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Painting Over High Gloss Furniture


Your old or vintage furniture will look great with a makeover. Whether you were negligent with maintenance or it’s the unkind nature of time, your old furniture can get a brand-new look with a make-over coat of paint. However, the project can become very challenging when you have to deal with high-gloss furniture. If you aren’t up for the challenge, get the help of professionals by searching for “furniture repair near me”. Otherwise, let’s figure out how you can paint over high gloss furniture:

The Details

  1. High gloss furniture has many unknowns – High gloss furniture is almost mirror-like and in the right lighting conditions, you can easily groom yourself in front of it. The same feature makes it a territory of unknowns. The high gloss finish makes it difficult to know if it was hand-finished or factory or sprayed and finished inside a factory. That’s why figuring out the unknown is the first step to solve the problem.
  1. Paint or laminate – You need to figure out the material that’s responsible for the high glossiness of the furniture. Is the high gloss finish due to several layers of high gloss clear product applied on the surface of the wood? Is it a sheet of high gloss laminate that has been bonded to the surface? You can figure this out by having a closer look at the furniture. Check the sides and feel for a layer of sheet laminate. If you can’t figure it out, you can scratch the surface with a sharp and flat object to chip away paint. You need to sand or de-gloss the furniture anyway.
  1. Water or Oil-based paint – If you’ve figured out that your furniture has paint instead of laminate, here’s what you need to do next. Oil-based paint has been very popular for a long time and if you aren’t sure about it, it’s best to assume that your furniture has been painted with oil-based paint. If you want to paint over the furniture without sanding or stripping the original layer of paint or laminate, it’s best to stick with oil paint. Water-based paint won’t stick to the surface properly if the original paint layer was oil-based and wasn’t stripped properly. On the other hand, oil paint will adhere to any surface much more easily and has a lower probability of getting peeled later.
  1. Sanding – When you want to repaint a piece of furniture, it’s best to do it properly instead of skipping through the process. The end result is gorgeous, and the aesthetic change would last you longer. That’s why you shouldn’t skip over sanding when painting furniture. After you repair the furniture by tightening the weak edges and drawers and filling up the accessory holes, you need to sand down the external surfaces. Take out your sander and start with 80 grit sandpaper. Start from the edges and with round motions slowly make it to the other side and repeat the process till you cover the complete surface.

Sanding down the surface doesn’t just help you to get rid of the paint or the glossy texture of the laminate, it also helps you get rid of scratches, bubbles, and other imperfections. If your furniture has almost negligible surface damage, you can lightly sand the surface and start away with the primer. No need to sand the surface thoroughly with several passes since there are no imperfections that need to be eliminated. Get rid of any excess dust from the surface after you sand down the furniture.

  1. Apply primer – Once you’ve sanded down the surface, it’s time to apply the primer. When it comes to the choice of primer for your furniture, it’s best to stick to your favorite brand’s shellac-based primer. Once you sand through a glossy surface and the wood starts to peek through, you need a good bonding primer that also features bleed-through stain blocking. Shellac primers are known for those features. Get a roller paintbrush and apply a coat of the primer in a uniform straight path till you cover the surface. Let it dry and lightly sand the surface to prepare it for the next coat.

After you apply the second coat of primer, let it dry and lightly sand it again. Check for any bleed-through stains. If everything looks white and ready to be painted, it’s time for a scratch test. You can use your nails or any other moderately sharp object and scratch the surface to confirm if the primer has completely bonded with the surface. If everything looks good, it’s time to paint.

  1. Paint the furniture – Before you begin painting, you should cover all the hardware, brass, and metal pieces on the furniture with painter’s tape. Get the spray-painting gun and check the flow by adjusting the amount of paint and the shape that comes out. You don’t need any form of precision while painting external flat surfaces. However, when you’re painting the inner parts of the furniture, you need to be careful about over-spraying and wasting paint.

As mentioned before, when it comes to the type of paint, it mostly matters when you haven’t prepped the furniture properly. If you’ve scuff-sanded the furniture, used a good bonding primer, and taken all the appropriate steps before painting, you are free to choose any type of paint. From acrylic and chalk to oil, mineral, and latex paint. If you’re an amateur with spray paint, use a cardboard panel to block overspray. It saves a lot of time and adds convenience, especially for beginners. Make sure that you use glasses, gloves, masks, and all other necessary protective gear.


Whether you want to give the old furniture a new look or want to turn a boring cabinet into something interesting, the above-mentioned tips should help you. Painting over high gloss furniture is an easy task as long as you do the right prep work. You can also choose to not bother with the hassles and outsource the task to pros by searching for “furniture repair near me”.

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