Paint it white: how to renew bargain finds

Make your found furniture shine anew

How to get the most out of pieces you already own.

Affordable furniture is not always at our fingertips and sometimes it’s necessary to include or hold on to pieces of furniture that have been pre-loved or in your home for some time. These have often moved from room-to-room and taking a fair share of knocks and scrapes along the way.

A wonderful way to revitalise old furniture and have everything matching together well in a room is to paint everything white. Likewise, an affordable buy can be made to look more expensive with a good coat of paint – especially as part of a whole decorating scheme.

Like a blank canvas, white furniture can recede into the background rather taking centre stage and, if part of a collection of white pieces, together they will appear unified – be they made of wicker, timber, plywood or laminate.

White furniture can lend itself to any interior look you love. A classic look for a Hamptons style interior is for it to be brimming with white furniture. Modern country decor looks perfect with a touch of white – perhaps with a table top left with its original timber tones. Even the most contemporary home can carry off an upcycled piece if painted in a crisp white finish.

Renovating your furniture with a fresh coast of white paint is a fun weekend project that can be done in a small space, garage or on your balcony – even indoors with enough good ventilation.

How to repaint your timber furniture

You will need:

Drop sheet

Sandpaper & block or orbital sander for larger pieces of furniture



White paint of your choice

Protective varnish (optional)

Paint brush

Mini foam paint rollers

Paint tray

Rags for drips and wash-up

Soft brush for applying varnish (if using)


  1. Remove handles and any hardware – consider swapping them or a new set for a complete makeover, otherwise give them a good clean and scrub.

  2. Sand entire piece by hand or with an orbital sander for larger pieces – a quick job is OK – you’re after a rough surface for the new paint to cling to.

  3. If you’re changing the anchor point for new handles, fill holes with putty, allow to dry properly and area sand again.

  4. Wipe over all surfaces to remove paint residue and offer a clean surface for fresh paint.

  5. Prime first with undercoat, allow to dry (check can for timing).

  6. Paint all over with your white paint of choice.

  7. Reapply until you’re satisfied with the coverage and allow to dry completely – best left overnight if possible.

  8. Apply protective varnish coat if using and allow to dry completely – again overnight if possible.

  9. Replace hardware and enjoy!

Top tip:

Don’t stop at furniture – make the look complete by spraying wicker baskets, plant pots, light fittings and accessories in the same white paint.

Related stories