This article originally appeared on Schoolhouse, a Portland-based company in the Food52 family of brands.
Sometimes all you need is a fresh coat of paint to make something feel completely brand new. We’re always thinking about the ways we can refresh our home and add a pop of color while simultaneously embracing our creative side. Enter, the simplest DIY to ever exist: painting a piece of furniture. While it seems like a no-brainer, there are a few crucial steps you don’t want to skip to ensure your hard work isn’t wasted.
We’ll walk you through the process to transform a thrifted armoire with a less-than-desirable paint job into a bedroom showstopper (and its owner’s new favorite place to store excess bedding).
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- Drop cloth
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Latex or oil-based primer
- 1 gallon interior paint depending on size of furniture (for this project we used French Horn by Benjamin Moore)
- Paint tray
- Trim paintbrush
- 2 short-nap rollers
Step 1: Sand it Down
Start the process by using a 220-grit sanding sponge (but you can use paper if you’d rather!) to scuff up the surface of the armoire in the direction of the grain. Don’t be afraid to apply pressure, especially on areas that are looking extra damaged or rough! That said, be careful not to scour too hard because in the end, you want to ensure that your primer has something to stick to. Once the whole piece is sanded down, wipe away all the dust with a microfiber cloth before moving onto the next step.
Step 2: Prime it Up
We always recommend priming before painting to give yourself a smooth and even surface to work with. Primer creates the perfect surface for paint to stick to, and makes it so that your new paint job won’t peel off easily over time. It’s also a great way to prevent any potential stains from bleeding through the new paint. When painting furniture it’s important that the primer matches the exact type of paint you’ve chosen for your project. A latex- or oil-based paint in a satin or semigloss finish usually works best.
When priming this piece, coat the drawer frames and all the tiny nooks and crannies completely with a trim brush. For the larger surfaces, use a roller to make things easier. Once you’re finished priming, let it air dry for at least 24 hours to ensure the best outcome.
Step 3: Paint the First Coat
Once the primer’s dry, it’s time for the fun part! Use another paint roller to apply paint all over the surface, and the trim brush to get those hard-to-reach areas. Once the whole piece had been covered in its first coat, let it dry for at least four to six hours.
Step 4: Sand Again, Then Apply the Second Coat
This step might seem counterintuitive, but it will yield the best results. Once the armoire is dry, lightly sand any paint drips or spots that seem uneven with finer-grade sandpaper. Typically, if you primed your furniture first like we did here, you might be able to skip this part entirely. Either way, it never hurts to give it a once over to be sure the piece is ready for its second coat.
Step 5: Let it Dry
Viola! Once the second coat of paint was dry we noticed that it needed just one more coat (sometimes this isn’t the case though!). An extra coat of paint ensures the job lasts longer, and plays a big part in bringing out the true color of the chosen paint, which is why we opted for a third. Once the piece is completely dry, it’s time to style the latest addition to your home and sit back to admire your hard work.
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