Regular dish soap and hot water will cut through any buildup of dirt or grease that could prevent your paint from properly adhering. Use a stiff brush to get into the nooks and crannies of your piece. Starting with a clean surface is important.
Using a screwdriver, remove drawer pulls or metal hardware you don't intend to paint. Mask anything on which you don't want to get paint (and that cannot be removed) such as a mirror, or glass or metal trim. If you plan to update any trim pieces, use a chisel and hammer to remove existing trim.
For furniture that is going to be inside, a latex semigloss or eggshell finish wears nicely, is easy to apply and cleans up easily with soap and water. Make sure to purchase enough hardware for your project. Don't be afraid to mix and match drawer pulls with round knobs. Your knobs may not work with existing holes, but patching old holes and drilling new ones is quick and easy.
Using wood putty and a putty knife, fill in any existing holes and damage. Allow the putty to dry completely before sanding and painting. Once they're dry, sand these areas until smooth.
Prepare your piece for painting by lightly sanding and then applying a good-quality primer over the entire piece. Some paint brands on the market now combine a paint and primer in one, which allows you to skip the latter step. Work in a well-ventilated work space, and wear a mask. Protect your workspace from drips with a dropcloth.
After your primer has dried completely, apply your first coat of paint with a small foam roller for the large flat areas and a paintbrush for the corners. Move in one direction with your strokes to keep your paint finish smooth, and avoid going over any areas if the paint has started to get tacky. Allow your first coat to dry completely before applying your second coat.
Once your piece is dry, measure for new hardware and drill new holes as necessary. Install your new hardware and any new trim. Your piece is done and ready to enjoy.
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