I have been painting furniture for nearly a decade now. Furthermore, the number of pieces I’ve painted in the past five years greatly outweighs the number during the first part of the decade. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve written about my favorite tools for painting, what kind of topcoats to use with what kind of paint and on what kind of furniture, my best painting tips, how to use a paint sprayer when painting furniture, and, of course, countless furniture makeovers.

There always seem to be questions, though, that I didn’t think to answer. Here are the most frequently asked ones in case you’re stuck on a piece of furniture you want to paint.

Stuck on painting a piece of furniture? Maybe this Q&A will help you out. (Image: Jenna LaFevor)

Can I use oil-based paint in a paint sprayer?

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With the paint sprayer I use, a HomeRight Finish Max, you can use oil-based paint in it. You just need to follow the instructions on the paint can as to how to thin the paint.

Can I paint over oil-based paint with a latex-based paint?

Based on my experience, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve tried this and it has just never ended well. I’ve heard of some people having success with sanding the finish, priming it, then going over it with latex-based, but I’ve never had much success with it.

What type of topcoat/sealer should I put on my kitchen cabinets?

If they are stained or painted a dark color, go with a polyurethane. If they aren’t stained, go with a polycrylic. Polyurethanes have a tendency to yellow over time and polycrylics don’t. It should be said, though, that polyurethanes are tougher in terms of protection than polycrylics.

Do I need a topcoat on top of a satin or eggshell paint?

Yes. Unless you use a semigloss paint, you usually always need a topcoat with flat, satin or eggshell finishes. You can use a polycrylic in a satin finish to keep the piece from having too much shine.

I painted my piece of furniture and put a topcoat on it. I put it back in use, and a few days later, I grabbed a magazine off it I had placed there and it seemed like the magazine had to be “peeled” off the furniture. It even left a little of the ink from the magazine on the table. What happened?

The paint and/or topcoat didn’t have enough time to fully cure. Some paint jobs can take weeks to fully cure-especially if you live in a high-humidity area, like here in the South. After your paint and topcoat have dried to the touch, you can move it back into place. I suggest letting it sit “undecorated,” though, for at least a week. If it has drawers or doors, leave those slightly open as well to let them fully cure. After a week, lay a magazine on top of the piece for a few hours and close the doors/drawers. If, after a few hours, everything is removed and opened without sticking, you should be good to go; if not, let it cure longer.

After painting my piece, I noticed little tiny bumps in my finish. What happened?

Those little bumps are little bits of dust and dirt, most likely. Before applying paint to your piece, always be sure to wipe it down well with a tack cloth. Paint your furniture in places where there isn’t much dust flying around, as well.


Have more questions about painting? Leave them in the comments below or email me, and I’ll add them to an upcoming article with more FAQs pertaining to furniture painting.

You can also get inspiration for your next furniture makeover here.

Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk d├ęcor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at [email protected] or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

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