How to paint unfinished pine furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

Many people enjoy the natural look of stained or varnished pine furniture, while others prefer a finish rich with colour. If you are one of the latter, accomplish your goal by coating the plain wood surface with the appropriate type of paint. If your pine furniture is unfinished, you will have a much easier time with the application process, because you won't have to perform as much surface preparation. However, you'll still need to condition the pine to accept paint, or the finish will eventually flake away.

Inspect the pine furniture to ensure that it is not varnished. Sand the surface if it appears glossy, using 220-grit sandpaper. Sand along with the grain of the pine until the surface appears dull. Skip this step if the wood is not glossy.

Wipe the pine furniture with a tackcloth.

Move the furniture to a ventilated area, and place it on a fabric dropcloth.

Coat the unfinished pine furniture with latex primer, using a 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inch) paintbrush, manufactured for use with acrylic and latex paints. Wait two full hours for the surface to dry.

Clean primer from the brush with tap water.

Coat the primed pine furniture with latex paint, using the cleaned 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inch) paintbrush. Wait two more hours for the surface to dry. Apply another coat if the primer shows through.


Do not sand against the grain of pine wood, or you will cause damage. Don't use a plain rag or towel in place of a tackcloth, or you could leave dust on the pine, which could interfere with adhesion. Do not paint over unfinished pine furniture without priming it first, or the finish will flake.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm sander
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tackcloth
  • Heavy-duty fabric dropcloth
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Latex primer
  • 5 to 7.5 cm (2-to 3- inch) latex paintbrush
  • Gloss or semi-gloss latex paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.