How To Paint Antique Furniture – Quick Tips For Beginners

how to paint antique furniture

Refinishing furniture is time consuming and you need to put in a lot of hard work. However, it is definitely worth it as soon as you see the outcome.

The truth is that painting furniture is not at all difficult. However, this is not really the case with antique furniture. Such pieces of indoor art should always be properly taken care of. They are more valuable and more care is needed. This is why it is always a good idea to contact a specialist when you have doubts.

Fortunately though, I can tell you that if you like DIY projects, painting antique furniture can be pretty easy. You just need to follow the tips below and you will quickly get the job done right. With some patience and the proper tools, you too can take care of vintage or antique furniture.

What Tools Will You Need?

Nowadays, modern technology changed the way we do anything from shaving to accessing the internet. We see imports and exports affected and we rely on smartphones and computers. With antique furniture though, everything that we do tends to be old-school. This is why for painting antique furniture, you need:

  • Murphy’s Oil Soap or a similar cleaning solution suitable for antique furniture
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Primer
  • Foam roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint
  • Topcoat
  • Paint sprayer (this is optional)

Painting Antique Furniture

To paint antique furniture, follow these steps

Step 1 – Preparing Antique Furniture

You cannot simply add some paint and finish the job. When you do this, the paint ends up peeling and chipping.

The furniture needs to be properly cleaned first. Remove all the hardware and use the Murphy’s Oil Soap cleaning solution. With the drawers, remove them and clean them individually.

Step 2 – Sanding

You need to remove the glossy finish and you do this with sanding. Medium grit sandpaper is quite fine for the job. Fine grit sandpaper is better between the paint coats. When painting antique furniture, you do not have to completely strip the finish or go down to bare wood. This is only needed for staining. Just remove all the glossy finish at the surface of the furniture.

When there is no glossy surface, the step can be skipped.

Step 3 – Priming

Check the furniture to make sure it is completely free of dust and dry. After that, it is time to add primer. You need it because paint needs to properly adhere to the surface and cover all wood discolorations or stains. Oil-based primer is all that you need.

Step 4 – Sanding Again

After priming, you need to sand again. It is crucial that you use fine grit sandpaper at this step. Make sure that you lightly sand between every single paint coat. You do this to get a perfect, professional finish. Remove sanding dust every single time you use the sandpaper. You can use tack cloth for that.

Step 5 – Actually Painting Antique Furniture

After the furniture is primed, it is ready to be paint. A good option is to use latex paint meant for interiors. You can choose one that has a semi-gloss finish. Just do not use flat finishes because you will end up with antique furniture that requires constant cleaning. With glossy finish, it is so much easier to clean.

Always paint really thin coats. Once again, sand between every single coat. This is the most important step because it is what helps you to achieve a completely even finish. Usually, you will need to paint 2 or 3 coats.

With the actual painting, a paint sprayer can be used but regular spray paint, a roller, or a brush can do the trick. Many professionals use smaller foam rollers on the main furniture parts and a brush to paint crevices and actually reach them. You will need to paint crevices first and a roller will help you to prevent the appearance of brush strokes.

Step 6 – Protecting Antique Furniture

Wait at least 1 day for the last coat to fully dry. Then, seal it. It is also possible to let the paint cure but you have to do this for 1 month and not touch it in the meantime.

The reason why you need to seal furniture is that it offers extra protection and creates an easy to clean, wipeable surface.

Note: When using very light paint, do not utilize polyurethane to seal it. This is because it can yellow as time passes.

Furniture wax is a very good option to protect antique furniture. It just needs to be wiped on, dry for a quarter of an hour, and then a cloth to increase shininess.

After the furniture is sealed, let it sit for a couple of days before you touch it or use it.