Best Paint for Furniture (without sanding first)

Sanding any surface before painting helps improve adhesion and smooths over imperfections for an even paint finish. Additionally, it makes the top coat of paint more durable.

However, sanding is a tedious job. Moreover, it is messy and time-consuming. Fortunately, some paint types require minimal prep, adhere well to practically any surface, and are relatively durable. 

In this post, we’ll share the best paint for furniture without sanding.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The best types of paint for furniture without sanding include chalk paint, mineral paint, and all-in-one paint. Milk paint mixed with a bonding agent is another durable option for paint projects

These paints have great adhesion and durability, even without sanding the surface before painting.

Best types of paint for furniture without sanding 

Sanding can be a lengthy process that requires tons of time, effort, and cleaning. It can also be harmful to your health if you sand without a respirator mask: wood or paint dust isn’t good to breathe in. 

Fortunately, can avoid the hassle and health risks that come with sanding by using low-prep paint that requires no sanding. For your next paint project, check out these paint options:

Related: 7 Best Best White Paints for Furniture

Chalk paint

Although the term ‘chalk paint’ is trademarked, chalk paint refers to any water-based paint with a chalky-matte texture. Chalk paint is a water-based medium composed mainly of calcium carbonate (chalk), color pigments, and water.

This is the most popular choice for low-prep paint projects because it adheres extremely well, even without sanding or priming. It also has a relatively thick consistency, making it great for covering up small knicks, scratches, and other imperfections. You will still need to thoroughly clean your surface before application, but that’s practically all the prep required before applying chalk paint. 

This paint produces a lovely matte, chalky finish. Chalk paint also has low VOCs (volatile organic compounds), so it doesn’t release many strong fumes during and after application. Its non-toxic qualities make it a safe paint to use for homes with children and pets.

Although chalk paint sticks extremely well to surfaces, the downside is it needs a top coat to be durable. You can use polyacrylic on chalk paint, wax, or other top coats. 

This is especially important for often-used furniture in high-traffic areas.

Related: When to Use a Brush or Roller to Paint Furniture

Mineral paint

Mineral paint is an eco-friendly option for painting without sanding. This medium is made with natural mineral pigments, binders like lime and casein (a protein found in milk), and water.

Mineral paint dries with a matte or satin sheen. It is also UV resistant, so, the color doesn’t fade, peel, or crack over time. It is also a “breathable” paint in the sense that it allows moisture to wick away, which also helps to prevent cracking.

Mineral paint is one of the best paints for furniture without sanding because it adheres well to most clean surfaces. Moreover, it seeps deep into surfaces, resulting in a durable finish. So, it is great to use this paint on porous surfaces like wood and concrete.

It also creates a water-resistant barrier that prevents mold and mildew growth as it dries.

Milk paint (with bonding agent)

Milk paint is another best paint for furniture without sanding that has been around for centuries.

It’s called milk paint since it used to have milk as a binder. Now, manufacturers use casein as a binder and it includes other natural components like lime or clay and naturally occurring color pigments. It’s one of the most environmentally friendly paints available.

Milk paint usually comes with a binder. The two components should be mixed together right before application, and they will chemically create an extremely strong bond to the surface you’re painting. The paint cures like concrete, so it is extremely difficult to remove once fully cured. It also dries with a matte or flat finish.

You can still use milk paint without the bonding agent. However, it will be much more likely to crack and chip over time. 

All-in-one paint

Also known as multi-surface or all-purpose paint, all-in-one paint is a relatively new medium that combines primer, paint, and sealer in a single product.

This is one of the best paints for furniture without sanding because it offers good coverage and incredible durability. After all, it contains a primer, which enhances the paint’s adhesion and resilience to damage. 

It is also the only medium in this list that comes in different sheens, including glossy, matte, satin, and semi-glossy.

All-in-one paint can be used for indoor and outdoor furniture. Moreover, it adheres to multiple surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, ceramics, and concrete in some cases. However, be sure to read the label to know where your all-in-one paint can be used. 

Best paint products for furniture without sanding 

best paint for furniture without sanding chart

Fusion Mineral Paint

The most popular mineral paint on the market is likely Fusion Mineral Paint. It appeals to many DIYers because it has a smooth, buttery consistency, making it easy to apply to most surfaces. Other notable characteristics include:

  • Durable, matte finish
  • Great coverage
  • Eco-friendly
  • Dries quickly (2-4 hours)
  • Comes in over 50 colors, including pastels, neutrals, and metallics

Fusion Mineral Paint is not available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or other big box hardware stores. However, you can easily acquire a can for your paint project via Amazon or the Fusion™ website. On this website, you can also find the location of the independent retailers that sell Fusion products.

View Fusion Mineral Paint on Amazon

Dixie Belle’s Silk All-in-One Mineral Paint

Another great mineral paint for furniture painting is Dixie Belle’s Silk All-in-One Paint. It is cheaper than Fusion Mineral Paint, yet it has many of the same qualities. 

Other characteristics of Dixie Belle’s mineral paint:

  • Dries fast (touch dry by 2 hours)
  • Includes stain-blocking primer and topcoat
  • Adheres well to many surfaces
  • Offers great coverage (two coats recommended for durability)

The only downside to this paint is it only comes in small containers, so you’ll need to buy two or more containers for large furniture. It also has a limited color range compared to Fusion Mineral Paint.

You can get Dixie Belle’s Chalk Mineral Paint on their website. Alternatively, check their site for the approved local retailers in your state. Some colors are also available on Amazon.

View Dixie Belle’s Silk All-in-one Mineral Paint on Amazon

Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint™

Chalk Paint™, trademarked by Annie Sloan, is the most well-known chalky-matte water-based medium in recent years. Invented in the 1990s, it has since become a DIYer’s go-to paint for furniture restoration and upcycling.

