Can You Successfully Paint Furniture With Wall Paint? Here’s What You Need To Know

Can You Paint Furniture with Wall Paint

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Do you have leftover wall paint and a piece of furniture in need of an update? Many people are curious about the possibility of repurposing that extra paint to give new life to an old table or chair.

The good news is it’s entirely possible, but using wall paint on furniture requires some strategy and planning for optimal results. In this blog, we will explore everything you need to know about painting furniture with wall paint, from understanding the differences between types of paints to essential tips for a successful transformation.

Key Takeaways – Can You Paint Furniture with Wall Paint? 💭

  • Wall paint can be used to successfully paint furniture, but it’s important to consider the differences between wall and furniture paints in terms of composition, durability, and finish.
  • Proper surface preparation and priming are essential for achieving a durable finish that resists chipping and peeling when using wall paint on furniture.
  • You can reduce adhesion issues by sanding down the surface of the piece beforehand, testing adhesion before priming, applying multiple thin layers of paint, and allowing ample drying time between each layer.
  • While using leftover wall paint is a cost-effective solution for painting furniture, factors such as the type of material and desired finish should guide your choice of color. Proper equipment like sandpaper, primer, drop cloth will also set you up for success.
Can You Paint Furniture with Wall Paint

Understanding The Difference Between Wall Paint And Furniture Paint

Wall paint and furniture paint differ in composition, durability, and finish, making it important to choose the right type of paint for your furniture project.

Composition, Durability, And Finish

One of the primary differences between wall paint and furniture paint lies in their composition, which significantly affects durability and finish. Wall paints are generally formulated to be more flexible, allowing them to adhere well to larger surfaces that may contract or expand due to temperature changes without cracking.

The type of finish achieved also varies between these two types of paint. Wall paints often provide a smoother finish ideal for even application on large areas like walls but might not be suitable for intricate details found on certain pieces of furniture.

Furniture paints like chalk or milk paint can create textured finishes that add character and depth to your projects. For instance, using a latex wall paint on a vintage wooden dresser may not showcase its elegant carvings as effectively as furniture-specific acrylic or alkyd paint would do.

Can You Use Wall Paint On Furniture?

Absolutely, using wall paint on furniture is a feasible option for those looking to repurpose leftover paint or explore more cost-effective solutions. However, it’s crucial to recognize that acrylic wall paint and furniture paints have differences in their composition, durability, and finish.

Despite these differences, many homeowners have successfully used latex wall paint (such as acrylic) on their furniture projects – including wooden doors, cabinets, and even laminate pieces.

The key here lies in proper surface preparation and technique. For example, lightly sanding the piece beforehand can improve adhesion between the surface and the wall paint.

Additionally, applying multiple thin layers of paint allows for an even finish without brush marks or strokes.

Pros And Cons Of Using Wall Paint On Furniture

Using wall paint on furniture can be cost-effective and easily accessible, but it may lead to potential chipping and less durability.

Cost-effectiveness And Availability

One of the main advantages of using wall paint on furniture is its cost-effectiveness. Wall paint is generally more affordable than specialty paints designed specifically for furniture, making it an attractive option for those looking to revamp their furnishings without breaking the bank.

Moreover, using wall paint on furniture can be a great way to repurpose leftover paint from previous home improvement projects. Instead of letting unused cans of wall paint gather dust in your garage or storage space, breathing new life into old furniture offers not only an eco-friendly alternative but also showcases your creativity and resourcefulness.

Potential Chipping And Less Durability

One of the potential downsides to using wall paint on furniture is that it may not be as durable as furniture paint. Wall paints are not typically formulated to withstand constant wear and tear, which can cause chips and scratches over time.

To avoid chipping and ensure a long-lasting finish when using wall paint on furniture, it’s essential to properly prepare the surface by sanding and priming.

Using a good quality primer will help the paint adhere better to the surface, reducing the chances of chipping or flaking. It’s also important to apply thin coats of paint and allow ample drying time between each layer.

Adhesion Issues

Adhesion issues can be a common problem when using wall paint on wood furniture. This is because wall paint is not specifically designed for adhesion on surfaces like wooden furniture, which can lead to chipping or peeling of the paint over time.

To avoid this issue, it is important to properly prepare the surface and test for adhesion before painting. One way to do this is by conducting an adhesion test, where you apply a small amount of paint in an inconspicuous area and let it dry before attempting to peel or scratch it off.

