how to refinish furniture

Refinishing an old outdated piece of furniture doesn’t have to be overwhelming and time-consuming. In this post, I will show you how to refinish furniture with spray paint.

Below is the furniture piece when I first received it. Yes, I used a good quality spray paint for this project and it turned out really good. The finished texture is smooth and it looks flawless.

DIY repurposed entertainment center

I was lucky enough to receive this FREE from a neighbor. It was a solid piece in great condition. At first, I wasn’t thinking of putting it on the blog which is why I only snapped a few quick blurry photos.

My neighbor used it as an extra hallway storage center. At first glance it wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t my taste. I also didn’t like how bulky it was and needed to make some changes.

I repurposed it for our living room. The drawers are great for storing anything random and serve as extra storage, the bottom holds a basket for movie watching blankets, magazines, and books, or whatever.


I like unexpected elements in home decor. When a design is unexpected it can add interest and create a fun atmosphere. An easy way to achieve this is by adding color. You can easily add a splash of color to a small decorative accent or piece of furniture with spray paint. For the best results, it should be good quality paint and it has to be done right.

I realize this may not be for everyone, if you love natural wood and brown stain you may not like this piece. Painted furniture isn’t for everyone.

I also took it apart and transformed it into something a little different. The bottom had two doors that opened on the sides and was too bulky. I wanted to open up the bottom so we removed the lower doors, hinges, and bars. I filled all the holes with wood filler and sanded them before adding paint.


Piece of furniture to refinish and a ventilated area.

Reusable Drop Cloth

Hand held sander.

Sanding blocks (in a variety of grit)

Tack cloths

Protective goggles

Dust mask

Chalked spray paint, blush

Water based polyurethane, spray

I have added links to help you conveniently find the products that I used. (See my disclosure policy.) Most of these products can also be found at most hardware or home improvement stores.

The paint line and color that I used for this product has been discontinued. I ran out towards the end and had to search for any that I could find. A seller on eBay was selling a pack of three so I grabbed them. Since then, I have replaced the old brand with Rustoleum Chalked Spray Paint. The closest color I could find is blush. I have used many of their other colors and love them all.


First, wipe down the piece of furniture to remove any dust or debris. The wood should be clean of any dirt, dust, or anything that would get in the way of sanding it down. This is where tack cloths come in handy.

DIY repurposed furniture

It’s best to remove doors or drawers so you can work on each piece separately. Removing all the hardware and hinges will help give an overall clean look.

furniture redo


Second, sand the wood with a tough grit to remove most of the polyurethane. For this part, I like to use a handheld sander. It makes sanding a large surface area so much easier. If you are painting the wood you don’t necessarily have to remove all the stain, just the polyurethane layer. Removing the polyurethane will help the coat evenly and adhere to the wood.

Go over the wood with fine-grit sandpaper. You can use a handheld sander for both steps or use a fine-grit sanding block to quickly smooth out the wood. Use a wood filler for any imperfections that you don’t like.

furniture redo with paint

Again, I should have taken better photos.

DIY repurpose entertainment center

Once the wood filler has dried, sand it down so that it is smooth with the rest of the wood. Then wipe off the wood with a non-stick tack cloth to remove all dust or debris. Any area that may be uneven from wood filler can be sanded again after the first coat of paint to smooth and even out the coverage.

How to refinish furniture with paintwith paint
how to refinish furniture with paint

Place all wood to be painted on a drop cloth or tarp to protect the ground/floor in a ventilated area. I prefer outside if the weather permits. I originally chose white paint but wasn’t happy with the final project. It was nice I but felt it needed something.


Then, begin spraying small areas of wood in a slow, careful, back and forth motion. Coating with several light coats of paint will give a clean finish with fewer drips.

Let each coat dry according to packaging instructions. Reapply as directed until the desired color is reached.

Give the final coat at least 24 hours to set before applying a polyurethane topcoat.

Lastly, I apply a top coat over the entire painted area and add a second or third coat to high traffic areas that may be prone to dings and scratches from use.


Allow the topcoat to dry as directed on the label. I usually let the furniture sit for two to three days because objects placed on the surface may stick if the surface isn’t cured properly.

NOTE: I always try to keep the same base of paint/stain and topcoat. If you use water-based paint use, a water-based topcoat. If you use oil-based paint, try to use an oil-based topcoat. Keeping the same base helps them work together well for the best results.

Replacing the hardware also adds an extra interesting accent. I chose these marble and gold knobs because I like the way they look against the peach finish.

furniture redo

TIP: Always measure the size of the original hardware and the space between the insert holes before shopping around. Unless you are willing to fill the existing holes and drill new ones; I’ve done that too.

furniture redo

I was surprised at the smooth and clean finish of this project with spray paint. I painted several light coats which took a lot of patience. Letting each coat dry before re-coating left no brush marks which gave it a professional look.

To complete the job I used a water-based polyurethane over the water-based paint. Putting an extra coat for the top surfaces will protect them from scratches. I find both brush-on and spray polyurethane work well and give a good protective finish.

The link for the polyurethane is a spray version to keep this post true to the how-to refinish furniture with paint, spray technique. I do have to say that the spray version is a lot easier to apply and is a quick clean-up.

how to refinish furniture with paint

At first, I wasn’t sure if using spray paint was a good idea for a wood piece but I’m glad I tried. I love the way it looks, the smooth finish, and its durability. If you use good quality spray paint it can give good results and cut your work in half. I will use this technique again.

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  1. Such an informative blog! All the information provided by you is really very helpful. I agreed that tack cloth is the best cleaning tool than any other, it is really helpful for removing tiny dust particles over any surfaces. A good tack cloth makes your work easier. Everyone should follow the tips provided by you. thank you for sharing! Keep posting!

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