Can You Paint Wood Furniture With Wall Paint?

Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by Ernest Godia

Have you ever looked at a can of leftover wall paint and wondered whether you can paint wood furniture with wall paint?

If you’re planning to revamp an old piece of furniture but don’t want to invest in specialized wood paints, you’re in luck. In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of painting wooden furniture with none other than regular wall paint. 

Read on to discover how to make your wooden furniture look brand new using the paint you already have.

Let’s get it!

Can you paint wood with wall paint?

Yes, you can paint wood furniture with wall paint. For a successful paint job, first clean and sand the wood. Next, apply a primer to help the paint adhere better. Then, paint the wood with your chosen wall paint. Finally, seal it to protect your newly finished wood furniture.

What is wall paint?

Wall paint is a category of paint primarily designed for covering vertical surfaces in both residential and commercial buildings. It offers excellent coverage, a long-lasting finish, and the ability to wash off minor stains easily.

Composed of ingredients like binders, pigments, and solvents, wall paint is tailored to adhere to drywall and plaster surfaces. 

It often contains special additives to resist mildew, enable easier cleaning, and provide consistent color coverage. 

Wall paint also comes in various finishes, such as matte, eggshell, satin, and gloss, and is available in a wide range of colors to suit different styles and preferences.

What is Furniture Paint?

Furniture paint, on the other hand, is engineered for use on furniture items that often endure a higher level of wear and tear.  

While it also includes binders, pigments, and solvents, furniture paint has a distinct formula that caters to higher endurance. This includes greater adhesion properties to better cling to various materials such as wood, metal, and laminates.

Unlike wall paint, furniture paint often includes additives to reduce brush marks and sometimes has a built-in primer for better adhesion.

Is furniture paint different from wall paint?

Furniture paint and wall paint are fundamentally different in composition and purpose. Furniture paint has a thicker consistency and often requires fewer coats.

It is also formulated to withstand the rigors of daily use, such as constant touching, scrapes, and knocks. Wall paint may lack these qualities and may not hold up well when applied to furniture.

While furniture paint is intended for heavy use and wall paint for aesthetics and moderate durability, the difference often lies in the finish.

Furniture paint comes in various finishes like satin, matte, and gloss, optimized for aesthetics and resistance to wear and tear. Wall paint, however, is usually not as durable but has a broader range of colors and finishes suitable for vertical surfaces.

Can you apply wall paint on a wood surface?

Technically, you can apply wall paint on wood, but the results may not meet your expectations. Wall paint lacks the adhesion properties and durability required for furniture surfaces. 

When opting for wall paint, note that interior and exterior paints have different qualities.

Exterior paints are formulated to withstand varying weather conditions, and using them indoors may result in a strong, lingering odor. Interior paints are more suitable for indoor furniture due to their less abrasive properties and lower VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels.

How To Paint Wood Furniture With Wall Paint  

If you decide to use wall paint on wood furniture, prepare for more thorough prep work to guarantee decent results.

You will need to have the following supplies at hand before you begin.

Tools and materials  

  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Tack cloth or microfiber cloth
  • Paint primer 
  • Wall paint in your desired color
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paint stripper
  • Paint scraper
  • Painter’s tape (optional)
  • Sealer
  • Protective gloves and eyewear

Using wall paint on wood furniture step-by-step

If you can, take your piece(s) of furniture outside or to a place with sufficient airflow. Lay down a tarp to protect the surface from dirt and paint. Remove any hardware present on the wood and place it aside. Also, wear your gloves and eyewear, and you’re ready to begin.

Using paintbrush to paint wood furniture with wall paint.

Step 1: Clean the wooden furniture

Dirt, grime, and oils can interfere with paint adhesion, so begin by removing them. 

Use a microfiber cloth to meticulously wipe down the entire piece, ensuring you get into all the nooks and crannies. For stubborn dirt, use a mild cleaning solution or a potent one like a TSP solution.

Once cleaned, let the furniture air dry completely.

Step 2:  Remove the old paint from the furniture

If the piece of wooden furniture was varnished and in fairly good condition, you can stop here and refer to our article for a detailed process on how to paint over varnished wood

However, if the furniture has seen better days, you can remove the paint from the wood surface by sanding or using a chemical paint stripper. If you haven’t used a stripper before, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’ll do great.

Step 3: Sand the wood surface 

Once your wooden furniture is bare, you need to sand it to even out the surface while creating some texture to help the wall paint adhere better.

