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When to Paint Furniture & When Not to

A lot of people think that they can renew their dresser, or a different piece of furniture, with a layer of paint, which is actually only true some times. Painting your furniture can be the perfect way to change it up and make it look brand new, but sometimes paint can do more harm than good. So, how do you know when it’s ok to paint and when it’s not? That’s what you have us for! Today, we’re going to give a few little tips to help you make sure you’re doing the right thing when painting.



To begin, you’ll need to look at your dresser and ask yourself a few questions. How is the dresser structurally? Do the drawers slide smoothly?  What about the structure of the dresser? Is it solid?  Is there creaking or parts of the dresser frame that are coming apart?  How stable are the legs?  If there are problems concerning your drawers, can they be fixed?  Sometimes with the wood on wood drawer guides, you can get them to slide a little smoother by just applying furniture wax to the guides. We would say a dresser that has structural problems, unless it has a high value as an antique, isn’t worth saving.



There are some dressers that are so old (80+ years) that really would be better off restored to their original finish.  A lot of the dressers are painted in styles that may look a lot better painted than restored to their original finish, but it depends on your own personal taste.  However, even if you don’t like the natural wood look, if restoring one dresser to its original finish will allow you to sell it for enough to buy yourself a new dresser, then it might be worth doing that instead.



Is the dresser veneer, laminate or wood?  What is the surface of the dresser made of?  Is it a wood veneer? This is where there is a thin layer of wood layered on top of a cheaper type of wood, like press board or something similar.  Laminate is an actual layer of plastic over something like press board.  If it’s real wood, that’s better.  Veneer is fine, unless there is massive peeling and cracking of the veneer over the whole piece.  If the piece is solid wood and you would rather see it painted, then definitely paint it.


So there you have it! If you want to paint a piece of furniture where value as an antique is not a factor, then as long as the furniture is structurally sound and has either real wood or a wood veneer that is still intact, then go for it!


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