Best paint for furniture: 8 best furniture paints of 2021

Looking for the best paint for furniture? Transform wood or metal and add on-trend colour with the best furniture paints

Best paint for furniture: 8 best furniture paints of 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Finding the best paint for furniture is a quick, easy and affordable way to completely transform tired old furniture, and to get a brand new look for a fraction of the price of buying new. 

It also allows your creativity free reign. Bright pink sideboard? Minimal white dressing table? Statement black dining chairs? Armed just with a tin of the best furniture paint and a brush, the options are endless!

Upcycling using the best furniture paint is also an eco-friendly way to stop good furniture from ending up in landfill and to give it a new lease of life in your home, creating a piece of furniture that's one-of-a-kind in the process

Obviously, the best furniture paints can also be used on all sorts of items – like kitchen cabinetry and doors too – so it's always useful to keep a couple of tins on standby for DIY jobs. If you're thinking of redecorating be sure to check out our guide to the best kitchen cupboard paint too. 

Otherwise, get your paintbrush in hand and read on for the best paint for furniture...

The best paint for furniture

Best paint for furniture: Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint

1. Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint

Best furniture paint for a chalk finish

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Finish: Chalk
Colours: 30+
Reasons to buy
+Over 30 colours to choose from +No priming or sanding required+Easy to apply+Doesn't have a strong smell
Reasons to avoid
-Chalk paint isn't wipeable or stain resistant  

If you want to give a DIY project a go but don’t have loads of time to spend on it, then this Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint is a great go-to for easy furniture painting. No sanding or priming is required before application, and it’s a water-based colour which doesn’t smell too potent, so this could easily be applied indoors with just a few sheets of newspaper laid down for protection. This does however mean that it can only be used on interior furniture, as the paint would not fare very well in the elements. With over 30 colours to choose from, including classic Antique White, Mustard, Pumpkin and Winter Grey, there is a range of possibilities for transforming your old furniture into something truly unique. In our opinion, this is the very best furniture paint for those who want to achieve the shabby chic look.

  • Shop Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Ronseal Satin Cupboard Paint

2. Ronseal Satin Cupboard Paint

Best furniture paint for cupboards with a satin gloss finish

Specifications
Best for: Gloss
Finish: Gloss
Colours: 11
Reasons to buy
+Durable paint that won’t scratch+Dries in 2 hours+Scratch-resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Some reviewers say it needs more than one coat 

Do your kitchen cupboards look a little worse for wear? If so, then this Ronseal Satin Cupboard Paint can quickly and easily make them look brand new again. This is a durable paint that goes on nicely and only takes two hours to dry. Once applied, it won’t knock or scratch and it’ll leave a smooth, silky finish that won’t show any signs of brush marks. This paint comes in a grey colour, so if you’re looking to change up your old white cupboards, then this neutral colour could be just the thing to smarten up the home. 

Check out our guide to how to paint kitchen cabinets if you are after an affordable way to update old units.

  • Shop Ronseal Satin Cupboard Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Rust-Oleum Gloss Furniture Paint

3. Rust-Oleum Gloss Furniture Paint

Best furniture paint for coverage: a thick and glossy paint for a modern finish

Specifications
Best for: Thick
Finish: Gloss
Colours: 6+
Reasons to buy
+ A little goes a long way 
Reasons to avoid
-Not a big range of colours

This Rust-Oleum Gloss Furniture Paint is the best paint for furniture on a multitude of surfaces and there is no need to prime or sand down the furniture before application. It’s highly concentrated, meaning a little goes a long way with this paint, and you’ll find it’s slightly shinier than the standard satin paint. It comes in a wide range of bold colours such as black and grey – perfect if you love dark and atmospheric interiors.  

  • Shop Rust-Oleum Gloss Furniture Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint

4. Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint

Best furniture paint for a vintage look: a delicate, chalky paint for creating a distressed look

Specifications
Best for: Vintage look
Finish: Chalky
Colours: 8
Reasons to buy
+Easy rustic finish +Doesn't peel or scratch +No need to wax 

Many DIY guides will tell you that when you are creating a distressed look, you will need to sand, prime and then wax the furniture in question before and after applying the paint. However, if you don’t have time for all those steps, then this Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint will make life easier and is one of the best paint for furniture for ease of use. It glides on to give a flat, matt finish that is strong enough to withstand wear and tear and will not rub off with general use unless you have specifically distressed it that way. It also only takes 30 minutes to dry, so this is the perfect paint for a quick upcycling job. 

  • Shop Ronseal Chalky Furniture Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Johnstone's Revive Chalky Furniture Paint

5. Johnstone's Revive Chalky Furniture Paint

Best furniture paint for those on a budget: affordable for those budget DIY jobs

Specifications
Best for: Budget
Finish: Chalky
Colours: 5
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Pastel shades+Easy to apply+Scratch-resistant
Reasons to avoid
-You will need to lightly sand the surface you are painting first

If you’re on a budget, then Johnstone's Revive Chalky Furniture Paint the best furniture paint for an affordable option and it comes in five different pastel shades that you can use to create a light and airy atmosphere in your home. The paint can be used on anything, from furniture to cupboards and even accessories, and is said to apply easily and dry quickly to a knock-and-scratch-resistant finish. 

  • Shop Johnstone's Revive Chalky Furniture Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Hemway Chalk Paint (Magnolia) Matt Finish Wall and Furniture Paint

6. Hemway Chalk Matt Finish Wall and Furniture Paint

Best furniture paint for quick drying: easy to use and quick drying, this is the best furniture paint for amateurs

Specifications
Best for: Quick-drying
Finish: Chalk
Colours: 24
Reasons to buy
+Quick drying+No need to prime or sand +No strong smell
Reasons to avoid
-Needs up to three coats on darker woods

For use on walls, furniture, woodwork or accessories to give a decorative matt colour finish, this Hemway Chalk Matt Finish Wall and Furniture Paint has virtually no smell, and just one coat will hide the most hideous paint job. There's no need to sand or prime your surface beforehand, and one coat takes only two hours to dry, so you'll be able to use your updated piece of furniture in no time. Definitely the best furniture paint if you are after really quick results.

