It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a drab, old piece of furniture.
What’s even better is that changing the color is way more cost-efficient than purchasing a brand piece, and the fact that you have more control over the color makes it easier for you to coordinate the furniture with the décor in your home.
Are you unsure about what type of paint to use when it comes to re-purposing your new or old furnishings?
If so, read on to see what our experts suggest and find out what the best paint for furniture is in this detailed guide.
Top 10 Paints for Furniture
Use These Types of Paint
We know that there are many different types of paint out there, but here are some of the top choices that DIY furniture makeover artists highly recommend.
- Latex-Based. The sky is the limit with latex paint. You can choose from a variety of finishes, the color selection is huge, and it is much easier to find a color match since the paint store can always mix colors to create something custom.
While we do love this type of paint, it is very time-consuming to apply it since you need to prep the furniture well (sanding, priming, etc.), and it just doesn’t seem to withstand the test of time as well.
Use this type of paint on furniture that doesn’t get used or frequently touched (like a picture frame or decorative bench). If you use it on a chair or chest of drawers that you handle frequently, the paint will wear off sooner.
- Oil-Based. Oil-based paints aren’t the most popular option since they cost much more than latex paints and the odor is strong.
On the other hand, they will outlast latex by a long shot, and they’re perfect for serious furniture projects where you need the paint to last.
If you have heavily used chairs, cupboards, coffee tables, or chests of drawers, then oil-based paint is the best choice.
- Chalk Paint. Chalk paint is great for the DIYer who doesn’t want to spend much time prepping and painting. This type of paint will adhere as well to smooth, glossy surfaces as it does to sanded surfaces.
You will need to work quickly with this paint because it dries fast. Keep in mind that it is also thicker than other paints, which can cause a different effect or show brush strokes more vividly once dried.
- Milk Paint. Milk paint is awesome. It is natural (made with milk protein) and looks fabulous on unfinished wood or old wood.
If you want to achieve a used, antique finish to your piece, then milk paint is ideal. It is not the best choice, however, for projects that you want to last! Chipping can be a problem, and you will need to use the paint soon after opening it since it will spoil.
- Spray Paint. Don’t forget about spray paint! It is probably one of the most versatile choices since it can adhere to a variety of surfaces. Not everyone has a piece of wood furniture to paint, so if you need something that can adhere to plastic or metal, find a spray paint that is approved for these surfaces.
Top 5 Best Paint for Furniture Reviews
We’ll start by telling you that this isn’t a true milk paint.
It still applies like one and has the same effect, but the difference is that it is water-based and contains a strong mineral base that means it won’t spoil.
You can use this on both indoor and outdoor furniture (it is UV-resistant), and the quality is superb. You don’t need to worry about priming or spending hours sanding and prepping the wood. Just slap it on and let it dry.
The results speak for themselves, and the paint is incredibly durable. You can put a sealer on top if you want to add an extra layer of protection (it makes cleaning easier), and we recommend at least two coats.
Their “Seagull Gray” color is fabulous – it is warm and inviting. They make plenty of other colors, too, and even though it is rather expensive (this is just one quart), it is a high-quality paint.
As we mentioned, the best paint for furniture that will be used heavily (i.e. chairs, chest of drawers) is an oil-based formula. We were impressed with this one from Rust-Oleum and found it to be both effective and affordable.
Just like the previous product, you can use this on both indoor and outdoor furniture, and if you happen to use it on metal, the ingredients help provide a protective coating that will prevent the surface from rusting.
As a flat color, you won’t notice as many imperfections on the surface you’re painting, but keep in mind that the other colors they offer have different finishes. There is a satin black color and a glossy regal red just to give you an idea.
No complaints whatsoever about this paint! It is fabulous.
For small projects or if you simply want a quick and easy way to apply paint, we highly recommend a spray paint.
Rust-Oleum’s 2X Ultra Cover Paint + Primer was quite impressive, especially on the wicker furniture that we wanted to repaint. There is no way that we would have enjoyed trying to reach every nook and cranny on the wicker with a small paintbrush, so a bottle of this cut the project time in half.
We love how versatile it is – use it on wood, metal, plaster and even unglazed ceramic. The coverage is superb, and it comes in a wide range of beautiful colors.
Chalk paint is one of our favorite products to use on upcycling projects, and it looks wonderful on larger pieces of furniture such as kitchen cabinets and hutches. We also love that it is non-toxic and eco-friendly, which is a hard combination to find when you’re dealing with paint.
Two coats of this product seem to be just enough for most projects, but others may require a third coat. If this is your first time using a chalk paint, there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, the results are stunning. From distressed to shabby chic, there plenty of looks you can achieve with it.
Be prepared for a dense application because this paint is thick. You’ll also need to work quickly on larger pieces because it dries fast and this can cause an uneven finish.
They also recommend that you add a layer of clear wax to the paint to protect it and add a bit of sheen, but this step is optional.
Those of you interested in trying a true milk paint should purchase some Miss Mustard Seed.
It comes in powder form, so you can mix up as much or as little as you need based on your project. Just mix up equal parts of powder and water, mix, and begin painting!
It will give any raw wood projects a beautiful look and won’t chip or peel. Feel free to use it on both indoor and outdoor projects, too, and you can even use it on ceramic tiles, metal, and glass.
Don’t expect much coverage from this product, as it goes on fairly light. The one-quart size will cover up to 70 square feet, but you’ll need a couple of bags for larger projects, and that can make it a bit expensive to use.
If you’re using it for small to medium-sized projects such as end tables or headboards, you’ll love the effect it creates on the furniture’s surface!