As professional decorators, we often get asked “which is the best furniture paint?”
Well, this question is a tricky one to answer. The reason it’s a tricky question is because there’s not really one single paint that ticks all the boxes. For example, whilst you may opt for a chalk finish for some of your interior furniture items, that paint isn’t going to translate to outdoor garden furniture.
Choosing the wrong paint is going to have some pretty negative consequences. You may find that the paint you’ve chosen doesn’t adhere well to your substrates, making it impossible to apply without leaving a patchy finish. Or, you go for a paint that looks great on the tin but in reality sets to a colour you’re not entirely happy with.
With this in mind, we’ve taken some of the best furniture paints on the market and categorised them into specific sections. This means you can choose the perfect paint for your project in a matter of minutes.
Take a look below to find out which paints we chose as our favourites.
Best Furniture Paint With a Matt Finish: The One
If you’re looking to paint your furniture and achieve an attractive matt finish, we would recommend Rainbow’s The One. Whilst not a big name when it comes to paint manufacturers, they’ve established themselves over the past 25 years as expert producers of chalk paint, with particular focus on the furniture paint market.
This particular paint has been specifically formulated for use on wooden furniture, both interior and exterior, but really excels when used on items such as chest of drawers, chairs and bedside cabinets. It can be used on garden furniture although we wouldn’t be fully confident in its ability to withstand the British weather.
Drying to a matt finish, The One is a one coat (in most cases) paint that is ideal for hiding any surface imperfections and the variety of colours it comes in (11 to be precise) should give you scope for pairing your furniture with your existing decor style.
- Depending on the surface you’re painting on, you’ll usually only need one coat
- Hardly any VOCs make this paint eco-friendly and free from odour
- Matt finish does well to hide surface imperfections
- A variety of colours to choose from
- Lacks durability to use outside
Best Wooden Furniture Paint: Dulux Wood Sheen
If your aim is to keep the natural look of your wooden furniture, Dulux’s Wood Sheen is the paint you’re going to want to go with. This durable stain and varnish in one is perfect for breathing new life into both interior and exterior wooden furniture.
The tough and durable finish gives your wooden furniture the long lasting protection it needs by sealing and hardening the substrate. This ultimately makes it weatherproof which is important for outdoor furniture as well as resistant to scuffs and scratches when applied to interior wooden furniture.
It’s also handy that it’s relatively easy to apply. Considering it’s a stain and varnish in one, it retains the consistency of a typical emulsion whilst allowing better coverage than your average varnish.
Whilst it has the consistency of paint, it’s still less opaque and once applied by brush, brings fresh life to the surface but still allows the natural wood grain underneath to shine through rather than covering it completely. This does mean that any previous opaque paint would need to be removed first which you can do with a paint stripper.
- Brings a new lease of life to wooden furniture
- Is tough and durable and can withstand the worst the British weather has to offer
- Has a nice consistency which makes it easy to apply
- Suitable for both interior and exterior wooden furniture
Best Chalk Furniture Paint: Rust Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint
Loved by many interior design enthusiasts across home decor forums, this classic smooth touch matt chalk paint brings a new lease of life to tired and worn-out furniture.
Whilst branded as a furniture paint, Rust Oleum’s chalk paint is suitable for use on a variety of interior surfaces including wood, stone, plaster, and primed rigid surfaces such as metal and plastic. This means that anything from old cabinets to yellowing stone fireplaces can all be revived and refreshed using this paint.
You can expect exceptional coverage from this paint and in our experience it’s also relatively easy to apply. As a water-based paint, it has just the right amount of thickness to ensure you’re getting an even spread when using a brush and in most cases will only need a coat or two.
As with most chalk paints, you will need to be that little bit careful when painting protruding areas as chalk paint can be particularly prone to paint build up. Rust Oleum’s Chalky Finish furniture paint has minimal VOCs and by default, little or no odour.
It’s also been known to be very durable which is ideal for use on substrates that either see a lot of traffic or get touched a lot.
In terms of colour, our test showed that the colour (duck egg) was fairly identical to the one shown on the tin. Beyond Duck Egg, this particular paint comes in a variety of over 15 elegant colours, giving you more than enough choice to match your furniture to your existing colour schemes. You also have the option to create a distressed look by combining two contrasting coloured coats followed by sanding the surface down.
