Do you have furniture in your home or garage just begging for a makeover?  I have wanted to paint my dining room hutch for YEARS and finally bit the bullet! Here is this beauty before:

Orangey goodness and tassel pulls…oh my!  She was part of a matchy matchy dining set I purchased right out of college.  The table and chairs were sent to a new home, but I held onto the hutch thinking I could repaint it….and I’m so glad I did!

Here she is after!  This is the first piece of this size that I tackled on my own, and I was definitely intimidated!  Now I wish I had done it sooner!

Painting this piece gave me more confidence to tackle other projects!  I felt like it was fate when I saw this bench on the curb in my neighborhood!

My neighbors were putting their house on the market and just did not have time to give this bench the TLC it needed to be show ready… furniture?! #benchplease  They kindly dropped this off at my house, and one Sunday afternoon I went to work!

Here she is after!  It is amazing what a little paint, sweat and time can do!  I want to paint alllllll the things in my house now!

I am not a furniture painting pro, nor will I be setting up shop to flip furniture anytime soon!  The true experts put in SO much time, sweat and hard work….not to mention the immense amount of PATIENCE these projects require!  BUT if you have a piece you are itching to redo, I highly recommend that you GO FOR IT!  The time is worth the awesome transformation, and there is definite satisfaction in doing it yourself!

I wanted to share the steps I used to paint these pieces and some encouraging tips!  There are lots of methods for painting furniture, this is just what worked for me, and what I learned from asking TONS of questions and some online research!


If you are like me, I just want to start painting a piece and be done as soon as I start….this is where that whole patience thing comes in! The prep is really important!

Be sure to:

Remove hardware and drawers if applicable.

Give your piece a good scrub.  I used Murphy’s Oil Soap, but any furniture safe cleaner will work!

Sand your piece if it has a glossy finish.  If you are just painting, not staining, you don’t have to strip it to the bare wood, just enough to get the gloss off so the paint has something to really adhere to!

Be sure to wipe your piece down again after sanding.

Once I was done with those first steps, I moved inside to paint because it was July in Texas (hello heat stroke!)  I taped contractor’s paper down to protect the floor and went to work!

Unfortunately the glass on my hutch did not come out, so prep for that piece also required a TON of painter’s tape prep inside and out!

Prime and Paint

With both pieces I bought paint that was paint and primer in one.  If you are using chalk paint, no need to prime.  I used interior latex paint in semi-gloss that included a primer for the bench, satin for the hutch.  Just avoid a flat finish.  It will show every fingerprint and flaw!

Be sure to buy a quality paint brush!  They are a little pricier, but it makes a difference!  I used this one!  You can also use a roller to prevent brush strokes on the broad surfaces.

Confession #1:  I just might by the messiest painter EVER!  Gloves are a MUST, but I still got paint all over my arms, legs and even in my hair….especially crawling in to get the corners and small spots inside the hutch!

Stir paint well and begin applying a thin layer.  Let it dry.  Sand any drips or gloopy spots….I missed a few on my hutch, and it is a pain to fix later!  Then repeat these steps.

Confession #2:  Each time I applied the first coat I thought I had definitely ruined these pieces.  It just did not look good, and I started to panic!  Don’t.  It will probably take 2-3 coats.  Both these pieces took two coats and that second one was like magic….it instantly looked like I had envisioned instead of the somewhat streaky version of coat number one.

Once the paint has completely dried you can distress your piece if you want!  I did not distress the hutch, but I did some light distressing on the edges of the bench.  Most people use sandpaper, but I usually use this.

I’ve shared this before, but it’s worth repeating.  This is actually for home pedicures, but I have one bit for my feet and change it out for small sanding projects!  Way easier on the arms!


Ok, this was the part that kind of intimidated me for some reason!  I almost skipped the top coat, but everything I read said it is definitely necessary to protect the finish and make the surface easy to clean….and Lord knows toddler fingers touch alllll the furniture in this house!  I read and asked around, and here is what I learned about the differences between wax and poly:


If you see a display of boutique chalk paint, Annie Sloan, for example, there is always the chalk paint, the wax, and then special brushes.  I have always thought if I used chalk paint, I also HAD to buy the wax and the special brushes.  Not true.  While wax provides a pretty matte finish, it is not the only choice you have in protecting paint, interior latex paint or chalk.  Wax is best for pieces that get light to moderate use….more decorative pieces.  If you are painting something that will see high traffic….a dining or kitchen table, coffee table, cabinets, etc… may not provide enough protection from liquids, spills, and just everyday life!  Wax also often needs to be re-applied once a year or so.  Also, if you decide to re-paint later most waxes have to be sanded off before you can paint.

The wax finish is very pretty though, so if you feel like it is the best fit for your project, almost everyone recommended this one!  It is much cheaper than the boutique waxes (about $10 per can)) and is easy to find (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.)  You can apply a thin layer at a time, let it dry 10-15 minutes and then buff it with a clean cloth.  The specialty wax brush helps you create a thin layer, but is not absolutely necessary.


Poly is more durable.  This is a better choice for pieces that see a lot of action….better protection against food, liquids, and littles!  Most are also brushed on like paint, so no buffing necessary.  They just need time to dry.  One drawback is that some warned that it can yellow white or light colors over time.  I also thought of poly as being a super glossy, almost lacquered finish, which wasn’t the look I was going for!  However, as I shopped around most brands now have finish options just like paint: satin, semi-gloss, gloss, etc.

In learning all this I decided to go with poly over wax.  I used this protective finish for my hutch.  It brushed on, and is a clear satin finish.  It was about $10 at Lowe’s for this smaller size, $18 for a quart.

And I found this spray for the bench!  It was SO easy!  I would have used it on the hutch as well, but did not want to get it on the glass! It was also about $10 and came in several finishes!

Time will tell how they hold up, but so far so good!  I’m glad I did a little homework instead of just buying all the products I “thought” I needed!

Other Painting Pointers:

Be sure to let paint completely dry and “cure.”  Most sites said this takes 15-30 days.  This does not mean you can’t use it during that time, just be more cautious!

Be realistic about the amount of time it will take.  I really thought I could knock the hutch out in a day….it took three.  I didn’t take into account all the dry time, touch ups, more dry time….and the fact that my children demand my constant attention.  Haha!  But really, that whole patience thing….this is not a super fast process!  You want to take your time, and do it right.

Have fun with it!  My four year old reeeeallly wanted to help, so I let him paint the back of the hutch that faces the wall….

He’s available for hire if you want his number…

He was so proud!  I showed my cousin, and she suggested that I have him put his handprint on it in another color and write his name and the year…so fun, right?

A sweet memory with my boy!

Don’t stress!  There is very little you can do when painting that can’t be fixed! Like I said earlier, don’t panic after the first coat.  It may not look great at that point, but the second or third coat will do wonders!

I hope you find these tips helpful and gain the confidence and motivation to pick up a brush and get after it!

Happy painting!

Shop Supplies:

Minwax Finishing Wax

1/2 pint Minwax water based Polycrylic

Quart Size Minwax water based Polycrylic

Minwax Poycrylic Spray

Purdy paint brush 3 pack

Single Purdy XL Brush

Painter’s Tape

Disposable Gloves

Amope “sander”

Sanding Blocks

Brown Kraft paper– This roll lasts a LONG time, and I have used it for SO many things other than just painting!

Paint cup 4 pack