  • Shop Hemway Chalk Matt Finish Wall and Furniture Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Frenchic Furniture Paint Lady Grey

7. Frenchic Furniture Paint

Best eco-friendly furniture paint: with no VOCs, toxins or solvents added, this non-fume eco paint is great for painting a nursery

Specifications
Best for: Eco
Finish: Flat matt
Colours: 27
Reasons to buy
+Good range of colours+Natural+No hidden ingredients+Great coverage+EN:71-3 certified
Reasons to avoid
-Only available online

With no hidden nasties, this all natural chalk paint from Frenchic transforms furniture with ease. It requires no stirring or shaking and you don't need to add water; the texture is creamy, rich and it has great coverage. It can be applied directly onto wood, stone, brick or plaster, creating a vintage distressed look when dry. There's a huge range of 27 colours to choose from, including greys and whites for those who like to stay neutral, and blues, pinks and yellows if you want to make a statement. There are no added VOCs, toxins or solvents, and the best part is that it's EN:71-3 certified, so completely safe to use on children's toys and nursery furniture. The best paint for furniture that's eco-friendly, we think.

  • Shop Frenchic Furniture Paint here

Best paint for furniture: Wilko primer

(Image credit: Wilko)

8. Wilko White Multi Surface Furniture and Cupboard Primer

The best primer for painting furniture: get the best results by using this primer before you paint

Specifications
Best for: Priming
Finish: Matt
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Ensure the best finish when painting furniture+Drys quickly +Low odour formula 
Reasons to avoid
-Drips form quite easily so don't overload the brush 

To get the best results when painting furniture, especially furniture that sees a lot wear and tear or if you are tackling kitchen cupboards, a primer is essential. This Wilko White Multi Surface Furniture and Cupboard Primer is the best one in terms of quality and price, plus there's enough in one 2.5 litre pot to paint 30 square metres which, if you apply two coats, equates to the same area as nine standard kitchen doors. It's touch dry in 30 minutes and you can go in with a second coat after four hours so you don't have to wait around to crack on with finishing your painting project. 

  • Shop Wilko White Multi Surface Furniture and Cupboard Primer here

How to choose the best paint for furniture

What kind of furniture are you painting? 

Different paints offer different levels of durability, so it's important to consider the way you plan to use a piece of furniture before choosing a paint. 

Chalk paint is quick and easy to apply as you generally don't need to do much prep work first. But it's often best used for decorative accents like picture or mirror frames as it is more prone to chipping and getting dirty, especially on surfaces that'll get a lot of everyday use, like the top of a coffee table or a cabinet door. 

If you love the look of chalk paint but need a more durable solution, you can either seal the paint with a wax or polyurethane, or opt for a more durable paint in a matte finish.

Acrylic paints are typically more durable than chalk paint. They can be wiped and scrubbed, and cure to a hard finish that's more resistant to scratches. 

What colour do you want?

Unlike emulsions, the colour range amongst some of the best furniture paints can be more limited, so this is likely to be a big factor in which brand you go for. 

What finish would you prefer?

The finish of the paint you choose will impact both the look and the function of your furniture. Gloss paints feel more contemporary, while matte paints are suited for farmhouse or shabby-chic decor. Satin or semi-gloss finishes are versatile enough to suit any design style. 

As far as function goes, gloss, semi-gloss, and eggshell paints are wipeable and easier to clean than matte, flat, or chalk finishes. Different paints come in a different range of finishes, so you'll want to look for one that offers the level of sheen you want, or be prepared to add a sealer or topcoat to achieve it. 

The amount of prep work you want to do

If you're looking to do a simple refresh on a piece that's in good repair, and don't want to spend a ton of time on your DIY project, chalky paint is the quickest, easiest way to go. That's because chalk paint doesn't require a sanded or primed surface (although you'll often get longer-lasting results if you complete those steps), or a sealer.

With acrylic and oil-based paints, deglazing, sanding, and priming are recommended, and you may need a coat of polyurethane depending on how you'll use the piece and how long you want it to last.

How to use the best furniture paint

You've chosen your paint colour and finish, but what next? Check out our guide to how to paint furniture for the best advice on what else you might need before you embark on an upcycling project, and how to get the best results. 

More best paint for furniture inspiration

If you're looking to transform a larger area in the home, then the best furniture paint can come in handy in a whole host of ways. One of the most dramatic being updating old kitchen units with the best kitchen cupboard paint

Have a watch of our guide to transforming your kitchen on a budget: 

For more paint projects, find out how to paint floorboards and how to paint tiles to give your home a brand new look on a budget. 

And for more great money-saving tips make sure to keep an eye on our best paint deals page to snap up a bargain on your favourite shades.

Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie joined the Real Homes team in 2018 as our Deals Editor. Now, as our UK Shopping Editor, she spends much of her time giving advice on what you need to add to your shopping cart. Whether that be a sofa bed for your spare room, accessories to give your space a new lease of life, shiny new appliances for a kitchen or some smart tech for an easier life. She's also our fitness and beauty guru, with hands-on experience with some of the top hair tools and the best home gym equipment around. Otherwise, you can find her rearranging the furniture in her space-savvy London flat, DIYing accessories to fit with her ever-changing colour scheme, or going on long walks with her pug. Next up on her to-renovate list is her bathroom...