To Strip or Not to Strip… (Sanding or Stripping Furniture)

Strip or Sand Furniture?  No I am not taking up a new career…  But I am asking the same question that I have asked myself so many times – and so many times I was not sure what the answer was. Luckily I have made enough mistakes for the both of us… so here’s how I decide. 

stripping furniture

 Do you have to strip the paint/finish off of a piece of furniture? Welllll…. That depends. Ask yourself the following questions:

strip furniture



Does my piece or furniture have old or chipped paint?
Are there many layers of paint? If so, when I sand it does the surface become smooth or is it still bumpy or uneven? Can you sand it down to the wood underneath?
If it is still bumpy then STRIP!
strip furniture

What do I use to strip my furniture? I like Citristrip. You can use it indoors because it is not have a super toxic, disgusting, smell like most strippers. Follow the directions on the back- they are pretty easy.

strip furniture


Tip: If your piece has a lot of detailing, cracks, crevices, and hard-to-reach places then invest in a copper or wire brush to scrub off the dried stripper. The instructions on the back recommend you use a toothbrush or a cotton swab. THIS DOES NOT WORK! Use a metal wire brush! Walmart and Home Depot sell them for a few bucks!

strip furniture


2. Does your piece have a shiny, clean, or smooth, surface?

sanding furniture


Then your answer is NO! Don’t you dare strip! There are sooooo many other options you have that are much, much easier, less time consuming, and just plain less headaches!

I would recommend using a spray on a primer- You don’t even have to sand the furniture before applying the primer! It makes almost any surface paintable. I like Kilz spray primer followed by sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper to remove the gritty aftermath of the spray primer.

varnish remover 4


I also to use one of these handle, gun, thingys on the spray primer, or any spray paint for that matter. It will save your hand muscles – trust me! They are around $2.00 – $6.00 at Home Depot and you can use them over and over! Get one!


 Another option is using a Deglosser- which is also called Liquid Sandpaper. Liquid Sandpaper is a great option if you have a piece of furniture with a lot of detail or curvy legs that is difficult to sand. All you do is pour some on a rag and wipe it on your furniture. Remember- Liquid Sandpaper will not remove old paint or finish (see question #1 above) but it will rough up the surface enough to allow the paint to adhere to the piece of furniture.

One of these three methods should be used to prep your piece before you paint it! Holla at me via email if you have any questions– I am always happy to help! Or comment below if you have any tips or tricks you would like to share!

Happy Stripping, (and not the slutty, one dollar bill kind!)

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