1. Determine whether the piece needs to be stripped before sanding. Older furniture that has been covered in several coats of paint may need the work of a chemical-based stripper to loosen paint, which can be scraped away with a putty knife.
2. Sand all varnished and sealed wood pieces with 120-grit sand paper. For larger items, consider an orbital sander to make the job easier.
3. Opt for liquid sandpaper on glossy pieces that already have a coat of paint. Apply it liberally over the surface with a clean cloth.
4. Cover areas of the piece that will not be painted (such as a glass-front door) with newspaper, and secure edges with painter’s tape.
5. Prime all surfaces you intend to paint for an even, finished look.
6. Never apply latex paint over oil-based paint. It will cause bubbles in the surface and create a less than professional look.
7. Ask your local paint store what they recommend if your furniture is laminate, or anything other than solid veneered wood. After sanding to give a glossy piece a rough surface, oil-based primers and enamel paints are likely to yield the best finish.
8. Use a foam roller or paintbrush to apply two coats of paint. (Semi-gloss is best because it’s easy to wipe down.) Thin coats, about the thickness of a piece of paper, cut down on roller marks and brushstrokes.
9. Finish painted pieces with two coats of polyurethane for added protection and sheen.
10. Wait at least 72 hours to place objects on a newly painted piece — especially at the beach, where humidity can slow drying time and prevent a finish from fully curing.