How To Paint a Dresser Black: Step-by-Step Guide

how to paint a dresser black

One of the best ways to renovate your dresser is by painting it black! But how do you paint a dresser black? In today’s guide, we will learn how to paint a dresser black step-by-step.

There is nothing better than giving a new life to our furniture by restoring it. Especially if we have the chance to give it a resounding makeover, making it look like something completely new. 

In this guide, we will help you paint your dresser black while giving you some key tips that will help you.

Do you need to sand your dresser before painting?

Sanding before painting any furniture piece is recommended but not always required. This is because it creates a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. This will make the final look a lot more polished and even.

Additionally, sanding down any imperfections or rough patches on the piece can help to make it look smoother and more polished.

If your dresser has any scratches or needs to be patched up, then it is advisable to sand it down before applying the paint. But you should also consider a few more things:

  • What is the current color of your dresser?
  • Which color do you want to paint over?

If your dresser has a darker color than the one you want to repaint it with, it is always better to sand. The reason is that you will need to use a lot more paint in order to hide the original color underneath. 

Even if you apply several coats, the darker original color might still stand out in the finish. 

However, if you are planning on painting your dresser black, and you have a lighter color underneath you don’t have to worry so much about sanding.

There are a few tips you need to know in order to paint your dresser black without sanding.

How can I paint my dresser black without sanding? 

In order to paint your dresser black without sanding you should follow a few steps:

  • Make sure your dresser does not have a lot of dents and marks
  • If your dresser has a lot of dents consider sanding those areas or using a wood filler
  • Clean the wood with a slightly damp cloth to make sure there is no dirt
  • Use a primer because it makes it easier for the paint to adhere

If your dresser has a lot of dents you need to make sure you make the wooden surface as smooth as possible. Otherwise, once you paint you will notice paint bumps throughout the dresser. To avoid this you can either sand the areas with the dents or apply a wood filler.

Cleaning the wood also helps to remove dust and dirt to make sure the paint adheres correctly. You should also consider using a primer because it makes it easy to apply the black paint to the dresser.

How to paint a dresser black step-by-step

There are a few steps you need to take to paint your dresser black:

  1. Choosing the right paint and painting supplies
  2. Preparing the area
  3. Removing the hardware or covering it
  4. Identify dents and chips
  5. Sanding (Optional)
  6. Cleaning the wood
  7. Applying primer
  8. Applying the first black paint coat
  9. Applying additional coats
  10. Drying
Choosing paint

1. Choosing the right paint

First and foremost you need to choose the right black paint for your dresser. There are a few types of wood paint that you can use in this project. The most common are: 

  • Latex paint
  • Chalky paint
  • Oil paint
  • Acrylic paint
  • Milk paint

In order to choose the type of wood furniture paint you want to use, you need to consider the type of finish you are looking to get. Do you want a matte, gloss or satin finish?

Advice #1: Do not be cheap when it comes to choosing painting supplies or the paint. Remember that the difference in price will be fairly small, but the difference in the final look will be night and day.

What kind of paint do you use to paint a dresser black? 

If you are restoring an old piece of furniture, or if you notice that it is a piece of furniture that has certain imperfections, then it is best to choose matte black paint. 

Since a gloss or satin black will highlight all the defects and imperfections that the piece of furniture has. Using matte black will help to hide these chips and dents.

You can find matte black paint in any type of paint, from classic acrylic to chalk-based paint. We always recommend chalk-based paint because it gives an even better finish than black acrylic in this case. 

Even if this is a dresser for a playroom or for a children’s room, you can buy chalk-based paint that turns wood into blackboards, so the children can write and draw on the dresser! 

2. Preparing the area

If you are doing this DIY project in your house you will need to create an area to be able to paint your dresser black. Make sure you cover the floor with newspaper or magazines, or ideally a plastic cover.

Place your supplies nearby, as well as an old rag, and make sure the room is well-ventilated because soon it will be smelly in there. We have a special tip to help you deal with the smell, just keep reading!

3. Removing the hardware or covering it

Once you have chosen the black paint for your dresser and prepared the area is now time to get to work!

Remove the drawers and all of the hardware from your dresser. Although you can also cover the hardware with tape it is much better to just remove it. Otherwise, the old finish will still be visible even if you follow all of the other steps.

Place the dresser hardware in a box with the screws, to make sure you do not lose anything. You might even want to paint the dresser hardware to give it a completely new look!

4. Identify dents and chips

When you are preparing your dresser for painting you need to identify chips and dents in the wood. Even if you do not sand the dresser you should fix these chips with a wood filler to get a more even finish.

Even if you are sanding, you need to know where the dents are. These areas will require more attention and more sanding to make sure they are perfect.


5. Sanding (Optional)

It is always recommended to start by sanding or cleaning the wood. If it is wood that is in good condition, then you can skip the sanding process, but if you do, you will have to wipe the entire dresser with a slightly damp cloth.

This is very important because if there is any kind of lint or dirt on your dresser and you paint over it, it will ruin the final finish.

