The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Paint for Furniture

CEO Khai Intela
I have always believed in the power of a fresh coat of paint to breathe new life into old furniture. But not all paints are created equal. Selecting the right paint for your furniture is...

I have always believed in the power of a fresh coat of paint to breathe new life into old furniture. But not all paints are created equal. Selecting the right paint for your furniture is absolutely crucial if you want to achieve the desired results. If you've ever wondered, "what is the best paint to use on furniture?" then you're in luck. In this article, I will share with you the most durable and top-quality paints for all types of furniture, whether it's wood or laminate. With the right paint, you can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish on any piece of furniture.

The Best Paints for Every Type of Furniture

Believe it or not, the same paints I recommend for wood furniture also work wonders on laminate furniture. However, if you're painting laminate furniture, I highly recommend following a specific tutorial that includes the use of a recommended primer in addition to the paints I will share in this article.

Without further ado, here are the best paints that I highly recommend for painting furniture:

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is a water-based paint with a flat finish that boasts excellent adhesion. The best part is that it requires minimal prep work, making it a popular choice for many DIY enthusiasts. Chalk paint is also low or no-VOC, making it safe for indoor projects. It self-levels well, minimizing brush marks.

My favorite chalk-based paint is the Amy Howard One-Step Paint. Developed by furniture designer and manufacturer Amy Howard, this revolutionary paint allows you to transform furniture without the need for stripping, sanding, or priming. It has a matte finish and is available in a range of beautiful colors. The coverage is excellent, and the paint dries quickly.

Amy Howard One-Step Paint One Step Paint on laminate furniture. The photo on the left shows how the paint beads up without the proper primer. The photo on the right shows good adhesion of the paint with the proper primer.

Mineral Paint

Mineral paint, as the name suggests, is made from natural minerals mixed with a binder and a solvent. This combination gives mineral paint exceptional adhesion and durability. Fusion Mineral Paint is my personal favorite. It offers over 50 colors to choose from and provides incredible coverage. It is non-toxic, lead-free, virtually odorless, and does not contain any harmful chemicals.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a high-quality option that is easy to apply and provides a smooth finish. It has excellent adhesion and durability, often requiring minimal prep work. General Finishes Milk Paint is a premium water-based acrylic paint that I highly recommend. It has a low sheen finish and minimizes brush strokes beautifully. It is also formulated with Zero VOC Colorants, making it a safe choice for your furniture projects.

Urethane Enamel Paint

Water-based urethane enamel paints offer a hard and durable finish that resists yellowing. While I personally haven't used this type of paint on furniture, I have had a positive experience with Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel when using it for other projects like stair balusters and railings. Its durability and performance make it a solid option for painting furniture.

Types of Paint to AVOID When Painting Furniture

While it's essential to know the best paints to use, it's equally important to understand which types of paint to avoid when it comes to furniture. Here are a couple of paints you should steer clear of:

Latex Paint

Using latex paint, which is typically used for painting walls, on furniture can be tempting due to its affordability. However, latex paint does not provide strong adhesion compared to the paints mentioned above. It is prone to chipping and peeling, even with a protective layer. I highly recommend avoiding latex paint for furniture projects.

Spray Paint

Spray paint may seem convenient, but I only recommend using it for painting plastic outdoor chairs that require a paint specifically designed to bond to plastic. For high-quality furniture paint jobs, spray paint is not the best option.

The Importance of Prep Work

When it comes to painting furniture, two factors play a vital role in ensuring long-lasting results - PREP and PRODUCT. While the recommended paints I mentioned require minimal prep work, there are a few essential steps to follow:

Always Clean First

Regardless of the paint you choose, always clean the furniture thoroughly before painting. Even if the piece doesn't appear dirty, unseen dirt and dust can hinder paint adhesion and ruin your finish. I recommend using Simple Green diluted according to the instructions. After cleaning, wipe down the furniture with plain water to remove any residue.

Sometimes Additional Prep is Necessary

In certain situations, additional prep work may be necessary. For example:

  • If your wooden piece has a smooth or shiny finish, scuff the surface lightly with a liquid deglosser or sand it gently to improve paint adhesion.
  • If your furniture is laminate or another synthetic material, it is vital to use a BIN (shellac-based) primer before painting. This step is crucial for ensuring proper adhesion and preventing the paint from beading or separating.

Frequently Asked Questions About Painting Furniture

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about painting furniture:

  • Can you paint wood without sanding it first? While some of the recommended paints eliminate the need for sanding, it's still a good idea to scuff the surface if it's very smooth or shiny.
  • What other supplies do you recommend for painting furniture? Apart from the paints mentioned, make sure to have brushes, rollers, drop cloths, and painters tape on hand.
  • Are there any other posts I may find helpful? Absolutely! Check out my other articles on DIY paint projects, furniture painting secrets, painting countertops to look like marble, painting tile backsplashes, and painting vinyl floors for long-lasting results.

I hope this ultimate guide to choosing the best paint for furniture helps you make informed decisions for your next DIY furniture painting project. Happy painting!

Other posts you may enjoy:

  • DIY Paint Projects
  • Best Furniture Painting Secrets
  • How to Paint Countertops to Look Like Marble
  • How to Paint Your Tile Backsplash in 5 Simple Steps
  • How to Paint Vinyl Floors for Long-Lasting Results

Wondering how I transform rooms and spaces in my home? Check out Designer in a Binder®. And don't forget to subscribe for exclusive content and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks before you go!

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