5 Mistakes Professional Furniture Flippers Always Notice

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Whether flipping furniture is your full-time gig or is just a hobby, you want to ensure that you're going about it the right way. According to pro flippers, there are five common mistakes that really do stand out (but can easily be avoided!). Keep reading to ensure you don't make any of the errors outlined below!

1. A Lack of Demonstrated Prep

It turns out, whether or not you take a little time ahead of starting the painting process really is apparent to the pros. "I always notice if someone hasn't taken the time to properly prep a piece before painting," Iris Kingston of Three Coats of Charm says. "If the paint finish is badly scratched, it's likely the pieced wasn't cleaned, scuff sanded and primed before painting."

Lexie Trudel of Furniture Flips by Lex agrees. "Not prepping your piece before you paint or stain it will leave a less durable finish, and the result can leave your piece in poor quality condition in a short amount of time," she says. Autumn Heseman of Prayed Over Pieces agrees. "Taking time to create pieces that last for years to come can make the biggest difference."

First, Trudel says, give your piece a "very substantial clean with a solvent that degreases your surface." Then, lightly sand your piece. As Trudel explains, this process will make it easier for paint to stick. After that, you can choose to prime your piece—Trudel advises doing this unless you're using a two-in-one paint/primer. Paint your furniture item, then let it sit and dry. Lastly, she says, cover the piece in either an oil or water based finish for protection. "Sometimes protective coats leave streaky marks," Trudel explains. "So make sure to lightly sand with a 600 grit sandpaper in between coats to ensure a smooth finish for your final piece."

2. Not Carefully Painting a Piece

Rushing through the panting process is also a no-go, and experienced flippers can tell when one hasn't painted a piece of furniture with care. "A common mistake I see other furniture flippers make is being able to see brush strokes on their pieces," notes Ali Wilson of The Flippin' Wilsons. "I have only painted with paint brushes, and at first it was difficult to not show brush strokes, but the more I learned, the more I was able to learn different tricks to lay down the paint evenly."

Alyson Taylor of Authentically Alyson echoes similar sentiments. "Unless it’s a shabby chic piece, brush strokes should not be obvious," she shares. To Taylor, brush strokes indicate one hasn't completed proper research ahead of time. "That tells me the person didn’t know they should water down the paint (if water based), didn’t use a good quality brush, and/or didn’t scuff sand in between coats," she comments. "These are easier steps to take and make the world of difference when it comes to avoiding brush strokes and making your piece seem higher end!"

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3. Covering Imperfections With Paint

Paint is not a cure-all, says Hannah Way of Hanmade Details. "A common mistake that always stands out to me on other projects is damages that are just covered up with paint," she notes. "Damages tend to stick out more after being painted over and I often see this with smaller details like dents or cracks." Instead, Way advises using wood filler to address these concerns, adding, "The key to a great finish is all in the details!“

4. Too Much Personalization

A somewhat general approach to designing a piece is best, Kingston comments.
"A common mistake made by inexperienced flippers is personalizing a piece too much," she notes. "While you may love bright colors and patterns, a successful flip is more neutral to appeal to as many buyers as possible."

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5. Paying Too Much Attention to Trends

Just listen to your gut instinct rather than automatically doing what's popular when refinishing, urges Danielle Bayliss of Rediscovered by Danielle. “One of the most common mistakes I see in upcycling is people following trends rather than following their heart," Bayliss reflects. "While following trends is great and can make you try new things and step outside your comfort zone, creating a piece you love will ultimately stand the test of time a lot longer and will give you a truly unique piece of furniture.”