Decor,  Renovations

How to Get a Smooth Finish when Painting Furniture

One of the most common questions I get about refinishing furniture is: How do you get a smooth finish when painting furniture? The good news is that it’s not difficult! You just need the right products and the right process to get a perfectly smooth finish on furniture.

This post is going to walk you through exactly how to do it! So keep reading for all the details.

Thanks to Purdy for sponsoring this post. I received compensation but all opinions stated here are my own. I’ve loved and owned Purdy products for a very long time!

Tools & Materials

Looking to purchase Purdy paint brushes, rollers and other products for an upcoming project? Head HERE to see what retailers near you carry Purdy products.

Time to Complete

This project took me 2 days to complete, given dry times. Active work time was about 5 hours.

How to Get a Smooth Finish when Painting Furniture: Mid-Century Modern Furniture Flip

Dresser that needs to be refinished

Here is a picture of a dresser that I purchased from Goodwill for only $15! It’s laminate so it’s not super high quality but I loved the shape and design of it. Plus, when you know how to paint furniture and get a super smooth finish, even laminate can look good!

STEP 1: Sand the dresser with a random orbital sander

Sanding dresser when refinishing

Whenever you are working with laminate, it’s a good idea to sand it first to rough up the surface and give the paint something to stick to. I used 220 grit sandpaper on my random orbital sander. You don’t need to sand through any finish – just rough up the surface a bit.

STEP 2: Clean the dresser with TSP mixed with water, and a rag

Cleaning dresser with TSP

No matter how clean a piece of furniture looks, you should ALWAYS wash it really well. TSP is a cleaner specifically made to remove dirt and grease. People often use it to clean walls and furniture before they paint them.

Allow the dresser to fully dry before moving to the next step.

STEP 3: Use a Purdy Premium Folding Multi-Tool to apply Minwax Stainable Wood Filler to any imperfections in the surface of the dresser.

get a smooth finish when painting furniture by filling imperfections with wood filler

In order to get a smooth finish, you MUST properly prep the surface. It’s impossible to get a smooth finish if you don’t. Therefore, I use this handy Purdy Premium Folding Multi-Tool to push the wood filler into any imperfections.

Once the wood filler is dry, sand down the wood filler until the surface is smooth. One way to check this is to close your eyes and run your hand over the area. If you can tell where the wood filler is, it’s not smooth enough yet.

Remove any sanding dust with a tack cloth.

STEP 4: Apply a primer such as Sherwin-Williams Multi-Purpose Latex Primer

Applying primer to dresser before painting

Using the right paint brush and roller during this step is CRUCIAL for a smooth finish.

For a paint brush, I recommend the Purdy 2″ Angled Nylox Glide Paint Brush. This is my go-to brush for painting furniture. Why? Because it has soft bristles, which are great for not leaving paint brush strokes behind.

For a roller, I use the Purdy Revolution Jumbo Mini Roller Frame. It seems to be the exact right size for painting furniture. It helps make the painting go faster while also fitting into many areas of the furniture piece. For the roller cover, make sure that you use a Purdy White Dove 1/4″ Nap Mini Roller Cover. This cover has a very low nap, which is important for a smooth finish. Lower nap = smoother finish. This roller frame and cover are my go-to products for painting furniture.

Use the paint brush first in the crevices and then go over everything with the roller.

Avoid over-applying the primer, which can ruin your smooth finish.

Only 1 coat of primer is needed.

Use the super handy Purdy Paint Pail to hold your paint, roller, and brush as you paint.

STEP 5: Apply 2 coats of Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex.

Get a smooth finish when painting furniture by using this Purdy paint brush

When painting furniture you should use a paint that is durable and will go on smoothly. I highly recommend Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex and Sherwin-Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel. Both are durable, dry smooth, and are easy to work with.

When applying this paint, use the same type of brush, roller cover, and roller frame that you used when you applied the primer.

Apply 2 coats to ensure really good coverage.

Wash paint brushes using a Purdy Contractor Brush & Roller Cleaner.

Conveniently this paint doesn’t require a topcoat! It’s durable all on it’s own.

STEP 6: Spray paint furniture legs and drawer pulls.

Spray painting dresser legs with brushed gold spray paint

Using Krylon Fusion All-in-One Spray Paint in Metallic Gold, spray paint the dresser legs and drawer pulls. Follow the directions on the can and make sure not to over-apply or hold the can too close to the legs or drawer pulls. You will want to apply 2 coats.

Once dry, reattach the legs and drawer pulls.

The Finished Dresser with a Beautifully Smooth Finish!

Refinished blue and white dresser with brushed gold legs and hardware

Then your dresser is done and you can enjoy your beautifully transformed $15 Goodwill find.

Smooth finish on painted furniture

It’s hard to show in pictures just how smooth it is, but the finish is so very smooth! Now you know exactly how to get a smooth finish when painting furniture.

How to get this smooth finish on painted furniture

Want to see more amazing furniture flips?

Head here to see an Ikea dresser turn into a GORGEOUS fluted dresser! (and to learn how to clean paint brushes)

Want to see a dresser turn into R2-D2?! Head here to check it out.

Ready to purchase Purdy products for your next furniture refinishing project? Head HERE to see what retailers near you carry Purdy products.