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Commonly asked furniture painting questions March 14, 2021


The folks at asked me and other seasoned furniture painters, to offer their best tips for successful furniture painting.

As someone who loves to give advice, to her children and furniture painters (a much more receptive audience), I was happy to chime in!

You might find these tips helpful!

Furniture Renovation Q&A Painting Edition: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques From The Experts

In this Q&A with the experts, we’ll explore furniture renovation from a painting perspective.

We’ve reached out to experts in the area to get their best tips, tricks, and techniques on all things related to painting furniture, from chalk paint to other types and forms of painting.

The sky is the limit when it comes to using your creativity to renovate your furniture. You don’t have to throw away that old dresser or that kitchen table. With this expert roundup you’ll come to realize that everything can have a second chance, so get ready to fold your sleeves and get that brush ready.

Keep reading and discover what these experts have to say; you’ll learn easy tips and tricks to revamp every piece in your home.

Remember to check out the first part of this Q&A with the experts here, where we explore carpentry, upholstery, and finishing techniques for furniture renovation.


What types of paint are appropriate for wood without damaging it?

“I don’t know of any paint that can’t be used safely on wood. With proper preparation and application, oil-based, water-based, latex, acrylic, Chalk, milk, metallic, spray paint, and more can all be applied to wood without damaging it. The type of paint you should use depends on how you want to apply it, how you want the finished piece to look, and its function. Similarly, removing any paint will not likely harm the wood itself but will certainly harm whatever finish was on the piece before painting. So if you don’t want to damage the finish on a piece of wood furniture (for example, the patina on an antique), my advice would be not to paint it.”

– Sylvia Worsnop | Transforming Trash


When and why use airbrush painting instead of using a brush?

“We use airless assisted sprayers to reduce the time it takes to paint a project as well as when we want to achieve a cleaner finish that will not show brushstrokes.”

– Catherine Baldi | Arana Craftman Painters


What type of paint and sealer do you recommend for a nursery? Something safe for children 

“I highly recommend the Benjamin Moore Natura paint line for nurseries. It’s a Zero VOC & Emissions paint, which means you do not have to worry about poor air quality and toxin exposure in your child’s room. Benjamin Moore has an incredible line of colors, so you will not have to sacrifice style for safety.”

– Kelly Marohl | The Greenspring Home


What other techniques can I use to paint old furniture besides chalk painting if I’m not an expert?

“If we follow trends, the general DIY home decorators are still loving Chalk paint. No preparation, easy to apply. A wax or water-based sealer to finish. Zero to hero in the same day!

Different finishes, when painting, depends very much on where the finished piece is going to go, from a farmhouse to a beach cottage to a modem apartment in Clifton.

Aging and distressing is not necessarily something you do to husbands, wives, or bank managers; it’s a trend that is still being used on all types of furniture. It’s a great and easy way to change the look of something completely.

The general public wants simple to use paints that can give a multi-use finish with little to no preparation.

Milk Paint is making quite an impact in the marketplace… it’s such a multi-purpose paint/sealer. It can be used as a wash of color to raw wood or a solid color to even chipped and distressed furniture, step-by-step instructions on all these techniques available in a great range of exciting colors from Builders Warehouse.”

– Tony | Harlequin Paint

How to choose the correct paint color for every piece? Do you have any tips to keep things esthetically beautiful?

Here’s what I take into consideration when painting a piece of furniture.

1. What kind of wood, and how dark is the stain on the piece I plan to paint?

Those dark red mahogany pieces were all the rage back then, but mahogany tends to bleed through light colors. So, in this case, I would prime the piece, after cleaning, with a degreaser. A spray primer, like Sherwin Williams Pro Blocker, will allow you to paint your piece a lighter color and reduce the number of coats needed.
Otherwise, if you don’t want to prime, I’d choose a darker paint color, like Fusion’s Ash, after a good cleaning.

2. Am I painting this piece for my home or to sell?
If you’re painting to sell, choose neutrals, like a white-white or cream color. If you’re choosing a color for your own home, we offer color sticks to take home. See the colors in your home’s natural light and consider how they look with flooring, wall, and major furniture colors.
I choose bold colors for small accent pieces and usually opt for more neutral colors on larger pieces.

