Just because you’re tired of some of your old wooden furniture, don’t feel compelled to dispatch it to a second-hand store, or worse yet, a landfill. Some of the most interesting furnishings are re-purposed pieces that are given new life with paint, something you yourself can do.
Afraid you can’t pull it off? You might surprise yourself. Plus, there’s no harm in trying – you likely have some leftover paint on hand, so why not give it a whirl?
The first step is to identify a worthy item for your reclamation project. Old dressers, tables, chests, and cabinets are all perfect candidates for painting. They are manageable in size and often look better than ever when treated with color.
Once you’ve selected the item you want to paint, remove any handles, pulls or other hardware. Then give the piece a thorough cleaning, inside and out.
Take a good look at the finish. If it’s at all glossy, sand the surface with medium-grit sandpaper. No need to go down to bare wood; you just want to provide a less slick surface so your coatings can get a good grip on things. (Should the surface already be dull, you may be able to skip this step entirely.)
After sanding, use a tack cloth to wipe away any dust that remains, then apply a coat of 100% acrylic latex primer. This will help conceal any stains that appear on the wood and allow your paint to adhere better.
The next step is to lightly sand the primed surface with fine-grit sandpaper. Again, remove any residual sanding dust with the tack cloth.
Now comes the fun part: Selecting the paint color for your refurbished piece from your leftover stash or by purchasing something new!
One option is to apply a “punch” color that will call attention to the item; another is to paint it in a tint or shade that appears elsewhere in the room where it will be displayed. Think stark contrast, or pleasing complement – either approach will work.
For best durability and easy cleaning, be sure to use either semi-gloss or high gloss 100% acrylic latex paint (top quality acrylic paint also “levels” exceptionally well to help conceal brush and roller marks). Apply at least two coats of paint, allowing each to dry overnight. When dry, lightly sand each coat and wipe off the dust.
Complete your project by applying a heavy coat of polyurethane or wipe-on furniture wax — either will help protect your furniture and make it even easier to clean. Allow the finished piece to dry for a day or two more, replace the hardware, and set the item in place.
Voila! The item you once complained about will now speak well of you and your creativity. And you’ll get an extra measure of satisfaction knowing that you responsibly reclaimed a perfectly fine piece of furniture.