wool to ensure any residue has been removed.


To ensure one area of paint doesn’t bleed into the other or if you want to corner off those edges to ensure a polished finish, masking tape is essential.

Good preparation before painting will help ensure a longer lasting finish.

Applying a second coat of paint to furniture helps give an even finish.
Applying a second coat of paint to furniture helps give an even finish.


1.     Use a brush or roller to apply the desired paint to the furniture 

When you're painting, start at the top and work down making sure you smooth out paint drips as you work downwards. 

Chalk paints are a great way of overhauling the look of furniture, adding depth and character to the piece.

Gloss and Satin finishes are both suitable for painting furniture, a gloss finish can often be harder wearing.

2.     It’s always good to apply a second coat of paint to the furniture once the first has fully dried to give an even finish.

3.     It’s always worth considering sealing the final result with a varnish or lacquer to add an extra layer of protection and final flourish!

For top tips of the trade pop in to your local Brewers Decorator Centre who will be happy to suggest the ideal products for the job.


Most paints provide a tough durable finish in their own right that does not require any further protection from a wax or protective lacquer. Some paints, such as Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint require application of a wax or lacquer to protect and enhance the painted surface.

Furniture wax is easy to apply with a brush or rag and will give you a soft, velvety sheen, which is perfect if you’ve gone for the shabby chic look. The furniture lacquer is applied with a brush and provides a matt finish for projects that require more durability against knocks and stains.