This high boy dresser is made of mahogany, which is notorious for bleeding. Have you ever tried to paint a piece of mahogany furniture white only to have the paint turn pink? You can apply ten coats of white paint to mahogany and you will never fully get rid of those terrible pink stains.

I almost always use a shellac based primer when painting mahogany. A shellac based primer will typically stop the bleeding with only one coat. It is a miraculous product!

However, there are some occasions when I choose NOT to prime at all. In this case I am painting this dresser a deep, bold red. I plan on heavily distressing it once it is painted. I also plan on staining it to give it an aged patina. If I were to prime this dresser the distressing, which is done with sandpaper and removes the paint to expose raw wood, would also expose the primer. Since primer only comes in white, grey and brown exposing it would not be desirable. When finished I only want to see natural wood and a beautiful red.

red dresser painted

So, in other words, if I plan on distressing a piece of furniture I skip priming it. White would be the only exception.


3 Responses to To prime or not?

  1. Kate says:

    Hi Deana,
    Would you use a primer on a new pine dining table which I plan to paint but don’t plan on distressing? Also plan to use the table for outside dining. Thanks!

  2. Deana says:

    Thank you Kate!!

  3. Deana says:

    Hi Kate, I would definitly use a primer on a dining table. I love Sherwin Williams paints. Their multipurpose primer would be good for this job.