Buyer's Guides Wood Paints

Best Paint for Wood Furniture: Epic 2020 Buyer’s Guide

carpenter painting

Painting your furniture can give it a totally fresh new look. Whether you want to paint a specialty piece, a nightstand, table, or dresser, this can be a fun and easy DIY project that will give your furniture a whole new look at a price that’s affordable. But choosing the best paint for wood furniture can be a real challenge, especially since there are dozens of popular brands to choose from. Finding the perfect paint will have the biggest impact on the overall quality of your finished product, which is why doing a little research and finding the best option is so important. I’ve created this buyer’s guide to help you narrow down your search for the best type and brand, while discussing the different kinds of paint available and what you need to look for that indicates the paint is tough and designed to last. I’ve also tested out many different types and brands of paint, narrowing down my choices to the best four products on the market.

Below, you’ll notice a comparison chart which includes each of the models that made it onto my list, their leading features, and how each model rated.

Paint for Wood Furniture Comparison Chart

Product Size Color Options Type Rating
Country Chic Paint

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16 Oz35Chalk
Shabby Chic Furniture Paint

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250 ML8Chalk
Majic Paints Satin Paint

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2 Quarts9Acrylic
General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint

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1 Quart 35Milk

Country Chic Paint


Our Rating: (5/5)

This chalk paint is designed specifically for home décor and furniture. It can also be used for an arts and crafts project. This tough paint is able to easily adhere to a wide variety of surfaces and is designed to provide top coverage, not to mention lasting durability. And the best part? This paint doesn’t require much prep. It can be used for both exterior and interior painting projects. This all in one paint contains topcoat and built-in primer and dries in as little as half an hour, providing a beautiful matte finish.

Pros

  • Fast drying
  • Matte finish
  • Thirty-five colors to choose from
  • Low odor

Cons

  • Price
  • Can require multiple coats to achieve desired results

Conclusion

This all in one chalk paint is perfect for a variety of furniture projects and is available in thirty-five color options. The paint is also eco-friendly, emitting a low odor, so you can paint indoors, safely. The paint is free of VOCs and contains no harsh chemicals. It’s also certified safe by European Toy Safety Standards.

Shabby Chic Chalk Based Furniture Paint


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This water-based chalk paint is richly pigmented and thick, so you won’t have to use an undercoat or primer on your next furniture project. This thick formula is able to instantly refresh your furniture’s look and can give your favorite pieces that shabby chic look that’s so hot right now. It’s currently available in eight neutral colors.

Pros

  • Thick formula
  • No need for undercoat or primer
  • Richly pigmented
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Price
  • Only eight paint options available

Conclusion

The lack of color options available is somewhat disappointing since this formula really does have what it takes to instantly transform your furniture. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, the manufacturer will offer a wider range of colors. Until then, you’ll be limited to just eight neutral tones.

Majic Paints Satin Paint


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This paint is perfect for all types of DIY furniture projects. It offers excellent color retention and will leave behind a beautiful satin finish. The paint is easy to apply and will adhere to any surface, without having to prime or sand. It’s also available in nine color options, so you’re sure to find the perfect shade for your next project.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Thick
  • Easy to apply
  • Satin finish

Cons

  • Can only be used on furniture

Conclusion

The paint is scratch-resistant, durable, and offers long-lasting color retention. This acrylic paint is designed strictly for furniture and cannot be used on any other type of object. The paint can be used on masonry, copper, plastics, aluminum, vinyl, tile, steel, glass, drywall, brick, metal, and wood.

General Finishes Milk Paint


Our Rating: (4/5)

You will not need to use a topcoat when using this paint, since it’s self-sealing. This paint is impressively durable and offers excellent adhesion. It’s also designed for both indoor and outdoor use. This milk paint is available in thirty-five color options, so you’re sure to find a color that will complement your latest furniture project.

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Thirty-five colors available
  • Self-sealing
  • No need for a topcoat

Cons

  • Must apply at least two coats to achieve desired results

Conclusion

This beautiful, durable paint can be used over prepped existing finishes and raw wood. It’s also perfect for cabinet and upcycling refinishing. The paint is water-based and easy to remove, should you accidentally spill it. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for a paint you can use both indoors and outdoors.

Paint for Wood Furniture Buyer’s Guide

When you’re painting furniture, the most important consideration is the type of paint you’ll use. This is because there are many options to choose from, including acrylic, latex, and oil, in addition to certain types of specialty paints such as milk paint and chalky paint. Each type of paint designed for furniture use will come with its own pros and cons.

After reading this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what type of paint will work best for your next project, and which brands are crushing the market.

Below, I’ll go over some of the benefits of painting your furniture.

Benefits of Paint for Wood Furniture

gray paint on wood

  • Painting your own furniture can save you tons of cash
  • The right type of paint will last for several months and can mask damage, chips, and other minor damage
  • With the perfect paint, you can turn a basic piece of furniture into something unique
  • Furniture paint is available in unique shades and colors that you won’t be able to find from mass produced furniture pieces.
  • You don’t need to have much experience to paint furniture, especially if you’re using a good quality paint. Of course, ornate or heavily detailed pieces can take longer to paint and may require more precision, so start off slow and begin by painting some basic pieces.
  • Painting furniture can give a room a while new look, for a fraction of the price it would cost to replace it.
  • Repainting furniture can also be a great family project and a fun way for a child to redecorate their room

Types of Paint

There are many different types of paint to choose from, giving you almost endless options in terms of look and style. When you choose a paint, base your choice on the type of furniture, the look you’re going for, and even the environment the piece of furniture will be in. Below, you’ll find a list of paint types to choose from.

