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Revamping furniture nowadays can really be just as easy as giving it a new splash of paint. Problem is, you can’t just use the same paint for every type of furniture in your home.
Not all paints will work for metal as they do for wood, and not all paints will be suitable for kitchen cabinets as they are for doors.
You don’t want to have to buy multiple cans of various paint types to find the right paint for the furniture you want to paint.
It would be so much easier to find the appropriate paint for the particular surface, whether it’s metal, wood, plastic, or laminate. You’ve also got to consider the type of finish you want the paint to have, too.
Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. We understand the stress of finding the right paint for a particular piece of furniture, which is why we have compiled a list of the best paint for furniture.
We have also included a handy buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions section to help you find the right paint!
Best Overall Paint For Furniture: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Paint
When it comes to choosing the ideal paint for furniture, latex paint is the best type you can get. Latex is often referred to as acrylic, and is one of the most versatile paints for pieces of furniture available.
Not only does it come in a range of colors, but it’s fast-drying, easy to apply, and affordable.
This Rust-Oleum latex paint is suitable for most surfaces, both indoors and outdoors, including metal, plastic, wood, masonry, and unglazed ceramic.
Available in a range of colors, this paint has a semi-gloss finish that gives the painter the option to provide more gloss with a top coat.
This is a water-based acrylic paint, which means it only takes 30 minutes to dry and is resistant to chips and scruffs. While a primer is generally recommended, all the prep you need to do is clean and sand the surface.
It is recommended to apply this paint with a paint brush rather than a paint roller, and to do three thin coats rather than two thick ones. This is to prevent patchiness and uneven drying.
- Versatile – Suitable for a range of furniture surfaces
- Easy application – Works best with thin coats for fast and even drying
- Scratch-resistant – Water-based acrylic paint does not chip or scratch
- Avoid paint roller application – Paint rollers pick up thick amounts of paint which leads to uneven and long drying times
- Use for a variety of indoor and outdoor project surfaces including wood, metal, plaster, masonry or unglazed ceramic
- Water-based acrylic formula is low odor, resist chips and provides long-lasting protection
- Covers up to 120 sq ft and dries to touch in 30 minutes for quick project completion
- Semi-gloss finish provides a soft shine on surfaces, goes on smoothly and provides excellent hide
- Prior to application sand surfaces with 180/200 grit sandpaper, then wash with a degreaser, allow the surface to dry and apply paint
Best Chalk Paint For Furniture: Country Chic Paint Chalk Paint
Chalk paint has become a popular paint option for furniture for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, chalk paint provides a matte finish that most other paints cannot achieve, which is ideal for those who want to modernize their existing furniture.
This Country Chic Paint product comes in a range of colors, ideal for making a statement piece of furniture, all of which provide a rustic yet modern finish to furniture.
This product is ideal for painting kitchen cabinets, a chest of drawers, end tables, coffee tables, shelves, and lots more, making it one of the most versatile furniture paints on our list.
Primer is not necessary with this paint, as it already comes with a strong adhesive (just make sure to clean the surface first).
Within 30 minutes, the product dries and comes with a built-in top coat – though if you want to give it a shiny finish, waxing is optional.
Plus, this paint has a low odor and contains no harsh chemicals (unlike some other paints) that are harmful to humans and the environment.
- Wide variety of colors – Easy to find the ideal color to match the room’s theme or to make a statement piece
- Easy application – Built-in primer and top coat makes for minimal prep time
- Vintage look – Scruffs easily to make furniture look antique
- Scruffs easily – if you don’t want the antique look, be wary that this paint can scuff easily
- All-in-One: Our DIY paint contains built in primer and top coat to paint almost any surface, indoor or outdoor including wood, laminate, glass, metal, and kids toys; wax & sealants are optional
- Quality You Can Trust: Respected manufacturer with over 80 years experience; amazing adhesion; great coverage requiring less paint coats; long lasting durability; little to no prep work required
- Paint for Furniture, Kitchen Cabinets & More: Formulated for furniture, home decor, kitchen cabinets, upholstery, craft projects & more
- Chalky Matte Finish: Paint dries within 30 minutes to a chalky matte finish that's easy to distress if desired, yet very durable; self leveling for a flawlessly smooth finish; blend colors with ease
- Eco-Friendly & Safe: No harsh chemicals such as phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metals, or solvents; ultra low VOC including pigments; low odor; certified safe as per European Toy Safety Standards
Best Paint For Upcycling Wooden Furniture: General Finishes Milk Paint
There has been a significant increase in the popularity of upcycling furniture, whether it’s your own furniture or furniture bought from a thrift or vintage store, due to the awareness of reusing furniture instead of buying new ones completely.
