The 5 best types of furniture paint: pros and cons (2023)

Give your furniture a new life and look with aFresh paint coat. Whether you want to paint a chair, table, bedside table, or a special piece, this is a great DIY project that can give your furniture a unique look with just a few hours of work and a few basic supplies.

When it comes to painting your furniture, you have many options. The type of ink is the biggest consideration you need to make. There are oil, latex, and acrylic furniture paints, as well as specialty paints like chalk and milk. You can use a brush and/or roller or even paintuse spray paint. Each of these furniture colors has unique benefits, and some are better suited to one type of project than another.

Here are the pros and cons of the best furniture paint.

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Latex furniture paint is a popular choice because it's easily accessible. You can buy a liter or a gallon of latex paint from your local hardware store and there are a variety of brands to choose from. There arealso low or no VOC(volatile organic compound) which are highly recommended for interior painting projects.

A downside is that while latex paint dries quickly, it takes a long time to cure and retains a relatively smooth finish that's prone to chipping and scratching. This is not ideal for furniture that gets heavy use. Rather than penetrating porous surfaces like oil-based paint, latex paint bonds to the surface layer of furniture. As a result, this layer of paint can be damaged relatively easily. For best results, prep the surface with sandpaper and primer - knowing that you may need touch-ups in the future.

On the other hand, one of the great advantages of latex paint for furniture is the wide range of colors available. Choose from the available color sheets or ask the color counter to mix a custom shade to perfectly match your furniture and decor. This wide range makes it easy to find the shade that suits your vision - and your space.

Latex paint is also available indifferent versions. You can choose between a smooth (matte), satin, semi-gloss or gloss finish for your project.

  • Plano:With no resins in the formula, this type of latex paint does not reflect much light and has a matte, almost velvety appearance. However, it will not be a very durable surface that will withstand many knocks, touches and washing. So save this finish for a project that will not be used every day. For a more durable matte color, consider using limestone paint.
  • Satin:A semi-gloss color reflects a minimal amount of light. (Eggshell Finishis closely related.) If you like the look of matte paint but need a more durable furniture paint, satin paint may be a better choice for you. If you choose a washable formula, it will be easier to keep clean.
  • semi-bright:This is perhaps the best furniture finish as a semi-gloss color reflects light well and will stand up to washing and the rigors of use. The higher concentration of resin in a semi-gloss formula makes this paint more durable for furniture that you really want to put into service. Many people also like the glossy finish.
  • Spiegel:A gloss finish adds drama and durability to your pieces—but requires more preparation. High gloss paints reflect a lot of light and can withstand a lot of use and cleaning due to their higher resin concentration. But beware: such a glossy finish will accentuate imperfections. So if you decide to paint this type of furniture, you need to make sure that it is primed and any imperfections are ironed out.

Best for:Pieces of furniture that don't see much action and when accessibility is an important factor


  • Easily available with numerous color options

  • Easy to clean with soap and water

  • Available in different finishes

In contrast

  • Doesn't stand up to heavy use

  • Not all surfaces are washable

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  • long curing time

chalk paint

The 5 best types of furniture paint: pros and cons (2)

Restoring antique furniture or adding old-world charm to newer pieces has led to the rising popularity ofLimestone colour. This water-based paint is typically latex based but offers a thicker, buildable texture.

Limestone paint is commercially available, although it is becoming more common. Some people have even had success making their own chalk paint, but the best and most consistent results are obtained by purchasing a commercial formula. It's more expensive than regular latex paint, but people love it for its unique look and silky smooth finish.

Unlike other more conventional furniture paints, there can be a bit of a learning curve when using chalk paint for the first time. It dries quickly, which is a plus, but it also means that if you revisit an area for touch-ups once the paint starts to dry, the brush strokes will be visible. Prepare to practice a little, or be flexible about the overall look of the finished product.

Chalk paint can be sanded or aged to create an aged look. This makes the product popular with people who are looking for or want a more vintage styleShabby-Chicsee.

