How to replace varnished furniture with your own hands

Are you sick of your varnished furniture looking the same old way? Perhaps there are wear and tear indicators starting to show, or maybe you’re just ready for a change. For whatever reason, the good news is that you can update the look of your furniture without going over budget. We’ll show you how to replace varnished furniture with your own hands in this guide, so you can let your imagination run wild and give your interior design a makeover.

It’s important to comprehend what varnish is and why it’s used on furniture before beginning the process. To improve the durability and appearance of wood surfaces, varnish is a protective coating that is applied. Although furniture with a varnish finish can have a lovely appearance, it can also age or get damaged from stains and scratches over time. Your furniture can be revitalized and given a brand-new appearance by simply applying new varnish.

Preparing the surface correctly is one of the first steps in replacing furniture that has been varnished. Depending on the kind of varnish and the state of the furniture, this entails removing the existing varnish with sandpaper or a chemical stripper. By sanding, you can remove any flaws and provide a smooth, level surface for the fresh finish. To get the best results, you must take your time with this step.

You can select a new finish for your furniture after the previous varnish has been removed and the surface has been smoothed. There are a few options to think about, such as paint, stain, or both combined. Paint can give your furniture a clean, contemporary appearance, but stain lets the wood’s inherent beauty show through. Make sure you choose high-quality products made for furniture use, regardless of the finish you decide on.

Give the furniture enough time to fully dry and cure after applying the new finish before using it. This could take a few hours or even several days, depending on the finish type and surroundings. You can reassemble the furniture and admire your freshly altered pieces after the finish has dried. You can create a look that expresses your own style and replace varnished furniture yourself with a little time and effort.

Step Description
1 Gather necessary materials: sandpaper, paint stripper, gloves, mask, varnish, brush.
2 Prepare the furniture surface by sanding it to remove old varnish.
3 Apply paint stripper if needed, following product instructions.
4 Clean the surface thoroughly to remove any residue.
5 Apply varnish evenly using a brush, following the wood grain.
6 Allow varnish to dry completely between coats.
7 Sand lightly between coats for a smooth finish.
8 Repeat varnish application until desired finish is achieved.
9 Let the final coat dry completely before using the furniture.

Prerequisites for painting furniture

The issues with old furniture are easily identifiable because they are readily apparent from the outside. It is possible to identify which products require staining based on their type: when the coating darkens and the top polishing layer starts to separate. After extended use, a mesh-like crack covers the tree’s entire glossy surface. Additionally, furniture may have scuffs, chips, scratches, and other defects. If the furniture is antique, minor flaws won’t affect its worth. However, these kinds of issues severely damage common interior items.

The first indication that furniture needs restoration is when its appearance deteriorates. Placed furniture can be painted again by hand, as hiring professionals will cost significantly more. It is possible to paint things at home without affecting the wood’s natural structure. If one wishes, the furniture’s texture can be concealed by painting the base a different hue—bright, white, or even dark.

Selection of paint and additional materials

You must purchase high-quality paintwork if you want the product to look beautiful. The instrument ought to be appropriate for wood, as the quality of the paint determines how long the fresh layer will last. Personal preferences should also be taken into account because different colors can have different effects. Pens should be purchased with additional metal parts; otherwise, they will soon become obsolete.

A wood painting substrate ought to possess several qualities:

  • moisture resistance;
  • the inappropriateness of abrasion, rapid wear, the action of dirt, mechanical influence, as well as staining when chemicals hit;
  • frost resistance if the product is operated on the street;
  • Long service life with the preservation of initial properties.

You can paint the base with nearly any color after removing the old varnish. The new coating can be made totally transparent with or without color, and it will appear glossy, matte, or semi-dummy. It all comes down to personal taste and how well the product fits into the room as a whole. If it is decided to repaint furniture white, translucent paint is preferable as matte paint will instantly give the pieces an antiquated appearance.

The following are the most typical color categories for wooden goods:

  • acrylic – has a water base, perfect for natural wood, veneer, plywood and even laminate, MDF;
  • enamel with a shade of "metallic" – is intended for painting fittings, as well as to give a tree an original tone;
  • varnish – usually bought for painting the old coating to update it.

Furniture that comes into contact with hot objects or is used in heated environments occasionally needs to be painted or varnished. The paint should then be selected with fire-retardant qualities. It’s also acceptable to use a primer during pre-processing to boost heat resistance.

Once the paint has been obtained, several supplementary supplies and equipment need to be ready. They can purchase a roller or brush to apply LKM, or they can use a spray gun to paint large areas. For stressing, one can buy sandpaper or use a grinding machine. A scrape or metal brush will be needed to remove stubborn varnish. You will need to buy a construction hair dryer if you choose to heat the old coating.

From extra money you must set aside:

  • primer;
  • putty;
  • varnish for varnishing after paint (if required);
  • detergent or washing powder;
  • varnish solvent;
  • Antiseptic (grass);
  • insect protection means (if required).

Stages of staining

Every task is completed in phases. It is not advisable to apply fresh paint to furniture without first removing the varnish, as this will significantly degrade the final surface quality. It is preferable to carry out restoration in compliance with professional advice, as this will ensure a stunning and long-lasting outcome.

Surface preparation

The primary step in getting furniture ready for repair is removing the old finish. Varnish can be removed mechanically, thermally, or chemically. Professionals advise against using a hair dryer in the building for thermal varnish removal. The steps are as follows:

  • put on a protective suit and gloves, not forgetting about glasses;
  • Pass the hairdryer along a small area of ​​the surface, warming it up well (instead of a hairdryer, some use a soldering lamp, but this method requires extreme caution so as not to spoil the tree);
  • Take a spatula or knife, scrape off the varnish coating.

