10 Products You Need to Start Refinishing Furniture

Product recommendations to get you started refinishing furniture. Overwhelmed with all your options? This is everything you need to get your first furniture makeover completed.

When I started refinishing furniture, I probably blew through 500 bucks just buying random products. Does wax go over the sealer? How many primers do I need?

I wasted time and money on products I didn’t need.

If you’re getting started in the refinishing business there is going to be some start up costs. It’s a relatively lower overhead however, compared to other businesses.

Or maybe you’re just interested in refinishing that old dresser your grandma gave you – but you have no clue where to start. 

Here’s a list of 10 items that will get your first furniture makeover prepped, painted and out the door on a budget.  

Many of these items will stay in your painters tool kit and last you for many projects to come. 

(This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission on products ordered through the links, at no additional cost to you.)

1.Sandpaper Multipack

3M Sandpaper, Amazon.com

The first item that you will need for every project (yes, even chalk paint) is sandpaper. This is a multi pack that will help you smooth scratches before your first coat and do a light sanding in between coats. This is $3, please don’t skip it. 

2. Tack Cloths

Tack cloth
Tack Cloth, Amazon.com

If you want a flawless finish you need to use what the professionals use. And those are tack cloths. They are miracle little cheesecloth rags that pick up every speck of lint standing in the way of you and a perfect paint job. 

Before every coat of primer, paint or sealer you want to give a wipe with a tack cloth. 

Use a rag to clean off major dust from sanding, then use these to get the surface squeaky clean.  

3. Primer Zinsser 123

Zinsser Primer, Amazon.com

I prime the vast majority of my pieces. You will especially want to use primer if your project includes any of the following.

  • You are painting it a much lighter color. If you are painting a crisp white, light grey or a soft blue it’s best to prime beforehand. 
  • The wood has red tones (such as mahogany) that is notorious for bleed through. Primer will seal the wood and help stop bleed through. In this case I will use a shellac primer formulated to block the bleed through. 

If my project doesn’t fall under those two categories AND I’m using a chalk paint or paint with a built in primer like Behr Marquee then I will skip priming.

4.Paint Brush

wooster brush
Wooster Brush, Amazon.com

This is a basic brush that will get you through most projects. Don’t use this to apply anything oil based like stain, use a rag or chip brush for that. Keep this brush nice for your coats of paint and sealer. If you take good care of your brushes they will last a very long time. 

For a splurge 3 pack of FANTASTIC brushes, I recommend Purdy. I use these on almost every paint project.

5. Krud Kutter TSP Substitute

krud kutter
Krud Kutter, Amazon.com

As you know a paint job is only as good as its prep. Krud Kutter is a great cleaner that doesn’t need to be rinsed off.

It also helps degloss so the paint will adhere better.

6. Kilz Chalk Paint

Kilz Chalk Paint, Amazon.com

Paint is arguably the most important item needed to redo furniture.

Kilz is a great budget chalk paint. Its priced at $17, and there is many color choices.

If you can splurge for a higher end paint my all time favorite is Dixie Belle. It blends seemlessly and the colors are gorgeous.

For a non-chalk paint option, choose a high quality latex paint from the hardware store.

7. Spray Paint

Spray Paint, Amazon.com

If you want to paint your hardware you’ll need spray paint. It’s cheap and one can will last you many projects!

8.Minwax Polycrylic

After you paint it’d be a shame to not properly protect your paint.

The majority of paints and stains need a top coat, I use this almost every project. Its water based so clean up is easy and you can use it over light colors without the worry of yellowing.

Minwax Polycrylic, Amazon.com


Sander, Amazon.com

If you will be strickly painting and not staining, save your money and skip these last two.

But if you want to sand off a finish and restain it you’ll need an electric sander. There is many different kinds at all different price points, but a cheap Black and Decker will do the job great. This goes on sale for $20 so keep an eye out.


Minwax Stain, Amazon.com

Minwax stains are great for bringing up the beauty of the wood. There is many color choices, and at 8 bucks a can it’s hard to beat. Seal with a few coats of poly and you will have a finish that will last a long time!

Now Get Out and Paint!

I hope this helps you spend less time researching supplies and more time painting.

This is everything you need to complete a project, as long as you have a few basic items such as towels and screwdrivers. If you don’t those can be purchased at the dollar tree!

There is MANY great products out there, these are just a couple of my budget recommendations.

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What’s your favorite refinishing product? Or are you just getting started? Let me know in the comments!

Leah – Thrifted Nest