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Tips for Painting Old Furniture

Old furniture can be given a fabulous new lease of life with a lick of paint, some awesome tips from, and a bit of imagination.

Painting old furniture to make it look like new again serves many purposes. It can help stretch the budget when you are setting up home and can’t afford new furniture. It can offer a small business opportunity if you buy up an old furniture at garage sales and re-vamp it for resale. It helps people striving for a more sustainable way of living; very often furniture is discarded well before it is worn out, and is perfectly good to use for many years.

The first thing you need to do when painting old furniture is to make sure it is suitable. Make sure that it doesn’t have any woodworm in it before bringing it into your house (or wooden shed!). Check for repairs that need to be made, and be prepared to do these.

Strip the old paint off using a proprietary paint stripping compound or a sheet of sandpaper. I like to use a combination of these two methods, using sandpaper for the large, flat areas, because it is more environmentally friendly, and to be honest, I need the exercise! Once the bulk of the paint is removed, I used a gel paint stripper to get into the nooks and crannies. The stripper needs to be left alone for some time to do its work, so this is the time to go and get a cup of tea.

Remove the stripper with a damp rag and a stiff old toothbrush. Tease any odd scraps of paint away with the point of a Stanley knife. Wash the furniture to remove any remaining stripper. Let it dry.

Look over the furniture carefully and see if any bits need sanding down, and make any repairs.

Start with a base coat of neutral-colored paint. I like to use water-based odor-free paint. Use a darker color if your top color is going to be dark, or a light color if your top color is going to be light. Let it dry.

Now add your topcoat. Use a medium-sized brush, and do it outside. I find that I usually splash paint everywhere when I do the fiddle bits.

Choose the color of your paint to match your decor. Use dark brown for a cozy look, to imitate wood. Use chalky whites and pastels for a weatherbeaten look. Use bright, shiny white for a clean, bedroom style.

Once this has dried, you can add some decorative folk art flowers and swirls, or just leave it plain. It may need a second coat.

There are several decorative effects you can use on your painted furniture. Try some of the new paint finishes, like chalky white paints which peel after time to look aged and interesting. You can wax the corners of furniture after the first coat so that the topcoat peels off and looks antique.

You can buy crackle-glaze paints which give a fantastic effect. These are just right for a bedroom or antique style living room. They come in two-stage. You paint on the base coat first, and then quickly add the topcoat, which cracks to reveal the underneath.

Take time to look through interior design magazines and to go round your local home improvement store to see which new paints have been introduced before deciding how to proceed with your painted furniture. But beware it does become addictive and you might find that you end up painting everything in your house!

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