There are a lot of reasons why you would want to paint that ugly pink dresser at your grandma’s house, so I compiled a list to convince you to put the dresser out of its misery:

  1. You’re broke.
  2. You want to ride that DIY wagon.
  3. You’d like to work with your own hands and feel proud when it’s successful.

If I successfully convinced you, you will probably do the following: seek professional help to redecorate that “timeless” dresser, only to come up with a reminder of how broke you are.

Here’s a process that wouldn’t remind you that you’re broke and help you paint your furniture. Terminology explained. You’re welcome.

painting furniture

Step 1: Getting the tools

  1. Wood cleanser (a cleanser that wipes wood oils and dirt on wood).
  2. Putty knife (optional. A knife that is dedicated to wood).
  3. Wood filler (optional. substance that is used to hide flaws in wood).
  4. Tack cloth (a cloth that removes lint and dirt from wood).
  5. Fine-grit sandpaper (for the before-paint last step sanding).
  6. Medium-grit sandpaper (for normal sanding).
  7. Primer (a paint look-a-like that helps the durability of the paint).
  8. Foam roller.
  9. Polycrylic finish or furniture wax (they help protect the paint).
  10. Cheesecloth (only when using furniture wax).

Step 2: Prepping the furniture

Prepping is a process in which you prepare the wood for the bigger and much more important step: painting.

Types of paint

First of all, you have to choose which type of paint is available around you as well as most comfortable to you. There are four main types of paint:

Acrylic Paint

Requires very little to no prepping, no sealing, and brush works are barely visible.

Chalk Paint

Needs a little prepping, has to be sealed (protected) when done, and brush stains are visible.

Latex/Spray Paint

Needs sanding and priming before painting. In latex paint use something that is not a flat finish, since it will show all the flaws and will not be easy to clean.

Milk Paint

Is eco-friendly with no fumes, can be painted on furniture with no primer or sanding, but sometimes you might need a bonding agent so the paint won’t chip.

If you are familiar with little to no terminology have no concerns; it will all be explained shortly.

Removing hardware

Start the prepping process, first and foremost, with removing the drawers and any hardware (ex. handles, nails, etc.).

Removing hardware

Cleanse the wood

The second step would be getting a wood cleaner and firmly scrubbing away all the dust, wood oils, and dirt, especially since that ugly pink dresser has spent a few decades catching the attention of a few spiders and a nice, sweet layer of dust.

Wood scraping and filling

(Only a necessary step if the previous paint on the wood was chipping and/or contains damaged parts)

The third step is getting a putty knife, which is the knife that looks like it’s made to cut pizza slices but you actually never cut pizza slices with it, and scrape away all remaining color if it was already chipping. Once that’s done, you could get that same knife and get some wood filler and press the latter into damaged wood and let it dry.


Sanding furniture

Fourth step would be sanding; no matter how many people tell you not to, you have to sand. Yes, acrylic paint doesn’t require sanding nor priming but you’ll sand it because it gives you a more professional finish.

Sanding is removing and roughening up a part of the outer surface just to have a surface suitable for the primer. You aren’t looking to gouge or remove the surface entirely; you just need to harden the surface so the primer — which will be the next step — has something to adhere.


Before moving to the next step you have to get a nice, dry tack cloth to remove any residue. No paper towels, nothing of the same thin material.


Fifth step in the prepping process is priming.

This step is needed because priming helps your paint to be pasted onto the wood much better and it helps with covering all the discoloration and stains that might be stuck to the wood.

Here as well, before moving onto the next step, you have to repeat the tack cloth step with a clean cloth.


In the sixth step some would like to repeat the sanding process because, as they say, it would give a more professional and a much cleaner look. In this case, you’d use fine-grit sandpaper instead of the medium-grit one.

With the sixth step completed we finally part with the prepping section and finally move on to the next step

Step 3: Painting

The first step of painting would be to get a natural bristled brush and applying the paint on the crevices first and foremost. A natural-bristle brush is the best option because it holds a lot of paint and helps in precisely working around details. Remember to keep your brush strokes in one direction: up and down or left and right.

The second step is to find which means makes you more comfortable to paint the main, larger parts of the dresser. Your options are a brush, roller, or spray. I suggest using a small foam roller because it covers some of the brush strokes. Every brand and type of paint determines how many coats you could add. Be careful because you have to sand between every coat to get rid of any residue that you might have forgotten. Leave a period of six to eight hours between each coat. When turning a dark piece of furniture white it would require a single additional coat.

With these small notes, the painting part leaves you with a nice wave and a ton of hard work.

sealing furniture

Step 4: Protecting and Sealing

Reaching the final part of the process hopefully wasn’t too hard for you, and if it was it could never be as hard as storing that pink abomination for decades.

Shade aside, sealing is a very, if not the most, important part of the entire process. Sealing, most of the time with wax or polycrylic, should be used with extreme care because it’s possibly the only irreversible step in the process and due to it being colorless, any flaw in your transformed dresser would be on show.

After your last coat lasts 24 hours, you’ll have to get a clean tack cloth and make sure, a hundred percent, that all the dirt and lint has been removed before getting the small foam roller again and going over with the polycrylic very slowly and lightly to avoid creating bubbles that could be caused from the roller.

Sealing with wax

With furniture wax it’s a process that doesn’t need all that care. You wipe it on with a cheesecloth, leave it to dry for 15 minutes, then clean it off with another cloth. A good approach would be leaving it for a day or two before touching it.


I certainly hope this has helped you organize your thoughts and priorities when painting your furniture or even pushed you to paint your furniture. If not, at least you know that the pink dresser, the heroine of our story, has become a better dresser.

Hi, I’m a furniture consultant with the industry expertise. I worked with the most prominent furniture and home goods retailers in the US and had a chance to see this industry from the inside. My 8+ years of experience in furniture production management made it clear for me how crucial it is to know what stores and manufacturers you can or cannot trust.
follow me
Hi, I’m a furniture consultant with the industry expertise. I worked with the most prominent furniture and home goods retailers in the US and had a chance to see this industry from the inside. My 8+ years of experience in furniture production management made it clear for me how crucial it is to know what stores and manufacturers you can or cannot trust.
follow me
Latest Posts
  • Ruggable rugs review
  • Lovesac Review