How to Paint Furniture: A Beginner's Guide

How to Paint Furniture: A Beginner's Guide

Learn how to paint furniture with this step by step tutorial! Consider this a beginner’s guide, or Furniture Painting 101 crash course, for how to get the smoothest, most professional-looking finish possible. I wrote a blog tutorial several years ago and to this day it is my most popular post and the one that I get the most questions and comments about, so I thought it might be helpful to share it in video form. Disclaimer: There are a lot of different ways to go about painting furniture, as well as different types of products you can use, but this is the technique that works best for me and I’ve linked my favorite products below.

Blog Post/Written Tutorial:
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Below are links to the products I use:
(Includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Murphy Oil Soap:
Mini Paint Roller:
Foam Roller:
Tack Cloth:
Sanding Block:
Minwax Polycrylic (Satin Finish):
Minwax Polycrylic (Semi-gloss Finish):
Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (Natural):
Cotton Cloth for Buffing:
Satin Wipe-On Poly:
Wood Filler:

Examples of furniture I’ve painted:

Powder Blue Nightstand Makeover

IKEA TARVA Dresser Hack

Lime Green Kid’s Dresser: Thrifty Style Series

IKEA Tarva Hack Tutorial

DIY Kids Art Table

IKEA Billy Bookcase Makeover

Bookshelf Makeover: Before & After

Thrifted Dresser Turned Sideboard

Kid’s Art Gallery Wall with Crayola


#howto #diy #diyprojects


  1. Federica Schoeman on January 30, 2023 at 3:56 am

    Help!! I started to paint a dresser with a paint that on Amazon everybody declared to be BUY-AND-APPLY and sure enough the paint is not adhering well, and brush after brush it streaked and looked worse. I only did the top and stopped there. I am applying the primer to the rest of the dresser now, of course. HOWEVER, can I apply the primer on top of the ugly paint job I already did on the top part, followed by a re-paint job on top of that? Many thanks for your help.

  2. ansah amir on January 30, 2023 at 3:57 am

    Hi please also guide about matte finish too. Thankss

  3. Тetyana Kolesnyk on January 30, 2023 at 3:58 am


  4. lisa kerr on January 30, 2023 at 4:01 am

    hi Erin,
    I live in Spain too. Do you know or buy brand name products here in Spain that are equivalent to the American brands? Thanks

  5. Lovely Lynda on January 30, 2023 at 4:03 am

    Very helpful information. Thanks!

  6. tdx09 on January 30, 2023 at 4:04 am

    What is the time for each step give or take (i.e. drying). Is this an all-day activity, or a couple hours?

  7. Victoria Soares on January 30, 2023 at 4:05 am

    This is the best video I’ve found

  8. Jenny Grokowsky on January 30, 2023 at 4:05 am

    This was so helpful! How long do you wait for the top coat to cure if you used a polyurethane semi-gloss spray?

  9. P Charette on January 30, 2023 at 4:05 am

    You’re a hoot! I could see us being buds. Thanks for the video and especially the outtakes 🙂

  10. Gunner on January 30, 2023 at 4:06 am

    Damn you’re gorgeous

  11. Vanessa Martin on January 30, 2023 at 4:07 am

    Would this technique work for refinishing a crib? Just want to make sure it’s okay if my baby tries to chew on the crib or something along those lines.

  12. Angel Shona on January 30, 2023 at 4:07 am

    Thank you we actually pented book selves and nest of tables with Matt paint . We had to do at least 2 coats. Wish we had done a gloss now. We waxed them but not made any difference. X

  13. Tech and Gaming on January 30, 2023 at 4:07 am


  14. Helen Wilson EADE on January 30, 2023 at 4:07 am

    Great tutorial. Really enjoyed it. Thank you.

  15. SweetPotato on January 30, 2023 at 4:08 am

    Beautiful tutorial! On a side note in the beginning I heard you say, "Hi I’m here in Spain" and I was like "okkaay?" Then I realized that was your name 🤣 thought you’d find that funny!

  16. Mila Nik on January 30, 2023 at 4:12 am

    Love this video! I really want to re-paint my small dining table from black to white, but I did not know where to start… I have one suggestion: I would love to see under the video a list of the products you used – like type of paint, wax, primer, top coat, etc. Even if it is important what type of brushes/rollers is good to use with which kind of products. I am a beginner and all this will help tremendously! Thank you so much for the simple video!

  17. lilianna longfellow on January 30, 2023 at 4:15 am

    I use disposable shower caps in my paint tin, from the dollar store and just throw the caps away when you’re done. It’s so much easier and the clean up is the easiest I’ve ever done

  18. Efe Arman on January 30, 2023 at 4:15 am

    I have a question, I want to add some designs to my piece. after I applied my last coat of paint and start my design, what type of paint could I use? because in my area, paints are usually sold in high amounts. Would acrylic craft paints be fine? Or should I really get all the colours I need in furniture paint? also, if I could use acrylics, would it change any of the previous steps? thank you for everyone’s answers in advance : )

  19. Melissa Hall on January 30, 2023 at 4:16 am

    Thanks so much

  20. 316 Woodworks on January 30, 2023 at 4:16 am

    I love this! I can’t use the tack cloth without rubber gloves. Drives me nuts. Also, as much as I hate taking the time, I open the tack cloth, fluff it and let it sit out on a clean surface prepared before opening it. I like 15 minutes. It’s what the instructions say and to me, it’s a game changer. Next, I use that tack cloth as light as possible because it will come off on your work and mess it up with goo. So don’t open a tack cloth, keep it square, then rub your work hard and wonder why it looks like ike 💩. My other tip is from a wood worker I trust. They make gray scotchbrite pads. I use them religiously in between coats. It’s a game changer and 8ll never go back. That’s the one tip thap made me a hero from a zero. If using a compressor to blow your work, make sure it’s super dry and having an inline air filter is key. Always expect 3-5 days to do the job right. I always want to do it in a few hours. You can do this but your effort and time is directly related to your final score on perfection. Keep up the great work. Love your content and hope people comment and teach me more!!!

