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Before and After: How to Paint An Entryway Bench (Perfect Beginner DIY Project)

Our Pottery Barn bench set (named The Samantha Bench) had reached the 10-year mark in our house. It was still in decent condition and super sturdy, but it no longer matched our aesthetic after a major renovation. 

My standard go-to solution kicked in: paint!

Read on for details of the step-by-step transformation of how to paint an entryway bench and make it into a beautiful – and DURABLE – furniture piece.

Materials:

  • 220 Grit Sand Paper
  • Microfiber towel
  • Benjamin Moore Advance Primer
  • Benjamin Moore Advance Paint
  • Wood filler (as needed)
  • 5 in 1 tool
  • Paintbrush
  • Mini Paint Roller with 3/8″ Nap
  • Paper towels/scrap wipes

Steps:

1. Prep

Prep is by far the most annoying and also most necessary step. I lightly sanded and thoroughly wiped down every surface with the microfiber towel. There’s no need to sand off every bit of stain. The goal is to “rough it up” so the primer can stick—no need for TSP or deglosser.

Sanding is the key to getting the shine off before painting

This is also where I decided to fill in some of the big screw holes. There were plenty of them, but I opted to save time fill in the obvious ones and wouldn’t be covered by baskets when finished.

I’ll admit: I primed first, then added wood filler. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to fill and I knew primer would help me visualize the final version. So, my process was: primer, wood filler, sand, more wood filler, more sanding, and then primed these spots.

2. Primer

I opted to try Benjamin Moore’s Advance Primer. It’s marketed for redoing kitchen cabinets but can be easily applied to painting furniture. And the amount of abuse this bench takes from my two small kids, I wanted to try a cabinet paint known for its durability.

I used the brush first to get the interior seams and corners of the boxes and then followed up with a mini roller. 

Priming the inside corners. No need to fill in the screw holes that no one will see!

PSA – The primer coat does not need to look great. Some areas look thinner than others. The goal is to create a surface for the paint to stick, not to make a uniform one-coat look.

3. & 4. Sand, Clean, + Paint. Repeat.

Lightly sand, especially in the inside corners, where paint and primer can pool. This is where running your hand along the piece helps because it will look uneven. Trust your sense of touch. 

Wipe down with your microfiber cloth. 

Now the fun part: Paint! I used both a brush and a roller like I did with the primer.

Corners First!

Here’s the other reason I tried out Benjamin Moore’s Advance Paint: I fell in love with BM’s Caldwell Green that I first saw on Jenny Komenda’s blog. SO BEAUTIFUL. Plus, it was a chance to push myself, because I normally am not a fan of green.

After the first coat of paint, lightly sand again. Wipe down. Add the final coat of paint. Then CELEBRATE!

5. Let It Dry

Drying was the biggest time suck with this project. But allowing each coat to dry fully was needed so the paint would completely cure. Completely cured paint means no chipping! 

  • BM Advance Primer – Needs to dry 8 hours before sanding and painting.
  • BM Advance Paint – Needs 16 hours before sanding and painting a second coat.
  • After final coat: 3 – 5 DAYS before putting back into service.

Realistically, that’s at least a week’s work. For me, with other projects going on, it was about three weeks (for both bench and shelf, done separately).

Your FAQs

Why didn’t I use chalk paint?

I have finally learned this secret: Just as there are many wrong ways of doing things, there are many right ways. Chalk paint will absolutely work for this project. Same with mineral paint. I choose Benjamin Moore because I loved the color.

Benjamin Moore Caldwell Green

What about using a sprayer?

There are a few reasons why I didn’t use a sprayer, mostly because I was lazy. I’m terrible at cleanup during a project, especially something that has multiple drying periods. I know that I would let the sprayer sit too long and clog up. It’s just something I didn’t want to deal with.

PLUS, this Benjamin Moore Advance paint is self-leveling. Roller marks and paintbrush strokes sort of just *poof* go away.

Why didn’t I need to tint my primer?

The coverage of the Benjamin Moore paint was SO GOOD. I didn’t need to tint the primer.

How is the durability? Was all that cure time worth it?

So far, so good. The kids use their baskets in this bench daily and don’t exactly have a “soft touch.” There’s a little bit of scuffing, but I’m able to wipe it away with a microfiber cloth.

Recap

Benjamin Moore Advance Paint lives up to the hype. It’s an excellent paint to use if you have the time and patience to let it cure between coats. The best part of this project is that it’s GREAT for anyone who’s a newbie at DIY. You can just sand away your mistakes!

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