Painted Furniture

Prepping furniture for paint

Prepping furniture for paint

I love painting furniture.  My excitement level goes up with each coat. And the thrill of seeing the finished piece. I do NOT love prepping furniture for paint. Not one bit. Proper preparation, however, the most important step when painting a piece of furniture. And a step that can not be skipped.

A while ago I asked my Instagram followers what types of tutorials they wanted to see on my blog. The first answer I got back was “how to prep a piece of furniture before painting.” So, I’ll share with you the process I go through with every piece of furniture before dipping a brush in paint.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


1) Remove hardware

Remove hardware

Definitely remove all knobs and pulls. You will have to decide if you want to remove exposed hinges or paint over them.  Most of the time I paint over them because they’re not pretty and they look better when they blend in with the piece (like they do with dark wood).  If you spend a lot of time removing and re-attaching hardware you might want to purchase an electric screwdriver.  It really helps when you’re taking hardware out of a multi-drawer piece of furniture.

2) Sand, sand, sand. And after that, sand some more.

This is the most important step for a couple of reasons. One, it clears away any gunk and build up on the piece of furniture. And two, it creates a rough surface that the paint can grab on and adhere to.

Don’t believe in “no prep” chalk and milk paints. There is no such thing as “no prep”, no matter what paint you’re using.

Now that you understand that there’s no getting out of sanding, I’ll share a couple of tips. I LOVE my palm sander. It gets the dirty job done a lot quicker. And for those nooks and crannies I can’t get into with a palm sander I use a sanding sponge. 220 is my go-to grit for the palm sander and the sponge.

Palm sander

Sanding block

3) Clean

Sanding a piece of furniture removes gunk and grime, but you are left with a lot of dust. For this, I use baby wipes. Actually, first I dust the piece off with my mini-duster and then I wipe it down.

I have four children and when I started painting furniture a couple of them were still in diapers. I was buying cases of baby wipes from Costco. That is why I used wipes. I still use them today because they do the job and are disposable. Also, I like to keep them in the car because the little guys make enormous messes and I never know what I’m going to have to wipe off of them or the inside of my car.
If the job requires something stronger than baby wipes I use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.


baby wipes

4) Paper and tape.

This is optional but I would recommend it.  Tape and paper off any glass if the piece has it.  Wrap paper around the inside of the drawers so only the drawer fronts get paint.  If paint ends up where it should not be, don’t worry.  I use a razor blade to get paint off of glass and just sand off any drips that may get on the wood.

There you have it.  The much dreaded prep work is finished.  On to the fun stuff.   Happy painting!

Please feel free to comment with any questions.  Also, I’d love to see the projects you are working on!

Oh, one more thing. Safety first!

safety first



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