  21. Kari Bernard on January 30, 2023 at 4:18 am

    What sources do you recommend for hardware? I love what you’ve used on the pieces shown at the end of the video.

  22. LMONKEY2 on January 30, 2023 at 4:19 am

    This is such a helpful video, thank you 😊 🙏

  23. Becky P on January 30, 2023 at 4:23 am

    Super helpful- by birthday present to myself today~ everything I need to paint my 1st dresser. Thank you💙

  24. KKK Tube on January 30, 2023 at 4:24 am

    From India, especially your technic super

  25. Sheri George on January 30, 2023 at 4:25 am

    Primer is only used if we’re using an opaque paint??

  26. VM Mac on January 30, 2023 at 4:26 am

    Excellent tutorial

  27. Car Audio Inc on January 30, 2023 at 4:27 am

    if you can’t reach a spot, scotch brite or steel wool works wonderfully

  28. Its Random on January 30, 2023 at 4:27 am


    1) prep your peice of furniture by cleaning your peice and using Wood filler and sandpaperring your peice

    3) prime your peice, thin coats. Sand off any bumps. After that go in with paint

    4) add top coat, "whip on poly" or any other paint sprayer

  29. Somewhere in Indiana on January 30, 2023 at 4:28 am

    Great video! So helpful 👍👏🤩

  30. ILruffian on January 30, 2023 at 4:29 am

    Looking for pro paint stuff as I move from brushing to spraying and the algorithm displayed this. Watched it and a few more of your videos. Great work, truly well done. You just earned a sub!

  31. Shianne Pellegal on January 30, 2023 at 4:30 am

    What if you are doing chalk paint? Do I have to use primer and sand it first?? It’s my first time painting a dresser. Please message back thanks

  32. Katen Kyōkotsu on January 30, 2023 at 4:32 am

    Does this method change if there’s already paint on the furniture? I’m trying to paint it a different color!

  33. Joanne Chung on January 30, 2023 at 4:33 am

    this has been the clearest video of how to paint furinture. preparing for my first project i appreciate it! thank yoUu!

  34. Santino Diaz on January 30, 2023 at 4:34 am

    Using this video to help me sand and pint a crib for my first born baby girl appreciate all tips

  35. denyze Vola on January 30, 2023 at 4:34 am

    En francais on pourait comprendre pas lavpeine de faire des videos au qu’el on ne comprend rien et pour acheter les produit idem ou se les procurer qu’el sont t’il

  36. Jeremy Rawlings on January 30, 2023 at 4:35 am

    What grit is this sanding block

  37. at me on January 30, 2023 at 4:39 am

    What’s best to use for a high gloss finish?

  38. Alejandra Rivera on January 30, 2023 at 4:40 am

    Loved the tutorial. Thank you so much. I had never seen before that Murphy oil cleaner,where can I buy it please . I want to paint my mother’s rocking chair for my grandchild, it has a lot of round pieces, any tip to deal with the round parts? Thanks a lot!

  39. Momentry Scenes on January 30, 2023 at 4:40 am

    Chutiya video

  40. geoff savage on January 30, 2023 at 4:41 am

    Great video, a question though, why use satin or semi gloss paint if you then put a top coat over it?

  41. RossoXIII on January 30, 2023 at 4:44 am

    Thank you for the great video. And its good to know the purpose of sanding, waxing etc like you mention. I was getting stressed because I was unable to sand properly on some tiny crevices. Let’s see how it goes 🙂

  42. Angela Gannon on January 30, 2023 at 4:44 am

    Thank you! I’ve got an old dresser that needs some TLC. Plus I’ve painted room a beautiful barrier reef color (blue), and my dresser is hand made from almost 40yrs ago & its dark… want my room to lighter colored furniture. ☺️

  43. Sheema Khan on January 30, 2023 at 4:45 am

    gr8 video

  44. Anona Meows on January 30, 2023 at 4:46 am

    What level sander were you using?

  45. Marian Green on January 30, 2023 at 4:47 am

    Would you use a similar process to paint stained kitchen cabinets?

  46. Happy Leaf Studios on January 30, 2023 at 4:48 am

    Do you not rinse off the soap?!

  47. Antonio Barreiros on January 30, 2023 at 4:49 am

    Hello, thanks very much for the tips! Can you recommend a product that would be the equivalent to Murphy Oil Soap in Europe? I don’t think i can find this brand here in Portugal 🙁 What else would work? What are the key elements or properties in Murphy oil soap i could easily find in another similar product?

  48. Rachel Backer on January 30, 2023 at 4:49 am

    This was so helpful! Thank you!

  49. 316 Woodworks on January 30, 2023 at 4:51 am

    Oh, one.more tip that my 80 year old mother gave me. There are times when using spackle to fill in small voids completly is better to use than wood filler or plastic wood. I hate plastic wood unless I’m reshaping a big chunk missing. Then it’s best. If the fuller you choose is so hard to sand, you end up sanding off good wood around that area and do more damage than good. Cheers mates!

  50. Jesse D on January 30, 2023 at 4:52 am

    Great video, Erin! Can you tell us what grade the sanding block is please? Thank you!