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Furniture Makeover: Techniques for Upcycling Old Furniture with Paint

If you’re new to upcycling and furniture repair, big projects that require a lot of tools and materials can seem overwhelming.

For upcycling newbies or anyone looking for a simple furniture revamp method, upcycling old furniture with paint is a fun and accessible DIY furniture makeover idea.

With different painting techniques, you can give old furniture new life without cutting, nailing, or drilling anything.

So, if you’re in the market for some enjoyable and rewarding techniques for upcycling old furniture with paint, check out these DIY furniture makeover ideas!

diy furniture makeover ideas

Rustic and Classy


If you want to achieve a vintage look without the actual wear and tear of old furniture, why not try distressing your paint?

After you’ve given your old furniture a fresh coat of paint and let it dry, take a medium grit sandpaper and begin to rub the paint lightly.

It’s best to start very gently and slowly build up pressure so you don’t accidentally scrape away more paint than you want.

If you’re working with wood for your DIY furniture makeover ideas, make sure you’re going with the natural grain of the wood to avoid damage.


Maybe you want to achieve a more natural look with your old wooden furniture’s facelift.

If so, skip the opaque, colored paint and opt for a wood stain instead!

Clean and lightly sand your furniture first, then apply your stain as instructed.

If there are unwanted blemishes on the surface of your furniture, you can use wood filler or a scratch repair kit first.

This DIY furniture makeover idea gives your furniture some new life while retaining the piece’s natural, rustic beauty.

Small Touches

If a wood stain isn’t quite enough of a DIY furniture makeover idea for you, but you don’t want to repaint it completely, you can add some intentional details and small touches to bring new interest to old furniture.

Grab a fun, bold color and add a few coats of paint to the knobs, handle, or trim.

Or maybe paint the front of the drawer in your old nightstand and leave the rest of it natural!

Adding small painted details can enhance and elevate a classic piece of furniture that you don’t want to alter too much.

diy furniture makeover ideas

Modern and Chic


One chic DIY furniture makeover idea that’s perfect for upgrading a chest of drawers is a color-blocked painting technique.

Take some neutral, complimentary colors and paint each drawer in the unit a different or alternating shade.

Keeping the colors muted and toned down allows for a fun DIY furniture makeover idea that isn’t too bold or whimsical.

This technique will make your chest of drawers look brand new and modern!


If you want to overhaul a whole room, try introducing a monochrome color scheme in your next DIY furniture makeover idea.

For such a big project, you might feel tempted to toss out your old furniture pieces rather than upcycle them.

But applying a simple coat of paint in a muted tone across the board will bring a fresh, cohesive feel to your space.

Plus, it’s super easy to do! A bit of cleaning and sanding, one paint color, and you’re done.


Matte details are all the rage right now and fit right with any modern home decor.

Thankfully, there are plenty of furniture paints with a matte finish that will make any old piece of furniture look stylish.

There are even matte clear coats to seal the deal!

diy furniture makeover ideas

Bold and Fun


Painting patterns and designs are excellent DIY furniture makeover ideas to bring some fun and personality to your old furniture!

Once you’ve prepped and painted your furniture as desired, you can add some extra detail to really bring it to life.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to freehand anything.

There are plenty of awesome paint stencils that are perfect for drawers, doors, and table tops.

Even with simple, neutral paint colors, patterns still add some whimsy to your old furniture pieces.


Sponge painting is a great, easy way to add some unique detail to furniture that might need some TLC.

It creates an interesting ombre effect without incorporating too many different colors or blending techniques.

First, you need to prep your furniture as required and apply a base coat of paint.

Keep in mind that your base coat doesn’t have to be bland!

This will be the color scheme you’ll work with throughout the DIY furniture makeover idea, so if you want a hot pink ombre table, then start with a hot pink base coat.

Once your base coat has dried, mix that color with a light glaze.

This will thin out and lighten the original color while keeping the same tone, which is perfect for this sponge painting technique.

Next, take a natural sea sponge and dampen it.

Prep your sponge with the mixed glaze and lightly dab it all over the surface.

When you’re finished, you’ll have an interesting paint gradient that draws the eye and adds some fun to a plain piece of furniture.


Metallic paints are a great way to change up your furniture without having to replace anything.

Do you have a dining table with wooden legs that you wish were metal?

Slap those legs with a couple of coats of metallic paint!

This will give the illusion of mixed materials without actually having to install new table legs.

The same goes for wooden handles and knobs.

Metallics can also introduce some bright, bold elements into otherwise dull, worn-out furniture.

diy furniture makeover ideas

DIY Furniture Makeover Ideas: FAQs

What is the best kind of paint to use for DIY furniture makeover ideas?

The best kind of paint for DIY furniture makeover ideas will totally depend on the project.

Both chalk paint and acrylic paint are popular for DIY furniture makeover ideas, but there are lots of other options.

But, it is a good idea to start your hunt for the best paint by searching specifically for furniture paint.

Once you’ve chosen your paints, there should be instructions on whether you need primer, wax, or sealant.

How do I prepare my old furniture for painting?

Before you get started on your DIY furniture makeover idea, you’ll want to be sure your furniture is prepped and ready to paint!

Regardless of your chosen technique, you’ll want to clean the furniture first. Typically, a wipe-down with some mild soap and warm water will do the trick.

But if you’re working with a piece that’s a bit older or was picked up from a vintage store, you might need a sponge or scrubber to get into all the nooks and crannies.

At this point, you can decide if your furniture needs to be sanded or primed before painting. Depending on the nature of the makeover, this will vary.

But even if there isn’t an obvious need for sanding, a light rub with sandpaper over the furniture’s surface to give the paint something to grip onto is good practice.

You’ll also want to remove any doors, drawers, knobs, or handles that need to be painted separately.

diy furniture makeover ideas

Final Thoughts on DIY Furniture Makeover Ideas

There are so many different ways to upcycle your old furniture.

Adding a touch of paint and color to your pieces can completely transform the furniture and, by extension, the whole room!

And by not purchasing new furniture, you’ve saved your wallet and contributed to a more circular economy.

For some help choosing which DIY furniture makeover idea is right for you, check out our Ultimate Guide to Choosing Paint Colors for Every Room.