Easy Furniture Makeover

Add a pop of color to any room by refinishing an old dresser, bedside table, or bookcase with these easy-to-follow directions.

How to Paint Furniture

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Before and after.
Before and after.

I wanted to wake up to a little more sunshine each day. My solution? Adding a bold splash of yellow to the bedroom by refinishing an old dresser.

Painting furniture is an easy way to add a pop of color to any room. And if you live in a rental apartment or home, it saves you the hassle of painting—and repainting—the walls.

This DIY project is affordable, customizable, and easy to complete in a weekend.

How to Paint Furniture


  • Dresser or other wood furniture
  • 1 quart water-based primer
  • 1 quart acrylic latex paint (shown in Afternoon Tea Yellow)
  • Knobs and handles


  • Painter’s drop cloth
  • Orbital power sander
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Roller frame and cover
  • Paint roller tray
  • Paintbrush


  1. Prepare your workspace by covering the floor with a drop cloth, removing the dresser’s hardware (set aside), and taking out the drawers. Begin prepping the furniture by sanding large surfaces with an orbital power sander to remove glossy surface. Use fine-grit sandpaper to get small details in the woodwork.
  2. Prep the Furniture
  3. Before priming, remove dust with a vacuum or damp cloth. Apply a uniform layer of primer on dresser and drawers. Use the roller for large surfaces and paintbrush for details. Let dry. Follow primer’s instructions on how long to wait before painting.
  4. Primer
  5. Once the primer is dry, begin painting with a clean brush and roller. Apply first coat and let dry. Paint two to three coats for a brighter, bolder color. After the paint has dried, reassemble the dresser and accessorize with hardware.
  6. Paint the Furniture

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