Monday, December 19, 2011

DIY: Painting Furniture

Home decor is not really something I ever paid much attention to.  When it comes to clothes I have no problems dressing myself or knowing what works and what doesn't but when it comes to the home I have really little experience.  My parents decorated my room when I was a child and I never changed it.  When I moved to New York, my previous roommate had an amazing knack making a room look warm, inviting and comfortable.  My current bedroom is actually the first room I ever bought furniture for and for a long time all I had was a mattress, a desk and a chair.  After she moved out of the apartment, things kind of started becoming much less cute as I had new roommates and we all had different odds and ends that didn't quite go together.  The homey feeling that I had taken for granted was gone - I was determined to make my home home again.

The piece of furniture that started it all was the dining room table. I had bought it off Craigslist and it was painted grey, but the finish wasn't in the greatest shape and the lady I purchased the table from ended up giving me the leftover paint so I could fix it.  I ended up looking up a little bit about furniture painting and decided it would be my next project.  Fixing up the table led me to paint the chairs and I keep on painting and still have more painting left to do - guess you can't redo an apartment overnight and even though it's hard work it's been rewarding and kind of addictive.

One of the first things I learned about painting furniture is that if you are painting un-finished wood (without a shiny finish) like the Ikea chairs I had inherited a primer is not necessary.  However, if you do end up re-painting furniture you can buy an oil based primer to use as a base or a self priming paint.

Next, I removed any parts of the furniture that would be easier if it wasn't in the way of paint.  I removed handles and seats using a screwdriver.

Make sure that your furniture is clean and dry.  I scrubbed the table with soap and water and wiped everything down with rubbing alcohol to remove any trace of oil.

Using a fine grit sanding block I gave everything a light sanding to build up a grit on the surface so the paint sticks better.  Make sure you wear a dust mask for this part to avoid breathing in any harmful carcinogens that may be in the paint.  Wipe off any excess dust using a tack cloth or damp paper towel/rag.

Using a water based paint and good quality brush (to prevent streaks and bristles falling out into your hard work) I followed the paint directions and added one layer of paint at a time, letting dry and sanding lightly in between to create a smooth surface.

Finally, I used 2 coats of Minwax Poly Acrylic in clear to make sure that my paint job especially in heavy use objects like the dining room table would stay in place for a long time and not stick to any dishes or objects placed on top.

Although everything was dry to the touch within a few hours, to make sure your paint job lasts make sure you don't put anything on top of your surfaces for at least 48 hours or preferably 5 days to make sure everything is completely dry and set.
Since my table was grey, I decided to use Classic Burgundy for the chairs as a bit of a pop and to tie back to the burgundy sofa in the living room area.  However after painting the table grey and the chairs burgundy, I noticed the place looked a little dark so to make things look more fun I decided to add another fun accent color into the mix to brighten things up and add some cheer.  Also since I am not allowed to paint the walls, it only makes sense to have some colorful furniture.

Make sure that your paint is well blended, I stirred it inside the can but also made sure to pour it into a small container mixing again to ensure even color.  It also is nice to use a small container so that the can doesn't dry out and get lumpy and in case you knock over paint by accident, it won't be a huge mess.

For this piece of furniture, even though I was a bit nervous painting over something dark, I didn't use a primer but a self priming paint.  After 2 coats it looked pretty great but I added a 3rd coat in certain areas to ensure maximum coverage.
I wanted to paint my side tables to bring some of the Blue Spa color into the living room but unfortunately these were more of an endeavor.  The side tables are made of metal and MDF board.  The self-priming paint doesn't seem to like to stick to the metal portion very well although the MDF board section painted over nicely.  I ended up having to scrape the paint off again, use a heavier grit sandpaper to rough up the surface and use an actual primer before painting over it again.
While my work with making my apartment look like home isn't complete, it's been a lot of fun watching it all come together and my apartment is definitely a lot more cheerier and comfortable than it used to be.


Kim said...

It looks so good! I love how the colors came together.

Valerie Casady said...

Blue Spa seems like a gorgeous choice. It’s very attractive. The side table definitely adds life to the room with its new bright color. :)

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