Can You Use Wall Paint On Wood Furniture – A Valuable Guide

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Wood furniture is an excellent investment as the material is durable and very long-lasting. The only downside is that wood accents can become boring after a few years, and you feel tempted to make changes to liven up your space.

That is when spray paints come to your rescue! They provide an inexpensive way to transform your wood furniture’s appearance and breathe new life into old pieces.

But can you use wall paint on wood furniture? Or is the project impossible without furniture paint? I have the answer you’re looking for!

Yes, you can use wall paint on furniture, whether it is wood or laminate. All you need to do is ensure the surface is primed and sanded before applying wall paint to it. Both water-based and oil-based wall paints can be used as long as the primer you select is compatible with the medium.

Wall paints are formulated for surfaces other than furniture, so using the right painting technique is important if you want good results on wood surfaces. Rest assured, I will discuss types of primers, paints, and correct techniques to help you achieve lasting results from wall paints on wood furniture.

Benefits of Using Wall Paint on Furniture

If you ask a professional, ‘What paint to use on furniture?’ they would answer furniture paint! You’d never hear them recommend wall paint for your furniture because both paints are designed differently.

However, you can use wall paint on furniture regardless. Just make sure to read up on some details about applying wall paint to furniture before you begin.

Using wall paint on furniture means you can achieve a more colorful finish, thanks to the pigments in its formula. Moreover, since there are so many color options available in wall paints, you can create unique pieces with the choices.

Secondly, wall paints are usually stain-resistant and easy to clean. So, if you apply it on furniture, you can maintain its appearance for longer by cleaning away grease and stains effortlessly.

Drawbacks of Using Wall Paint on Furniture

The biggest drawback of wall paints is that they aren’t designed for furniture. Hence, they provide weaker adhesion on wooden surfaces. Its inability to stick to the surface properly results in premature chipping and peeling away of the paint.

This is why you often notice hairline cracks and chipped spots on painted furniture.

Luckily, there’s a way to work around this problem and get lasting results with wall paint regardless of the material of your furniture. All you need is a suitable primer to prep the surface before applying the color coat. The primer allows the wall paint to bond to the surface correctly and offers a lasting finish.

 Are water-based wall paints better than oil-based paints for painting wood furniture?

Oil-based paints have been around for many years and are considered ideal for woodwork. Whether you want to work on an indoor wooden surface or repaint metal furniture for the outdoors, oil-based paints deliver excellent color pay-off along with durability.

These paints have received much criticism lately due to their high VOC level. With people becoming more aware of these harmful gases, paint manufacturers decided to improve the performance of water-based paints to match their oil-based counterparts.

Simultaneously, oil-based paints were reformulated to ensure safer levels of VOCs. Hence, now both variants deliver durable and safe results.

Water-based paints dry much faster and retain their original color for longer (oil-based colors may turn yellow). However, the paint does have a few drawbacks. For example, it generally needs more coats and exhibits poor adhesion when applied over oil-based paints.

So, if you’re confused about which paint to use on your furniture, let the surface dictate your ultimate choice.

If you’re coloring a surface that has been painted previously, check the original paint type. If it was oil-based paint, then use the same type again. But if the surface hasn’t been painted before, I recommend using water-based wall paint.

What paint to use on wood furniture?

If you plan to use wall paint on your wood furniture, it must be compatible with your working material. While oil-based paints offer excellent adhesion and brilliant results, they aren’t beginner-friendly. In contrast, water-based alternatives are more forgiving in terms of application and clean-up.

Here are two water-based paint options you can use on wood furniture:

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a water-based latex derivative that offers the best of both worlds. The acrylic resins provide high-intensity pigment and awesome durability, while the water in the paint’s formula makes messy cleanups effortless.

However, applying a primer before using acrylic paint for furniture is best since the paint typically requires a single layer to adhere to the wood.

Acrylic paints have the ability to contract and expand with changing temperatures without cracking up. This quality makes it an excellent candidate for painting wood furniture. In addition, the acrylic formula creates a layer on the furniture, preventing water from seeping into the wooden surface.

Like other water-based variants, acrylic paint effectively wards off mildew and maintains a vibrant color despite extended sun exposure.

Acrylics work best on previously unpainted wood, but if you’re repainting a piece, you should remove the old layer of paint before applying a fresh acrylic coat. Check out my blog for more tips on painting wood with water-based paints.

Pro Tip: Invest in a good brush when working with acrylic paint, as it lacks the flow of an oil-based paint and may leave prominent brushstrokes. You can even add a conditioner, enamel, or other paint additives to reduce brushstrokes.

Latex paint

Latex-based paints work really well on wood furniture and are ideal for painting large surface areas, such as cabinets and shelves. The paint delivers a durable finish that resists chipping, peeling, and fading.

Many latex-based wall paints can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces. So, if you want to paint outdoor furniture, rest assured, as the paint’s formula can easily withstand environmental pressures like rain, wind, snow, etc.

Using exterior wall paint on indoor furniture might not be a great idea. But if you’re determined to use it, learn more about using exterior paint inside before you begin.

If you have a flat and satin finish latex wall paint, I recommend using a topcoat at the end to add some vibrancy and sheen to the color. The clear coat will also make your furniture pieces more resistant to water and help in quick cleanups.

However, you can skip the topcoat altogether if you have a semi-glossy or glossy finish paint.

Pro Tip: Latex paint is notorious for apparent brushstrokes, so if you’re a beginner, it’s best to use spray paint instead for a flawless finish.

Paint suggestions

Here are a few paint suggestions to help get your project started.

