Furniture Painting...Learn How To Breathe New Life Into Old Pieces!

November 2nd, 2023

Repainting second-hand or old furniture is a fantastic way to recycle and save money whilst also creating bespoke, one-off pieces that are completely unique to you. If you live in rented accommodation or you’re not ready to take on the walls, painting a piece of furniture can be a brilliant way to add a pop of colour or pattern to a space.


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.

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 methylated spirit or white spirit.


It is good practice to lightly abrade an existing paint or varnish to help the next coat to adhere by giving the surface a good key.  Ensure 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 coarse 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 methylated spirit and wire wool to ensure any residue has been removed.

Do you have to use a primer when painting furniture?

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.

Painting Top Tips:

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 any paint drips as you work downwards. To avoid paint drips, do not overload your brush or roller.

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

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

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.

Sealing the finished result:

Most paints provide a tough durable finish that do 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.

To find out the perfect finish for you, head into your local Brewers or get in touch with our Specialist Product Advisors!