- Comes in a variety of different colours
- Virtually no VOCs makes this paint eco-friendly as well as odour-free
- Only needs one or two coats to get a perfect finish
- One of the more durable chalk paints currently available
- Is prone to paint build up in protruding areas
Best Garden Furniture Paint: Johnstone’s Garden Colours
Johnstone’s Garden Colours is an all-rounder that comes in a variety of eye-catching colours and is definitely worth a look if you’re looking for high quality garden furniture paint and budget isn’t an issue.
Johnstone’s Garden Colours is formulated for use on exterior wood and when we say it’s an all-rounder, we’re deadly serious. You can use this paint on anything from sheds and fences to tables and garden chairs.
The paint is very smooth to apply and takes a couple of coats to get the perfect finish assuming your prep the substrate properly. The consistency of the paint is as good as it gets and you should be able to get a coverage of around 12m²/L. One thing you might come across is the paint looking a tad streaky when first applying. If you do face this issue, you don’t need to worry too much – its self-levelling properties fixes this once fully cured.
Johnstone’s Garden Colours is fairly durable and should last around 4 years before you need to get your paint brush out again. Whilst it’s marketed as fade resistance there’s no harm in giving it a fresh top coat after a couple of years so it’s worth saving any leftover paint.
- Has a variety of eye-catching colours to choose from
- Is fairly easy to apply
- Works on a variety of different exterior woods
- It’s easy to clean off brushes and equipment with warm, soapy water
- Quick drying (1-2 hours to become touch dry)
- You might need to give your garden furniture a fresh coat after a couple of years
Best Outdoor Metal Furniture Paint: Dulux Weathershield
If you’re looking for a long lasting option for your outdoor metal furniture, our advice would be to go with Dulux Weathershield Multi Surface. Whilst not specifically created for metal furniture, it will still apply seamlessly and provide you with guaranteed protection for up to 6 years.
It’s suitable for use on all exterior metals, woods and uPVC. That makes it useful for application on other garden furniture should you have any leftover. It’s also mould resistant as well as flexible enough to avoid cracking.
Whilst this paint doesn’t need a primer, it’s always worth looking at the condition of your outdoor metal furniture first. If it’s not in great condition, you might want to look at buying Dulux’s Weathershield Undercoat to go with this paint. This will ensure you get a quality and long lasting finish.
- Weatherproof for roughly 6 years
- Multi-surface paint means nothing goes to waste
- Quick drying – the second coat can be applied after 4 hours
- Leaves a really nice looking satin finish
- It’s quite thick and doesn’t spread as well as other paints
Best White Furniture Paint: Rust Oleum Satin Furniture Paint (White Cotton)
Rust Oleum’s furniture paint range is amongst my own personal favourites so it’s no surprise that if I were to be painting furniture white, I would be using Rust Oleum’s satin finish and more specifically, the white cotton colour.
This water based satin paint has been specifically formulated to adhere to almost any unprimed surface. Rust Oleum also state there’s no need for any preparation either. We should note that whilst this may be the case, we’d still recommend doing your usual prep to get the best finish.
Being a multi-surface paint, this white paint is ideal to use on anything from bedside cabinets to kitchen tables and everything in between.
Whilst it does go on nicely with just one coat, to get a real top notch finish we would recommend doubling down. The high opacity of 2 coats should ensure that wooden grains are fully covered without the need to use any stain blockers.
Whilst the durability of the product is satisfactory, it might be worth finishing your furniture with some Rust Oleum Wax Polish to give it that added toughness.
- Can be finished in just one coat
- Virtually no VOCs make this paint environmentally friendly
- Certified toy-safe
- Relatively inexpensive
- Might need a few coats to cover varnished
The best part about upcycling old furniture is having the option to completely personalise it. With myriad colour options available these days, anything is possible. But before going out and buying your paint, there are a few things to consider.
- The most common colour to use on furniture is white. White is timeless and fits in seamlessly with any interior decor style
- If you’re looking for something retro, you could always go with a bright and bold orange colour
- How about something that’s more regal looking? A nice purple can really make a statement
- For something that’s classy and elegant, try a mid-blue
- For a shabby chic look, combined two contrasting colours and sand down
- If you want something that is extremely modern looking, black is the colour for you
What Paint to Use on Wooden Furniture?
When it comes to painting wooden furniture, you have quite a few choices available to you. For example, you could opt for the very popular chalk paint which leaves a modern, matt finish or you could go for the classic satinwood finish which dries to an attractive mid-sheen.
Whilst chalk paint might look better, it’s always worth weighing up whether aesthetics or durability is more important to you. For furniture that isn’t touched a lot, chalk paint might be a good option. For furniture like chairs and tables, a satinwood paint might be a better option.
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Want to learn more about different paints? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best gloss paint” article!