How to Paint Furniture the Correct Way

I have been painting my own furniture for years now.  And though I am all for just painting a piece without any prep work, I have come to learn that that strategy is immediately gratifying but will not withstand the test of time or wear. 

I picked up some new pieces of furniture that I wanted to be able to handle heavy wear.  So I researched all over the internet the best way to do that.  I used three separate sources that worked for what I wanted my finished product to be as well as what was available to me at the hardware store.  I used a combination of three reliable sources:

Altar'd Furniture Painting Ebook {A wonderful Ebook on painting furniture in general.  Highly recommend it.}

Here are the before pieces.  Both were found at Goodwill for about $30-40 each.  I found them the same day and at least five other women came by to look at them as I waited for my mom to come buy with her van to help me load.  Five minutes later to the Goodwill and they may have not been mine.  It was a lucky day. 

 The top and bottom of the hutch:

First I sanded with this little guy from Harbor Freight using 80 grit sandpaper.  You only have to sand it enough where you get the shine off.

Then I primed using Zinsser Cover Stain.  I rolled on the paint for the smooth edges and used the spray can kind for inside smaller crevices.  Using a combination of both really saved some time and sanity.  If you were working outside or in a garage, just the spray can would probably be great.  But I am a crazy lady and cannot lift heavy furniture down a back porch.  And even though I left fans running and windows open, when it is nearly 100 degrees outside, there is no winning.  I am too impatient to have to wait for my husband to get home from work to help me move things.  So I stopped breathing for a couple of days.

See how I rolled...the parts uncovered were sprayed with the can.  And I even laid out some old sheets to protect the carpet.  Painting revelations people.

I also found this awesome mirror during my Goodwill trip.  That's why we needed two cars.  My poor neighbor saw my mom and I trying to bring this all in the house and offered to help out.  I am sure my neighbors think I am crazy.  Cute house.  But crazy.

Once primed, I sanded until all flat surfaces were smooth to the touch.

I then painted all the pieces in Behr Ultra Pure White paint with primer.  I now buy all my paint with primer...and no longer at Walmart.  I will take any extra help I can get from my paint.

After two coats of paint I finished everything off with Deft Clear Wood Finish.  It is important to finish off white painted furniture with something that will not yellow.  There were a few places where it was a bit goopy and it did turn yellow.  So make sure to use thin coats.

And ten million years later {that's about how long it seemed}...but really it was about a week later...I had these beauties:

The inside of the hutch was painted with Valspar Distant Valley.  It is less minty in person.

And that is how you paint furniture the correct way.  I spent many hours trying to figure out what was best for getting my furniture to withstand the long haul and it was well worth it.  There is a definite difference in how much more quality these pieces appear compared to previous furniture that I simply painted.  From now on I will do things correctly.  Pinky promise.

And I sold my old hutch on Craigslist for $100.  I originally bought it for $20 and selling it paid for my two new pieces.  Win win.  I was a little sad to see it go but I have decided to go with a more neutral theme and plus I like the bones of this new hutch so much more.  Full dining room updates soon!


  1. You are one smart and savvy lady!! I love these pieces.. I can never find anything this good at my Goodwill.. I'll have to try yard sales. Thanks for the step by step. I'm really impatient when it comes to painting and usually make a mess.I love how simple..(not easy) you made this happen..step by step and your pieces look fantastic!!!

  2. I found your blog over from Christina's blog (mommyundone). :) I love the way they turned out! That was an awesome deal too! I love the outcome of what paint does, but tend to loathe the process. You help to make it seem less daunting! Great job! :)

  3. I love this! Great tutorial! I painted a couple of nightstands I got for free and found it really labor intensive but they look beautiful now! Using the spray and the roll-on primer is genius, now I'm inspired to paint that ugly little side table in my kitchen that I've been staring at for 6 months! Thanks!

  4. I love to read about your projects and everything is so pretty! Love how paint can transform ugly furniture into something so fresh and stylish!

  5. It looks beautiful, Ashley!!! I love the bright white, and especially the mint-colored back to the hutch. And the fact that your old hutch paid for both the new pieces. Score!

  6. Wow!! Everything is so pretty and white! I use all the same paints as you did when I redo furniture :) The gold mirror above the buffet is stunning, too!

  7. Ashley this is incredible!!! You did such an amazing job and I love that you shared this because I'm definitely pinning this for when I have a place of my own. Thank you!!


  8. I love them both. And since I already asked you about painting furniture indoors I am so Pining this!

  9. Both pieces look great! It's definitely hard to be patient and do things the right way. Truthfully sometimes it doesn't matter IMHO but with big items like these, I'm sure it will pay off to do it correctly.

  10. Ashley, they're GORGEOUS!!! I'm insanely jealous of that hutch too. I want a big one like that but haven't been able to find one for a reasonable price. Love it!!!

  11. I so love the minty color! They look great! what goodwill are you stalking? The one in roseville is great, but sometimes they dont have good furniture... I need to take a trip to yours! Perfect job!

  12. wow!! great remodeling Ashley. this white color is looking awsome!

    contract furniture


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