How to Paint Your Wood Furniture White

When you’re home half of the time, you may feel like it’s time to work on some personal projects. I know that this content is definitely different from my usual travel guides but I do want to make it clear I also have a life outside of my travels… I did not turn into a DIY or interior designer but just a regular person sharing some knowledge on their blog! I decided to paint some oak wood furniture (thrifted, that is) into this modern rustic-looking white. 

In fact, what I love about my own travels is how they continue to inspire me in my daily life. Whether it’s some knowledge I picked up along the way and shared to the way I manage and plans for events and now to letting those things be influenced at home.

I was inspired to transform the oak wood furniture into white when I remember seeing the use of wood at this tiny home with a tiny home hotel that I had a pleasure to work with once when I visited Portland, Oregon in 2021.The tiny home I stayed in, from the variety of tiny home options there, was the Cottage House one, and it had this overall Victorian theme to it. It was so lovely and I covered the whole thing on a separate blog post as a review for the Tiny Digs Hotel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love oak wood but I feel like it’s not as “modern” as it used to be and it can be challenging to display in some modern homes nowadays. I think in some cases, oak wood looks good but it has to pair with the right type of furniture and how the house is designed. I feel like a little white paint won’t hurt anyone and it can easily revive old furniture.

Here are the 7 steps on how to easily transform your wooden furniture white.

Step 1: Buy your supplies first

A paint job always needs the right supplies to help you achieve the look you want. There’s different types of paints out there for furniture (and for your homes), but the one I went for is Chalk Paint. What is chalk paint? Chalk paint is paint that creates this chalkboard type of coating and its coating also feels almost like chalky. Chalk paint is a good choice if you’re looking to spruce up your furniture to have an aged look and if that is your thing, then you’ll want to continue to read the steps.

Here are other supplies you need and the brand names (BEHR is really good). I easily picked all this up from my local Home Depot store.

Supplies to use to paint your furniture white

Step 2: Clean your furniture and protect the floors

Before you start painting, you need to clean your furniture. You don’t want any dust, grease or grime to be on the paint! You can simply clean off your furniture with soap and water with a rag or a big sponge.

Step 3: Apply tape to knobs and hinges if you need to

If you don’t want to paint over your knobs and hinges and care about the conditions of how they are, I would put Scotchblue tape over them. You want to put enough tape to contour the shape of these. I would also consider putting Scotchblue tape behind the cabinets before it hits certain edges and outside edges of the inside, if you aren’t going to paint inside them.

Step 4: Optional to sandpaper the surface and prime the surfaces

This is an optional step because I didn’t do this for my furniture, but you have an option to use a grit sandpaper to sand away any uneven wooden chipped spots. Then, you can prime the surface before you put on the real paint. One primer that’s highly recommended is the BIN Shellac Primer, which blocks odors, existing stains, bleed throughs, and more.

Step 5: Start painting the first layer and let it dry

Now to the hardest and time consuming part… painting! First, you need to open the paint bucket. I do so by simply using a slotted screwdriver (the ones with the flat tip). Then you can dip your flat chip paint brush in and I would try to paint at a consistent stroke pattern. For example, if you’ve been painting horizontally, stick with that. After you’re done painting through all those, then you want to let it dry for a minimum of an hour.

Step 6: Paint the second layer and let it dry

After your first layer/coating dried, then you need to go in for a second one! Two coats is good enough to help you achieve the desired look. You will simply paint the same way you did with the first layer and let it dry again for another hour.

Chalk paint used on this side table

Step 7: Apply the clear wax if you need to and let it dry

Lastly, this is an optional step because although I bought clear wax, I actually skipped on using it because I did like the chalky matte feeling look. Clear wax allows the paint to have a richer, satin sheen look to it. It’s also used to seal and protect the coats. Therefore, buffing is not necessary when using this. You may want to have that look, or not. 

Remember to take off all your Scotchblue tape to reveal your unpainted knobs and hinges!

Additional tip: Pair your newly painted white wood furniture with bohemian pieces.

Now that you’ve completed your painting projects and helped your wood furniture achieve this rustic look, you may feel like it’s time to make your furniture stand out. This rustic furniture looks great among other Victorian or Bohemian furniture, as it did with the Tiny Home I was inspired by. I think planning interior design is one of the funnest journeys of putting together your home.

For example, I found this awesome wicker chair at Facebook Marketplace for just $10!!!! Wicker/Rattan furniture is usually hundreds of dollars or more, depending how vintage it is. I think it would look ideal among the rest of what I painted.


Are you excited to do some DIYs to your own furniture? If so, what kind of interior style are you looking to achieve?

Have you ever been inspired by your own travels to do fun stuff at home?


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