How to Paint Kids’ Wood Furniture

A child’s room is his or her special place, so if you’re thinking of giving it a facelift, use your imagination to create an inspiring and fun environment for them. While putting a new coat of paint on the walls can work wonders, don’t forget about the furniture in the room. Whether it is a table and chair set, rocking chair, bed, desk or dresser, painting your child’s furniture is a simple and creative way to give the room a makeover.

Step 1: Think About Color

Start by thinking about the room’s color scheme. If you’re painting the room’s walls, plan how the room colors and furniture colors will complement each other. If you’re leaving the walls as is, you can still add zing with cool, colorful furniture. Just be sure the colors complement or contrast in the right way. Choose colors by knowing how they affect moods and perceptions:

  • Green. The color of nature, green is said to reinforce self-esteem and suggest hope, restfulness and calmness.
  • Blue. Shades of blue, like the ocean and the sky, evoke feelings of calm, tranquility and spirituality, so they’re good choices for a restful bedroom.
  • Red. Used as an accent to neutral colors, red can add life to a kid’s room.
  • Yellow. Cheerful and dynamic, yellow is a great choice to brighten and warm any room. It’s also said to be the color of intellectuals.
  • White. White represents peace, faith, joy, cleanliness and purity. It reflects light, so it can make a room appear bright, cool and spacious. But it’s also the hardest room color to keep clean with little ones around.
  • Purple. Various shades of purple evoke different feelings. Children typically respond to the energy of bright purple.

Colorful, brightly painted kids' furniture

Step 2: Find an Appropriate Workspace

If possible, remove the furniture from the room and work in another space, such as a garage, workshop or similar area. Work in a well-ventilated area since fumes from paint and paint thinner, etc., are toxic and can be very potent in an enclosed area. Working in an open garage or outside offers the best ventilation.

Safety Alert!

Never paint near extreme heat or an open flame. Paints, stripping chemicals and stains are highly flammable and can ignite.

Step 3: Prepare the Surface

If you need to do minor repairs to the furniture, do so before you start anything else on the project. All it takes is a little extra attention and elbow grease. Even if you’re not very handy, you should be able to repair a dresser or crib with a hammer, a screwdriver, some nails or screws and some wood glue.

Once repairs have been made, it’s time to refinish. Make sure your refinishing area is dry and dust-free — water and dirt can ruin fresh coats of primer and paint. Use masking tape to secure newspaper or a large drop cloth or tarp to the floor or ground to protect it from spills or splashes. Remove drawers, doors and any hardware from the furniture before you start.

Step 4: Remove Old Finish

Remove the old finish by sanding with a medium-low grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand along the grain of the wood — any swirl marks caused by sanding will stand out when you stain.

Remove all of the finish and smooth out any imperfections in the wood. Sand carefully by hand around decorative details and curved areas.

To remove finishes quickly from a large item, you may want to use a belt sander — but be careful not to damage the item by sanding too deeply. Finish by smoothing the entire piece down with medium-grit sandpaper.

Step 5: Prime It

Prime the furniture with True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer tinted the same color as the paint you’re going to use. This will make it easier because you can use fewer coats of paint. Priming is especially important if the furniture has never been painted or if the piece was poorly finished before you started. Apply the primer with a medium-sized brush or small roller. Let it dry completely.

Step 6: Start Painting

Using another medium-sized brush or small roller, apply True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint onto the furniture using even strokes. Cover the entire surface. Do not apply the paint too thickly or it will run. If you apply too much, wipe off the excess with a clean cloth. It is always better to do several light coats instead of one thick one. Let the paint dry in between coats.

Helpful Tip

It’s best not to use the furniture for at least a week. The paint will appear dry but can be easily smudged or scratched. Also, don’t replace the hardware until after the paint has completely dried.

If you’re painting your furniture, now’s the time to be as creative as you want. Because you’re creating a nursery, you may want to use bright, fun colors. Or create a calm and comforting space for your little one. It’s up to you.

When painting children’s furniture, it’s important to choose a low-VOC paint like True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint.

These high-quality paint products have reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Compared to traditional latex paints, these products release fewer fumes. Low-VOC primers and paints are applied the same way as conventional paints and primers and cost about the same as most manufacturers’ top-of-the-line paints. They can be cleaned and disposed of easily without the use of strong solvents.

You’re done! Take a step back and admire your work.

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.