Best paint for furniture: 8 picks to spruce up old furniture fast

Transform old (but lovely) relics with our round up of the best paint for furniture...

Best paint for furniture
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are after the best paint for furniture to breathe new life into all your old furniture, then we have you covered, because we have tried and tested the lot. Yep, like many of us right now we have been spending our weekends with an old sheet in our back gardens painting furniture we found on the side of the road and could see the potential even if no one else could.

Obviously, furniture paints can be used on all sorts of items that aren't even furniture per se – like kitchen cabinetry and doors – so it's really useful to keep a couple of tins on standby in your DIY cupboard for all sorts of last-minute decorating jobs. 

If you are after paint for your kitchen cabinets specifically, we have a guide to the best kitchen cupboard paint too. 

The best furniture paints you can buy

Best furniture paint you can buy: Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint

1. Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint

Best furniture paint you can buy: achieve optimum shabby-chicness with this chalky paint

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 furniture paint for cupboards: Ronseal Satin Cupboard Paint

2. Ronseal Satin Cupboard Paint

Best furniture paint for cupboards: get those cupboards looking brand new with this glossy paint

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 furniture paint for thickness: 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 furniture paint for a vintage look: 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 the best furniture paint for you. 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 furniture paint for those on a budget: 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 furniture paint for quick-drying: 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

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 eco-friendly furniture paint you can buy, we think.

  • Shop Frenchic Furniture Paint here

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 buy the best furniture paint

Finish

There are a few different types of paint for furniture, and the one you choose all depends on the final look you are going for. We have focused on the two most popular paint finishes for DIYers when it comes to transforming your old furniture into something spectacular: satin and chalk.

Colours

Check the furniture paint you've chosen is available in a range of colours so that whether you want to go daring or neutral, you have lots of choice.

For all things paint related, check our dedicated hub page.

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