How to Paint All Types of Cabinets and Furniture

ECOS 09/26/2015

Say you found a piece of furniture at a thrift store and most everything about it is perfect. It’s the right size, shape, and it’s cheap so you feel like it was meant to be yours, but there’s one problem - it’s ugly. Or maybe you’re looking at a new (old) house, but the cabinets in the kitchen are hideous, and you can’t afford a full renovation. Know what the solution is? PAINT. That’s right, you can paint almost everything. Seriously, with the right prep work, the perfect ugly dresser can simply be perfect after you paint it. The same goes for cabinets. You can transform them into something you love for a lot less money than a full remodel. Today we’re going to walk you through a 101 on how to paint all types of cabinets and furniture.

Bare Wood

Do you want to change something old-timey rustic to here-and-now contemporary? Follow these easy steps:

  • Sand - Wear a dust mask. Start with 100 grit sandpaper and work your way up to 220 as the piece gets smoother. If it was already smooth, just give it a light sanding. Wipe off the dust with tack cloth.
  • Prime - Primers can be very toxic and release a lot of nasty VOCs, so zero-VOC* Ecos Interior Wood Primer is a preferable alternative. Apply one coat of primer with a brush or mini-roller. *Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use). Learn more about VOCs and our commitment to healthier paints here.
  • Sand In Between Coats - Use a fine grit sanding sponge to sand in-between paint coats. Paint raises the grain of the bare wood so sanding after each coat will give you a smooth finish. High grit sandpaper is fine also, but the sponge is easier to use.
  • Paint - Try ECOS Exterior Semi-Gloss Trim and Furniture Paint  – it's high quality and also self-priming (so you can skip that earlier step and get right to painting). Apply two coats of paint. Make sure you sand in between the coats and allow for plenty of dry time. Let it sit overnight before using the furniture or cabinets.
Laminate Wood Laminate cabinets and furniture are very common, and unlike bare or stained wood, they cannot be refinished, so paint is going to make that kitchen transformation you’re looking for.  There are a few things that are different about laminate than bare wood, but it’s just as easy to paint.
  • You Don’t Need to Sand - Laminate is already smooth and if you tried sanding it, you might damage the surface. Just make sure it is clean and dust free.
  • Prime - Laminate often has a glossy finish that paint will not adhere to. ECOS Universal Primer is a perfect primer for laminate because it’ll not only seal the wood, but it also blocks any water stains or other imperfections. Most bonding and stain blocking primers are oil-based, so if you use them you need to wear a respirator and do the work somewhere with plenty of ventilation. If you use ECOS Universal Primer, that won't be the case and you can feel comfortable doing this project in your home. Apply one even coat with a brush or mini-roller. If you see any discoloration after it’s dry, apply another coat.
  • Paint - Again, we highly recommend ECOS Exterior Semi-Gloss Trim and Furniture Paint because of its superior coverage, outstanding durability, and for the fact that it is self-priming. Apply two coats with a brush or mini roller. Let the piece sit overnight before using it.
Painted Vintage Pieces Until the 1970s paint often had lead in it, so that beautiful, battered, old table with just the right amount of patina you are looking at, could be harmful to children. You can make it safer but, you do need to be aware of the risk of lead in old paint.
  • Prep - Test for lead. You can pick up a kit at most hardware and home improvement stores. If there is lead, you need to seal and cover the lead paint. And you shouldn’t disrupt the finish with scraping or sanding which will release the lead into your home or soil. You’re going to have to paint right over the existing finish.
  • Prime - Once again, if you’re using ECOS Paints then you can skip this step. Let it dry overnight before painting.
  • Paint - Apply two coats of semi-gloss or gloss paint, whichever you prefer, with a brush or mini roller. Let it dry overnight before using.
Upholstery It’s a little unconventional, but there are great examples of success using paint on upholstery (just be open to experimentation). ECOS doesn’t make a fabric specific paint, but if this is going to get you a dream couch for next to nothing, then why not give it a try? We recommend thinning the paint with some water and then using a sprayer to apply it to the furniture. Test it on some old fabric that you don’t mind ruining until you get a finish that you like. We hope this showed you the amazing versatility of paint. It’s the easiest, quickest, and most inexpensive way to transform something bland into something unbelievably brilliant. If you found something trashy that you gave new life by giving it a paint job, please share a picture. We love to see what our creative customers are doing!

CATEGORIES Painting kitchen cabinets|Painting upholstery|Painting vintage furniture