How to Prep Furniture for Paint

I love the look of painted furniture and I love how quickly a dated, yucky piece can transform with just one coat of paint. Instant gratification! Because who doesn't love instant gratification!? What I don't love is the prep work involved in getting a durable, professionally painted piece of furniture. It is so tempting to skip the gross part, am I right?!

The Vintage & Varnish Blog | Painted Furniture | Chalk Painted Buffet | Country Chic Soiree | Refurbished Furniture | Furniture Prep | How to DIY Tutorial

The Vintage & Varnish Blog | Painted Furniture | Chalk Painted Buffet | Country Chic Soiree | Refurbished Furniture | Furniture Prep | How to DIY Tutorial
Custom Painted Buffet - Country Chic Paint's "Soiree"

Everybody knows that scrubbing and sanding are no fun and that's why there are so many companies out there that market the claim of "no prep" paint products. Can you use their products without prepping your furniture? Sure! Will they hold up long term and look great for years to come? Sometimes! But for the most part, no they won't. If you're investing the time and money to update your furniture , do you want to risk the paint chipping or wearing just months down the road? And what about if you're reselling your furniture? You'll definitely build a better reputation turning out high quality, long lasting finishes. So how do you prep a piece of furniture for painting? Here's everything you need to know:

How To Prep Your Furniture for Paint

Step 1 - Remove the Hardware


Remove all the knobs, pulls and other hardware such as hinges. If your piece has an attached mirror, remove it. Painting chairs? Remove the upholstered seat. It takes a little extra time to remove all these tids and bits but it's faster and easier to achieve a clean, smooth finish if you're not trying to maneuver around them. If you plan on reusing your hardware take the time to give it a good scrub with hot, soapy water to remove any built up grime.

Spoiler Alert!! I'm definitely going to tell you, you have to sand your furniture!! But first off, I'm going to tell you to clean your furniture. Sounds counter productive, doesn't it?

There are two reasons I ALWAYS clean, then sand and then clean again! First of all, there are a lot of unknowns when you are painting secondhand furniture. Years of oils from hands touching the finish, or grease in the air from cooking or even countless sprays of Pledge can leave a built-up layer of grime that you just can't see. The last thing you want to do is sand your dirty furniture, forcing oils down into the wood substrate allowing them to work their way back to the surface later on, potentially causing adhesion issues. Secondly, when I take the time to clean every inch of my furniture, inside and out, it gives me the opportunity to really check it over for damage, stains, peeling veneer and so on. There really is nothing more annoying then finding a loose piece of veneer when you've already loaded your brush with paint and are dying to get it on your piece. Because instant gratification... remember?! So how should you clean your furniture?