Krylon COLORmaxx Acrylic Latex Paint

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The Krylon COLORmaxx is an excellent choice because it’s suitable for various surfaces, including drywall, masonry, wood, metal, and wicker. In addition, the paint’s formula delivers lasting results on outdoor and indoor surfaces, which means you can use this variant for several purposes.

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

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Rust-Oleum’s paint is available in numerous unique colors, so if you’re in the mood to get creative with wall paint, this is the right choice for you. This formula is fade-resistant, odorless, and suitable on indoor and outdoor surfaces like wood, plaster, and masonry.

Krylon Acrylic Spray Paint

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If you prefer the ease of an aerosol, then the Krylon spray paint can be an ideal choice. This acrylic paint is smudge-proof and moisture-resistant with quick drying properties. You can use it on wood, metal, plaster, and ceramic without worrying about chipping or fading. I have picked up the gold metallic shade but Krylon has a variety or range you can check out.

Which primer works best on wood furniture?

Although it can be tempting to skip primer when finishing a DIY painting project, I advise you to prime your piece before applying paint.

That’s because primer helps create a layer on the wood’s surface, allowing the paint to bind to the surface thoroughly. It also helps to prevent bleedthrough stains and offers better coverage.

Since wood contains grain texture naturally, you need to give the paint something to stick to, and that’s where primer comes to the rescue.

Now that we’ve established the importance of primer in your project let’s move on to the different kinds available in the market.

Shellac Primer

Shellac primer on BIN blocks stains and smells on the surface present previously while forming a protective layer on the furniture to avoid future stains and bleed through.

Bleedthrough is common in wood, and it often occurs right after sanding. So, if you plan to paint a light color over a wood surface, Shellac would be a good choice.

You can try the Rust-Oleum Shellac Primer for your project, as it offers ultimate stain-blocking abilities and effectively seals knots, sap, and tannin. This high-hiding bright white primer sealer creates a smooth canvas for paint, regardless of how light the final color coat may be.

Can You Use Wall Paint On Wood Furniture - A Valuable Guide

Clear Primer

As the name suggests, a clear primer leaves a transparent protective layer on wooden surfaces. The best time to use this variant is when you want to expose some of the original wood texture of your furniture through the paint coat.

The Rust-Oleum Clear Binding Sealer has a water-based formula to help prepare your wooden surfaces for water-based wall paint. The formula effectively binds cracking, chalking, and peeling paint, gluing down any cracks or gaps in old paint for a flawless surface.

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Pro Tip: If you want a piece to show off some of the wood, prime and paint it normally. But after the paint has dried, dip a cloth into warm water and rub it along the paint to take some of it off. This will create a unique wet distressed look.

Can you use wall paint on laminate furniture?

Most wall paints are highly versatile, allowing them to adhere to different surfaces, including wood. But if you’re planning to paint a laminate surface, it’s best not to skip a crucial step: Prime the piece!

The problem with painting laminate furniture is that the paint can bead up on the surface or end in a splotchy, uneven finish. Most of the time, the first coat starts peeling as soon as you try to paint the second one.

A suitable primer can reverse this problem and create a base to which your color coat can stick. Just remember to pair your paint with the right primer for lasting results.

Pro Tip: Use a water-based primer for latex wall paint, but if you’re working with oil-based paint, make sure to select an oil-based primer!

What paint is best for veneer furniture?

Painting veneer furniture can quickly elevate its appearance without spending a hefty replacement amount. But the process can be tricky since the material is very thin.

Commonly, veneer ranges from 0.9mm to 2.5mm, and although you can find 4mm thickness, too, it’s a rare sight.

Sanding is important if you want to achieve a smooth base for the paint layer, but if you sand the veneer with a coarse grit or exert too much pressure, you might just sand through the veneer.

So, if you’re a beginner, maybe opting for a paint formula that doesn’t require sanding should be ideal. This is where chalk paint can come to the rescue!

Chalk paint for furniture is a durable option that allows you to experiment with unique colors and create statement pieces. But more importantly, it can be applied directly to veneer surfaces without sanding.

Another great option is milk paint, which has similar properties to chalk paint. However, it contains a protein, ‘casein,’ that acts as the binding agent in the formula and delivers more lasting results.

Pro Tip: Seal the chalk paint with furniture wax to prevent its color from fading. But if you don’t mind the shine, choose a clear sealant for better paint performance.

Can you use wall paint on MDF?

You can easily use wall paint on MDF if the surface is correctly prepared. 

MDF or Medium-Density Fibreboard combines sawdust and resins, making the material inexpensive and convenient to work with. It has 150 grit on the front and back sides, but the edges are rougher, making them more porous. Hence, the paint will sink into the surface if you don’t prep the edges properly.

To counter the porous characteristic of MDF, an oil-based paint performs better than water-based alternatives. However, if you have water-based wall paint, remember to prime and seal MDF furniture for lasting results.


What kind of paint can you use on furniture without sanding?

The best paint options for furniture without sanding are chalk, milk, mineral, and enamel paints. 

Can Dulux wall paint be used on wood?

Yes, Dulux water-based paints can be used to color wood surfaces such as furniture, skirting boards, window, and door frames.

What happens if you use regular paint on cabinets?

Cabinets are usually high-touch surfaces that require a specially formulated paint. Therefore, using regular paint on cabinets may result in a soft and tacky finish that doesn’t last.

Can you use wall paint on wooden doors?

Yes, you can use wall paint on wooden doors, but it’s best to seal the surface with a top coat afterward to make it last.


Replacing wooden furniture is expensive, but fortunately, you can upgrade its look by applying a fresh paint coat. I recommend that you use furniture paint for your wooden pieces, but if you want to use wall paint instead, make sure to follow the tips mentioned above for near-professional results.


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