It's not always necessary to get rid of old or dated furniture. Sometimes a good sanding and a coat of paint is all a piece needs to bring it back to life. Whether it was a hand-me-down from a relative or a garage sale find, you can bring back life to your furniture. Follow these steps to learn how to paint distressed furniture.
Find a well-ventilated area. This project will take at least a couple days, so find a spot you can work in that have good air flow and is away from open flames. A garage or a workshop would be ideal.
Prepare the furniture. Before you can paint distressed furniture, you will need to prep it. Do this by removed any pulls, handles and any other hardware that you can. It's not necessary to deconstruct the whole piece. If you can't remove something but you don't want to paint or damage it, cover it in painters tape. (Masking tape will do.) Then, working on top of a drop sheet, sand down the piece of furniture with fine-grit sandpaper. Of course, safety glasses and a dust mask are a good idea here. You can use a sanding block or a small electric sander. Just be aware that electric sanders tend to leave marks. Use caution. Your goal is to make the surface of the piece as smooth as possible. Once the piece has been sanded back down to its original wood grain, run a vacuum and a wet cloth over every nook and cranny to remove any residual dust or paint chips. The whole piece needs to be clean and free from dust. Now is the time to clean your work area too, since you don't want any sawdust to get into your paint. Take a few minutes to vacuum up all of the sawdust and debris in your workspace. You are now ready to paint your distressed furniture.
Apply a coat of primer. You want to give your furniture a good base before you paint it, and you can do this by starting with a coat of primer. You can apply this by brush or with a spray can. Look for a brand that dries without brush lines, if possible. Water-based primer is your best bet. Depending on the brand of primer you used ,your piece will need to sit to dry for some time. This can vary from a few hours to a whole day. Check the instructions to be sure. Test to see if the piece is dry by touching it with your finger in a hidden spot. If no marks are left, gently hand-sand any rough spots. You are ready to move on to the next step.
Add some paint. Now you can finally paint your distressed furniture! Using water-based paint, apply your wood paint with even strokes of the brush. Allow it to dry overnight and then apply a second coat the following day. (You may want to sand between coats if the surface isn't smooth). Be sure that you wash out your brushes each time you use them. Once your final coat of paint has dried, you're done. Step back and admire your first attempt at painting distressed furniture.