Factors To Consider Before Using Wall Paint On Furniture

Consider the type of furniture material, desired finish and color, and surface preparation before using wall paint on furniture; read on to learn more about the necessary factors for a successful paint job.

Type Of Furniture Material

The type of furniture material is an important factor to consider before painting with wall paint. Different materials, such as wood, metal, or laminate require different preparation and painting techniques.

For instance, wooden and metal furniture often needs to be sanded down to remove old finishes and create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere properly. Laminate surfaces, on the other hand, require special primers that can bond well with plastic coatings.

It’s essential to research the specific requirements of your furniture material before starting the painting process.

Surface Preparation And Priming

Proper surface preparation and priming are essential steps in painting furniture with wall paint. Before starting, ensure that the furniture is clean and dry to achieve optimal adhesion of the wood filler and paint.

Use fine-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections, such as scratches or dents on the surface, and create a smooth finish for better paint application.

Next, apply primer if necessary before painting with wall paint. Primers can improve adhesion of the paint to the surface and prevent stains from bleeding through, especially when working with porous materials like wood or previously painted surfaces.

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Conduct an adhesion test first by applying small amounts of wall paint onto a hidden area of the furniture to check how it adheres without primer.

Desired Finish And Color

When choosing wall paint to use on furniture, consider the desired finish and color. Wall paints come in a range of finishes such as matte, semi-gloss, and gloss.

Matte finishes are best for a shabby chic or vintage look while semi-gloss and glossy finishes are more suited for modern or contemporary styles.

It’s worth noting that some types of wall paint may not be available in certain hues, while other specialty paints like chalk paint offer a wider variety of colors.

Considering these factors can help you achieve your desired aesthetic when painting your furniture with wall paint.

Necessary Equipment And Prep

To successfully paint furniture with wall paint, you’ll need essential equipment including sandpaper, primer, drop cloth, paintbrushes, and a clean and dry surface.


Before painting furniture with wall paint, it is essential to sand the surface properly using fine-grit sandpaper. Sanding helps to remove any previous finishes, roughness or glossiness from the surface and create a smooth texture that helps the paint adhere better.

It is recommended to use 120-150 grit sandpaper for initial sanding and then follow up with 220-240 grit paper for a smoother finish. Always make sure to use a tack cloth afterward to remove dust particles that may interfere with adhesion.


Using primer before painting with wall paint is a necessary step to ensure that the paint adheres well and provides a smooth finish. Primer helps to seal porous surfaces and provides a base for the paint to stick to, preventing it from peeling or chipping over time.

Before priming, make sure that the surface of your furniture is free of dirt, dust, and any old finishes. The type of primer you choose depends on the material of your furniture; however, most primers work well with wall paints.

It’s best practice always to conduct an adhesion test before applying primer by painting a small area first and letting it dry completely before proceeding with the rest of your project.

Drop Cloth

To avoid making a mess when painting furniture with wall paint, it’s important to use a drop cloth. A drop cloth is a protective cover that can be placed on the ground or any surface before starting the painting process.

Using a drop cloth helps prevent drips and spills from ruining floors, carpets, or furniture. Additionally, it makes cleaning up much easier after the project is done.

It’s always wise to choose a heavier-duty drop cloth for larger projects as it offers better protection against accidental spills.


Choosing the right paintbrushes is crucial when it comes to painting furniture with wall paint. A good quality brush can make a significant difference in achieving a professional finish.

It’s essential to use brushes designed for latex or acrylic paints as they have synthetic bristles that work well with water-based paints and are easier to clean.

Additionally, selecting the appropriate size brush depends on the furniture’s surface area that you’re painting. For larger surfaces, use wider brushes such as 3-4 inches, whereas smaller areas require thinner ones like 1-2 inch brushes.

Foam or sponge brushes also work well for lower-quality paint jobs or intricate detailing.

Clean And Dry Surface

Before beginning a furniture painting project, it’s crucial to ensure that the surface is properly cleaned and dried. Dirt, dust, and grime can cause adhesion issues with the paint, resulting in a less durable finish.

Start by wiping down the furniture piece with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any dirt or debris on the surface. For tougher stains or residue build-up, use mild soap and water solution or a specialized cleaning product designed for your specific type of furniture material.

Once the surface is clean, allow enough time for it to dry completely. Any residual moisture can affect how well the paint sticks to the surface and result in bubbling or flaking later on.

