How to Paint My Wooden Furniture White

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Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrushes
  • Primer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paint stripper
  • Putty knife
  • Steel wool
  • White paint
  • Paint can opener
  • Paint stirrer

Wooden furniture can be painted many times over. As your room’s décor changes, so too can the look of your wooden furniture. It’s not difficult to paint your wooden furniture white, especially if the wood is unfinished or already a light color. However, if you wish to paint white over a dark color, you must take a few extra steps in order to ensure complete coverage without any of the dark color showing through.

Lay down a drop cloth, old newspapers or an old sheet to protect floors.

Sand your wooden furniture using medium grit sandpaper. Use short strokes, being careful to avoid sanding against the grain.

Switch to fine grit sandpaper. This will help you to achieve a smooth painting surface. Remove all wood dust with a tack cloth. For furniture that is painted a light color such as yellow, beige, or light pink, this is the only preparation required before painting; skip to Step 5.

Paint over a dark color such as black, bright red, brown or purple by first removing the old paint. Use a paint stripping product, and follow the product instructions. This usually involves allowing a specific amount of time for the product to penetrate the paint, then using a scraping tool such as a putty knife to remove the softened paint. Sand to remove all traces of the previous paint, and go on to the next step.

Apply a coat of wood primer to the sanded furniture using a wide brush for broad areas and a smaller brush for corners and more intricate areas. Allow to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Open the topcoat paint using a paint can opener, or if unavailable, a flat head screwdriver. Stir the paint vigorously with a paint stirrer. Stir the paint in an upward motion so the sediments on the bottom will mix with the rest of the paint.

Apply the mixed paint with a paintbrush or a roller on larger surface areas. The paint coverage should be thick enough to leave no thin spots, but not so thick as to leave drips. Allow the paint to dry according to the product’s instructions. In most instances one coat of paint is adequate. If a second coat is needed apply it according to the product instructions.


  • Use a nonchemical stripper to avoid harmful fumes. Apply the paint stripper with an old paintbrush that has the bristles cut back. Steel wool is useful in removing paint in very small or ornate areas.


  • Always paint in a well-ventilated area. Avoid any contact of your skin with the paint stripper.


About the Author

Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for over 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for "BIKE," "USA Today" and "Dirt Rag," newspaper articles for "Florida Today" and short stories published in "Glimmer Train" and "Lullwater Review," among others. She has a master's degree in education and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images