Seven Tips For Perfectly Painted Furniture

Hello my sweet friends!  Today is the monthly Inspired Makers Challenge; an amazing day of themed makeovers with my blogging besties.  This month we’re sharing painted projects; tables and dressers and rooms, oh my.    If you love painted furniture, then I have a dresser makeover to share, along with some of my best tips for perfectly painted furniture.


chalk painted and distressed painted furniture makeover

Restyling a piece of furniture with paint is always one of the most satisfying projects on my to do list.  I love it so much that sometimes I make over a piece over and over again.   ;) Like this dresser.  It was given to us by one of my husband’s coworkers with a poorly executed black paint finish.  I painted it a lovely off white during my paint everything off white phase.  Then I added a stripe and new hardware during my stripe everything phase.


painted furniture makeover


P.S.  For a family of six, stacked storage is a must.

Whether the object of your affection has been previously painted, or is still in its natural wood state, these tips for perfectly painted furniture will serve you well for your next makeover.

  • Always clean your piece first.  I use mild dish soap and an old rag.  Scrub the parts where greasy fingerprints live; paint won’t stick to oily spots.
  • Sand your piece lightly if the finish is glossy just to remove the sheen and help your new color stick.  If your new love interest is made of unfinished wood, sand first with a coarse grit sand paper and follow with fine.  If you’re faced with a previously painted piece that isn’t glossy, you can probably paint right over it.

Since I had painted this dresser with chalk type paint, then painted the stripes with satin latex, I sanded the drawer fronts well to take the sheen off the satin and remove any ridges from the edges of the stripes.


adding character to plain painted furniture


  • To add some character to a plain prospect, add some trim.  My nerd took care of this part and in true #nerdnotes fastion, he wanted to be sure I showed you his genius clamp idea.  Glue the molding down, add a board large enough to cover all four pieces, then clamp while the glue dries for a strong hold.


add molding to painted furniture


  •  A note about primer.   Primer is not always necessary, but if you are using latex paint on stained wood, your finish will be more durable and you’ll achieve better coverage if you prime first.

I don’t recommend using primer if you plan to distress the finish; aint’ nobody wants to see the primer layer; it’s like wearing those cool holey jeans only to have your white granny panties show through the holes.

Now you get to paint!  I used Rustoleum’s Chalky Paint in Charcoal for the first time on this dresser, and my oh my, I loved this easy on the budget option.  It goes on smooth and covers well.  I was planning to distress a little, so I painted two coats on the areas I didn’t plan to distress (the previously painted white parts), and one coat on the areas I did (the moulding).

  • Before you distress, make sure that the base color is actually a color you want to see peeking through.  For this dresser, I didn’t want to see raw wood after distressing the new moulding, so I stained them first.   Sort of.  I didn’t try to be neat since I would be painting over it anyway.

I once sanded and re-stained an ugly table before I painted it just so a pretty stain shade would show through my final sanding.  #thestruggleisreal


painted furniture drawers


  • It’s best to paint on two light coats of paint with 24 hours of drying time in between.  If you paint on one heavy coat, it will take much longer for the paint to dry all the way through.  This is especially true if you are going for a smooth modern finish with latex paint.  For more tips on achieving a durable surface with latex paint, you must read the tale of the painted table top trouble.


painted furniture


After the chalk paint dried,  a light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper left me with a beautiful buttery finish, and the right amount of distress.


painted furniture


  •   Protect your piece.  I used a light coat of furniture wax for this chalk painted piece but I would recommend poly for a “high traffic” piece.  This dresser stores movies, candles, and blankets in our family room, and doesn’t get a ton of touch traffic so I chose wax.

Let’s look at that after shoot again, shall we?


painted furniture



I love the dusty charcoal color with our faux shiplap wall!


Thank you so much for joining us for this month’s Inspired Makers Challenge.  Let’s head over to visit my friends; I promise you we’ll all be wow’d by their creativity and talent!

Join us the last day of each month for a different Inspired Makers Challenge
Follow with #InspiredMakers and #InspiredMakersChallenge to see more amazing projects each month!
August Challenge: Paint Changes Everything, with your hosts:

Lisa @ The Purple Hydrangea | Sarah @ 1915 House | Kim @ Farmhouse Made
Ann @ Duct Tape and Denim | Kimm @ Reinvented | Janice @ Sawdust Sisters
Denise @ My Thrifty House | Suzanne @ Shop at Blu


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| Filed under DIY, Painted Furniture Projects

14 thoughts on “Seven Tips For Perfectly Painted Furniture

  1. First, I love that you admit you have phases. Second, I love that you you have a nerd. And third “it’s like wearing those cool holey jeans only to have your white granny panties show through the holes.” That had me cracking up. But seriously, the trim on the front of the dresser really elevated it. Getting rid of those eyeball drawer pulls was also a smart move :) It’s beautiful, I hope it stays in this phase for a little while.
    Toni | Small Home Soul recently posted…Canvas Folding Stool – Glam it up with GoldMy Profile

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