Latex

Latex is a popular option for furniture because it’s available in almost every color imaginable and it’s also easily accessible. You can pick up a gallon or pint of this paint at a local home improvement store, choosing from a variety of finishes and different brands. They’re also no-VOC or low VOC formulas available, which is perfect for indoor painting. Latex paint also dries really fast, although it can take a long time to cure and will retain somewhat of a soft finish. Because of the soft finish it’s not ideal for heavily used furniture.

The wide range of colors to choose from is probably the biggest advantage of latex paint. You can choose from several color chips that are available in the store, or you can have a custom color mixed. This type of variety makes it simple to find the shade of paint that matches your vision.

This kind of paint also comes in different types of finishes. You can choose from glossy, semi-gloss, satin, or matte finishes for your furniture.

Matte

This type of latex paint will have a matte, flat appearance because it will not reflect much light, due to the lack of resins in the formula. Matte paint isn’t very durable and will not be able to withstand a lot of washing, touching, or bumping. Because of this, matte finishes should be reserved for projects that won’t be heavily used. If you’re looking for a flat look that’s durable, you can try using a chalk paint.

Satin

Paint with a satin finish will reflect a certain amount of light. If you need a paint that’s durable and looks similar to a matte finish, then a satin finish can be a great choice. If you’re looking for a washable surface, then stain can also be a great choice since it’s pretty easy to keep clean.

Semi-Gloss

For furniture, many experts believe that a semi-gloss paint is the best choice since it’s durable, can handle increase used, and reflects light well. The higher concentration of resins in this type of finish makes it more durable. Some people also love the shiny finish.

High-Gloss

A glossy finish gives your furniture the most durability and drama, however, this type of paint can require more prep work. These paints reflect plenty of light and with their high content of resins, it allows it to handle plenty of use and abuse. However, you should keep in mind that this much sheen can also point out any imperfections in your furniture. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure you have the furniture prepped well and ready to go when you paint it.

Latex paint is prone to scratching and chipping under heavy use. Latex bonds to the surface layer of furniture instead of soaking into porous surfaces like an oil-based paint. This means the paint can be damaged easily. For the best results, you’ll need to prep the surface with a primer and a sander

To sum it up, latex is great for pieces of furniture that will not be used heavily. It’s readily available with a variety of colors to choose from, and it’s easy to clean with soap and water. It also comes in many different finishes. however, it doesn’t stand up to heavy use and not all types of latex paints are washable.

Chalk

This type of paint is available from select retailers, although due to popularity, it’s becoming more widely available. Some people have found success mixing up their own chalk paint, but if you want consistent results, then stick with a formula that’s commercially available. It’s definitely more expensive compared to latex paint, but it features a silky finish and can give any piece of furniture a unique look. This paint is water-based and usually has a latex at its base, however, it offers a more buildable, thicker texture. This paint adheres well to most types of surfaces, features a fast-drying time, and offers a smooth finish. The drawback with chalk paint is that the finish is subject to marking and scratching, there are not as many color options as there are with latex paints.

Acrylic

This is another popular type of water-based paint for furniture that’s closely related to latex paints. This paint offers a rich pop of color with a silky finish, thanks to the color particles that are suspended in acrylic polymer. It’s very versatile paint and it can be applied to a variety of surfaces. However, it’s usually applied in a small container, which can make it a good choice for smaller projects such as accent pieces like picture frames and end tables.

Oil

This paint is also referred to as alkyd paint and it’s very durable. However, oil-based paint is pretty pricey, and it will require plenty of ventilation during use, due to the high levels of VOCs. It also takes much longer to dry compared to the other types of paints I’ve included here.

Frequently Asked Questions

girl painting a chair

How Many Coats of Chalk Paint Do You Need?

On average, three coats should do. Three coats are enough to provide solid coverage. Since this paint dries very fast, you won’t have to wait long between coats.

Can You Use A Roller for Furniture Paint?

Depending on the size of the piece of furniture you’re painting, you can use a roller, brush, or spray gun.

Will Streaks Go Away When Paint Dries?

Applying an additional coat of paint can get rid of streaks that are left behind by rollers. Once the coat has dried you can use a brush to go over the streaks to make the surface look smoother.

Final Thoughts

The best paint for wood furniture will make the piece pop and can offer the right ttype of durability based on how often the piece will be used and whether it will be kept in a humid environment, such as the bathroom, or indoors or outdoors. In many cases, latex is the best choice since it’s the most versatile, however, there are more durable choices available, but for improved durability, you can expect to pay a steeper price tag. This guide and my four product recommendations are designed to help you choose the perfect paint for your next project, a paint that’s tough, beautiful, and can give your furniture a whole new look, at a price that won’t break the bank.