Not only is upcycling eco-friendly, but it’s fun to do and creates an original furniture piece!
General Finishes Milk Paint is designed to be painted over raw wood and uneven surfaces. It doesn’t soak into raw wood in the same way as other paints, leaving an uneven and patchy finish.
Instead, it works to enhance raw wood by giving it a brand new color. This product comes in a large range of colors and can be applied with a paint brush, paint roller, or a paint sprayer.
The best thing about this product is that it has a built-in top coat, so an extra top coat is not necessary. It also adheres to surfaces, so a primer isn’t needed, either.
Plus, milk paint is non-toxic and made of biodegradable materials. Milk paint is also one of the most pigmented paints available, so it might be worth buying a white can to mix with your chosen color just in case the color comes out darker than you thought.
- Good for upcycling old furniture – Can be applied directly to raw wood to give furniture a new lease on life
- Non-toxic – Odorless, biodegradable, and non-harmful chemicals
- Easy application – No primer or top coat necessary and can be applied with brush, roller, or sprayer
- Trust the process – Paint looks bad until it dries, so be patient!
- This paint is self-sealing and does not require a topcoat
- Do not apply clear topcoats over bright white paint, as yellowing may occur due to a reaction to the substrate. Light color paints may also experience yellowing due to topcoat application, but it will less noticeable
- Extremely durable premium furniture paint with high adhesion rated for interior or exterior use.
- Apply over raw wood or prepped existing finishes. Perfect for upcycling and cabinet refinishing.
- Apply 2-3 coats by roller, brush or sprayer with an HVLP 2.0 tip. Water cleanup.
Best Paint For Outdoor Furniture: Wolman Outdoor Furniture Paint
Unfortunately, not all indoor furniture paints are suitable for outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture requires a hardy paint that can withstand extreme weather conditions, debris, and sunlight exposure.
You don’t want the paint to fade or chip after two weeks from the application, after all.
That’s where this Wolman product comes in. This paint has a water-based formula like most furniture paints, but it is 4 times thicker than most outdoor furniture paints to provide the most even and pigmented finish.
While this thickness means it takes 2-4 hours for a painted surface to dry, it means it is most resistant to wear and tear from extreme weather conditions, scratches from debris, and exposure from sunlight that can bleach the paint.
Not only this, but the thick paint also works to protect the surface beneath it, especially from water damage as this paint is resistant to water.
The only surfaces this paint cannot be used on include metal, tile, concrete, fiberglass, and decking. It is best suited for hardwood surfaces, such as outdoor hardwood tables, chairs, and benches.
- Thick paint – Only requires two coats of paint for an even and pigmented finish
- Protects the surface – Resistant to water, scratches, and sunlight exposure, prolonging the life of the surface
- Durable – 4 times thicker than other outdoor furniture paints
- Not for all surfaces – Only suitable for hardwood outdoor surfaces
- Perfect for refinishing and protecting exterior wood such as picnic tables, chairs, swing sets and more
- Water-based formula is 4X thicker than other outdoor furniture paint to provide deeper color and solid hide
- Dries to the touch in 2-4 hours and covers approximately 20 sq. ft. per quart - two coats recommended
- Extra durable paint extends the life of wood in the harshest environments and protects from weathering
- For use on all types of hardwood - do not use on composite decking, concrete, fiberglass, tile or metal surfaces
Best Paint Kit For Furniture: Retique It Chalk Furniture Paint Kit
If you’re new to painting furniture with chalk paint, you might feel like you have to buy multiple products at the same time to make the best finish. Problem is – what products do you even buy? That’s where this kit comes in!
This Retique chalk paint kit is equipped with a 32oz chalk finish paint in your chosen color, dark wax, clear wax, a paint brush, and a wax brush.
