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How to paint dark furniture set

Hi I have a bedroom set that I would like to paint. It is approximately 30 years old and made of dark shiny wood......possible pine veneer.....not sure! I absolutely love the triple dresser, thus trying to give it a facelift! Would I use a primer first, then just paint it a lighter color? What kind of paint and and sealer should I use? Any help is greatly appreciated, as buying a new bedroom set is definitely not in the cards right now! Thanks very much

  • The trick to any finish being successful is pre prep. The shiny surfaces need to go. First off if the handles come off along with any hardware you need remove them and paint or replace them separately. Then you need to get a small can of grease and wax remover. TSP also can be used. A big mistake people make is to simply sand first then clean. If you sand the finish prior to cleaning, you risk embedding the waxy build up from all the years of polishing and cleaning. Once you have cleaned the entire set really well then begin the sanding process. You need to dull the entire finish really well so any new paint will bite into the older finish and not peel off. All this is really the hardest part of the project. The longer you spend on doing this, the better overall the final finish will be and last. Once sanded you will want again to wipe the entire project down with TSP once again. This cleans out any remaining oils and wax build ups as well as removes all the dust from the sanding scratches as fine as they are. Depending upon what your final looks are to be would determine what you would pick out to use. A high end gloss finish such as Rustoleum product would be my first choice of paints. They make primers and final finish products that work together really well. Both in spray and in brush on products the results always seem to come out great. As far as covering a darker color, you will surly want to prime at least a 1st coat. Be sure to let things dry as instructed on the can, and you may even need to lightly sand the finish again before the final coat goes on. This not only assures a good smooth finish but a long lasting one as well.

    • Laney
      Laney Lewiston, ME
      on Aug 26, 2013

      @Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com Thanks so much for your help!

  • Jeanna
    Jeanna Texico, IL
    on Aug 25, 2013

    I am no expert but i would sand it lightly due to the glossy shine. Then go over with a primer before painting.

    • Laney
      Laney Lewiston, ME
      on Aug 26, 2013

      @Jeanna Winegarner Thanks very much!

  • Shari
    Shari Tampa, FL
    on Aug 26, 2013

    Read your primer label first. I have used Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer and Sealer before but for the first time today, I tried Zinsser Bullseye Water Based Primer and Sealer (don't know if it's just a new can or a totally different product). Anyway, I noticed the label said DON'T use TSP, as Woodbridge recommended, but it didn't say why. Normally when I paint furniture, I don't sand unless the existing finish is in poor condition. Instead, I wipe the piece down with a liquid sandpaper product (also known as "deglosser"). Then I apply one or two thin coats of a good primer and several thin coats of regular interior latex paint. The number of coats depends on the original color. If you are covering a dark finish with a light colored paint, you will need more coats of paint than if you are painting a dark color over a light finish. Latex paint takes a while to completely cure so I would recommend being careful what you set down on the tops of the dresser, nightstands etc., until you are sure it has cured well. Depending on the weather/environment, that could be as long as a month. A protective finish is optional. Personally, I don't use a protective finish on my furniture. We aren't that hard on our furniture but if I do get a few little nicks or dings in the paint, I can easily touch it up with a dab of paint. If you decide you do want to apply a protective finish, please don't try to use one in an aerosol can. I just think it's too darn hard to get a nice, even coat using anything from a spray can. The project I worked on today is a bathroom sink cabinet which I suspect is laminated particleboard (and it was somewhat shiny). Although the Zinsser Bullseye Water Based Primer and Sealer said it sticks to all surfaces without sanding, I did lightly and quickly run a sanding block over the door and drawer fronts just because I know they will be subject to more wear and tear. Then I wiped everything down really well with the deglosser. The interior of the cabinet will be painted white so I used 2 light coats of primer inside the cabinet to more thoroughly cover the original walnut color. I didn't need as much coverage on the exterior of the cabinet since I'm painting it navy blue so I only used only 1 light coat of primer on the exterior parts. I have not been particularly impressed with the all-in-one primer/paint combos for furniture so I would recommend a separate primer and the best quality paint you can afford. Paint sheen is a matter of personal preference. I prefer satin or semi-gloss. Take your time and I'm sure your bedroom set will turn out lovely, and give many more years of service.

    • Laney
      Laney Lewiston, ME
      on Aug 26, 2013

      @Shari Thanks very much for your help!

  • Debbie
    Debbie Sykesville, MD
    on Aug 26, 2013

    I would go with some of the above advice and give a light cleaning with TSP. Then, because I like to keep things as simple and effective as possible.... Because it is shiny/veneer us a coat of primer, I recommend KILZ spray oil based primer. Then try some of the chalk paints!!! You will love them! (you don't even have to prime, but with shiny pieces I do just for extra insurance) I recommend starting with annie sloan chalk paint because it has a beautiful pallet. It is pricer than latex but it is soooo much better. Covers with 2 coats...easy to touch up, no drips and spatters, easy to sand, a little goes a long way. Any questions let me know.

    • Laney
      Laney Lewiston, ME
      on Aug 26, 2013

      @Debbie Thanks very much!

  • Laney
    Laney Lewiston, ME
    on Aug 26, 2013

    Thank you so much shari!

  • Laney
    Laney Lewiston, ME
    on Aug 26, 2013

    Thanks Jeanna and Debbie!

  • Laney
    Laney Lewiston, ME
    on Aug 26, 2013

    Debbie, please forgive my ignorance, but what is TSP?

    • Shari
      Shari Tampa, FL
      on Aug 26, 2013

      @Laney You are most welcome. I'll jump in and answer the TSP question... TSP stands for trisodium phosphate which is a powerful cleaner/degreaser often used before painting, especially on things like kitchen cabinets that are subjected to years of grease buildup. It can be purchased at any hardware or big box home improvement store.

  • Jeanna
    Jeanna Texico, IL
    on Aug 27, 2013

    You are very welcome :)

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