Best for:Embellish antique pieces or achieve a rich, matte look on furniture you use every day


  • Adheres well to most surfaces

  • Fast drying time

  • smooth finish

In contrast

  • Brush strokes may be visible

  • The surface has scratches or stains

  • Can get expensive with limited color options

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If you are looking for a natural furniture color with a slightly finer structure than chalk paint - but with a lot of character - thenMilchfarbecould be the right guy for you. This non-toxic paint is made from milk protein with an activator, typically chalk or borax. Color pigments are added to change the hue of the paint. Plus, it's easy to age the milky finish with a light sanding, or leave it intact for a smooth matte look.

Milk furniture paint is popular for its eco-friendly ingredients with no added chemicals or fumes. In fact, this color has been used to paint furniture, homes, and more since long before commercial paint was widely available. It can be used on a variety of surfaces, but the finish can vary and is sometimes inconsistent in terms of saturation. For more consistent results (and less chipping since it's a water-based paint), use a milky color binder. This is also important on smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic.

A unique feature of milk paint is that it is usually sold in powder form. Add water to mix the amount of paint needed and save the rest for later use or touch-ups. It's typicalcheaper than limestone paintbut gives similar results. A top coat of wax or oil may be required to maintain the finish.

Best for:Furniture designed to look dated, worn or worn


  • Non-toxic powder formula

  • Dries fast

  • Can be used on most surfaces

In contrast

  • It is difficult to achieve consistent saturation

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  • May chip or scratch without seal

  • Bonder is sometimes necessary

acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is another type of water-based furniture paint that is closely related to latex paint. The color particles are suspended in an acrylic polymer, providing rich pigment with a smooth finish. It can be applied to a variety of surfaces, making it a versatile type of furniture paint. However, it's often sold in small containers, making it a better choice for small projects like console tables, picture frames, and other accent pieces.

Acrylic paint is even and self-leveling, making it easy to work with. However, a primer is a good idea if you want the paint to adhere better to the surface. Acrylic paint has short drying times, allowing you to apply multiple coats in a relatively short amount of time. But you need to give him plenty of time to fully heal once the project is complete. Cleaning is also easy with soap and water as it is a water based paint.

It should be noted that acrylic paint is more resilient to resist chipping or cracking than some other types of water-based paint. But it's still better suited for parts with light to moderate use.

Best for:Small furniture or accent pieces that need a quick and inexpensive coat of paint


  • Easy to apply and self-leveling

  • Durable finish that resists stains

  • Chor

In contrast

  • Need a primer for best results

  • Usually sold in small containers

  • long curing time

Oil painting

Oil-based paint, sometimes called alkyd paint, is one of the most durable paints for furniture. However, this durability comes at a price. Oil-based paints are often expensive, take a long time to dry, and have high VOC levels that require extensive ventilation. In fact, oil-based paint is not widely available and is even banned in some areas due to its ingredients.

Still, painting furniture with oil-based paint is something to consider if you want a durable finish that won't chip or scratch easily. You will need to have a natural bristle brush and turpentine or turpentine on hand for thinning and cleaning. The advantage of oil furniture paint is that it can be applied to most surfaces and adheres well. It saturates any porous surface and is self-leveling for easy application. The drying time between coats is long - up to 24 hours - but it cures faster than water-based paints.

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You can also consider oil paint if you don't know what type of finish is currently on a piece of furniture. Water-based paints have difficulty adhering to a surface previously painted with oil-based paint. But oil-based paint can be successfully applied over water- or oil-based paint.

Best for:Any type of furniture that is subject to heavy use and requires a durable finish


  • durable finish

  • self-leveling formula

  • Can be used on most surfaces

In contrast

  • High VOC values

  • Long drying times between coats

  • Not available everywhere

application tips

  • Pay attention not only to choosing the right type of paint for your furniture project, but also to the correct application method. You can choose between natural bristle brushes (for oil paint) or synthetic bristle brushes (for water colour). There are also towelsUncle roles, or sponges for applications and special effects. Or you can use a paint sprayer, especially for larger projects and projects where you want to avoid brush strokes.
  • The stroke and finish you get will vary depending on the type of applicator you use. A brush provides adequate coverage but can show strokes more easily (especially with water-based paint). A scooter offers less control but consistent coverage. Application with a cloth or sponge is best for a unique textured finish.


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