With sanding it is important that you be careful, especially if it is a delicate wood. Of course, you must use force, but don’t break the wood as in that case you will be left with no dresser at all, or it will be damaged.

 The best thing you can do is the entirely manual sanding process with the typical sandpaper that you can get in any store. 

Although if you have a mechanical sander and you know how to use it, then take advantage of it! Make sure you use light sanding paper to avoid damaging or creating waves on the wood.

Once again, make sure you do it carefully so as not to damage the wood.

Should I sand my dresser before painting?

To paint any type of wood black, the first thing you should do is sand it. Although you can paint wood without sanding, it is always advisable to sand to make sure the final look is even throughout the wood.

Sanding is the only way to remove most of the imperfections or dirt. If you don’t do this now then your wood is riddled with imperfections, and this will show no matter how many coats of paint you do.

In addition, so that the paint adheres correctly, it is always better to sand the furniture beforehand, since otherwise, the paint can run without being adhered to the wood.

6. Cleaning the wood

Cleaning the wood removes all the dirt and grime. If you have sanded the dresser you will notice the wood will get filled with wood dust that needs to be cleaned before applying a single drop of paint.

This ensures that the paint sticks easily to the wood, and lasts longer.

7. Applying primer

When repainting any wooden furniture piece you should always apply a primer. This makes it easier for the paint to adhere to the wood and makes the final look much better.

Painting wood black

8. Applying the first black paint coat

Once the wood is sanded or clean, you can move on to painting it. Start by applying a little bit of paint, and spread it well on across the wood.

The best thing you can use is a brush. Although you can use a roller to paint wood, it is always advisable to use a brush because the final look will be better. It allows you to spread the paint better.

9. Applying additional coats

Once you apply the first coat of paint let it dry. Then you can start applying the second coat. Two coats should be enough, especially since we are painting the dresser black and the color is already dark enough. 

You might still need to apply an additional coat or add some final touches.

10. Drying

Finally, you just have to let it dry. It is always better if you can let it dry in the open air, otherwise, your room will be filled with paint smell. Smell paint can even cause headaches, so it is better to avoid painting in a small room.

If this is not possible, try to turn on a fan and let it hit the dresser as directly as possible, this will speed up the drying process.

To avoid this paint smell, if you must let the black dresser dry in the room, then you can put a bucket full of water, which will absorb most of the paint smell (this hack works when you paint any furniture or room).

Once it is dry you can choose to paint details with a fine brush and in different colors, or in different shades of black. 

You can do different details like waves, flowers, leaves, trees, or whatever you want with a shiny black to give it a delicate touch.

 You can also combine it with details of other colors such as gray, white, gold, silver, or whatever you can think of. 

If it is a children’s room (or if you like the idea) you can paint white or yellow stars to resemble the starry sky.

How long will it take for it to dry?

The time this takes depends on the size and number of layers, but the minimum is 24 hours. This also depends on how well-ventilated the room is, and the type of paint you are using.

Best black paint for dresser

The best paint if you’re looking to paint a dresser black is chalk-based paint in matte tones. This is because this type of paint goes very well with wood in general.

Acrylic or synthetic paint can give a “sticky” touch to your furniture, highlighting its imperfections, which is not so good. 

However, if you want it to shine, make sure you buy a good quality synthetic or acrylic paint.

Chalk paint adheres very well to the surface and leaves a silky and velvety finish. This is perfect for you if you are looking to renovate a piece of furniture and make it more contemporary.

It can also be used for a vintage-style piece of furniture, honestly, there is no way to go wrong if you are painting with matte black paint.

To make sure that your piece of furniture does not darken the room in which it is located, try to combine it with other more vivid colors, such as accents of yellow, red, and orange, these will stand out even more. Creating a striking and current color palette. 

You can also leave only black, white and gray furniture to give a modern aesthetic to your room.

Can I spray paint a dresser without sanding? 

You can do it, but it is not recommended. The wood will continue to have an almost rough texture, and any pores or imperfections in the wood will be visible to the naked eye. 

If you can do a basic and brief layer of sanding it might help, but the finish will not be perfect. 

It is not advisable to spray paint wood, since it usually gives an uneven finish, which if you add it to different imperfections in the wood, then it will give the dresser a sloppy finish.

Can you paint wood black? 

Of course, you can paint wood black. Technically you can paint the wood in any type of color you can think of, although some are more difficult than others. 

For example, it may take longer or have to do more layers if it’s a light color, but that’s the advantage of black.

Being a dark color, it quickly becomes impregnated in the wood, so you will not have any kind of problem if you want to paint your wooden dresser in this color. 

If you must make sure to choose the black that you like, which can be shiny, opaque, or many more. 


Painting any furniture piece is not always a simple task, and it can vary depending on the type of material that we are working on. Black dressers have become extremely popular in modern interior design, and it is a fairly simple DIY project you can do to change the decor of your room.

Make sure you choose the right paint and follow all the important steps to paint the perfect black dresser.

See Also:

Best Benjamin Moore White Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

Best Sherwin Williams White Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

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