How To Repaint Furniture: The Big 15 Mistakes to Avoid

With the desire to offer another life, repainting a piece of furniture is an opportunity to give it pep but also a new personality. Discover the 15 mistakes to avoid before embarking on a furniture makeover and make it a success!

Repainting a piece of furniture is a way of making it your own, with new colors, it’s a new style that appears right in front of your eyes. Furniture in pallet wood, in natural and rough pine, in noble and robust oak, in rustic cherry wood and a little obsolete, in metal or copper, all supports lend themselves to the game of painting.

As long as you prepare your work well! So let’s take a look at 15 of the biggest mistake you could do while trying to refurbish your furniture.

Mistake #1 – Repainting dark wood furniture without applying an undercoat

Depending on the color of the wooden furniture and the desired tone, an additional step may be necessary. On wood, if the color is dark and you want a light color, it is essential to apply the first coat of white paint. A white base will give a perfect finish as close as possible to the chosen color.

Mistake #2 – Forgetting to apply varnish for the finish

A key element for repainting a piece of furniture, the finishing touches include the application of varnish. Both practical and aesthetic, the varnish refines the result after painting.

Today, varnishes are water-based and solvent-free for most products, so they are no longer harmful. The varnish is preferably transparent, matt or shiny depending on your desire. It is applied over the paint and keeps it intact.

On the maintenance side, the varnish can also be an asset. In colorless matt, the varnish has a nice look and is less messy than matt paint. It just requires a very smooth surface. The varnish also catches less dirt and is easier to clean.

Mistake #3 – Not sanding the furniture before repainting it

With wood or metal, sanding is essential before repainting a piece of furniture. If the piece of furniture is varnished, start by sanding it with a coarse grit to remove the paint and then finish with fine-grit sandpaper, especially to remove splinters.

For a piece of furniture made of pallet wood, sanding is essential for the wood to be smooth and clean. For metal furniture, sanding with a coarse grain is intended to remove rust. If you are cutting, the jigsaw will make the filaments come out of the wood. Remember to file off the corners or ends so that they are not sharp.

Not to mention that sanding also allows you to strip the furniture and remove the various layers of paint present. The sanding steps sometimes reveal some great discoveries. Sometimes at the last coat, you realize how beautiful the rough furniture is, like oak, and you prefer to keep the wood intact.

Mistake #4 – Cleaning the furniture with water before repainting it

As a reflex, we are often tempted to wash a piece of furniture to get rid of its dust or to give it a clean look. Before sanding, it is, indeed, a good idea to clean the furniture as long as you don’t soak it in water.

The wood may crack. With a vacuum cleaner, vacuum several times to remove all dust and imperfections. Then take a sponge dampened with a little black soap to wash it down.

Mistake #5 – Applying paint without treating the substrate

A little rust on metal or small holes in the wood are signs of imperfect support.

Before repainting a piece of furniture, it is best to treat it with an anti-rust product or with a suitable treatment, even if it does not appear damaged. It is always more difficult to treat a piece of furniture after applying paint.

Mistake #6 – Missing the primer on atypical supports

On lacquered furniture, kitchen furniture or cherry wood furniture, the paint cannot adhere to the substrate. If the furniture is covered with a very thick varnish, such as lacquer, sanding is not enough.

An adhesion primer is necessary before applying a coat of paint, once the support is clean and dry. This is a good option for kitchen furniture, for example, with a specific resin.

These adhesion primers allow you to start on a neutral base and have an infinite choice of colors or finishes. And the paint is also more resistant over time.

Mistake #7 – Repainting a wooden piece of furniture without fixing the holes

On antique furniture or damaged wood, some surfaces may have holes. If the furniture has holes, make sure to apply a wood paste.

A gesture that must be repeated several times because the paste shrinks. Depending on the location of the hole, you can play with colors to hide the imperfection.

Mistake #8 – Rushing the details on the patterns

Very fashionable, the motifs play a beautiful part in repainting your furniture. But they do require a little technique for a perfect result.

To make a motif, start by drawing the shape in pencil and then apply painter’s tape to the edges. Then, pass the brush perpendicularly in thin layers, stretching the paint well, without putting a big bundle of it. The paint dries faster and the result is also brighter.

Mistake #9 – Not owning the right equipment

Before repainting a piece of furniture, it is advisable to equip yourself with a roller adapted to the size of the support and a brush for corners and finishes.

If the support is large, it is better to paint the piece of furniture with a roller. The result is sharper and the rendering smoother.

Mistake #10 – Leaving existing paint on the furniture before repainting it

Many people don’t bother and opt for a primer to hang on to the various existing layers of paint. The finish is bad and you can’t see the wood grain, which is a shame. In time, the paint will be less resistant. At the slightest shock, the different layers will appear as well.

If the furniture already has several layers of paint that are difficult to remove, some professionals can help you.

Aeroscrubbing companies remove all layers of paint using several techniques: sand, crushed walnut shells, etc., propelled to remove all the paint even in the corners.

This process also has the advantage of being environmentally friendly and odorless.

Mistake #11 – Using only one grit for sanding

For optimal sanding, use papers with several grains in different steps. After washing the furniture, sand it with sanding paper.

A coarse grit (type 40) to break up layers and varnish, a medium grit (type 80 to 100) to sand the furniture and fine grit (type 120 to 160) for a very soft and smooth touch.

Mistake #12 – Applying only one coat of paint on the furniture

As with other surfaces, a piece of furniture requires several coats of paint for a finish as close as possible to the desired color. Repainting a piece of furniture inevitably requires two coats.

Some colors, such as black, even need four coats to achieve good opacity.

Mistake #13 – Cutting the drying time short

Essential for keeping it intact, a piece of furniture must be insulated after a painting job.

Before using the furniture after painting, it is important to allow the paint to dry and harden for two or three days. Otherwise, the furniture could be damaged by the slightest touch.

Mistake #14 – Underestimating the process of repainting a furniture

If the painting stage is often the most pleasant and fun, it is advisable not to rush and make sure to prepare yourself and get the furniture ready before starting the process.

Some pieces can be more complicated than others. The preparation is long and tedious. It often takes a certain amount of time to prepare the surface before the fun part of the painting can begin. You have to take the trouble to do it right.

Mistake #15 – Repainting outdoor furniture in dark tones

Outside, depending on the region, the furniture is subject to high levels of sunlight. Outdoors, a dark piece of furniture will attract the sun and the wood is likely to burn.

Painting a garden table black, for example, is not always a good idea. Some varnishes or stains are suitable for outdoor furniture, but it is also preferable, for comfort, not to repaint furniture in dark colors.

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