How to Paint Furniture | End Table

How to Paint Furniture | End Table

Posted by DecoArt on Jul 22nd 2021

Follow along to learn all the tips and tricks for painting furniture. Satin Enamels is a fan favorite among DIYers for its smooth finsh and durable strength.


    • clean cloth
    • drop cloth
    • paint stripper
    • putty knife
    • orbital sander or sand paper and hand
    • clamps
    • 2" paint brush
    • wood filler
    • wood glue


    1. The first step is to pick out the right furniture piece. I bought this nightstand for $20. You can get pieces similar to this for less, if not free! I loved this piece since it was wood and not veneer. You can usually tell by the weight and also by the edges if it's wood or particleboard/veneer. If the piece has a veneer or is made of cheaper material, it can still be painted but won't be as high-quality.
    2. Instruction #1
    3. Take off all of the hardware that will get in the way of painting. Make it easy on yourself and even remove the hinges. Trying to paint around any metal is a pain! Taking this extra time will save your sanity in the future, trust me!
    4. Instruction #2
    5. Do any necessary fixes prior to painting. Sadly, this door was not broken when I bought it. It broke while I was taking it out of the truck! Fortunately, this can be fixed.
    6. Instruction #3
    7. I used wood glue along the fracture to fix it.
    8. Instruction #4
    9. Then I clamped it while it dried and cured. Soon it will be good as new! When working with thrifted furniture, fixes are a necessary part of the process. However, there's something so satisfying about turning trash into treasure.
    10. Instruction #5
    11. This will also be a point where you would want to fix any holes with wood filler. When I took the door off to fix it, I realized I loved the inside of the door even more than the outside! I decided to switch it up and make it the front. Once the wood filler and/or wood glue dries, sand it down to a smooth finish.
    12. Instruction #6
    13. Using fine-grit sandpaper, go over the entire piece lightly. This should be just enough to give the paint something to grip. I like to use a palm sander, but this also can be done by hand.
    14. Instruction #7
    15. Clean up the sanding dust with a slightly damp cloth. Wait for the piece to dry, it shouldn't take long.
    16. Instruction #8
    17. This step is optional, I wanted to keep the original wood at the top of the end table. You can paint the whole thing or let some of the original wood shine through, it's up to you! I like how the wood grain accents the paint. To clean off the varnish on the wood I use an aerosol stripper. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and work in a well ventilated area. I sprayed a coat of it on the varnish and waited a couple of minutes. If you spray it on paint, it will take longer to soak through.
    18. Instruction #9
    19. Using a putty knife, scrape off the top layer of varnish. The wood underneath was beautiful!
    20. Instruction #10
    21. Now it's time to paint! Lay down a drop cloth and gather your paint and brushes.
    22. Instruction #11
    23. I chose Smoke Grey from DecoArt's Americana Decor Satin Enamels. This is one of the best paints for painting furniture. I know from experience!
    24. Instruction #12
    25. Start painting! I like to start in the edges and corners first and work inwards. Make sure to go back and catch all the drips. Use long strokes following the grain of the wood. Never go over a spot that is tacky and almost dried, this will create problems and pull up or bubble the paint.
    26. Instruction #13
    27. Take out the drawers to make things easier. Go over the edges/trim of the dresser with a coat of paint. This is the point where I would wait for all the paint to dry and then do a second coat. If you do notice some paint streaking or brush strokes after your first coat, go over it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper before applying the second coat.
    28. Instruction #14
    29. Insert the drawers and pull them out away from the dresser frame. Now it's time to paint the drawer fronts. Make sure to get the top, bottom, and side edges. Do two coats, or full coverage, on these as well.
    30. Instruction #15
    31. Once the paint is completely dry, you can add back your hardware. I usually change up the hardware a bit to make the makeover even more dramatic. Plus, this piece was missing half of its drawer pulls.
    32. Instruction #16