Be sure to have a good paintbrush. This is not the place for a dollar store brush. My theory is the finer the bristle, the finer the brush stroke. We have a number of great brushes, under $10. Clean them well after each use, and they will serve you well!

Watch out! Furniture painting can be addicting!

Barbara Bussey | The Treasured Home

How do you avoid visible brush strokes in the paint?

“This is such a great question. In my experience, there are three important things needed to avoid brush strokes.

1. Use quality paint made for painting furniture.
2. Use a high-quality brush. There are a variety of brushes today made specifically for painting furniture.
3. Avoid overbrushing your paint and sand between coats if necessary.
Follow these three rules, and you should be well on your way to a beautiful finish.”



Why has chalk paint become one of the favorite painting techniques in furniture renovation? 

“Chalk paint is one of the easiest and most versatile paint techniques. It’s much easier to work with than other paints as you don’t have to sand or prime when using good quality chalk paint, and that’s a big reason why chalk paint has been so popular. You can go from a matte finish to a high gloss finish depending on the topcoat you choose.

We have a chalk paint course with all the tips on how to paint like a pro.”

– Rhonda Hallstrom | Hallstrom House



Which are the most common mistakes people make when chalk painting?

“When chalk painting, the most common mistake people make is not understanding how to seal the paint when using soft wax. They often opt to seal with clear poly instead as they are afraid or don’t know how to use the wax.

A few buffed soft wax coats will give a smooth factory finish look when one applies a thin coat and then buffs the surface with a soft, lint-free cloth using a circular motion.

Buffing is nothing more than applying some muscle as you move the cloth over the waxed surface until the cloth slides easily over the surface. This can take some time, depending on how detailed the piece you are working on is. Additional thin layers of wax can be applied over existing ones to build up sheen and durability that will last a long time.”

Diane Henkler | In My Own Style


What are the different styles you can create with chalk paint?

“The great thing about chalk-style paint is that you can really create anything your heart desires! It can be done with a little paint and some creativity, from distressed shabby chic to sleek and modern (and everything in between). Whether you like subdued, neutral colors and a modern finish, or your style is more outspoken and expressive, the chalk style paints from Country Chic Paint will help you create your.”

– Sarah Archer | Country Chic Paint 


What’s your best tip for a beginner using chalk paint for the first time?

Here at 2 Bees in a Pod, we have been chalk painting furniture for several years now. The best advice that we can give a first-time chalk painter is…don’t be afraid. Just go for it!. A lot of people are afraid to start chalk painting because:
1. they are afraid of ruining a piece of furniture
2. afraid that it won’t turn out
3. not sure of their skills
4. afraid of making the wrong color choice
AND so many others.
Chalk paint is very forgiving! – we pinky-swear-promise! You don’t have to be perfect with your strokes. A great thing to remember is to paint light strokes as opposed to heavy strokes. Heavy strokes will take longer to dry and can cause cracking or drips. It’s best to paint multiple lighter coats.
You just might surprise yourself when you realize how easy chalk painting is. For our complete How to Chalk Paint Guide, read more HERE.


Jenn Fenton | 2 Bees in a Pod



What do you love about milk paint? And why do you think it hasn’t become as popular as chalk paint?

“Having been around for thousands of years, milk paint is one of my favorite mediums to work with! Its natural chipping and flaking allow you to create an authentically old look that you can’t get from modern paints. However, since it comes in a powdered form, it can be trickier to perfect and use on various surfaces, unlike pre-mixed chalk paint. While both can give you a beautiful finish, chalk paint has gained incredible popularity due to its ease of use.”

Lisa Silfwerbrand | Recreated Designs


One of the best parts of furniture renovation is painting! It brings out the artist we carry inside. It can be a relaxing activity that will leave your home looking gorgeous.

When it comes to furniture renovation, the magic is in the details, as these experts have taught us, so remember to keep in mind their advice and keep this guide handy.

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  1. Rachel on October 1, 2021 at 6:00 am

    I have a painting question, I have two old faux leather white bar stools and I want to paint them. I want them to match my new painted walls. Can I used Matt Emulsion paint on Faux Leather?

    • Barbara Bussey on October 1, 2021 at 10:23 am

      Hi, We’ve painted leather before with Fusion Mineral Paint, but I don’t know anything about Matt Emulsion paint. Sorry.

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