My advice is: buy new furniture

Okay maybe not really… but wow was this more of a pain in the ass than I thought it would be! I think that the problem with painting furniture is that it seems pretty small. And I know I can paint an entire room in an afternoon, or at most a day. So it seems like painting something like say… a dresser and two night stands would be cake.

What I didn’t think about is all the edges. A wall is a nice, big, flat surface. It’s also relatively porous and takes paint well. Furniture is all curves and legs and tiny pieces that all need to be painted perfectly, and its smooth which makes painting it a lot harder.

In the end, I spent about 9 hours on this project. It took me about an hour to take each piece apart (remove all the drawers and knobs), wipe everything down (it must be clean!) and lightly sand any damaged areas (like where there were big scratches on the top of the dresser).Then, it took about 2 hours to apply each coat of paint. One coat of primer, three coats of white.

I have to say that, in the end, I’m thrilled with this project. It is one of those things that I kind of hated while I was doing it because painting is not my favorite thing, but I think that the transformation is huge and bought me at least a few more years’ life out of these pieces of furniture. And, the grand total for this project was about $40 including having to buy a new paint brush.

The supplies?

1 paint tray – $2.50
sand paper- already owned
1 4-inch roller – $4
2-pack extra rollers – $4
masking tape (to tape off mirror)- already owned
primer- $6
white paint- $9
paint brush- $9
9 new knobs- $9

Total: $41.50

The cost for this project would have been even lower except I ruined my last 2″ paint brush doing the chalkboard paint project. Also, I bought new hardware for the dresser to make it match the silver knobs on the night stands and to update the look a bit. Additionally, I used less than 1/4th of the primer and only about half of the paint, so I have those for future projects.

But, let’s get down to brass tacks. I started this project by going to lowes and talking to the guy in the paint section about what I wanted to do. I got his advice and he picked my paint, primer, and roller for me. When in doubt, trust the guy that looks like Bob Vila. He said that the great thing about the primer he was suggesting was that it did NOT require you to sand your finished wood pieces first, unlike most primers. Nevertheless, I still sanded the top of my dresser because it was pretty damaged from years of use and abuse. This dresser was actually my great grandmother’s so I have no idea how old it might be or what happened to it before.

And here is the set prior to doing anything (I’m kicking myself for not getting a photo of the dresser with the drawers in it, but trust me… it wasn’t good).

Once I had that sanded and I had taped off the mirror, I primed everything.

The point of priming is not to get a nice even finish, but rather to get a first layer on there that paint will stick to. From what I’m told, it is supposed to look that bad. Next up came three coats of white paint. I did each coat at least 24 hours apart to make sure that the paint had fully dried between coats. There really is no magic to painting except to try to get the paint on in thin and even coats so that it doesn’t end up running or smudged.

Fast forward 6 hours (over the course of about a week), and I was able to install my new hardware! Since I had removed the old knobs, there were already holes ready and I was able to just pop on the knobs I bought from Lowes without haven’t to bust out my drill or tape measure. And at about $1 each, I think these definitely were worth the extra time to pick out.

And that’s it! Here are the before and afters.





The room obviously still needs a ton of work, but I feel like just this one relatively cheap step has made it feel a lot lighter and more cohesive already. Once I get some curtains up, a few things on the wall, and some new bedding, I think it will really start to feel a lot more like a planned room and less like a depository of left over furniture from other rooms (which okay… it is. But we all have to work with what we have, right?).

Anyone else undertake some furniture painting projects? Did you find it to be as tedious as I did?

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