Can You Paint Furniture with Wall Paint?

When it comes to refreshing the look of furniture, many wonder if wall paint can be used to achieve the desired results. The answer is yes, but with some important considerations to ensure a successful and long-lasting finish.

While wall paint isn’t specifically designed for furniture, it can be utilized effectively as long as the proper steps are taken to prep the surface and protect the finished product. Understanding the process is key to achieving a satisfactory outcome.

Can You Paint Furniture with Wall Paint?

Painting furniture with wall paint is certainly possible, but there are factors to consider before choosing this method.

Pros and Cons

Using wall paint for furniture comes with its advantages and disadvantages:

Economical choiceLess durable
Wide variety of colorsMay require more maintenance
Easy to applyLonger drying time

Difference Between Wood Paint and Wall Paint

Though both wall paint and wood paint can be applied to furniture, there are differences between the two options:

  • Adhesion: Wood paint is specifically formulated for wood surfaces, ensuring better adhesion and long-lasting results. Wall paint can peel or chip when used on furniture.
  • Finish: Wood paint often provides a smoother finish. Wall paint, depending on the type, may show brush marks or uneven textures when used on furniture.
  • Durability: Wood paint is generally more durable than wall paint, protecting the furniture from wear and tear, scratches, and stains. Wall paint is less resistant to damage.

In conclusion, while painting furniture with wall paint is feasible, it may not provide the best durability and finish. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons before using wall paint on furniture.

Preparing the Furniture


Before painting furniture with wall paint, it is essential to clean the surface thoroughly. Start by removing loose dust and dirt using a vacuum cleaner or soft brush. Then, scrub the furniture with a mild detergent solution to eliminate any remaining grime and grease.

If your old furniture has stubborn stains or residues, a TSP cleaner (trisodium phosphate) can be an effective solution. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear gloves when using this powerful cleaning agent. After cleaning, rinse the surface with water and allow the furniture to dry completely before proceeding.


Sanding is a crucial step when prepping furniture for painting. Using the right sandpaper, like a medium-grit (80-120 grit) sanding block, will remove any old paint, varnish, or uneven surfaces, and promote the adhesion of wall paint. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper and gradually move to finer grits to achieve a smooth finish.

Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratching the furniture. In tight corners and intricate details, use a sanding sponge for better control. Once the surface has been adequately sanded, remove any residual dust using a tack cloth, ensuring the surface is clean and smooth.


Primer is essential when painting furniture with wall paint as it ensures proper adhesion, enhances the durability of the paint, and prevents the wood from absorbing wall paint unevenly. For best results, use an oil-based primer compatible with the wall paint.

Apply the primer evenly using a brush or foam roller, ensuring a thin coat covers the entire furniture piece. Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with painting. This preparation step is crucial for achieving a professional-looking finish on your newly painted furniture.

Paint Application Process

Painting furniture with wall paint is a simple and cost-effective way to give new life to tired and dated pieces. The application process consists of several key steps that help ensure a smooth, professional-looking finish.

Selecting the Paint

When choosing paint for furniture, it’s important to consider the type and finish. Latex paint or water-based paint is a popular choice, as it is easy to work with, and clean up. Latex paints are made with synthetic resins and offer a smooth, durable finish. Satin paint is a popular choice for furniture, as it provides a subtle sheen and is easy to clean.

Oil paint is another option, but it may be more challenging to work with and requires proper ventilation. Always consult the label on your chosen paint to ensure it is suitable for furniture applications and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.

Choosing Brushes and Rollers

The right tools can make all the difference when painting furniture. For most projects, a combination of paintbrushes and foam rollers will be needed. Brushes are best for detailed areas and edges, while rollers provide smooth, even coverage on larger surfaces.

  • Brushes: When selecting paintbrushes for your project, opt for high-quality, synthetic bristles as they are less likely to chip and shed during the painting process.
  • Rollers: Foam rollers are ideal for furniture projects, as they leave fewer visible brush marks and provide an even coat of paint.

Applying the Paint

Before you begin, ensure the furniture is clean and dust-free. Consider priming the piece before applying your chosen paint, especially if you are using a light-colored paint on a dark piece of furniture or working with an oil-based paint.

Apply paint in thin, even coats, allowing sufficient drying time between each coat as recommended by the manufacturer. Multiple thin coats provide a better finish than one heavy coat, reducing the risk of drips or clumps. A paint sprayer can be used for larger projects, as it provides an even, professional finish.

