Despite oak timber furniture having an attractive grain, some people may want to paint over it. This can be for many reasons; to match the theme of a room, to fit in with other furniture items, or to simply cover nicks and gouges that would show up with just a clear finish. There are many things you must consider when looking to paint and cover oak furniture. Timber 2 U Direct are going to cover these in this blog post to help you transform your furniture in the right way. 


Before you start your project, ensure you have enough time to complete it. Painting furniture can take a minimum of four days due to coating and prepping. Take your time when painting as well – rushing the job will only make the final product look messy and unfinished.

Top tip: It’s always a good idea to plan and prepare for painting projects. If you work during the week, we recommend setting aside a weekend to be able to complete your painting.

Clean the furniture

It is important to clean down your oak before you start painting. If the furniture is in constant use, it is possible it has accumulated grease and grime, especially if your chosen item takes place in the kitchen. Thoroughly clean the wood with grease remover. We also recommend washing it with a trisodium phosphate detergent solution to clean any old finish that may be on the wood. If the old finish is cracked or peeling, you will want to try a citrus based stripper. Once you have done this, rinse with water and leave the wood to dry before you start painting. 

Remove components 

If you are painting any furniture that has detachable components, such as a chest of drawers, we would recommend removing them. Any drawers, handles, doors, or hinges should be separated before you begin if possible. This will ensure you don’t get paint on parts that you don’t mean too. You also may want to paint doors and drawers separately to guarantee maximum paint coverage. 

Top tip: Put numbers on the back of each component so that when you put them back together again, you know where each piece goes!

Sanding down 

Sanding will need to be carried out so that your paint sticks correctly to the oak. You can sand down furniture with handheld sandpaper, or a palm sander if you are working with larger pieces. We recommend using 150-200 grit sandpaper to remove any previous gloss that may have been missed when you stripped the wood.

Top tip: Once you have sanded down your furniture, make sure you dust away any wood particles so they don’t get sealed in with your paint.


This step might seem like one you can skip but it is essential. If you don’t use primer, the knots in the wood are likely to start showing through the paint in only a couple of months. Paint adheres better to primer than it does to wood, so it is an extra step to guarantee a smooth finished product. You can either use a primer that comes in a spray form or paint it onto your oak timber furniture with a paintbrush.

Top tip: Let the primer dry thoroughly before you start with the paint coat. This allows the paint to bond better with the primer and the wood.

Different types of paint

Now you’re ready to paint your furniture, it’s important that you have the correct type of paint. You can’t just use any old paint you have found in the back of your garage, as some are not suited for wood. If you end up using incorrect paint, you could completely ruin your piece of furniture and forfeit any chance at salvaging it. Using incorrect paint can also mean having to repaint your furniture sooner rather than later due to chips and scuffs. 

Water-based latex paint with a gloss works best on furniture that you’re going to use often, for example, chairs and tables. An oil-based paint would also be ideal for furniture like this as it is incredibly durable. You also can use an oil-based paint without primer (although we would always recommend using one just in case). A disadvantage to this type of paint is that it takes a lot longer to dry. This means you may have to extend the completion time of your painting project. 

Applying the paint 

When applying the paint to your oak timber furniture, be sure to use a high-quality paintbrush to avoid shedding and any visible brushstrokes that may affect the overall finish of the paint. If you are using oil paint, you should use a natural bristled brush. With latex paint, it is recommended to use a nylon or polyester angled bristle brush. Always be sure to paint with the grain of the wood. Start by applying thin layers and wait for the layers to completely dry before painting another one. This will provide a smooth and professional looking finish to your furniture. 

Ready to start painting? 

We know that piece of oak timber furniture you’ve been meaning to paint for months is in your garage, so why not pick it up and get painting? Or maybe you haven’t got any oak furniture to paint but are looking to add some to your home – you can create bespoke and custom wooden furniture with our range of made-to-measure timber. Timber 2 U Direct, the online trading arm of Brooks Bros LTD, can deliver directly to your door, so you don’t even have to worry about fitting the timber in your car or transporting it.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with our friendly team today!