I’m renovating some bedroom furniture and naturally had to start by removing its existing dark lacquered stain before I can begin re-painting with primer and then finally a pastel green coat!

As the furniture had previous owners, it also suffered some knocks, scratches and bite marks from little people so I wanted to flatten and smooth these blemishes out before painting.

Here’s what one panel originally looked like:

original bedroom furniture for sanding

Here’s what it looked like after I’d sanded it down:

bedroom furniture sanded with 180 grit

So what grade of sandpaper got it to this state and how did I choose the right one for the job?

Start fine, get rougher as needed

As I’ve done with window sills in the past, I started with the finest grit sandpaper at my disposal – Wet & Dry sandpaper (600 grit).

600 grit wet and dry sandpaper

I cut off a sheet, loaded it into my handheld sheet sanding tool and starting shaving through the lacquer layer.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t nearly aggressive enough to take out the dents and marks I mentioned earlier.

In fact, after a pass with Wet & Dry, the furniture looked like this:

bedroom furniture wet and dry sanded

So I went down in sandpaper grade. Way down!

180 grit sandpaper

From 600 to 180

It sounds like a big jump but it’s still a fine grade of sandpaper.

Also, it’s all I had to hand at the time BUT it turned out to be a good choice.

This still from Boss Painter’s video on sandpaper grits does a great job at visualising the difference between the grades:

sandpaper grit grade differences

Again, I cut off a strip of 180 grit sandpaper and loaded it into my sanding machine then gave the furniture another pass.

Here’s how it looked afterwards:

bedroom furniture 180 grit sanded

Job done!

Next steps

As you’ll see, some corner areas still have the previous pesky coating on them and are proving to be a bit tricky to get into.

Using a wallpaper scraper, the 180 grit sandpaper, a sanding block and some elbow grease, however, I’m working my way through these details to ensure I have even surfaces to apply the paint to in the later phases of this renovation.

Share your renovation tips

I hope this helps you out with your next furniture renovation.

If you have any tips and tricks of your own for removing old paintwork when renovating furniture, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.


Randal Whitmore

Editor of Home Luv and a prolific writer and reader of interior design and home improvement. Currently undergoing a variety of building and renovation projects. Big fan of solving complex problems with simple solutions.

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