After applying the final coat, allow the paint to dry and cure fully before using or moving the furniture. This ensures the durability of your work and can help prevent future chipping or peeling.

Special Techniques and Considerations

When using wall paint to bring new life to furniture, there are a few special techniques and considerations to keep in mind. In this section, we will explore painting laminate furniture, creating a distressed look, and varying paint finishes.

Painting Laminate Furniture

Laminate furniture can be challenging to paint due to its smooth surface. To ensure proper adhesion, it’s important to start with a thorough cleaning of the furniture. Once clean, use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly scuff the surface to help the primer adhere better. Apply a good quality primer designed for smooth surfaces, such as a bonding primer, before painting.

When it comes to painting laminate furniture, latex wall paint can be used. However, it’s essential to use a high-quality paint that will provide a durable finish. Apply thin, even coats of paint, allowing ample drying time between coats. Once the paint is fully dry, protect the surface with a compatible topcoat or sealant.

Creating a Distressed Look

To create a distressed look on your furniture, start by applying a base coat of paint in your desired color. Once the base coat is dry, use a medium-grit sandpaper to lightly sand areas where natural wear and tear would occur, such as edges, corners, and raised details.

After distressing the furniture, you can apply a contrasting topcoat using latex wall paint. Sanding the topcoat in strategic places will expose the base coat and create an appealing aged appearance. To enhance the look, use a glaze or dark wax to emphasize the distressed areas and incorporate depth to the finish.

Varying Paint Finishes

Different finishes can be achieved when painting furniture with wall paint, depending on the desired result:

  • Flat: This finish provides a muted, matte appearance and is suitable for wooden surfaces. However, it may be less durable and more susceptible to marks and scuffs.
  • Eggshell: Eggshell finish provides a low sheen and is more durable than flat paint, making it suitable for furniture pieces that receive moderate use.
  • Satin: Satin finish offers a slightly glossy appearance and is easier to clean, making it suitable for furniture with frequent use or exposure to moisture, such as bathroom cabinets or kitchen chairs.
  • Semi-gloss: This finish has a higher shine and is more durable, suitable for furniture pieces that will be exposed to heavy use or require frequent cleaning, such as tabletops.

Regardless of the finish, it’s essential to use compatible primers and sealants to ensure a long-lasting and durable result on both wooden and laminate surfaces.

Sealing and Protecting the Painted Furniture

After painting your furniture with wall paint, it is essential to seal and protect the painted surface to ensure durability and longevity. This can be done using a protective finish that is compatible with the type of wall paint used. In this section, we will discuss selecting a protective finish and applying it to the painted furniture.

Selecting a Protective Finish

There are several types of protective finishes available on the market, and choosing the right one depends on your needs and the type of wall paint used. Some popular options include:

  • Water-based Polyurethane: This type of finish is ideal for furniture painted with latex wall paint. It is easy to clean and provides excellent durability and resistance to stains, scratches, and water.
  • Oil-based Polyurethane: This finish is suitable for both latex and oil-based wall paints. It offers superior durability, resistance to stains and scratches, and a higher level of gloss. However, it takes longer to dry and has a stronger odor compared to water-based polyurethane.
  • Wax: Furniture wax is a more traditional finish that provides a soft, natural look for your painted furniture. It is less durable than polyurethane but can be easily reapplied if needed.

Consider the type of wall paint used, the desired level of protection, and the preferred appearance when selecting a protective finish.

Applying the Protective Finish

Before applying a protective finish, ensure that the wall paint is fully dry and cured. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the paint and the environmental conditions.

Once the paint is dry, follow these steps for applying the protective finish:

  1. Prepare the furniture by cleaning any dust or debris with a soft, dry cloth.
  2. Using a high-quality brush or foam applicator, apply a thin, even coat of the selected protective finish, following the grain of the wood.
  3. Allow the finish to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drying time may vary, depending on the type of finish and the ambient conditions.
  4. If needed, lightly sand the dried finish, following the grain of the wood, using a fine-grit sandpaper (e.g. 220-grit). Remove any sanding dust with a soft, dry cloth.
  5. Repeat the process for additional coats (usually 2-3), allowing the finish to dry and curing as needed between coats.

After applying the final coat of the protective finish, allow your painted furniture to cure completely before using or placing any objects on the surface. This will ensure optimal protection and durability for your newly painted furniture.

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