Make sure there is no moisture present by placing your hand on various parts of the furniture piece and check if they feel cool or wet compared to other areas – this indicates that more drying time is needed.

Steps For Painting Furniture With Wall Paint

To successfully paint furniture with wall paint, begin by sanding and cleaning the surface, applying primer (if necessary), and then applying thin, even layers of wall paint.

Don’t forget to allow proper drying time between coats and apply a protective finish for added durability.

Sand And Clean The Surface

Properly preparing the surface of your furniture before painting is crucial to achieving a smooth and professional finish. Start by using fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the entire surface, removing any imperfections or bumps.

After sanding, wipe down the furniture with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris. It’s important not to skip this step, as even small specks of dirt can ruin your final result.

Once you’ve wiped it down, allow it to fully dry before moving on to priming or painting.

Apply Primer (if Necessary)

Applying a primer can be an essential step in achieving a smooth and even finish when using wall paint on furniture. A primer helps the paint adhere better to the surface, improves coverage, and prevents stains from showing through.

Typically, if you’re painting over bare wood or raw surfaces that have not been previously painted or stained, it’s recommended to use a primer before applying wall paint.

However, if you’re painting over already-painted furniture with a similar color or sheen, priming may not be necessary. It all depends on the condition of your furniture piece and your desired result.

Example: If you plan to give new life to an old wooden dresser with blue latex wall paint, investing time in sanding out rough patches first then applying a coat of white-tinted primer will ensure good adhesion for lasting results.

Apply Wall Paint

Before applying the wall paint to your furniture, it’s essential to ensure that the surface is clean and dry. Then, apply an even layer of wall paint using a good quality brush or foam roller.

It’s important to note that you should apply thin layers of paint and allow enough drying time between coats for better adhesion and finish.

One common mistake when painting furniture with wall paint is applying too much paint at once, resulting in clumping and unevenness. You may need two coats of wall paint to achieve full coverage after allowing proper drying times in-between coats.

Apply A Second Coat

After allowing the first coat of paint to dry completely, it’s essential to apply a second coat for additional coverage. This step ensures that any missed spots or uneven patches from the previous layer are covered up and provides a more even finish overall.

When applying the second coat, make sure not to overload your brush or roller with too much paint at once, as this can result in drips and an inconsistent surface. Instead, use light strokes and ensure that each stroke overlaps slightly with the previous one for complete coverage.

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Applying two coats of paint is particularly important when using wall paint on furniture since it typically isn’t formulated for high traffic areas like furniture pieces.

Apply A Protective Finish

Once the final coat of paint has dried, it’s important to apply a protective finish to help preserve and maintain the furniture’s appearance. A clear sealant or wax can be used as a protective layer that will protect against scratches, stains, and fading.

A high-quality polyurethane or varnish is also recommended for furniture that will receive frequent use or exposure to moisture.

It’s important not to skip this step since unprotected painted surfaces are more prone to chipping and staining over time. If you’re unsure about which protective finish would work best for your project, consult with an expert at your local hardware store who can give you advice on what type of product would suit both your furniture material and painting finish best.

Tips For A Successful Paint Job

Choose the right type of wall paint for furniture and work in a well-ventilated area, sanding and applying thin, even layers to achieve a smooth finish – read on for more essential tips!

Choose The Right Type Of Wall Paint

Choosing the right type of wall paint is crucial when it comes to painting furniture. While using leftover wall paint may seem like a cost-effective solution, it’s important to consider the composition and durability of the paint before applying it on furniture.

For instance, choosing a high-quality latex or acrylic paint can provide good coverage and durability while also being easy to clean.

When selecting a color for your furniture, keep in mind that certain shades may show fingerprints or dirt marks easily. Opting for neutral colors like beige, gray, or white can help prevent this issue while still adding character to your piece.

Properly Sand The Surface

To achieve a smooth and professional finish when painting furniture with wall paint, it is crucial to properly sand the surface. This step prepares the wood for better adhesion of paint and ensures that any scratches or rough patches are smoothed out.

Begin by using a fine grit sandpaper (between 120-220) to gently buff the entire surface of your furniture piece. Pay close attention to areas with existing paint or varnish as these require slightly more sanding to remove any flaking or chipping.

Properly sanding also helps ensure that water-based paints like wall paints adhere well without flaking off easily due to improper preparation. It’s essential not to overdo this process though, because excessive de-sanding can cause unwanted blemishes on some surfaces such as laminate furniture pieces where you should take great care when applying too much pressure during preparation.

