Do you look at your furniture and sigh? It may be time to revamp it with paint. There are a variety of furniture paints to choose from when you get ready to tackle your project. The products are available in various colors and finishes, allowing you to get creative and showcase your personality.
Furniture stores are filled with pieces painted in all colors of the rainbow, but white and black are the preferred neutral colors. These pieces have a faux distressed finish and sometimes look shabby chic or gently worn. You can paint your old furniture and achieve similar looks using furniture paint.
Once you see the variety of furniture paints available and the dramatic effects you can achieve without breaking the bank, you will be ready to paint your furniture.
Why Use Furniture Paint
Specialty furniture paint adheres to surfaces such as highly lacquered wood, faux wood, metal, plastic, and other materials that may be difficult to paint. Cleaning the furniture is usually the only preparation needed when using furniture paint if the furniture surface is in good shape.
Furniture paint is long-lasting and abrasion-resistant to the wear and tear of everyday use. These high-quality paints are water-based and much easier to work with than oil-based paints, which used to be the standard for painting furniture.
A Variety of Finishes
It's all about the finish with furniture paint. There are paints available that will give a rough textured finish to your furniture, or you can achieve a finish as smooth as butter with a different type of paint.
Choose the perfect furniture paint to achieve an old-world crackle finish or a different kind of paint to help you achieve a hammered metallic finish.
There are furniture paints to achieve the basic matte, flat, satin, gloss, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes you would see with wall paint.
Types of Furniture Paint
Chalk paint is a mix of powder such as Plaster of Paris or calcium carbonate. It is known for its ability to adhere to almost any material or finish. It dries to a chalky matte finish and requires waxing or sealing to preserve the finish.
The paint covers exceptionally well and can be distressed to give the furniture a vintage or worn look. Chalk paint is thick, and sometimes, one coat of paint is all that is needed. The thickness of the paint also lends to textured finishes for a classic country feel.
Brands of Chalk Paint
- Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
- Amy Howard One-Step-Paint
- FolkArt Home Decor Chalk
- Magnolia Home Chalk Style Paint
- Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint
- Country Chic Chalk Style Paint
- Rustoleum Chalked
- Kilz Chalk Style Paint
- Miss Lillian's No Wax Chock Paint
Milk paint is powdered paint made of 100% natural ingredients. The name derives from the ingredient casein, which is milk protein. The product mixture also includes lime, natural pigments, and plant-based filler.
The versatile paint can give furniture or home décor accessories an old-world look. The paint automatically chips as it dries and can be further chipped and distressed using a sanding block or similar item.
Waxing the paint once it's dried will give it a slight sheen and maximum durability. The paint can take medium wear without sealing it with wax.
Brands of Milk Paint
- General Finishes Milk Paint
- Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint
- The Real Milk Paint
- Rustoleum Milk Paint Finish
- Old Fashioned Milk Paint
- Sweet Pickins Milk Paint
Made straight from the earth, clay paint is heavily pigmented and has a rich, creamy texture. It is eco-friendly and porous, which means it does not trap moisture and is perfect for painting wood. The finish is matte or flat and can be textured.
Brands of Clay Paint
- Debi's Design Diary Clay Chalk Paint
- Dixie Belle Terra Clay Paint
Mineral paint is usually made with natural mineral pigments and a silicate binder. It is environmentally friendly and doesn't contain harmful chemicals and VOCs.
It has superb adhesion properties and will stick to almost any surface without a primer or intense prep work. The colors are vibrant, and the paint resists chipping or peeling.
Brands of Mineral Paint
- Waverly Inspirations Chalk Paint, Mineral
- Dixie Belle Silk All-In-One Mineral Paint
- Tommy Art Color Mineral Paint
Most metallic paint for furniture and walls consists of mica powder or mica beads and titanium dioxide, the brightest and whitest known pigment. Titanium dioxide has reflective qualities that give the paint its sheen.
Use metallic paint on home decor accessories such as picture frames and lamps, or add a single gold stripe to black furniture. Painting the drawers of a dresser metallic silver adds depth and character to the piece.
Brands of Metallic Paint
- Dixie Belle Patina Paint
- Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection
- Fusion Mineral Paint
- Rustoleum Metallic Accents
- Krylon Gold Leaf Latex Paint
- Beyond Paint Metallic Collection
Acrylic and Enamel Paints
For our purposes, we will talk about water-based acrylic and enamel paints. Acrylic paint comprises water, the color pigment, and an acrylic polymer as a binder. The paint goes on smoothly and is self-leveling.
Acrylic paint has more elasticity than most water-based paints, and this property makes it resistant to chipping and cracking. Water-based enamel is a type of acrylic paint. You can achieve a lasting, durable finish with enamel paint.
Brands of Acrylic and Enamel Paints
- Rustoleum Ulta Matte Interior Chalked Acyllic Paint
- Heirloom Traditions Paint
- Beyond Paint All-In-One
- General Finishes Brushable Enamel
What Can You Paint With Furniture Paint
As mentioned in this article, you can use furniture paint on various surfaces such as metal, tile, glass, plastic, laminated, highly lacquered, and finished and unfinished wood. You can also paint cabinets and home decor accessories with furniture paint.
Where Can You Purchase Furniture Paint
You can find specialty furniture paints online or locally from various sources. Here is a list of stores where you can buy the paint in person and get information about the product.
Home Improvement Stores
Stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's have a selection of furniture paint brands with different types and colors.
They also have a variety of acrylic and enamel paint brands. You will have hundreds of color options because these paints are custom-mixed in the store using an untinted paint base.
As the name implies, these stores are dedicated to paint products. Stores like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Farrell-Calhoun have high-quality paints. They know their brands and can advise you on which product would be best for your project.
Antique and/or Vintage Shops
Local shops selling furniture and used home decor carry at least one line of paint. Some stores also have paint brushes, drawer pulls, and other things needed for a furniture makeover.
Large markets will have a selection of used furniture perfect for painting, furniture paints, and other products you may need for a furniture makeover.
Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Joann Fabrics have multiple lines of furniture paint for painting home decor items and small furniture pieces.
How To Prepare Furniture for Painting
We have discussed how well furniture paint adheres to surfaces without priming and sanding. This is true only if your painting surface does not have peeling or chipping paint or marks made with permanent marker, fingernail polish, or anything similar. These issues can be handled by sanding either by hand or with a power sander to remove the imperfections and smooth the area you will be painting.
Before painting, remove all furniture knobs, pulls, hinges, and other hardware. The screw holes should be covered inside the drawers or cabinet doors with painter's tape to prevent paint from seeping through the holes. Cover any areas you do not want to be painted with painter's tape.
Before cleaning furniture, vacuum the dust, spider eggs, and cobwebs from the inside of the furniture casing, the bottom and backside of the piece, and the drawers and shelves.
The last step before painting furniture is to clean it with soap and water or use the cleaning product recommended by the furniture paint brand. Once the furniture is clean, you are ready to paint.
Additional Tools and Supplies for Painting Furniture
- Painter's tape
Once you have selected your furniture piece to paint, choose the paint that will give you the look and finish you want. The right furniture paint can transform your old furniture or even a new piece into a work of art. Your technical ability and personal style will make it a statement piece and a conversation starter.
Remember, it is only paint. If you don't like the results of your first paint project, repaint it. You can paint the same piece numerous times without any extra prep work. Happy painting!
Kathy is the founder of PetticoatJunktion.com, a home décor blog focused on repurposing and upcycling furniture, old hardware, rusty stuff, thrift store finds, and just about anything, into unique home décor. She shares complete tutorials on painting furniture and reinventing her found items. Kathy’s projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines.