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My husband and I have very few pieces of furniture that we purchased new. Most are used or hand-me-downs that we have revived or rehabbed in some way. We have spent many-a-weekend dragging furniture out into the yard to be sanded, painted, or dismantled and here are a few lessons we have learned.
1. Never spray paint in the house.
Sometimes you want to add some paint to a piece of furniture or old picture frame and it’s raining outside. Or really cold. And that little voice in your head tells you that it will be ok to do a quick spray paint job in the house, as long as you cover up the floor. Do not listen to that little voice. A fine layer of, in my case black, spray paint particles will settle on virtually everything in your home and may or may not wipe off easily. Not to mention the asphyxiating scent of spray paint fumes that linger long after you are done spraying. This is a strictly outdoor project!
2. Put down a sheet or cardboard to place your furniture on before you paint it.
It might seem silly to protect the grass or your patio when painting outside, but if you don’t put something protective down before you pick up the brush, there are several things that can happen. Grass. Stuck in your paint. Permanently shellacked to the front of the dresser you just put the third coat of paint on. And don’t forget the lovely outline of paint that you will leave on the grass. Or in my case, deck. It’s also REALLY hard to properly paint the bottom of a piece when there are tufts of grass sticking up. That may or may not be related to the tip about grass stuck in paint.
3. Don’t paint on humid days.
Painting furniture on a humid day reminds me of the adage about brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. Not only is it difficult to get a smooth finish, it will never dry. Ever. Things still stick to the bookshelf that we painted on one particularly sweltering, humid day last summer.
4. Make sure you use a primer.
This is especially true on old furniture that isn’t sealed well. While it may look covered the day you paint it, that wood will continue to absorb the paint and eventually you will see streaks and uneven coverage. Our entertainment center was rehabbed from a dresser I inherited from my late uncle. We have put no less than 4 coats of latex paint on it, and it Is STILL absorbing paint.
5. Indoor and outdoor furniture is merely a suggestion.
When looking for furniture to rehab for certain areas of your home, don’t be afraid to being the outdoors in and vice versa. I have a great table on my deck that was actually an end table for a living room set in a former life. The outdoor weather has aged it beautifully, and it is one of my favorite pieces.
Backyard DIY furniture rehabbing can net you some amazing pieces of furniture on a budget, as long as you follow some basic guidelines.