Apply Thin, Even Layers

When painting furniture with wall paint, it’s important to apply thin, even layers to achieve the best results. Thick coats of paint can lead to drips and uneven surfaces, which can be difficult to fix once dry.

One way to ensure a consistent thickness for each coat is by using a good quality brush or roller. A high-quality foam roller is particularly useful for large areas like tabletops or dressers since they create an even application without visible brush strokes.

For smaller areas like corners and edges, use foam brushes which offer precise application without leaving behind bristles or clumps of hair that can impact how the final product looks.

Allow Proper Drying Time

Proper drying time is essential when painting furniture with wall paint. It’s important to note that each coat of paint needs enough time to dry before the next layer can be applied.

Depending on the type of paint used, drying times may vary. For example, water-based paints typically require shorter drying times compared to oil-based ones. In general, it’s recommended to wait at least 4-6 hours between coats of latex wall paint on furniture.

Waiting overnight or even longer is best for optimal results.

Work In A Well-ventilated Area

It is essential to work in a well-ventilated area when painting furniture with wall paint. Paint fumes can be hazardous and cause respiratory issues, headaches, and dizziness.

If possible, choose an outdoor location or a room with proper ventilation for your workspace. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate and use fans to improve air flow.

According to important facts about painting furniture, choosing the right type of paint is vital for achieving a professional finish. Different types of paints have varying finishes that may require proper ventilation during application and drying times.

For instance, oil-based paints release more volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than water-based latex paints; hence novice painters requiring less toxic exposure should opt for low VOC kind of paints while experts may weigh between superior quality properties versus higher toxicity levels on alkyd enamel surfaces like stain-blocking primers being popularly notorious among DIY enthusiasts due to its odorous naphtha-like organic solvents but high durability features once cured properly on metal or wood applications.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Avoid common mistakes such as not sanding properly, applying too much paint at once, and not allowing proper drying time before handling the furniture.

Not Sanding Properly

Improper sanding is one common mistake that can ruin your furniture painting project. Sanding makes the surface of the furniture smooth and helps paint adhere better, ensuring a professional finish.

Skipping this step or not sanding properly can result in chipping, flaking, or peeling paint. It’s important to use fine-grit sandpaper to avoid scratching the surface and work in circular motions while applying even pressure for best results.

Additionally, it’s necessary to clean the surface after sanding with a tack cloth or a lint-free cloth before priming or painting to remove any dust particles that could affect adhesion.

Not Using A Primer

Skipping the step of using a primer before painting furniture with wall paint is a common mistake that can impact the quality and longevity of your finished project. Without applying primer, the paint may not adhere well to the surface, resulting in chipping or peeling over time.

Primer helps to create an even surface by filling in porous areas and covering any stains or imperfections that could show through the final coat of paint. It also ensures better color accuracy while reducing the number of coats required for full coverage.

Applying Too Much Paint At Once

One common mistake when painting furniture with wall paint is applying too much paint at once. This can lead to thick layers of uneven paint that will take longer to dry and increase the risk of drips or brush marks.

It’s always best to apply thin, even coats and allow each layer to dry completely before adding another. If you’re using a foam roller, avoid pushing too hard on the surface as this can cause bubbles or an inconsistent finish.

Not Allowing Proper Drying Time

One of the most common mistakes people make when painting furniture with wall paint is not allowing enough time for each coat to dry properly. Rushing the process and applying another layer too soon can lead to smudging, uneven coverage, and a less durable finish.

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It’s crucial to follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying times, as they may vary depending on temperature, humidity, and other factors. For example, latex paint typically requires at least 24 hours of drying time between coats to ensure proper adhesion and durability.

Alternative Solutions

Upcycling with decoupaging, stenciling or transfer methods can be a creative way to add a unique touch to furniture, while using chalk paint is another popular alternative that requires less preparation and provides a matte finish.

Upcycling With Decoupaging, Stenciling Or Transfer Methods

If you’re looking for alternative ways to spruce up your furniture, there are several decorative techniques you can use aside from painting. Here are a few ideas:

  • Decoupaging: This involves cutting out images from paper or fabric and adhering them to the surface of your furniture with glue. It’s a great way to add texture and visual interest to plain pieces.
  • Stenciling: Using stencils allows you to create intricate designs on your furniture without needing advanced painting skills. You can either purchase pre-made stencils or make your own, then use them with paint or markers to create patterns and motifs.
  • Transfer methods: Transfer paper or image transfers allow you to transfer designs onto your furniture using a printer or copier. This technique works especially well for vintage or distressed looks, as it creates a faded, worn-in effect.

