How to paint furniture: 3 easy steps

Over on Instagram, I get this question every day “How to paint old furniture”. Now say it with me: sand, prime, paint. That’s all it takes. It’s an easy 3 step process. Take a look at these 2 projects I changed with just the power of paint!!

Beginner4 hours work time<$50
How to paint furniture

What you need

  • Sander. I have a ryobi orbital sander
  • Sandpaper. I started with p80 grit, and then I finished off with p220
  • A good quality extra adhesive primer. I swear by BIN by rustoleum
  • Paint are use leftover paint I had in Sherwin-Williams tricorn black
  • A couple of paint brushes and a foam roller


How to paint furniture? Let’s get painting

How to paint furniture
black nightstands
DIY nightstands


I’ve painted multiple pieces of furniture that I’ve purchased from Facebook marketplace and won’t hesitate to paint more.

  1. Give your dresser a good clean up. Use cleaning products, sponge cloth whatever just make sure it’s clean
  2. Start by sanding the entire surface with a p80. You’re not trying to takeoff all of the wood veneer but you need to get it scratched up so the primer has a surface to stick to.
  3. Do another coat of sanding with p220.
  4. Wipe it clean with a cloth to remove all the saw dust
  5. Prime your entire surface.

  6. Now it’s time to paint. I started off by using my brush to paint all the small crevices and edges
  7. Then use the foam roller to roll onto your large surfaces. The foam roller is great because it does not leave streaks. I did two coats of paint for extra coverage


I’d love to see how your project turns out. Head over to instagram to share your projects with me @hanashappyhome

Can I restain my furniture? It depends. If it’s wood, you can sand it down to the bare wood. From there you can use wood conditioner and your stain colour.

The problem is that it can be tricky to tell whether furniture is wood or MDF with a wood finish. When I did my nightstand makeover, I thought it was wood but only while sanding did I realize it was MDF. The wood grain disappeared as I sanded. That wouldn’t happen with real wood. I was left with a flat surface of MDF.

If you’re unsure, the only way to tell is to sand a small inconspicuous spot and see what’s underneath the top layer

My furniture is painted? What are the steps to repaint it? There’s a few options

1- if the paint is smooth and no chunks or drips, a light sanding with the technique in this post should work

2- if the paint is not well done, I would sand all the way down to MDF and start at the beginning

3- you can alternatively use paint stripper to remove the paint. This would be perfect if the furniture has dowels or grooved detailing that is hard to sand.

Bright bedroom with decorative molding
Grey headboard
How to paint furniture
black nightstands
DIY nightstands

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