The characteristics that set this paint apart from other brands in the market include:

  • Low prep (works without a primer or sanding)
  • Dries to a matte finish
  • Easy to apply
  • Excellent coverage (one coat is sometimes enough when using dark colors; two coats for lighter colors)
  • Comes in 43 colors (but can be mixed to create different hues)
  • For indoor and outdoor use
  • Quick dry time (1-2 hours, depending on environmental conditions)

The only drawback to Annie Sloan’s brand is its steep price. It is the most expensive chalk paint on this list. And like the other niche paints in this post, it is only available on its website or in select small retailers across the US.

View Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on anniesloan.com

Rust-Oleum’s Chalky Finish Furniture Paint

Rust-Oleum’s Chalky Finish Furniture Paint is another well-liked chalk paint product. It has a super-matte finish and offers good coverage with only one coat. It is more accessible than the other chalk paints in this post because it is available in large retail stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware.

Some pros of Rust Oleum’s chalk paint include:

  • Available in 110 colors
  • Strongly adheres to most surfaces
  • Comes in paint cans and sprays
  • Significantly cheaper than Annie Sloan’s (about half the price)

Manufacturer guidelines indicate that this paint is for indoor use only. Note that it cannot be directly applied to metal.

View Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Paint on Amazon 

Heirloom Traditions’ All-in-one Paint

If you want to try all-in-one paints, you cannot go wrong with Heirloom Tradition’s paint. It adheres well to most surfaces, even smooth and shiny surfaces like laminates and veneers, and comes in 30 different colors.

Other characteristics of Heirloom Traditions’ All-in-One Paint include:

  • Dries quickly (in about 30 minutes)
  • Lovely satin sheen
  • Great to use with brush, roller, or spray

All-in-one paints are generally more expensive than other paint options. However, when you take into account the cost savings of not purchasing primer and top coat, all-in-one tends to be a more affordable option. Having primer, paint, and top coat all in one product is also a huge time saver. All-in-one paint eliminates the extra time-consuming steps of applying primer and a top coat. 

The biggest con of this particular paint is the limited color options. It is also only available via their website or on Amazon.

View Heirloom Traditions’ All-in-one Paint on Amazon 

Mélange’s One Paint

Mélange’s One Paint is another all-in-one paint that comes in 95 colors. It has a thin consistency, making it a bit more difficult to apply relative to other paints. However, we still recommend trying this mom-owned business product for your no-sanding paint project.

Some of the characteristics of Mélange’s One Paint include:

  • Dries to a smooth, satin finish
  • Durable (for low-traffic areas)
  • Self-leveling
  • Great color range

This paint has a relatively long drying time. However, while this can be seen as a con, there is also a benefit of a long drying time. A long drying time means you have more chances to smooth out your painted surface and reduce brush strokes before it sets on your furniture.

As an all-in-one paint, One Paint contains a top coat in the formula. However, manufacturer guidelines recommend adding another sealer or top coat if the paint is applied in high-traffic areas.

This medium is available online via their website or on select retailers across the US. They also have some approved retailers in Canada and Australia.

View Melange’s One Paint on Amazon 

The Real Milk Paint

When it comes to milk paint, The Real Milk Paint is one of the top brands. It comes in powdered form that needs to be mixed with a binder before use. It also has 56 unique colors and dries with a rustic, matte finish.

It requires some prep work before use, but it is easy to do. And complete instructions and guidelines are available on their website to guide you for any paint project. Here are other reasons why people love it:

  • 100% organic (made of organic ingredients)
  • Food-safe (therefore, pet-safe and kid-safe too)
  • Extremely durable

This paint is available online via the company website and Amazon.

View The Real Milk Paint on Amazon

Old Fashioned Milk Paint

Created in 1974, Old Fashioned Milk Paint is another incredible milk paint brand. This medium is known for its rustic, earthy colors, perfect for refinishing antique furniture.

This brand only has over 30 colors. Other characteristics of this paint include the following:

  • Available in a few container sizes
  • Very resilient to wear and tear
  • 100% organic and biodegradable
  • Comes in eco-friendly packaging materials

Old Fashioned Milk Paint is available via the brand website or on Amazon. You can also check their page for more information about official retailers in your state.

View Old Fashioned Milk Paint on Amazon

Circumstances where sanding is a must 

You can get away without sanding with all the paints listed above. These products are generally extremely durable and long-lasting.

However, there are some circumstances where it’s absolutely necessary to sand your furniture to get the very best results:

Painting over smooth, glossy surfaces: Glossy, smooth surfaces, like previously varnished furniture, are too slick for paint to stick to, so they always require some scuff-sanding.

Painting over old, chipping paint: Paint adheres well when there is some texture for it to stick to. However, if the surface you’re painting has a layer of old paint that’s peeling or flaking off, you will need to sand off the old layer of paint. 

A layer of old flaking paint is an inherently unstable surface for a fresh coat of paint to adhere to. If the old layer of paint is flaking off, without any prep, a new coat of paint will soon start to flake off as well.

Painting over filled holes, gouges, and dents: Lastly, sanding is always necessary before painting over holes and dents that have been filled with wood filler. Patched holes tend to have a rough and unpolished look if they haven’t been sanded down. In this circumstance, sanding is a must. 

Note that no matter what the condition of your furniture is like, sanding can only help. Even if you’re using one of the hardy paints mentioned in this post, sanding can still tremendously help paint adhere to the surface you’re painting. That said, when in doubt, give your piece a quick sand before applying your paint. 

Leave a Comment