10 mistakes to avoid when painting wooden furniture, according to experts


'All projects should start with good preparation – this will ensure that your endeavors pay off,' says Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador of Farrow & Ball. 'Follow the manufacturer's preparation and painting instructions, and this can be achieved easily over a weekend. It’s a lovely way to introduce color into your home.'

1. Ignoring Wood Acclimatization

2. Failing To Prepare The Furniture

'One of the most common mistakes is skipping the preparation process,' warns Shlomo Cherniak, owner of Cherniak Handyman Services. 'It's important to properly prepare the furniture before painting to ensure good adhesion and a smooth finish. 'Before applying paint, it's crucial to ensure that the surface is clean and free of dust, oil, or any other substances. Failure to do so can prevent the primer or paint from adhering properly.'

3. Overlooking The Sanding Process

Sanding is the foundation of a successful paint job, and it is a significant mistake not to get this step right. It's important not to overlook sanding between coats since this helps the new coat of paint adhere better to the surface, and it also smooths out any imperfections or bumps in the previous later. Skipping the sanding steps can lead to paint not adhering well, resulting in a less-than-smooth finish.

4. Not Properly Priming The Surface

Some people forget the importance of priming before painting and underestimate the significance of a high-quality primer. Paint that chips or peels readily could be the result of selecting the incorrect primer.

5. Choosing The Wrong Type Of Paint

'Selecting paint that is not suitable for wood surfaces can lead to disappointing results and issues such as chipping, peeling, or an uneven finish,' warns Jonathan Warshaw, founder of Simple Woodworker. 'Choose the right paint for the type of furniture you're painting. 'Acrylic, oil-based, or latex paints are commonly used for wood projects. Consider the finish you want (matte, satin, glossy) and the type of wood you're working with when choosing the paint.'

6. Ignoring Hardware Removal

Failure to remove hardware prior to painting can result in a finish that is less professional-looking. This may lead to uneven painting around handles, knobs, or hinges, or it could result in damage to the accessories themselves. For a smoother and more even paint job, remove all hardware carefully from the wooden furniture before painting.


When painting furniture, using the proper painting techniques to sidestep common pitfalls for a flawless finish is just as important as proper prepping.

7. Overloading The Paintbrush

'I have seen many beginners apply thick coats thinking it will speed up the process,' says Jonathan Warshaw, professional woodworker. 'However, this results in drips, uneven coverage, and cracking.

8. Ignoring Grain Direction On Raw Wood

Be sure not to make the mistake of overlooking the grain direction while working with raw wood furniture. Paint that is applied against the natural grain may highlight the wood's texture unevenly, making the finish less desirable.


Finally, once the painting is done, it is essential to follow a few final steps to protect the painted surface and ensure its longevity. Ignoring these steps can mean a perfectly good paint job goes to waste.

9. Ignoring The Drying Process

'Rushing the drying process can lead to smudges, smears, or damage to the paint finish,' warns Shlomo Cherniak, professional handyman. 'It's important to allow each coat of paint to dry completely before applying the next coat or handling the furniture.'

10. Not Sealing Properly

'Applying a clear topcoat or sealant can help protect the paint from scratches, stains, and other damage,' says Shlomo Cherniak. A clear coat, usually polyurethane, will protect your painted furniture, just be sure to allow the paint and clear coat to dry completely before applying the next layer, or it will still peel.

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