These Are the Best Paints to Use When Refinishing Furniture
From energizing greens and pinks to versatile neutrals, paint experts share their favorite types and hues.
Paint is an easy, affordable way to give anything—from your bedroom walls to your kitchen cabinets—an upgrade. Old, outdated furniture is no exception. "A fresh coat of paint can be a fast, economical way to breathe new life into old furniture items," says Caroline Harmon, trend and style expert at Lowe's. "Plus, taking on DIY projects like furniture painting can help you establish a sense of calm while freshening up your space."
Whether you're painting a small side table or a big bookcase, Hannah Yeo, color and design manager for Benjamin Moore, says preparing your furniture for a paint job is key to a long-lasting finish. "Depending on the condition of the surface, that could include cleaning, dusting, filling holes or nicks, sanding, and in many cases, using a primer to ensure the best adhesion," she explains. Once you've finished painting a furniture piece, Annie Sloan, founder of Chalk Paint, says applying a protective sealant or lacquer can help ensure a longer-lasting finish. From energizing greens and pinks to versatile neutrals, paint experts share the best paints for furniture, that will withstand anything your kids and pets throw their way.
If you want to give a piece of furniture an eye-catching look, Harmon says that you can't go wrong with a classic shade of black. "Looking to last year, black became more popular in 2020 for customers looking to add drama to their spaces," she explains. "HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams' Tricorn Black (from $3.98, lowes.com) is a great option for furniture—and even doors, exterior paint, and interior walls."
For an equally rich shade of black that will complement a range of color palettes and décor styles, Yeo recommends Black Beauty 2128-10 by Benjamin Moore ($63.99, acehardware.com). "This hue is easy to work with and extremely versatile," she says.
To add an energizing pop of color to a room without overpowering the space, Yeo says to consider painting the back of a bookshelf or cabinet in Hunter Green 2041-10 by Benjamin Moore ($63.99, acehardware.com). "This is a subtle way to showcase your belongings while bringing a little bit of personality to a room," she explains.
For a darker shade of green that will add a dash of drama to a high-traffic area of your home, Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball recommends painting a piece of living room furniture or your kitchen cabinets in Green Smoke by Farrow & Ball (from $40, farrow-ball.com). "This deep but muted green is a great choice for revitalizing a room," he says.
To create a dramatic focal point with nothing more than a piece of furniture, Yeo suggests choosing a paint color that creates contrast with the walls. "A bright color such as Peony 2079-30 ($63.99, acehardware.com) will instantly draw attention," she explains. For a peachier shade of pink that's slightly more subdued, Harmon recommends painting a kid's room dresser or crib in Pale Apricot by Sherwin-Williams (from $3.98, lowes.com). "It's a great hue for nurseries and your little ones' rooms to evoke a warm and happy environment," she says.
To create a cohesive look in a small or monochromatic space, O'Donnell suggests painting any large furniture items in a creamy off-white shade such as Slipper Satin (from $40, farrow-ball.com) or Shaded White (from $40, farrow-ball.com) by Farrow & Ball; these hues won't overwhelm already tight spaces. "This will help create a feeling of seamless integration without the furniture dominating the space," he explains.
If you prefer your neutrals with a little more color and oomph, Harmon suggests using pale shade of beige with warm undertones for your furniture. "Soft Candlelight by Valspar (from $3.98 , lowes.com) is a cheerful and light tone that will elevate your mood, while Unforgettable by Valspar ($84, lowes.com) pairs well with medium-toned wood accents," she says.