How to Paint Furniture {Update}

by Chris on March 28, 2013

Today is my first day of spring break, so I’m taking some time to catch up on some things. One of my most popular posts is how I paint furniture, and I’m afraid the paint I love, adore, and swear by no longer exists. Essentially, it’s being weeded out. The “replacement” paint is similar, but I need to tell you that it’s not the same. Bummer. Because I’ve received some e-mails that the link doesn’t always work (I think something happened when I transitioned to WordPress), I am presenting you with an updated version of how I paint furniture. Let’s begin!

First and foremost, clean the piece. Sometimes some mild soap and water will do, but I almost always use TSP. It removes dirt, oil, and some buildup that can appear on furniture–especially if it’s an older piece. It’s an easy product to find. I buy mine at my grocery store. :)

Furniture cleaner

While my old paint claimed that a piece did not require primer, I always use it. There have been a couple of smaller pieces where I didn’t prime, and they turned out just fine. However, it’ll last much longer if you do. What kind of primer? (Let’s pretend that’s what you asked.)

Furniture primer

Laziness took over, and I used an old picture here…I love Zinsser. I generally use oil-based primer because of it’s excellent coverage and adhesion. It works beautifully when painting laminate and will do a good job of covering up smell that some older furniture pieces can have.

Oil primer

And now…for the paint. I used to use Benjamin Moore’s Low Lustre Metal and Wood paint. It was perfection. The coverage was impeccable and the finish was stunning. And then they stopped making it. Ugh! I had a loooong conversation with my paint guy about why they chose to do it, but essentially it’s a matter of re-branding and complying with the changes in VOC regulations. Without getting too technical, just know that my love is no longer.

Benjamin moore low lustre

So we talked about different replacements, and he said this is it. Benjamin Moore Super Spec D.T.M Acrylic (still in low lustre for me). Do I like it? You BET! Do I love it? The jury is out. I feel like it’s missing the leveling of my old paint, and it takes more work to get the even coverage that the M&W offered. If you’re looking for the look I achieved with the buffet below, I think it’s a good investment to use this paint. It’s not perfection, but it’s pretty close.

Benjamin Moore Super Spec

However, never fear. There are plenty of other high-end paints that can give you an incredible look. I have always been an advocate of cutting costs where you can, but trust me when I say invest in good paint. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams are my go-to brands, but even then, don’t go with their low-end paint. Generally, the more money you spend (unfortunately), the better paint you’ll get.

how to paint furniture with a smooth finish

Paint with a smooth finish

Pottery Barn finish

Some info–I purchased the handles at Lowes a few years ago. I also used the Benjamin Moore paint on the projects below, and I didn’t prime either of them.

Painted Garage Door

Painted black door

Bar Stools

Black barstools

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