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We’re at that great time of year when the sun is out but it’s still not too hot, so why not spend a little time outdoors giving your home and garden a well-needed spruce. Perhaps on your list is to paint old wooden furniture and give it a freshen up. Please don’t be fooled into simply painting over the wooden furniture as it is – there is a technique (believe it or not) and here’s what you need and how to do it…

  • Wood cleaner
  • Sandpaper
  • Oil-based primer paint
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Cloth
  • Furniture paint (of course!)
  • A roller or paintbrush

It’s All About The Prep

First, you should move your wooden furniture into the spacious area possible before you get to work. This area will need to be large enough so that you can paint with plenty of space but ideally not used too regularly, as the smell of paint can often linger in the air for a prolonged period of time. The other essential part within the prep of upcycling wooden furniture is to make sure that you removed all of the hardware, this will most probably just be some doorknobs on a dresser or maybe some accent pieces – but ensure these are stored in a safe place (including the screws!) The final step to prepping is to make sure that the entire piece of wooden furniture is completely clean.

Sand, Sand And Sand Some More

Sand your wooden furniture until the gloss is completely gone, this will allow your new layer of paint to ‘stick’ to your upcycled furniture. Standard sandpaper should work just fine for this step.

Prime Time!

After your furniture is dust-free and beautifully sanded it is time to paint on some primer. This helps your paint adhere to the wooden furniture piece better and it also covers any stains or discolourations in the wood. When you are on the hunt for a paint primer, keep an eye out for oil-based primers- they work great for wooden furniture.

Sand Again…

Once your furniture is primed it is then time to go back in with the sandpaper and sand again. Using fine-grit sandpaper, lightly sand your piece between each coat of paint, to give a professional-looking finish. We would highly recommend having a standard cloth to hand to wipe over your upcycled wooden furniture and make sure that there is no remaining dust left on the furniture before adding another coat.

Get Painting

It’s finally time to paint! Take your choice of paint and paint in thin coats. Remember to sand in between each coat of paint that you apply, this is really important if you are looking for a professional and even finish. The average piece of furniture will more than likely need 2-3 coats of paint, however, this will depend on the paint you are using and the furniture you are painting. The tools you use are completely up to you – you are the master of your creation after all.

Protect Your Masterpiece

Although your furniture may seem dry, you should leave it for a full 24 hours. Sealing your furniture provides extra protection for your finish and also creates a wipeable, easy to clean surface. We’d recommend using a wax protector and simply wiping it on with a cloth, making sure to really buff it all in. We’d then recommend leaving your furniture for a further 1-2 days to make sure the protective layer has fully set.

How To Maintain Your Upcycled Creation

When cleaning oak furniture is extremely simple and all you will need is microfiber cloths and clear dish soap. Start by wiping down your wood furniture with a barely damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime. You never want the water to sit on the wood, so quickly wipe it down with another dry microfiber cloth.


For more outdoor design and interior decorating ideas, check out the Inside Out Living blog. We’ve recently published our 2020 guide to self-styled home interiors, so you might find something there to help spark your creativity if you’re looking for something a little more hands-on than painting.



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