Some practical tips and creative ideas for painting furniture.

painting furniture

Older furniture that’s looking a bit dated or damaged can get a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint or an interesting paint technique.


Even new but somewhat boring furniture like a pine chest of drawers can be transformed into something stylish and unique with paint effects.


Preparing furniture for painting

No matter what the furniture is made from, the surface will need to be prepared if you want the paint job to last.


Preparing wood furniture for painting

Old paint or varnish will need to be stripped for best results. If you don’t want to strip the old paint, sand it thoroughly and make sure they are no obvious chips or holes that will show through. If the wood is damaged, use a wood filler to hide any holes.


Preparing cane furniture for painting

Cane furniture should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before painting. If it was previously painted, make sure to remove any flaking paint pieces. Cane can be tricky to sand, but a stiff brush should do the trick. Painting cane can also be time-consuming so consider using spray paint.


How to prepare laminate furniture for painting

Laminate furniture is made from fibreboard that is covered with a melamine laminate. This laminate is thin so it can’t take a lot of sanding. Very lightly sand the surface to prepare it for paint and make sure the surface is clean and dry before starting.


Preparing plastic furniture for painting

Plastic furniture can be painted with the right type of paint provided it is prepared properly. Sanding plastic will just scratch it, so you only need to wash and dry your plastic furniture and make sure you pick the right paint. Modern spray paints like Rustoleum adhere well to plastic.


Ideas for painting furniture

Ideas for painting furniture extend as far as your imagination. People experiment with new ideas all the time but if you’d rather go with something tried and tested here are some effective and popular paint techniques to try.


How to stencil furniture with paint

Stencils give a nice contract against raw wood or against another colour. You can create stencils out of paper but reusable stencils from your local craft or hardware store work the best.


stencilled furniture

Image: Cutting Edge Stencils


Paint is best applied with a sponge or a small sponge roller when stencilling. Hold the stencil firmly in place with masking tape until you are done applying paint. 


Creating a splatter paint effect

This technique is best done outside with lots of drop sheets as it can be very messy. This effect gives a fairly messy looking finish but it works well in art studios and kids’ rooms.


splattered paint effect

Image: Pinterest


You can either flick paint against your furniture item to create longer splatter lines, knock the brush against your hand or a price of wood to make sprinkled patterns or dribble the paint on from above.


Using the pour-on method for painting furniture

Pouring the paint onto a horizontal surface and then swirled it around or tipping the furniture to make it spread creates all sorts of interesting patterns.


pour on paint method

Image: Your Thunder Buddy


You may need to thin the paint to get the desired effect and it can take quite a while to dry because the paint goes on quite thick.


Painting furniture with murals

Fine art, illustrations and geometric patterns all work well on any piece of furniture that has a large flat surface.


mural on furniture

Image: La Parliere


You can either freehand draw if you’re practised enough or you can project an image onto your surface and trace it.


Dipped paint effects for furniture

Painting just a section of wood furniture creates and nice contrast. With this effect, the edge between paint and raw wood is usually not where you would expect.


dipped paint effect

Image: Home Edit


The part you paint and the colour you choose is completely up to you. You could just “dip” the legs or paint just one corner of the unit.


Painting furniture with multiple colours

Painting with more than one colour is also an option. If you have a chest of drawers, each drawer could be a different colour.


paint furniture multiple colours

Image: Love Property


If you’re painting wooden chairs, make each chair a different but complementary colour. Even table tops and table legs can be painted differently.


Painting lettering on furniture

How about painting your favourite quote on your tabletop? Or putting some old-style script on a bookshelf? Lettering can be painted on by hand or you use a stencil.


painting lettering on furniture

Image: Royal Design Studio


You can also find some vinyl transfers that you apply. These transfers can also act as a reverse stencil by painting over them and then removing the vinyl afterwards.


How to create a distressed paint effect

To create a distressed effect, paint your furniture with white first and then your chosen colour. Sand away the paint along edges or corners where the most wear would usually happen.


distressed paint effect

Image: FAQ How


To protect the effect and prevent any further unintentional distressing, you can finish with a matte clear protective seal.


Spray painting furniture

The newer spray paints can adhere well to just about any clean surface. You can use them to transform furniture made from wood, metal, plastic, laminate or cane.


spray painting furniture

Image: Owl Haven


Spray paint comes in a huge range of colours. They work well with stencils or you use masking tape to create geometric patterns of a dipped effect.


In case you need to store your custom-painted furniture (or just about anything else), XtraSpace storage units are clean, dry and secure. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.


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