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Can You Paint Mahogany Furniture?

Mahogany has a beautiful, authentic aesthetic that is often imitated but never matched. The strength and durability of this solid wood are desirable characteristics for homeowners, but mahogany’s natural hints of flame and deep red-brown tones aren’t always the best match for existing home decors. This leads many to ask, “can you paint mahogany furniture?”

The answer is yes – mahogany furniture can be painted. However, if you are doing the painting yourself, you need to make sure you correctly prepare the wood, use the right paint for the job, and choose the colour that will best suit your home.

The process of painting mahogany

While some woods are ready to be painted straight away, or at least with a suitable primer or base coat, woods such as mahogany, walnut and maple have a high tannin content. Even after the wood has been cut and treated, these tannins still seep to the surface, which can bleed through and discolour any paintwork. 

To paint mahogany furniture, it first needs to be sanded to remove surface imperfections, or any gloss if it was previously painted. Next, a stain-blocking primer must be applied to the wood, which prevents the tannins from bleeding through to the surface as the wood ages. The number of coats required will depend on the brand of primer that is used, and whether or not it is tinted.

Once all those stages have been completed, the wood is ready to be painted. Gloss finishes are best applied with foam rollers, whereas matt or eggshell finishes can be applied with a normal brush or roller. In addition, if you have the correct equipment, you can spray paint the wood for an attractive, even finish. At least two full coats of paint will need to be applied (with adequate time left between coats) and then the furniture will need to be left untouched to cure for at least 24 hours.

While you can paint mahogany furniture yourself, it is also possible to buy it professionally spray-painted, which gives it a perfect, blemish-free finish. Here at AKD, we carefully follow this procedure when painting mahogany furniture: 

  1. The wood is sanded.
  2. A coat of sanding sealer is applied.
  3. We carry out super sanding (very fine sanding) on the wood to give a completely smooth surface on which to apply paint.
  4. A blocking primer is applied which seals the wood. This is very important as it stops natural tannins in the wood from leaking into the painted finish and causing blotching and discolouration of the paint.
  5. An undercoat is applied.
  6. Finally, the customer’s chosen colour is applied. The standard finish is a soft satin but matt or gloss finishes are also available.

Choosing the colour for painted mahogany furniture

While we love the natural hues of mahogany, and the pronounced effect of the grain from using wood stains, this aesthetic isn’t ideal for all decors. Our mahogany furniture is available in a range of painted finishes, not just the commonly found black and white painted mahogany. We believe these colours still allow the quality and craftsmanship of the piece to shine through:

  • Black
  • French White
  • French Antique White
  • French Cream
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Other colours (e.g blue, green)

We can also create an antiqued effect on any of the above colours to give it the desired vintage aesthetic.

While you can paint mahogany furniture yourself, if you are buying a new piece, it is probably worth buying one that has already been professionally painted. If you do decide to do the painting yourself, just make sure to follow the above steps so that the tannins of the wood don’t discolour the finish!

If you are interested in painted mahogany furniture, you are welcome to get in touch with us to find out how we can create bespoke, made to order pieces to suit your living space.