By experimenting with these techniques, you can create unique and personalized pieces that reflect your style and personality. And if you decide later on that you want a different look, they’re easy enough to change up without having to completely repaint your furniture.

Using Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is a popular alternative to traditional furniture paint and can give a shabby-chic, vintage look to pieces. It adheres well to different surfaces, including wood, metal, and plastic, but requires little preparation or priming.

With its soft matte finish and easy application process, it’s an attractive choice for DIYers on a budget. However, it’s important to note that while chalk paint may be more forgiving in terms of imperfections than other paints, it does require sealing with wax or varnish after painting to protect the finish from scratches and stains.

Maintenance And Upkeep

Regular cleaning and touch-ups can keep your painted furniture looking fresh for years to come.

Regular Cleaning

Proper maintenance and upkeep of painted furniture can help prolong its lifespan. Regular cleaning is essential to keep the furniture looking fresh and new.

For spills or stains, it’s best to address them immediately by wiping them off with a damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the surface.

If there are chips or scratches in the paint, touch-up paint can be used to cover up imperfections.

Touching Up Chips And Scratches

Over time, painted furniture may develop chips and scratches that require touch-ups. To fix small imperfections, start by cleaning the area around the scratch with a lint-free cloth and mild soap.

If there is exposed wood or metal, sand it lightly to remove any rough edges. Then use a small brush to apply paint in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.

It’s important to note that matching paint colors can be challenging, especially if you’re using leftover wall paint or specialty paints. One solution is to keep a small jar of touch-up paint on hand for future repairs.

Proper Disposal Of Paint And Brushes

After painting your furniture with wall paint, it’s important to know how to properly dispose of any leftover paint and brushes. The first step is to let the paint dry completely before disposing of it.

As for brushes, if they were used with oil-based paints, clean them using mineral spirits and then wrap them in newspaper or a paper bag before throwing them away. For water-based paints, rinse the brushes thoroughly with water and then allow them to air dry.

It’s best not to pour excess paint down the drain as it can clog pipes and harm the environment. Instead, consider donating any unused or extra paint to a local community center or school that may have use for it.

Safety Precautions When Painting Furniture

Painting furniture with wall paint can be a fun and rewarding DIY project, but it’s important to take adequate safety precautions. Always work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes from paints, primers, or other chemicals used in the process.

It’s also essential to keep children and pets away from the workspace during painting, as they could accidentally ingest or breathe in harmful substances.

Finally, make sure that you dispose of paint cans and brushes properly by following local regulations for toxic waste disposal.


In conclusion, painting furniture with wall paint is possible, but it requires careful consideration and preparation. While using leftover paint can be a cost-effective solution, factors such as the type of furniture material and desired finish should guide your choice of paint.

Proper surface preparation and priming are essential for achieving a durable finish that resists chipping and peeling. By following our tips and guidelines, you can successfully transform old or worn furniture into beautiful pieces that enhance your decor.


Can I use wall paint to repaint my furniture?

Technically, you can use wall paint to repaint your furniture, but it is not recommended as it may not bond well with the surface and could result in chipping or peeling over time. It is better to use a specific type of paint designed for wood or other materials used in furniture making.

What kind of prep work is necessary before painting furniture with wall paint?

Before painting your furniture with any type of paint, it’s important to prep the surface by sanding, cleaning, and priming it thoroughly. This will help ensure that the new coat of paint adheres properly and prevents any existing finish from showing through the new coat.

How many coats of wall paint should be applied when repainting furniture?

The number of coats required depends on several factors such as the color being used, condition and color of existing painted finish (if applicable), strength/density/viscosity levels within materials themselves, etc., however, usually 2-3 are recommended for optimal coverage depending upon personal visual preference desired..

Are there any disadvantages if I choose to use wall paint instead specifically designed for furniture?

If you choose to use wall paint instead specifically designed for furnishings there are several consequences that may happen including issues like unnecessary fading, lack of durability & ability to resist damage even just minor ones caused by regular usage because products aren’t created/reinforced enough handle typical everyday wear-and-tear so this makes them less suitable in terms overall choice unless prioritizing more affordable solutions over long-term sturdiness & quality finishes which only come from premium options available on market today.”

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