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DIY Paint Old Furniture to Make It Look New

This was a great DIY project. We wanted to refinish my old bedroom furniture for the babies room. My wife hates the brown and almost refuses to allow it in the house. This is how I made it so it was acceptable for her.


First off since it has a Polyurethane coating on it you have 2 options strip it or paint over it with a primer. I chose to paint over with a primer. The Primer must be an oil based Primer in order to cover the Polyurethane coat. I used Zinsser Pros Primer with Stain Blocker in White. This is not an easy clean up. I just planned on throwing away the roller and brush. Second step is to get paint. I choose a self-leveling highly durable high gloss paint.SONY DSC

Getting ready:

  • Primer
  • Paint roller (use a smooth Foam roller for cabinets)
  • Screw Driver
  • Paint Roller Pan
  • 100 and 200 Grit Sand PaperSONY DSC
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes (not foam)
  • Wood putty and Putty knife
  • Polycrylic protectant


  1. Step One remove all hardware from the furniture with your screw driver. If you have any cuts or deep gashes in the wood use the putty to fill them and wait until dry then sand it smooth. Any marks or low areas you can sand down and make the furniture nice and smooth.
  2. Once the furniture is nice and smooth. Pour your primer into the pan and use your paint brush to paint the non-smooth areas and corners. Once done with that use the roller to paint all flat areas. The primer dries fast so paint in sections. Half of one side at a time. Watch for drips in the non-smooth areas. The paint likes to drip along corners and in crevasses.
  3. After it is primed the best thing to do is wait a couple days until it is totally dry. If you sand too early it will gum up the sand paper quickly. If you have a nice smooth surface use the 200 grit sand paper to sand it smooth and you are ready for a second coat and then paint. If you have some non-smooth areas then use the 100 grit sand paper very lightly sanding down the runs and unsmooth primer. Once done with 100 go over everything with 200 and then get ready for paint.
  4. Painting. The same process applies for paint as did the primer. Corner and crevasses first, then roller, light sand and it’s done. I used a black spray paint on the handles to make them look fresh you can buy replacements, but measure the old ones so the holes line up when you buy new ones.


5. Sand down any areas needed and do light touch up with the paint.

6. Finally when it looks great go over it 3 times painting the whole thing with Polycrylic. This add’s a layer of protectant on the paint to prevent damage. I used a paint brush for this. It’s clear just choose the correct shine gloss or matte. Once it is dry put everything back together. I would let it really dry (days later). Because if the drawer is still wet it will be tacky and stick to the other parts of the furniture. SONY DSC SONY DSC

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