Can Wall Paint be Used on Furniture

Whether you are repainting a piece of furniture for your house or flipping one for profit, using the right kind of paint is key. 

There are numerous factors you should take into account like durability, sheen, ingredients, and color when comparing different types of paint. 

Many DIY enthusiasts gravitate toward specialty furniture paints like chalk paint and milk paint. However, wall paint is much more widely available to purchase at hardware stores like Lowes. Wall paint tends to be much cheaper as well. 

So the question is, “Can wall paint be used on furniture?”. 

You certainly can, but there are a few things you should consider first.


Wall paint can be used on furniture. Latex wall paint is durable, affordable, and easy to work with, making it a popular choice for painting furniture for your home, or to sell.

The alternative is furniture paint such as chalk paint, which has slightly different qualities and finishes.

Can Wall Paint be Used on Furniture? The Pros and Cons

Yes, you can use wall paint on furniture. So if you have any leftover wall paint, you can safely use it to paint your furniture. However, before you do, it’s important to understand the pros and cons. 

Related: How Much Paint You Need For a Dresser

Pros of Using Wall Paint on Furniture 

There are numerous advantages of using wall paint for furniture. The benefits explain why wall paint is likely used on furniture more often than specialty furniture paint. 

Note that by “wall paint”, we are referring to water-based latex paint as opposed to oil-based paint which isn’t as commonly used. 

The benefits of wall paint (latex-based paint) for furniture include: 

Easy to use: Wall paint is generally very easy to use. It isn’t super runny like oil-based paints, making it easy to avoid accidentally dribbling paint on the floor or unintended areas of furniture. Water-based paints also tend to dry relatively quickly (in under 30 minutes if the conditions are good). 

Flexibility: Latex paint is great at expanding and contracting with wood as humidity levels change with the seasons. Wood furniture can certainly warp over time, so it’s important to use paint that’s flexible. 

Low-odor and nontoxic: Compared to other paints, latex paint is considerably less toxic. That said, the paint doesn’t produce a strong odor when it’s applied and it doesn’t contain as many VOCs. That said, it’s a great paint to use on furniture if you’re worried about children or pets. 

Cheap and widely available: Another benefit of wall paint is it’s relatively affordable and available at practically any hardware store. Wall paint is one of the most accessible types of paint available. 

Related: Oops Paint: Where and How to Buy it

Cons of Using Wall Paint on Furniture 

There aren’t any major drawbacks to using wall paint on furniture per se. However, there are some stylistic elements of furniture paint that you don’t get with wall paint. 

In terms of the finish of wall paint, you have a few options to pick including gloss, satin, and flat finishes. Furniture paint often comes in flat finishes that have varying qualities. For example, chalk paint has a very distinct soft-matte finish that you would never get with basic wall paint. The unique look of the finish has made using chalk paint for furniture very popular. 

Aside from the finish, color selection can also be a limiting factor of some wall paint for furniture. Wall paints generally have a large color selection, however, they sometimes lack some of the unique colors of furniture paint. For instance, French Linen or Scandinavian Pink are two very distinct colors offered by Annie Sloan (a type of chalk paint) that you wouldn’t necessarily find at Lowes or Home Depot among basic latex paints. 

Wall Paint vs Furniture Paint (Ingredients)

Since latex paint is a water-based paint, its solvent is made mostly of water. For its primary pigment, it uses titanium dioxide, a mineral commonly found in plants and animals. And for its binder, it uses synthetic latex made from polyvinyl acetate and/or acrylic polymers and copolymers.

