Asked on Oct 13, 2013

Painting "this end up" furniture

I have this end up furniture that my now husband bought in the 90's. Its solid wood but not very pretty. It seems to have a clear coat over the wood. I want to paint it but am unsure if I need to sand or if I can just prime and then use a paint for furniture. Has anyone ever painted this type of furniture? I added some pics from their website so you can get idea of what I have. Thanks

  22 answers
  • If it has a lacquer finish, then definitely sand it to remove the finish or the paint won't adhere for very long! I've heard of other people using a product called "Liquid Sandpaper" and have had favorable results but I've never used it myself. Hope this helps!
  • Carole Carole on Oct 13, 2013
    Cher is right. You cannot paint effectively over lacquer or varnished finishes. For an area that size you could try using a palm sander (little electric sander that is shaped like a small iron). This will save you a lot of elbow grease and if you have a sander that catches the dust, so much the better. I use a Bosch and it has a little plastic dust catcher on the back end of it so there is less dust going into the air and less for you to breath in). You should also wear a mask when sanding as it is bad for you to breath in the dust, especially if it has varnish or lacquer in it. Bad for the lungs. Sanding will not only take the laquer off, but also provide a 'key' for the new paint to adhere to. Good luck!
  • Lisa Van Wyk Borzi Lisa Van Wyk Borzi on Oct 13, 2013
    What about using a primer that "sticks" to lacquer? I've been reading about Glidden gripper. Do you think that would work?
  • Decor & More Decor & More on Oct 15, 2013
    I had twin beds from Cargo (same type as This End Up) and I did a wash of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint -- no primer needed!! Link to my post:
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  • Linda Linda on Oct 15, 2013
    I'd sand it. I've used all in one paints that say they don't require sanding before on similar pieces. The things looked good but the paint scratched off more than I wanted it to after they were in use.
  • Jim L Jim L on Oct 15, 2013
    DO NOT take short-cuts! For a professional looking job, sand, prime with "Kilz" and then spray two coats of you paint color...
  • Gretchen Gretchen on Oct 15, 2013
    I had this furniture too. It doesn't have a heavy coat of anything much, even though it says "lacquer." My kids managed to write all over it just fine. Just to be safe, I'd do a light sanding (won't take long), then paint with a primer - or just the Annie Sloane Chalk paint. If you have never used it, ASCP will do a great job as long as you wax it well at the end. There is lots of info online about it. If you do chose to sand it, be sure to just rags and a tack cloth to take away all residue! Have fun with it!
  • CC CC on Oct 15, 2013
    I've painted several pieces of this furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint doing no sanding beforehand. I did distress after painting for a rustic look and it's held up very well.
  • Lisa Van Wyk Borzi Lisa Van Wyk Borzi on Oct 15, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I will let you know how it turns out.
  • Cath65 Cath65 on Oct 17, 2013
    Lisa!! 2 words... ANNIE SLOAN!!! I have a house full of 80s wooden furniture. Nice pieces but so outdated. I painted my desk (NO sanding!) in a colour called French linen, gently sanded it back to give it a distressed look then waxed. It looks magnificent. And just yesterday I finished a 6 door hutch in a colour called Duck Egg - again not too shabby!! I'll try and post photos here but if I can't email me and I'll send you photos if you'd like. Good luck :)
  • Lola Lola on Apr 02, 2014
    Lisa, did you ever paint the furniture?? I have a bedroom full of my fiance's old This End Up furniture and had been considering Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Please post your pics if you did anything with it! I'd love to see the end result!
  • Anna Le Blanc Anna Le Blanc on Jan 23, 2015
    I have a living room of this end up and I sanded and painted the sofa chairs and hutch in black several years ago and everyone likes it. You must sand before painting
  • Mil2874244 Mil2874244 on Nov 05, 2015
    do i need primer too? how about liquid sander?? thanx
  • Annie Doherty Annie Doherty on Jun 22, 2016
    Hi Lisa you don't need to sand if you use a decent primer first, Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 is an amazing product it will prime anything without sanding, in addition, you can add water to this product without compromising the finish. Ihave used this for years on everything, including plastic, formica, metal,old chandeliers the list us endless. It is expensive here in the UK, but probably very much cheaper in the USA. Good luck with project, whichever method you choose, it will be the right one for you.
  • Jan Loehr Jan Loehr on Jul 17, 2016
    This sofa is amazing! I have read on a DIY blog that to paint over brown wood, you need to lightly sand to give the paint some teeth to grip to. So after you sand and lightly clean with a damp rag to remove all dust, you can get Glidden is a paint and primer in one but also has a stain blocker to prevent the brown from bleeding through the primer. One coat should do it and then paint in your choice of color with a good quality paint and primer in one again....two coats of color should look fabulous!
  • Hi everyone! I just accidentally ran across this discussion post and decided to join! I've been repainting and refinishing furn for several years sonif u ever need away!

    rebecca atkinson

  • Rebecca Grochowaski Rebecca Grochowaski on Jun 22, 2018

    What about painting over the lacquer if it’s going on a screened in back porch? Will it hold up in the moisture when it rains? It’s covered but it gets humid and sticky... suggestions?

  • Joan Joan on Jun 22, 2018

    Love this couch! What color were you thinking of painting it?

  • Ren34036399 Ren34036399 on Sep 02, 2018

    Sanded lightly, painted each board a different color of paint I had left from other projects (4 colors). Then distressed it. I love it and always get complements on it.

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    • Pam Pam on Jun 27, 2020

      I came here today for ideas. I have a desk that is more like 2 sides and a top and then a "bookcase" with only 1 shelf". Somehow, about 10 or so years ago, my daughter and I got this up the stairs (we got it for free.99 from someone's yard who was just trying to get rid of it. Well, all the kids are grown and gone and I've tried to figure out how to get this out of the house and I cannot BUDGE it. So, I'm trying to figure out how I can make it look half way respectable. I'm turning her room into my diy/craft room this will be my 1st project. I love the 2 above with several colors and may try that! Thanks :)

  • R Marsha R Marsha on Jan 17, 2019

    did you ever paint this sofa? I have the sofa, love seat , coffee table and huge square end table....I want to re-do and put it in my sunroom......and cover cushions with weather resistant fabric... please let me know how you came out.... thanks

  • Suz Suz on Jul 29, 2019

    I watered down my Behr Premium Ultra, and gave my This End Up furniture 4 thin coats. No sanding required.

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    • Rachel Rachel on Aug 22, 2020

      I’m thinking about painting a TEU dresser and your idea seems like a good one. You didn’t sand and you watered down your paint, do you recall what ratio you used to water down your white paint? I’m planning to use black. Thanks!

  • Gene DeAngelo Gene DeAngelo on Dec 18, 2019

    Why paint?

    It covers the beautiful grains. Why not use colored stain, and or take a blowtorch to the grain and have it pop the grains out? I found the coffee table for $20 and the end table in the garbage a year later. "This End Up" furniture is the best to refinish because it's quality and looks amazing with stains and polyurethane.

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    • Bonnie Bonnie on May 23, 2020


      Can you direct me to info about using the blowtorch technique? I don’t even have a blowtorch, but what you wrote intrigues me.