Step 1

Test For Lead

Before you start, test for lead paint. You can find inexpensive testing kits at your local big-box store. These steps apply only to items with paint that tests negative for lead. 

Step 2

Remove Loose Paint

Scrape off loose paint, being careful not to gouge the wood with the scraper by holding it parallel to the wood and applying even pressure. 

Step 3

Sand Smooth

Sand the entire chair with a palm sander to even out the surface. First sand the entire chair with 80- to 100-grit sandpaper. Then switch to a finer sandpaper between 150- to 200-grit to get a really smooth surface. The higher the number, the finer the sandpaper's grit.

Pro Tip

When sanding, always move with the grain of the wood.

Step 4

Hand Sand Crevices

You may need to hand sand to get into the crevices. When finished, wipe down the chair with a tack cloth to remove dust.

Step 5

Apply Primer

Use a spray primer for neat, even coverage. Choose a white primer under light colors and a darker primer under darker colors for uniform coverage. Begin with the underside of the chair. Spray slowly for a consistent spray pattern to avoid drips and overspray. Use a back and forth motion following the natural lines of the chair. Apply 2 to 3 light coats, allowing primer to dry to the touch between each application. Check your primer label because drying times vary widely.

Step 6

Sand if Necessary

If surface feels a little coarse once the final coat of primer is dry, lightly sand with very fine sandpaper and wipe again with a tack cloth to remove dust.

Step 7

Start Painting

Apply the paint with nice smooth strokes following the natural lines of the piece. Use a high-quality nylon bristle brush for the best results. Brush back over the last stroke for an even finish.

Step 8

How to Eliminate Drips

If you get a drip, lightly drag the brush back over the area to stop the run and smooth it out before moving on.

Step 9

Apply Second Coat

Apply 2 to 3 light coats, allowing each coat to dry to the touch between applications. Check your paint label because drying times vary depending on the product.

Step 10

Clear Coat

A polyurethane clear coat gives an added layer of sheen and hardens and protects the paint. Match oil-based top coats with oil paint and water-based top coats with water-based paint. Hold the can 10 to 12 inches away and spray using a back and forth motion. Follow the natural lines of the chair to coat it evenly. After the first clear coat dries, lightly sand with 200-grit or higher sandpaper for a professional finish before spraying on the final coat. 

Step 11

Let it Dry

Let your furniture fully cure in a warm, dry well-ventilated area before use – typically 24 hours. Once you know how easy it is to repaint wooden furniture, you’ll see the hidden potential in all kinds of pieces!

  • Before
  • After

Worn wooden furniture can easily be updated with a new paint job. We took this chair from dumpster-worthy to super adorable in less than a weekend.