During the past year, my husband and I have been in the process of redecorating and reorganizing our house. It was one of those processes we didn’t mean to fall into and since the reorganization wasn’t entirely planned, neither was our budget. DIY wasn’t just an option, it was a necessity if we were going to make the changes we wanted. We’ve learned a lot in this process – like how to paint furniture that actually looks just as great as anything we’d ever buy in a store!

We picked this cabinet up at an estate sale for just $25. We were looking for new piece for our bedroom, something to look pretty on the wall and hold a little of our closet overflow. We knew we wanted to paint the piece a bright, reddish-orange, but beyond that, we were only half sure what we wanted. That’s a great thing about these resale finds – for $25 how could you really go wrong?

Supplies You Will Need:

·        Electric sander

·        Sandpaper (220 and 400 grit, 400 is optional)

·        Oil-based paint in the color of your choice

·        Primer (optional, see below)

Step 1: Prep

Remove any hardware and determine what needs to be done to prep your furniture. Is there a lot of paint on it or does it just need a good sanding? If there’s a lot of paint (or, you can’t see the wood underneath) you’ll need to use a paint stripper to strip the paint before sanding. If the paint is not a problem, you can go straight to the sanding.

Cabinet DIY

Laicie Heeley

Step 2: Sand

Sand two to three times (depending on the shape of your piece) with 200 grit paper until smooth. For this particular piece of furniture, we didn’t sand down to the raw wood since the paint was so thin already. We just made sure the surface was perfectly smooth, then wiped it down with paint thinner to remove any dust and oils that were left over.

Cabinet DIY

Laicie Heeley

Step 3: Prime

Wipe away any dust from sanding with a bit of paint thinner, and then begin to prep your surface for paint with a primer layer. We used an oil-based paint that claims to be self-priming, but just to be safe, we diluted our first paint layer with a little paint thinner to act as a base.

If you’re using a paint that isn’t self-priming, have a piece of furniture with stains (you wouldn’t want those to show through) or just want to be safe, you may want to paint on a layer or two of primer before you begin. Just think of it like painting a wall! You want to start with as clean a surface as possible.

Step 4: Paint!

After sanding the furniture, you’re set to paint. After a bit of research, we decided to go with an oil-based paint. It’s a pain in the butt and you’ll probably go through a few brushes if you can’t bear to wash the stuff out of another one, but the result is smooth and worth it.

Ultimately, we painted three layers after our initial diluted “primer” layer, letting each layer dry before applying the next (for days, actually – another downside of oil-based paint, but really, I swear it’s worth it – look at that finish!).

Cabinet DIY

Laicie Heeley

cabinet DIY

Laicie Heeley

Optional Step 5:

We sanded in between each layer of paint with 400 grit sandpaper. It might’ve been a little bit of overkill, but we wanted the results to be super smooth.

USEFUL TIP: For our cabinet, we painted the first two layers with a large brush, and the last with a smooth-surface rollerThe last coat with the roller was a must—it really helped make everything extra even and nice.

Step 6: Dry

Allow your furniture to dry even a little longer than you think it should before replacing the hardware.

Step 7: Decorate.

Add a bit of your own personal style! Little things can go a long way – upgrading hardware, replacing knobs, light distressing, and accent toppers all help showcase your personality in big ways.

Laicie Heeley

Laicie Heeley is the editor and founder of the popular lifestyle blog, A Thousand Threads. With a passion for local food, scratch baking, film photography, and folk music, Laicie’s blog reflects her unique sense of style and focuses on building a life that you love. A Thousand Threads has been featured across the web on sites including Refinery29 and BuzzFeed, as well as on The Everygirl’s “Blogwatch,” which profiles strong up and coming blogs. You can also find Laicie on The Everygirl every Friday, where she reports the news. Always an Oregonian at heart, Laicie is happily settled in Maryland, where she spends her free time with her husband, her stepson, and her dog.

Laicie is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.