Beginner's Must Have Checklist for : Refinishing Furniture

Updated: May 27

Are you starting your first DIY project? Or, are you wanting to start painting furniture? Here is a must have checklist for refinishing furniture DIY style.

I am going to tell you

what I didn't know

before I did my very first furniture project.

When I started my first furniture flip, I didn't think it was going to be one of many that I would do, or be a gateway into my future business as a furniture designer

So first, determine if you are wanting to do ONE project or more, it will save you money in the end, and trips to the store.

My first Project was a craigslist find! A free, real wood, MCM dresser... I know! I was super fortuante to find it.

I didn't know anything about anything painting related before this. So I walked into Clover-dale paint with my two kids and asked them to set me up with what I would need to complete this project.

They gave me this :

- A paint Brush

- Roller and Roller cage

- Primer (I don't remember which brand)

- White Paint

8 months in, and I don't use any of those same products I used for my first project. They worked well and got the job done, but It was bit on the expensive side, for doing more than one project.

I didn't do as much research as I should've in the beginning, because I didn't know I was going to be doing this long term.

So here are some things I learned along the way!


Make sure you SAND or SCUFF your piece up before applying paint to it. This will help your paint adhere better, you really want to take off any oils or dust. Wipe your piece down with vinegar water or Varasol.


Always, ALWAYS, get a good primer. I recommend,

- Zinsser Bulls eye 123 Water base, or

- Zinsser BIN Shellac base

Both Work great. BUT if your worried about bleed through on your project, use a shellac based primer. There is nothing worse than putting all that effort in and having to redo it because of bleed through!

Shellac based / or if your using oil based primer, will not be easy, or worth it to try to get our of your paint brush or roller tray, they say using mineral spirits will work, but It has never worked for me to get it out of my brushes, I have ended up tossing all of them. So here is where I made my biggest mistake in purchasing supplies.


Im so serious about this. Dollarama is my one stop shop for painting supplies. Go to their supplies section, and grab: ( these examples are based price in cases, look at unit price )

- 2 Paintbrushes

- A Roller cage, that comes with a foam roller. ( the one in the picture is one they carry, but they do carry them with foam rollers in Canada

- A two pack of the foam rollers.

- A paint tray ( they also sell different sizes )

- Drop sheet (if your anything like me when I work, you will just want to toss it out after.)

- Pick up a paint cup as well, if you don't have one, red solo cups work great too! Which is nice cause you can just toss the cup when your done.


The brand of paint I would suggest using, that is very cost effective is Canadian Tire's Premier Infinity brand, in eggshell. It works great, and it has ZERO VOC.

Shop the sales, and if you have the rewards mastercard you get money back! Don't spend more than 50$ a gallon, they have a sale every few months, where you get a gallon for the price of a pint.

The CIL Brand from walmart is also a great choice, lots of places sell it, is also an affordable brand if you do not have a Canadian Tire.


Regardless of if your paint is a 'Paint & Primer', I would still recommend using a separate primer.

TOP COAT: This is where I have had the most issues.

If you are doing a white project, make sure you DO NOT, buy an oil based polyurethane top coat, it will turn your white into YELLOW. I suggest using a polly acrylic water based top coat by miniwax . I have had no issues with this one! And its low odor. If you are only doing one project considering buying a top coat in a spray can.

For how much to buy:

If you are planning on just a few projects buy in small quantities, if your planning multiple projects, by bigger, the cost difference will save you some money.


If you don't have a palm sander, I feel bad for you! Purchase a sander block with a multi pack of sanding grits for paper. Use 150 grit for general sanding and scuffing, and use 220 grit in between each coat of paint and your last coat. It will smooth out paint strokes and roll lines.

Let me know what your go to painting products are! If something works for you I would love to hear about it!

There you go!

Everything I learned the trial and error way, that you won't have to!

I would love to see your projects and comments below! This is one method of painting furniture, read my other method, in my blog, on my favorite CHALK PAINT brand, "COUNTRY CHIC!" I use this when I am not using my Wagner spray gun!

The complete beginners guide to refinishing furniture!

Flop or Not Designs


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