If you've ever looked up how-to guides for painting furniture online you'll probably already be aware of all the 'easy' tutorials that aren't so easy to follow and all the contradicting advice being thrown around. 

If you're having a hard time renovating pieces, specifically with the paint part of the job, it could be because you are making one of the five massive mistakes so many people make when they try to paint furniture. Just take a look for yourself and see how many of them you are doing… 

1 - You don't sand it down 

All of those video tutorials you have seen that tell you there's no need to sand furniture before you try to paint it are lying to you. By not sanding, you're saving yourself a couple of hours work, but you're also getting things off to a really bad start. 

Sanding the surface of the furniture you're trying to paint serves many purposes — it helps to get rid of any old varnish, which new paint might not stick to, and it also helps to get rid of dirt and grime. Not just that, it gives new paint a slightly scuffed surface to stick to. This means fewer coats of paint and a much smoother surface. 

2 - You're not removing residue 

Or if you are, you're doing it with the wrong kind of cloth. Don't use a paper towel because it will leave tiny fibres behind which will affect the surface of your paint job. Use an old lint cloth or some old rags — something that won't easily shed dust and particles. 

3 - You're not using a good primer 

Priming the furniture you wish to paint is only marginally less important than sanding. The primer gives your new paint a great surface to stick to, once again meaning fewer coats and a much quicker job. You should be using a foam brush to get to the most difficult to reach spots and if possible, try to do two coats, sanding in between. This gives you the best chance of a completely smooth finish. 

4 - You're using the wrong paint applicator 

You can use a paintbrush to paint furniture, but it'll probably smear and streak especially if you didn't sand or prime the piece first. Why not try using a roller or a sponge? You'll actually be surprised at how many different effects you can achieve by using different materials to apply the paint. Paintbrushes aren't always the best option. In fact in many cases they can be the worst. Cheap paintbrushes will leave hairs all over the place and regardless of how careful you try to be, there will be streaks or smears somewhere. 

5 - You're not finishing it

Painting furniture to give it a new lease of life isn't just a case of splattering on a new coat of paint and putting it back where it was. You'll need to 'finish' the piece before it can be used. If you don't, your new paint job will either chip or peel off, making your hard work pointless. 

You can use gloss, varnish, and even wax (built up in layers) to protect the newly painted furniture, but make sure you leave it for at least two to three days before touching it to ensure it has completely dried. 

If you've been making these mistakes, you may have found the reason why your furniture renovations aren't working out as you'd hoped. Avoid the same mistakes everyone else is making when they paint furniture to renovate it, and finally end up with the beautiful piece you imagined.