How to Paint an Armoire


You can update the look of an armoire -- without spending a lot of money -- by painting it. For a subtle look, choose a color in the same family as your walls or other furniture. Create a bold effect by selecting a color that contrasts with the dominant color of your decor. For a quick project, just paint the exterior surfaces of the armoire. To imitate the appearance of an antique piece, brush an umber glaze over your paint job and distress the edges, corners and doors with sandpaper. Taking time to properly prepare and prime your armoire will pay off in the end with a durable paint finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Screwdriver set
  • Sandpaper
  • Rag
  • 1-inch flat paintbrush
  • 3-inch flat paintbrush
  • Latex primer
  • Latex paint in semi-gloss finish
  • Water-based varnish in gloss finish


  • Put a drop cloth down to protect the floor. Pull out the armoire's drawers, if there are any, and set them aside. Remove all hardware, such as hinges and drawer pulls, with a screwdriver. Place the doors nearby on the drop cloth.

  • Lightly sand the armoire if its existing surface is glossy or smooth. Wipe off the armoire with a damp rag to remove dirt and dust.

  • Prime the armoire and its doors and drawers with a compatible latex primer. Most armoires are wood, but if yours is metal or laminate, use a primer specially formulated for your armoire's surface. Apply the primer with a brush. Use a 3-inch brush for large areas and a 1-inch brush for details. Take care to apply the primer in the direction of the wood grain. Allow the primer to dry before painting.


  • Paint the armoire and its pieces with a latex paint in a semi-gloss finish. Follow the direction of the wood grain. Brush out any drips as they occur. Apply two coats of paint for complete coverage, allowing the first coat to dry completely before starting the second coat.

  • Seal the paint on the armoire with a coat of water-based varnish. Varnish will help protect the surface of the paint. Allow the varnish to dry overnight to ensure that the surface will not scratch easily.

  • Reinsert the drawers once the varnish is completely dry. Screw in drawer pulls and hinges.

  • Wash the brushes with soap and water. Allow brushes to dry upright.

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  • Photo Credit armoire 2 image by Nathalie P from
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