When it's artfully applied, paint adds more than color. It alters the very nature of the piece, often evoking another time and style. You can wake up a tired piece of furniture by giving the legs a glossy enamel finish. It will look like it came right out of a new showroom. Or you can reverse the age of a piece of furniture. A contemporary table that has been refinished can acquire the look of an antique in hours, not years.
Choose a piece of furniture -- perhaps a desk you spotted at a flea market or a chair you've grown tired of -- then get to work. You'll need nothing more than basic painting skills, a handful of materials and these steps:
Step 1: Sand
Sand the piece to rough up the surface, which will help to make the paint adhere. Thoroughly brush off the dust (I go over it with the brush attachment of the vacuum cleaner) Then go over it again with a soft cloth to pick up any of the finer particles left behind.
Step 2: Apply Primer
Apply a quality primer to the furniture. I learned the hard way and didn't use quality products the first time around and it NEVER dried. Let the primer dry completely, overnight is best.
Primer must match the type of paint you have chosen. For furniture it's best to use a satin or semigloss finish in either a latex or an oil-based paint. Although I suggest latex. It goes on easily and blocks most stains, but it doesn't have the odor of an oil-based primer.
Step 3: Paint
When you're painting, start at the top and work down, smoothing paint drips as you work downward. You can use a brush or a roller, depending on the size of the surface area. Paint the first coat and allow it to dry overnight, then add another coat the next day and let that dry completely before moving the piece. Darker paint colors may require 3 or 4 coats.
Step 4: Add New Hardware
This is easy, inexpensive, and makes a major difference in the look of a particular piece. Some of my favorites can be found at www.anthropologie.com and http://www.jvjhardware.com/
Step 5: Get Creative!
There are so many options. Any craft or home improvement store has millions of unique products you can use. There is silver/gold leaf, wood stains of any color, metallic paint, faux finishes, you name it. Don't be afraid to get a little creative and do something outside the box. You can always alter the finished product if you really hate the end result. Here are some pics to give you some inspiration and get your creative juices flowing...