The mechanical approach requires more work. Do this:

  • pull the boxes out of the furniture, remove all the elements of accessories;
  • Fasteners, handles and other fittings are well rinsed with soapy solution, if necessary, use soda;
  • wipe furniture with soap, powder to degrease it and remove dirt;
  • wipe the varnish with a scrap, sandpaper with large grain, metal brushes;
  • Run the surface with sandpaper with fine grain or grinding machine.

Another option for removing coating is chemically; however, this will require a solvent that won’t damage the tree. Using a brush, wash the object’s surface, then place it under the film for three hours. The old varnish is carefully removed after using the spatula.

Putting damage

It is advised to disassemble the furniture for the greatest number of components in order to properly assess its condition. This will make it feasible to replace all of the outdated, damaged, and unsightly fittings and process even the most difficult-to-reach areas. They remove the dust by vacuuming or wiping the furniture with a dry cloth after the grinding is finished. Next, use an antiseptic to prevent future fungal damage to the product.

There are large and medium defects that must all be fully subsided. Purchasing clear putty is preferable since it works with all kinds of wood and doesn’t alter its composition. Putty should be applied thinly and evenly to maintain a smooth surface. Apply the layer once more if necessary after allowing it to dry completely. The processed area is repolished after the work is finished.


Performing this process extends the refurbished furniture’s lifespan. Additionally, degreasing uniformizes the LKM layer and greatly enhances paint adhesion to the surface. Use any detergent for this. They are applied to the product’s surface, diluted with water, and then rinsed off.

Dried and wiped until all traces of moisture are gone. If putty was applied previously, it is preferable to use alcohol or vodka for degreasing rather than an aqueous solution. Table vinegar can be used to remove fat and dirt stains.

Painting process

Priming should be done right before staining, and transparent primers should only be used for this purpose. Applying the product to the entire surface is essential, as the soil enhances adhesion and decreases paint absorption in plunged areas.

The process of painting is as follows:

  1. All elements that will not be stained must be removed or sealed with paper tape. So do not have to wash them at the end of the restoration.
  2. Apply paint to each element separately. It is better to use the roller, so the LKM will go to bed smoothly. Particularly carefully need to paint the boxes, shelves, dry them separately, only then fix them in place. You need to make sure that there are no fluxes of paint.
  3. After drying, apply another layer of material to furniture. So the result will be fixed.
  4. Collect furniture. You can install it in place.

Correct drying

Latex, acrylic, and other water-based LKMs take a while to dry. It is preferable to set up an area ahead of time for work and drying to avoid furniture getting in the way. Each layer requires 12 to 24 hours to dry, and many enamels are detrimental to their evaporations. You cannot live in a room with furniture that is worth it, even if it is only being used temporarily by kids or pets. The coating will dry for the duration specified in the instructions because the ideal drying temperature range is between 20 and 23 degrees. The drying process will take longer in lower temperatures.

Basic difficulties and errors

The following are mistakes that novices most frequently make when repairing lacquered furniture:

  • partial removal of varnish – if you leave pieces of the old coating, the appearance of the new will be spoiled;
  • Incorrect breeding of paint – you should carefully familiarize yourself with the instructions so that the coating has good quality, otherwise drops, tubercles or streams may appear on it;
  • Failure to comply with drying time – touching, using not completely dried furniture will lead to the formation of ugly spots;
  • Ignoring proper preparation – lack of grinding, puttying furniture will cause the appearance of defects on a new coating and worsen adhesion.

It’s not always necessary to hire an expert if you want to give your varnished furniture a brand-new look. If you have the necessary supplies and a little perseverance, you can complete this do-it-yourself project.

Start by evaluating the state of your furniture. Assess if it requires a minor repair or a comprehensive restoration. A little bit of sanding and refinishing can often fix small scratches and worn areas, but complete varnish removal may be necessary for more serious damage.

Next, compile your materials. Sandpaper or sanding blocks, paint or stain for wood, rollers or brushes, and a protective coat like wax or polyurethane are required. Make sure the items you select will work with the type of furniture you have and the desired result.

It is imperative that you set up your workspace appropriately before beginning. To protect your floors, place drop cloths down, and make sure there is adequate ventilation to prevent fumes from chemicals you may be using from entering your air. Additionally, to protect yourself throughout the process, remember to wear the proper safety equipment, such as gloves and goggles.

After preparing your workspace and furniture, it’s time to begin the transformation. To remove the old varnish and prepare the surface for the new finish, start by sanding the surface. Work slowly and in little sections, taking care not to sand too quickly and harm the wood underneath.

Apply thin, even coats of your preferred stain or paint after sanding the furniture to remove any remaining dust and debris. To achieve a polished finish, let each layer dry fully before applying the next. To improve longevity and durability, apply a protective topcoat to the freshly refinished piece.

You can give your varnished furniture a new lease on life and create a gorgeous focal point for your house with a little imagination and hard work. So prepare to unleash your inner do-it-yourself enthusiast by rolling up your sleeves and gathering your supplies!

Our goal in providing you with this guide on paints and paintwork supplies is to enable you to DIY varnished furniture transformations. We will guide you through each step of the process, whether your goal is to update an outdated piece or add your own unique style to something brand-new. We can help you with everything from surface preparation to selecting the appropriate paint and applying it expertly. Bid farewell to antiquated finishes and welcome to furniture that showcases your individuality and flair. Come on, let your inner do-it-yourself enthusiast loose!

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Daria Yakovlev

Interior designer, author of online color design courses. I will help you create a harmonious interior using color.

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