My Dark Oak Furniture Needs Painting

Dark Oak furniture painting: JS Decor, had an online enquiry from Mark & Sarah from Lytham asking can you do something about my Dark Oak furniture, needs painting lighter…

Darkl Oak furniture painting

The clients had recently moved into a newly built modern style home in Lytham on the Fylde coast in Lancashire.

The bedside tables, wardrobe and cabinets, which they had brought with them, were all in the style in the picture. Too dark for the style of the house, they wanted a quote to change the colour to one more suited to the light & modern look of their new home.

Which paints do you use?

We predominantly specify high adhesion and extremely tough satin-matt paints suitable for most of the furniture or kitchens we paint.

A lot of people use Annie Sloan chalk paint on one-off pieces of bedroom furniture, and whilst it has its place, it has the French / Swedish waxed paint look, which isn’t to everybody’s taste

It cannot match the durability of Tikkurila waterborne or the oil equivalents, like Empire or Unica.

Each paint we use also has a different high grip adhesive primer, so we can fine tune our base coats, depending on the surface we paint. A good start and all that… with the end result that we can produce a finish like this every time with a brush.

Dark Oak furniture painting

Hand painted finish! this Tikkurila paint work was completed with a Corona synthetic brush and a lot of know how.

Choice of primer

The furniture was oak, so the primer had to hold back the tannins that can bleed through and discolour paint finishes. (Think of oak as potentially a big knot!) I ordered Isofix, which is a primer that contains shellac and has a great ability to not only grip, but stop any stains (Tannins) from being drawn through to the top coats. Also because of how thin it lies, it shows off the wood’s beautiful grain.

Choice of colour

Sarah confirmed that she wanted to proceed, and so it was booked in my diary. In the meantime I had informed Sarah that my supplier would colour match perfectly any colour that she & Mark picked.

Dark Oak furniture painting

They went for Dulux Rum Caramel 4, a very nice light modern colour that would compliment the furniture.


Before any painting can even begin, the furniture needed cleaning & with bedroom furniture you don’t really know if it’s been polished or not. So it’s important to clean it down first.

We start with Krud Kutter spraying it neat, then using the Mirka Mirlon pads to clean and scratch the surface. Once it’s all done, it is rinsed off with clean water and allowed to dry.

Once dry, it was given a once over with my Ceros orbital sander with a Abranet 320 grit, so as not to create deep scratches. We vacuumed then wiped down with clean meths.

It was ready for the Isofix, which was applied using a foam 4″ roller sleeve having thinned it a little with meths. It couldn’t have flowed out any better and also covered virtually in one coat.

Mirka Gold Flex sanding

The rest of the furniture was primed over the next 2 days and it was already starting to look modern.

With the furniture now ready for the top coat, all it needed was the lightest de-nib using Mirka’s gold flex sand paper.

Wow, what a great bit of sandpaper that is – it leaves no scratch marks and didn’t sand through any of the edges. The gold flex can be used on profiles and rubbed quite hard and is very kind on edges.

Once it had been tack ragged off, we applied the Furniture Feelings in the same colour, thinning it slightly with water to ease the flow. It was warm in the room and the paint was virtually touch dry in 10 minutes. Overall giving a flat and fluff-free flawless finish. Denibbing is a breeze.

Matt worked his way around the individual pieces, and repeated the process for the second coat.

5 days later it was all done, handles reinstated and the dark furniture was no more. In its place was something more modern, looking brand new.

Dark Oak furniture painting

This was a pleasure to do, and satisfying to see the transformation happen. I hope Sarah & Mark enjoy their new look for years to come. Thank you and kind wishes to you both.

Jason has been hand-painting kitchens since 1993, trading as JS Decor; and also writes monthly tips for the Lancashire Magazine.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you would like to get in touch you can email

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