old country house blog

HOW TO PAINT A DRESSER

I have lost count as to how many pieces of furniture I have painted … 20 – maybe 50…PROBABLY MORE…lets just say ALOT.

DRESSER PAINTED ANCHOR GRAY
DRESSER PAINTED ANCHOR GRAY

Over the decades, I have watched painted furniture come in and out of “trend” …I even remember back in the 80’s….when oak was WHITE HOT….stripping all of the vintage oak pieces my Mom handed down to me, scraping through 10 layers of oil based paints, red, green, black, years of colors and rooms.

PHOEBE'S NEW BED!
PHOEBE’S NEW / OLD SPINDLE BED!

Presently, there are strong forces and voices at work encouraging us to NOT paint wooden furniture and I am in FULL agreement that a beautiful piece of wood is better left alone, but we all know there is ALOT of crap out there with beautiful lines…lines  that come alive with a fresh coat of color.

PREP

Let me start by saying that quite often, in moments of impatient lust for new POP of color…. I do NO prep…I just grab the paint and go at it. I painted the inside of the “PINK CABINET” that to date has over 100,000 pins…in 10 minutes (though I did wipe it down) .

PINK CABINET
PINK CABINET

But, I have painted over dust, spider webs and even a FEW BUGS. But THAT is not what I will share with you…you probably need no help with that.

HERE ARE SOME PIECES I HAVE PAINTED…MANY MORE THAN ONCE!

PREP

Lots of people LOVE the chalk paints because they require little to no prep. But if you are going to prep your piece…basically you clean it until your washrag runs clear and then use a superfine sanding sponge to REMOVE old varnish and prepare the surface. When I am really on my game I will use, as the final prep step, steel wool to make the surface SUPER smooth.

If you plan to get really into painting lots of pieces of furniture you may want to invest in a sander, but if this is just for one piece I think these tools are fine. Sand your piece so that is is sooth to the touch. If you will be moving nail holes, don’t be afraid. Just get

I like using the new paints that have ‘BUILT IN PRIMERS” saves time, but if you need to prime your surface just choose a basic primer that can be sanded.

BENJAMIN MOORE MULTI PURPOSE PRIMER
BENJAMIN MOORE MULTI PURPOSE PRIMER

PATCHING HOLES FOR HARDWARE

If you are going to replace the KNOBS or PULLS make sure that the existing holes measure the same. If they don’t, not a biggie. You can fill the existing holes and reDRILL new ones. To patch the holes you will need Wood filler. I like this one. I lay it on with a with a putty knife, spread it across the hole and leave a bit of residue on the top. you will then sand that down with medium, then fine sand paper to make the new hole flush with the rest of the surface.

 

As you can see, often the prep takes more time than the actual painting …which again is why Chalk Paint is so popular, but it will make a difference on how your piece not only looks, but holds up.

PAINT

There are a million paint choices out there, everyone has their favorites and if you want a smooth, VERY very modern surface I would always recommend PROFESSIONAL  “Lacquering”. It cost about $300 and up depending on the piece but it does give the best finish . Our kitchen cabinets were lacquered and it really is the smoothest finish. Also, oil based paints give the smoothest finish , often with just one coat, but they can be messy and hard to clean up and dangerous so I use…so use with caution.

I have found a happy medium in….

ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint

BENJAMIN MOORE ADVANCE PAINT
BENJAMIN MOORE ADVANCE PAINT

FROM BENJAMIN MOORE – “ADVANCE offers the application and performance of traditional oil paint in a waterborne formula that cleans up with soap and water. It is a 100% alkyd formula water-dispersible alkyd developed with proprietary new resins that keep VOCs low even after tinting. It flows and levels like a traditional alkyd (OIL) with the extended open-time required to achieve high-end finishes.”

I HAVE USED, Satin, gloss and even high gloss. It all depends on the piece and where is is going. There is no hard and fast rule, sometimes a super glossy “traditional” piece adds a bid of character to a room. I used Satin on my Master Bedroom dresser and High gloss on the “Faux Bamboo storage piece” I just painted.

FAUX BAMBOO HAMPER PAINTED BM ANDERSON BLUE IN HIGH GLOSS ADVANCE
FAUX BAMBOO HAMPER PAINTED BM ANDERSON BLUE IN HIGH GLOSS ADVANCE

BRUSHES

I have heard that sponge rollers are the best but I have not found them to behave the way I like. That being said …if you put VERY VERY THIN coats” on with a sponge roller that will be your best bet. I also DO use them when getting into scrolly tricky corners.

AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE TRY TO PAINT ON A HORIZONTAL LEVEL SURFACE. IF NEEDED LAY YOUR DRESSER ON IT'S BACK TO PAINT THE FRONT.

But my favorite furniture painting brushes are also my favorite varnish application brushes.

WOOSTER SILVER TIP BRUSHES

These brushes are very soft and leave less residual “lines and tracks” on your furniture.

PAINTING

ONCE YOU Have nailed down the color choice and have prepped your furniture you are ready to begin!

I usually paint the insides first. A big factor is making sure you don’t leave lines is how you lay on the paint. I generally start at one end and then brush in One DIRECTION. I do not go back over a brush stroke. IF YOUR PIECE IS LARGE WORK IN SMALLER SECTIONS…. This takes practice but it is not hard.

dresser interior
dresser interior

Don’t load up your brush with too much paint…Sometimes I will keep a bowl of warm water handy to dip the end of my brush in and keep the paint smooth.

You can also use a product called  FLOETRAL– Floetral is a paint additive that will help your paint stay wet longer, thereby giving it more time to flatten and smooth out. My paint store will add it for me if I ask for it. Factors like hot days or the dry heat inside on a winter days can speed the paint drying time up…and cause more streaks. So in those cases Floetral might be a good idea. You can also buy it and add it yourself, as needed. Careful not to add TOO much or your paint will be too thin and more prone to drips.

The PAINTED Pew
The PAINTED Pew

If your furniture needs to withstand HEAVY usage, you may want to apply a few coats of varnish. I do not do this routinely, but I did it on the Bathroom VANITY TOP.

vanity 4

I used Benjamin Moore STAYS CLEAR VARNISH

BENJAMIN MOORE STAYS CLEAR VARNISH
BENJAMIN MOORE STAYS CLEAR VARNISH

I prefer to let my pieces age naturally…and do not intentionally “distress” but if that is a look you like, you just sand light spots off in places where USUAL wear would take place.

Painting a piece of furniture that is otherwise an eyesore can be an affordable way to recycle and bring new life to an old piece. I like using furniture as a way to keep the colors current and fun…it is cheaper than painting a room and leaves more room for variety. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT COLOR, look in your closet…what colors do you like? and go to pinterest,your favorite magazines, find inspiration rooms and see what colors are popping up. I am seeing lots of natural colors right now, and navys in large pieces but in small chairs and stools, really anything goes!!! Have fun.

...all the pretty colors!
…all the pretty colors!

Overall I like a balance of wooden and painted pieces in my home…so that both have an opportunity to POP. The best news is that painted furniture can be easily changed if you don’t like it. Quite often, if I am not sure about a color…. I will buy the sample colors at Benjamin Moore which are only about $6 and try an New color. The sample paints are an eggshell finish and I have used them to paint whole pieces many many times!.

PHOEBE DRESSER PAINTED BENJAMIN MOORE RALEIGH PEACH
PHOEBE “BLUSH” DRESSER PAINTED BENJAMIN MOORE RALEIGH PEACH

HAVE FUN!

TELL ME WHAT COLORS YOU ARE LIKING? AND SEND ME YOUR BEFORES AND AFTERS

email    OR  Untitled

AND I WILL DO A READERS MAKEOVER POST!

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7 thoughts on “HOW TO PAINT A DRESSER

  1. Great tips for painting, Lesli! Thank you for letting folks know how important it is to wash a piece first— painting over dirt (especially someone else’s) is really disgusting…Murphy’s Oil Soap is my hardest worker, but its very good on your hands. If you spend the time on the prep work, you will be so much happier with the end results…totally worth the investment!
    For color ideas, look in your closet and see what colors you like to wear— it’s a good place to start for inspiration.
    I, too, have painted hundreds of pieces. “Befores and Afters” are posted on my website: originally-yours.com
    My rule is every room can support at least one painted piece, sometimes more if they are well placed. (If you love the color, it will work for you.)

  2. I’m with you!! My family can go to bed and a piece of furniture is one color and when they get up it’s a brand new color!! I don’t know how many pieces of painted over the years. I love all your dressers! Love the pops of color on the inside.
    Marcie

  3. Leslie I love your posts! Your work is so inspiring! You cracked me up about painting over cobwebs as I have done the same:)! Michelle

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