Hot Tip: Modernize Traditional Furniture with Semigloss Paint

Hot Tip: Modernize Traditional Furniture with Semigloss Paint

Angie Cho
Mar 22, 2011

Even the most traditional furniture can move into the 21st century with a fresh coat of semigloss paint. We hold onto old furniture for many reasons. Sometimes because it was passed down from someone we loved. Sometimes it's a reminder of a cherished period of our lives. And sometimes we keep it because the piece simply functions great. You just wish it wasn't so hard on the eyes. Well, say hello to semigloss paint, and bid the eyesore goodbye! Read more for details.

At Re-Nest, we believe that consuming less is a good thing, so this project extends the life of something pre-owned. Even better, using low VOC paint gives the project low toxity.

Difficulty Rating: Easy.


  1. Pre-owned furniture.
  2. Low VOC paint like Mythic Non-Toxic Paint. See colors in photos #4 and #5 above for examples.
  3. Large paint brush.
  4. Small paint brush.
  5. Sandpaper or primer (spray or paint).
  6. Used paper from your paper bin to protect the ground from paint. Alternatively, drop cloth (optional).
  7. Painter's tape. (optional)

How To:

  1. Dry wipe your selected furniture with a few rags.
  2. Wet wipe the furniture, especially areas with sticky or oily spots. Use a non-toxic cleaner that's safe on wood.
  3. Lay down paper from your used paper bin. Make sure you lay down enough paper to cover two to three feet beyond the perimeter of the piece you'll be painting. (You can also use a drop cloth instead of paper if you happen to have one.)
  4. Either sand the surface or paint/spray a primer. This will roughen up the surface to give your paint something to stick to.
  5. If you want to do a casual job, simply set your piece in the middle and start painting! You'll need a big brush for almost the entire piece and a smaller brush to go around any hardware and other areas you don't want painted.
  6. If you want to do an absolutely meticulous job, either remove the hardware, or use painter's tape to cover the edges of the hardware and other parts you don't want painted. (Please note: you don't need to tape the entire object you don't want painted, just the edges.)

(Images: Urban Outfitters, The Velvet Branch, Mythic Non-Toxic Paint.)

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