Chalk paint doesn’t generally need a primer as long as you prep the base by cleaning and sanding it, and the wax is only optional if you want a glossy finish rather than a matte finish.
Still, it’s handy to have everything in the same kit.
The best part about chalk paint is how versatile it is. You can either keep the matte finish, or you have the option to turn it into a gloss finish with the wax top coat.
If you want to make the furniture look antique, chalk paint can be easily distressed and scuffed to look vintage.
- Complete kit – Chalk paint, two waxes, and two brushes included
- Versatile – Paint can have a matte or glossy finish or can be distressed for an antique appearance
- Good for most surfaces – Suitable for virtually any surface in a home
- Odor – Both waxes are particularly potent
- GREAT RESULTS - Superior coverage, usually 1 to 2 coats with Amazing adhesion to a wide variety of surfaces; little-to-no prep work required (just clean first)
- FURNITURE, CABINETS & MORE- Formulated specifically for furniture, cabinets & home decor; can be used for craft and art projects as well
- INTERIOR / EXTERIOR- Works great for interior and exterior projects alike. For exterior projects, simply use a marine finish topcoat like our Polytique It before applying the clear wax
- SILKY CHALKY SMOOTH FINISH- Dries within 30 minutes to a contemporary finish with our clear wax or a chalky matte finish that is easy to distress (if desired), yet exceptionally durable
- ECO-FRIENDLY & SAFE TO USE - Low Odor. Ultra-low VOC, hypoallergenic with virtually no smell
Choosing The Best Paint For Furniture
First and foremost, consider the color you want to achieve. Some brands will have an expansive range of colors available, while others might only have five neutral colors.
You’ll want to do a paint test before you paint the furniture, too, to make sure the color is the right shade.
Type Of Furniture
What are you planning to paint? Is the surface made of wood, metal, fiberglass, concrete, or another material? You can’t just use one type of paint for any surface, after all.
Latex paint is probably the most popular paint for the majority of furniture types, as it is the most long-lasting and scratch-resistant.
Chalk paint is also a good stylistic choice for those who like a matte finish, but it does scratch easily (unless you want to achieve a scuffed, antique look).
You also don’t need to do much prep work before applying chalk paint as it usually comes with a built-in adhesive primer and top coat, whereas latex paint usually requires primer beforehand.
There’s no definitive rule of what paint to use for what furniture, but we recommend sticking to latex (acrylic) paint for surfaces that you will often use, like a coffee table, due to the scratch-resistance of the paint.
There are three main paint finishes: matte, semi-gloss, and gloss. Chalk paint comes with a matte finish, which allows you to control whether you want to add a wax shine over the top.
Latex paint generally has a semi-gloss finish, which can be made glossy with a wax top coat.
Matte might be stylish, but it’s not the most practical finish as it cannot be wiped as easily as semi-gloss or gloss finishes. This is another reason why it’s not recommended using a matte finish paint on a surface that will require wiping.
Regardless of which paint you choose, you will have to prep the surface. This includes cleaning and often sanding down the surface, otherwise this can lead to an uneven or textured finish (unless that’s intended!).
Some paints like chalk paint won’t require a primer, but we generally recommend using a primer regardless of the paint type to help the longevity of the finish.
Likewise, a top coat will help to seal the paint, which therefore protects the surface itself. Keep in mind that a top coat on a matte paint will turn it glossy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Paint To Use On Wooden Furniture?
Latex paints, chalk paints, and milk paints are all designed to be used on wooden furniture, however all three types provide a different finish.
Latex paint is the most durable, scratch-resistant, and the easiest to apply than the other paints. This paint provides a semi-gloss finish that can be made glossy with a wax top coat.
Chalk paints are good for people who want a statement matte piece of wooden furniture. While chalk paint can scratch easily (and will go glossy with a top coat), it’s the easiest paint to distress to make the furniture look antique.
Milk paints are the least common paint type out of the three, but this type is the most like latex paint.
The only main difference between milk and latex paint is that milk paints generally dry darker than you would expect, so we recommend mixing the milk paint with a white shade before applying.
It generally doesn’t matter which paint you use, as long as you prep the surface properly beforehand.
Also, if the surface is raw wood, then keep in mind that the paint will seep into the surface without a primer, which can lead to an uneven or dull finish.