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How to paint furniture

Whether you've redecorated and discovered that a piece of furniture just doesn't fit into the new colour scheme, or you've been struck by a sudden bolt of inspiration, painting furniture is a great way of stamping your personal style onto a space.

But how can you make sure you get the result you want? Today we'll explain exactly how to naturally paint furniture, so you can let your creativity run free.

How to paint furniture

Choosing your natural paint

The first thing to do if you want to paint a piece of furniture is to decide on the colour and finish you want. If you're after a matt finish, then we recommend Auro 260 natural matt wood paint, which is great if you're after a classic, or an aged or distressed look. If you prefer a glossy finish which catches the light, then Auro 250 natural gloss is for you.

Bear in mind that natural gloss finishes tend to be more hardwearing than matt, so if you're painting something that's in a high-traffic area or which is likely to suffer a few knocks, gloss may be the right choice. Whichever finish you opt for, both Auro 250 and Auro 260 are available in many colours, or can be hand tinted to give you the exact shade you want, so whether you're going for a classic white-painted look or something brighter and bolder, you'll be able to use the natural paint you want.

Sanding and cleaning

Once you've chosen your paint, the next thing to do is prepare your piece of furniture. Use 150 grade sandpaper to abrade the surface. The aim here is not to smooth the surface of your furniture, but to slightly roughen it to give the paint a surface that it can bind to. You may be tempted to skip this step and go straight to the painting, but we recommend you take the time to sand as a properly-prepared surface results in far less paint chips, discolouration and peeling, and stays looking good for longer. We advise to sand back to bare wood as best you can, and then use the correct primer, in this case it's generally the Auro 127 primer for most woods, or the Auro 117 primer for difficult woods, specialist woods, mdf or osb type woods.

After you've sanded your furniture, it's time to clean. It's vitally important that you use the right cloth to clean with, as most cloths leave fibres behind which can cause the paint to lift and split later. Use a chamois-style lint-free cloth to make sure the surfaces are free of dust and grime. Do this right before you paint so there's no chance for dirt to gather.


natural wood primer for painting furniturePriming, like sanding, is a phase that many people are tempted to skip. But, just as with sanding, there is a vital reason for this step. Applying a coat of special primer paint gives the top coat the perfect surface to bond to, and ensures that colours are vivid and consistent.

Auro 127 natural wood emulsion makes a great primer paint, as it is designed to go on easily and leave an even coat while protecting the material beneath. If you want to get a perfect, blemish-free finish, we recommend using a foam mini roller to get a totally even look. If you're after a more lived-in look, this doesn't matter so much and you can get away with using an ordinary paintbrush. Whatever look you're going for, you'll need a small brush to ensure you get the primer into the hard-to-reach areas.


How to paint furniture - natural gloss paintOnce your primer coat is dry, use the sandpaper to smooth away any drips or lumps, and wipe the whole thing down with your cloth to make sure it's clean before you apply the final coats. We recommend using at least two and usually three coats of paint to cover wooden furniture. Even though it may look fine after the first coat, furniture is more susceptible to wear than walls, so it's a good idea to make sure that the topcoat is several layers thick. Please check the data sheet (on each product page) for suggested drying times, 

Sand away drips between layers, and don't be tempted to slather the paint on thickly. It's better to build up your finish with several thin coats than to go for one thick one which risks peeling off. As with the primer, if you're after a flawless finish, you simply have to use a mini roller, as brushstrokes are easily visible, especially with gloss paint.


Once you've painted your piece of furniture, let it dry thoroughly, then give it a clean with your lint-free cloth. 

So there you have it. If you've been worrying about the best way to paint your furniture, then hopefully this guide has given the confidence to let your creative spirit free. There are almost infinite possibilities to experiment with, including mixed colours and finishes. The only limit is your imagination. 

Why not try a tester pot first and see if it's right for you? Testers available for most paints!