Land of Rugs™

How to Paint Furniture - The Ultimate Guide

In this blog post, we'll teach you how to paint furniture using the right type of paint and the right techniques. We'll also show you how to achieve a beautiful finish that will last for years. So if you're looking to give your old furniture a fresh new look, read on!

What Paint Do I Need?

There are numerous different types of paints you can use and each paint will be made to give your furniture a different finish, so I’ll go over which paints to use and what finish you can get from them.

Types of Finish

  • Matte – This type of paint has little to no resin, so it won’t reflect as much light as other types of paint, leaving a matte appearance. Matte paint isn’t very durable and won’t be able to stand up to lots of touching and washing so it’s best to use on something that isn’t under heavy daily use.

  • Satin – This type of paint has a little bit of resin in it, about half the amount of gloss paint, meaning it will reflect a minimal amount of light. Satin also doesn’t blend into itself very well so if you paint unevenly or are touching up a spot, the difference will stand out so this isn’t the best option if you’re a new or messy painter.

  • Semigloss -Semigloss paint has a slightly glossy appearance that isn’t as reflective as gloss paint. Semigloss paint is also more durable than satin and matte paint so it’s okay to use in high-traffic areas and areas where they’ll be under heavy use.

  • Gloss – Gloss paints, believe it or not, are very glossy. They have a lot of resin giving them a highly reflective finish. It is also the most durable paint so it’s great for high-traffic areas. It is also easy to clean making it perfect for homes with kids and pets.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a popular option due to how accessible it is, you’ll be able to walk down your local high street and find it in a DIY shop.

The downside to this is that even though latex paint dries fast it takes a while to cure (reach maximum hardness) and retains a soft finish that can be prone to cracking. It’s best to use latex paint on furniture that isn’t being sat on or touched often.

Latex paint is available in numerous finishes, giving you lots of different choices for your furniture.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a water-based paint that is closely related to Latex paint. Acrylic paint offers a rich pigment with a smooth finish on your surface. Acrylic is a very versatile type of paint but it usually comes in small containers so it can be quite expensive if you’re doing a big project. The drying time for acrylic is fairly short so you can apply multiple layers in a relatively short period of time. Even though drying time is short, you will need to give it plenty of time to cure once you have finished your painting.

Acrylic paint has more resistance to chipping and cracking than other water-based paints due to its elasticity so it’s best suited for places with light to moderate use.

Oil Paint

Oil-based paints are one of the most durable paints on the market for furniture but their durability comes at a cost more than other types of paint. Another advantage of oil paints is that they can be applied over almost all surfaces and is self-levelling for an even application. But oil paints also take much longer to dry, sometimes up to 24 hours, but they cure quicker than water-based paint.

Oil paint generally has high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause harm to you if exposed to it for too long. So if possible try and paint outdoors as the concentration of VOCs are up to 10x lower outdoors than indoors. If you are unable to paint outdoors then make sure your room is well ventilated as you don’t want to be breathing VOCs.

Chalk Paint

Perfect for giving your furniture a vintage look, this water-based paint is a great option to use. Chalk paint usually has a latex base but has a thicker texture and a unique look and finish. You do need to be careful when using chalk paint, it dries fast but it means that you may see some brush strokes when you go to touch up an area. You will need some practice using chalk paint to make sure brush strokes don’t show up.

Painting Your Furniture

When applying paint onto your surface, you need to make sure that the surface is completely clean, dry and void of any contaminants that will prevent the paint from looking its absolute best, such as wax, dirt or dust.

The best way to make sure that your surface is completely clean is to wash it with hot soapy water, then wash away any soapy residue away with clean warm water. Wait for it to dry before giving it a final wipe-down with some form of cleaning solution.

Now that your furniture is clean, you need to sand it using medium grit sandpaper if you’re painting wooden furniture. You don’t need to sand it down to bare wood, but you do need to remove the glossy finish any previous paint left. Sanding may sound unnecessary but if you want to avoid your paint chipping and cracking it is a step you must not skip.

Now that your furniture is clean and has been sanded it is time to prime(r). Adding a coat of primer helps your paint adhere to your furniture better while also helping to cover up any stains and blemishes on the wood.

Once your primer has dried, you can finally start painting. When you start painting, you need to decide if you are going to use a roller or a brush. I recommend using a roller for most of your furniture as it gives you a more even coating and reduces the risk of visible brush strokes and then using a brush in the harder to reach parts of your piece. After you’ve applied the first coat of paint, wait for it to dry and add another coat of paint, do this 2-3 times or until it looks the way you want it to.

Protecting Your Furniture

Once your furniture has been painted and is looking beautiful, you need to make sure it’s protected so it lasts. You can do this by leaving it to cure, but if you do this you cannot touch it at all until it’s fully cured and that can take up to 30 days.

30 days is a long time to wait so if you want it to be ready quicker you can use a paint sealant. Using a sealant provides extra protection and makes the surface easier to wipe clean. Since all sealers are different make sure you read the instructions on the sealer carefully when applying it to your furniture.

Once you’ve applied the sealer, I recommend leaving it alone for a few days to make sure everything has had optimal time to dry because it would be a shame to accidentally ruin your piece after all your hard work.

  • Posted On: 23 September 2022

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