Top Tips for Painting and Staining Wooden Furniture

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Posted

Paint or wood stain is an economical and relatively straight forward way to add a new life, shine and style to a dated, tired or un-coordinating piece of furniture. Furthermore, treating your furniture to a bit of tender loving care will help to protect the wood and inevitably prolong its shelf life. With so many products on the market however, beginning this project can be somewhat daunting. To try and help, this article takes you through the basics and insider tips to the perfect professional finish.

The first decision to make when starting this project is which type of paint or stain to use. An acrylic latex paint is ideal for wetter conditions such as bathrooms or kitchens as it resists peeling and mildew. Enamel paint protects the wood and can be easily cleaned again making it an ideal choice for kitchens. For dryer areas; your choice is more varied dependant on the finish you desire. Consider how much sheen you would like the furniture to have. Satin or eggshell finishes are shinier yet can highlight bumps and irregularities. They do however, resist dirt and stains. Flat paint minimizes the appearance of bumps and scratches but does have the tendency to trap dirt.

If you would prefer a more natural or softer look than paint, stain is the perfect solution and acts to accentuate the natural wood grain. Oil stains sink deep into the wood sealing the surface but slightly darkening the colour. Wiping stains available in a variety of colours and applied with a rag are much easier to control. Or, for a compromise between paint and stain, opt for a solid stain product which provides thorough coverage whilst also allowing the texture of the grain to show through. Whatever your choice, protect well used areas with a layer of varnish.

Once happy with your choice it is now time to apply the paint or stain. Set up your work area in a well-ventilated place such as a garage and position the furniture on a sheet or old newspaper. Remove any drawers, handles or other accessories to ensure your paint finish is even and simple to do. To prepare your furniture for painting or staining sand the piece down until smooth using a fine-grit sandpaper or liquid sander. However boring this is it is essential for a quality finish. Once finished, use a slightly damp rag, brush or vacuum to remove any sawdust created. So ensure the paint or stain adheres well to the furniture, apply a coat of brush on or spray on primer and allow to dry; apply a second coat if the finish is blotchy.

Before starting to paint, run over any rough parts of the furniture with a piece of sandpaper. Then using a quality brush, or inline with the individual product directions, apply the paint or stain using long even strokes in the direction of grain ensuring the paint or stain isn’t too thick or likely to dribble. Once dry, apply a second coat and allow to dry over night. To finish the product with a professional touch and protect your work, apply a coat of varnish in your desired finish and reattach any handles and accessories, set back in place and enjoy.

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