On the other hand, furniture paint often has a different composition. Here are a few popular types of furniture paint and their ingredients:

  • Chalk paint: An easy-to-apply and beginner-friendly water-based paint. Most DIYers like it since it doesn’t require too much prep work. It gives the furniture an aged matte look. While the ingredients differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, chalk paint usually contains a fine powder such as calcium carbonate, giving it its thick chalky consistency.
  • Mineral paint: Probably the most environmentally water-based paint as it only uses natural ingredients. It uses natural minerals for its color pigments such as calcite, haematite, and malachite. Similar to chalk paint, it doesn’t require much prep work and it tends to have a thick consistency. 
  • Milk paint: As its name suggests, milk paint is made from milk protein (along with other ingredients such as lime and pigments). While it may have a slightly milky scent when wet, that scent goes completely away once it’s dry. Milk paint gives off an old-timey look just like chalk paint. It gives furniture a finish that has an intense depth of color and a low luster.
  • Mud paint: A clay and water-based paint that’s developed to adhere well to wood, which makes it great for painting furniture. Much like the other furniture paint already mentioned, it doesn’t require much prep work. One coat of mud paint is usually enough, significantly cutting the time you need to complete a project. Once it dries, it will give the furniture a matte vintage look.

How to Use Interior Wall Paint on Furniture

Tools and Supplies

  • Wall paint (interior paint)
  • Paint applicator of your choice (e.g. paintbrush, roller, spray gun, etc.)
  • Rags or cleaning sponge
  • Soap and Water
  • Sandpaper (medium-grit)
  • Primer (water-based multi-purpose primers make sense in most cases)
  • Top coat (optional)
  • Scraper (if you need to remove old paint)
  • Wood putty (if the surface has holes and/or cracks)

Step 1. Clean Your Furniture

Whether your furniture is bare and new, or already painted, you have to make sure that it’s clean before sanding it down. If you sand without cleaning it, you risk rubbing grime into the wood grain. Failing to remove grime can prevent the primer from adhering well. 

If the level of dirt on the surface isn’t severe, a dish soap and water solution will suffice. Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of dish soap and mix the solution. Soak a rag in the solution and wipe down your furniture. 

For severely dirty or greasy furniture, use TSP cleaner to remove it. TSP is a heavier-duty cleaning solution that will cut through severe grease and grime. 

Step 2. Fill holes and cracks with Bondo or wood filler

If your furniture has any scratches, dents or gouges, patch them up with wood filler or Bondo. Give the patching solution enough time to dry before moving on to next steps. Chances are you will only need to wait around 30 minutes, but check the product label for an accurate estimate. 

Step 3. Sand the surface

Using fine-grit sandpaper (220+ grit), gently sand the entire surface. Use a palm sander to speed up the process. If there are parts that the palm sander can’t reach, you can use a sanding sponge. 

The point is to roughen up the surface so that the primer has something to grip. Without sanding, it’s harder for the primer to stick. 

Step 4. Apply the primer

Using either a brush or paint sprayer, apply the primer on the surface evenly. A coat of primer will help the new coat of paint adhere to the surface strongly. Your coat of paint will be much more durable as a result. 

Let the primer dry first before applying a coat of paint. Check the product label to know how long you should wait before applying a coat of paint.

Step 5. Apply the wall paint

It’s finally time to paint your furniture. Using a roller or brush, apply the wall paint on the surface evenly. Apply long even strokes of paint to ensure even coverage. 

After the first coat, let the paint dry for about an hour, or until it’s dry to the touch. Then apply the second coat. Applying two coats ensures that the color of the underlying surface won’t bleed through. It also enhances the durability of the piece. 

Before applying the second coat, although it isn’t required, you can lightly sand the first coat with fine-grit sandpaper. This will eliminate brush strokes that could show through the second coat. 

Step 6. Apply a top coat (optional)

This step is optional, but it will add protection to your paint. A water-based top coat such as polycrylic or polyurethane is perfect for enhancing the durability of your paint job. 

Can You Use Wall Paint on Laminate Furniture?

Yes, you can use wall paint on laminate furniture.

Sanding and priming is important for painting practically any type of furniture, but are particularly important for laminate furniture. 

Laminate surfaces are smooth, glossy, and non-porous, making it very difficult for primer to adhere to it well. By sanding it down, you can roughen up the surface so that the primer can stick to it. For extra durability, apply two coats of primer. 



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