PREP THE FURNITURE
Prepare the area for the painting project. Place drop cloths on the floor, and open any windows and doors to allow plenty of ventilation into the area, however avoid drafts and any dust. Position the wood furniture that is to be painted on the cloths.
Remove any necessary hardware from the furniture. Maybe you're renovating a chest of drawers, or a dresser; in that case, you want to remove any hardware that's attached to the furniture before you paint it. This does two things: It ensures that the hardware is paint-free when you reattach it, and that the entire piece will be adequately covered with paint if you decide that you want use different hardware.
Patch any chipped, holed, or pitted surfaces with wood filler. Apply most of the wood filler to the damaged part of the wood, not to the undamaged wood, although there can be some overlap (and you'll be able to sand it down later). Use the putty knife to scrape away excess wood filler and allow it to dry.
• If you're replacing any hardware on the furniture, fill in the old holes where the previous hardware was attached. Scrape flush to the board with a putty knife and let dry.
Sandpaper the surface of the furniture. This can be managed by using a piece of sandpaper with a sandpaper block, or by using a hand sander for larger pieces. The goal is to remove any protective varnish or lacquer that is on the surface of the wood, making it easier for the primer coat to adhere.
Pay close attention to any scroll work or other indentations in the wood, making sure to sand those by hand as thoroughly as possible. Pay special attention to the areas where wood filler was applied. Sand enough so that the filled portions are flush with the rest of the furniture.
Remove any residue left after sanding the furniture surface. Wiping gently with a clean tack cloth will help remove the residue and leave the surface clean. If necessary, use a mild detergent and wipe the wood surface dry with the cloth.
PRIMING & PAINTING
Prime if you want an even look on your furniture. Using a paintbrush, gently brush an even coat of the primer on the surface of the wood. Allow the primer to dry before moving on to painting the furniture piece.
• If you want your coat of paint to adhere evenly to the wood, and you want the finish to last longer, you're going to want to add a primer before you paint.
• If you're going for more of a weathered, distressed look on your furniture, you may want to skip the primer. Note that the paint may eventually chip if no primer has been set down before painting.
• Prime often-used surfaces thickly for added coverage. If you're painting a tabletop or a desktop, you may want to apply a couple of layers or one thick layer to give added protection and sheen to often used parts of your furniture.
Sand the primed surface after it has dried. Go over every area of primed surface with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will help your paint bond to the primer even better than it already does. Be sure, however, to wipe away any dust or residue with a tack cloth before you hit the surface with paint.
Paint the wooden furniture with a brush. Using even strokes go over the furniture. Allow the coat to dry, and inspect the piece for any areas that are not completely covered by the paint.
Apply a second coat of paint, if necessary. Most painters will find that a coat of primer and paint won't give the furniture that professional look that they're seeking. Wait for the first coat of paint to dry (overnight is best, but at least 6 hours), and then hit it with another coat of the same paint, using the methods described above.
Seal the paint job on the wooden furniture (optional). Once the paint is dry, apply a lacquer or sealant to protect the paint from nicks and scratches. This will also add a slight gloss to the piece, a feature that works well in many decorating schemes. Make sure the sealant is dry before moving the piece into the area of the home where it will be used.