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Can You Paint Over Stained Wood Furniture?

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Wooden furniture can be a good accent to a beautiful home. They can bring a vintage feel and an ancient but classy look to a room. If you are planning to redecorate or repaint your walls, you are thinking if you can paint over stained wood furniture as well.

Let’s see!

Can You Paint Over Stained Wood Furniture?

Yes. You can paint over stained wood furniture. You just have to follow the right procedure to preserve its natural beauty and maintain its quality. You also need to consider the materials that you need whether you’re the one doing the repainting or somebody else.

Paint can and paint brush

Before preparing the needed materials for the project, you need to know the status of the wood furniture that you are going to paint over. This is important since it will be the basis of the things that you need to prepare. You also need to identify the type of stain that was previously used in the furniture. 

Things You Need

After considering the type of stain and the status of the wood furniture that you want to repaint, it is now time to prepare the materials that you need for the project. This may vary depending on your evaluation of your furniture.

  • Tarps or used newspaper to keep your area clean
  • Screwdriver, in case there are parts that need to be removed, such as a handle or a knob
  • 150 Grit sandpaper to roughen, smoothen, or de-gloss the surface
  • Paintbrushes or roller 
  • Tack cloth to clean surfaces of dust and dirt
  • Primer to smoothen out the surface and allow the final paint to grip on the furniture
  • Paint, either water-based or oil-based depending on your need

These are just the basic materials that one needs to paint over wood furniture. If you plan to do more, you can freely add materials depending on your preference and the wood’s needs.

How to Paint Over a Stained Wood Furniture

Now that you have prepared the materials that you need, it’s about time to start your painting project. This is the most exciting part, yet you need a lot of patience here. Let’s go through each step one by one to help you start with your stained wood furniture project.

Step 1: Remove Obstructions and Lay Down the Tarp

Remove all other objects that you don’t want to be stained with paint or cover with some plastic or cloth. Set up your tarps or newspaper in the area where you wish to paint your wood furniture. Put all the necessary materials on the tarp or newspaper so that they can be reached easily. 

Step 2: Clean the Wood With a Tack Cloth

To avoid a bumpy finish on the wood, clean it from dirt, dust, or anything that may be stuck in there with a diluted Murphy’s Oil. Wipe the wood furniture clean with a tack cloth.

Paint brush on top of stained wood furniture

Step 3: Sand the Wood Furniture

Using the 150 grit sandpaper, even out the surfaces of the wood and strip the furniture to allow the paint to stick to it later on. The glossy finish of furniture will make it hard for the new paint to adhere to the surface. Sanding will depend on the type of stain used and wood condition. 

If the old finish is not that smooth or glossy, sanding may only be needed on uneven surfaces. After sanding the wood, wipe it again with a tack cloth to remove excess dust.

Step 4: Prepare the Wood Furniture

Using the screwdrivers you prepared, remove all handles or knobs that you don’t want to paint. It is also to paint evenly on the surfaces. If you are painting wood furniture with drawers, you have to remove it, too. Paint it separately from the body.

If the furniture has holes or cracks, fix it before starting to paint the wood. Wood filler may be used to avoid getting an uneven finish on the furniture.

Step  5: Start with Primer

After preparing the wood, removing uneven surfaces, and cleaning it, you may now start with a primer. Primer is important especially for dark stains on the wood. This is to achieve an even color that you desire.

Before buying a primer and priming over the wood furniture, you need to identify the type of stain, whether it’s water-based or oil-based. After priming the wood, wait for at least an hour for it to dry. The drying time will depend on the type of primer used, ventilation, and temperature in the room.

Step 6: Paint the Furniture

After letting the primer dry, it is now time to paint the furniture with your desired color. To reach small spaces, designs, and spots in the furniture, it is recommended to use angular paintbrushes. Do a single direction of stroke so it will look good when it dries. If you’re using a spray paint, this won’t be a problem.

Person pulling a tape from a roll, with a paint can and brushes on the floor

Allow the first coat to dry out first for at least 2 hours. If the paint doesn’t feel sticky anymore when touched, most probably, it’s completely dry. You may apply a second coating depending on the result of the first one or if you want a more solid color.

Once all the paint is dry, you may now put the drawers, handles, or knobs back.

Step 7: Apply the Paint Finish

Applying the paint finish will help in protecting your wood furniture. It will also determine how glossy your furniture will be so make sure to select the appropriate one. Paint finish can be applied with a spray or cloth depending on the consistency and brand of it. Always read the instructions on the product label.

Related Questions

Can You Paint Over Stained Wood Furniture Without Sanding?

Yes, though sanding is recommended if you prefer better and smoother results. Sanding removes unnecessary bumps and dirt on the wood furniture that you might not even recognize. If you don’t want to sand your furniture, you should at least use a deglosser to allow the paint to hold onto the surface. 

What Kind of Paint Can I Use for Stained Wood Furniture?

The kind of paint that you can use to paint over stained wood furniture will depend on whether the previous stain is water-based or oil-based. Also, using the right primer will do a great help and will make the paint and the furniture last longer. You may use any kind of paint based on the kind of primer you used, as long as the procedure is right.


You can paint over any kind of stained wood furniture. You just have to prepare the rights materials and follow the right procedures. Using inappropriate materials can ruin your furniture and can even be hazardous to you and your family.

Consider asking an expert or a professional if you don’t know how to do it.