Start with a medium-grit sandpaper or sanding block, around 120 grit. Gradually increase the grit size to 150-grit. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid creating noticeable scratches. 

Once done, vacuum the dust off the furniture and surrounding areas.

Step 4: Patch up any cracks on the furniture 

Inspect the wood for cracks, gouges, or holes. If you find any, use a wood filler to mend them. Wait for the filler to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then sand it down until it’s flush with the surrounding wood surface.

Step 5: Scuff sand the wood again and clean it up

Use the finest grit sandpaper you have for the final round of scuff sanding. Once done, use a tack cloth or damp microfiber cloth to remove all the dust. Your surface should be immaculate before moving on to the priming step.

Step 6: Prime the wood furniture

The wood is now clean and ready for a coat of high-quality primer to help the wall paint adhere better. It goes without saying that you should use a primer compatible with the paint.

Use a paintbrush or foam roller to apply an even coat of primer to the entire wood surface, covering all areas evenly. A single coat should be enough.

Allow it to dry for the duration indicated on the product label before moving to the next step.

Step 7: Apply the paint 

Once the primer dries, you can begin painting the wood furniture. 

Use a paintbrush or roller to apply the wall paint in thin, even coats, working in the direction of the wood grain. This step is pretty much like painting any other surface. 

Remember to allow sufficient time for each coat to dry completely before layering the next one. The duration here will vary depending on the paint type, wood type, and environmental conditions in your region. Don’t rush it.

You can brush on the second coat when the first coat dries to the touch. If the furniture needs a third coat, wait until the second one dries and repeat the painting process. Let the surface dry completely after the final paint layer.

Step 8: Seal the painted wood furniture

Once you are satisfied with the coverage of the wall paint on your furniture, it is important to seal it to boost its lifespan. 

You can use a clear polyurethane, lacquer, wax, or varnish topcoat to seal the paint. 

Apply the topcoat of your choice using a brush, cloth, or sprayer, making sure to cover the entire painted surface. This will create a protective layer and enhance the durability of the paint.

Allow the sealer to dry and cure completely before using your refurbished wooden furniture.

Maintenance and care tips for your painted furniture

  • Clean it regularly to keep the painted furniture looking its best. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the surface, avoiding harsh chemicals that could potentially damage the paint.
  • Avoid dragging or scratching the painted surface, as this can cause chips or scratches in the paint. Use furniture pads or felt protectors under heavy objects to prevent them from scratching the surface.
  • If any chips or scratches occur, touch them up with the same paint color. Use a small brush to apply the paint, feathering it out to blend with the surrounding area.
  • Keep the furniture away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can fade the paint color.

Can you use any paint to paint wood furniture?

Unfortunately, not all paints are suitable for painting wood furniture. While many types of paint can adhere to wood, the quality of the results won’t be consistent.

Choose paints that adhere better to wooden surfaces, are easier to work with, and offer more durable finishes instead of gambling with any paint in sight. Generally, you can’t go wrong with oil-based, latex, acrylic, or chalk paint.

While shopping for wood furniture paint, be sure to consider these three key factors:

  • The type of wood: Some woods, such as oak and maple, are more porous than others and require a different paint type.
  • The finish you want: Do you want a glossy, semi-gloss, or matte finish?
  • The durability you need: How much wear and tear will the furniture be exposed to?

See also: Can you use Rust-Oleum on wood?

Can you use regular wall paint on furniture?

Yes, it is possible to use regular wall paint on wood furniture. For a successful project, prioritize proper surface preparation and choose a primer that complements your paint. Clear sealers as a final coat will add extra durability to your furniture’s new look.

What is the best paint for wood furniture?

The best paint for wood furniture is Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint. This paint is designed for furniture and provides a smooth and durable finish. It has excellent adhesion to wood surfaces and is easy to apply. 

The chalked ultra-matte finish gives wood furniture a vintage, farmhouse look that is popular in contemporary home decor.

Additionally, this paint requires minimal preparation since you can apply it directly without priming or sanding the surface. 

It also dries quickly and provides good coverage, usually requiring only one or two coats for a solid finish. As a bonus point, it comes in a wide range of colors, allowing you to choose the perfect shade to match your personal style and existing decor. 

Recap: Can You Paint Wood Furniture With Wall Paint?  

You can use wall paints to paint wood furniture only if you prep the surface well, use a premium quality primer, and layer the paint in thin, even coats. 

It also helps to seal the surface with a heavy-duty finish to enhance the performance of the wall paint on a surface prone to heavy traffic.

So, the next time you have leftover paint lying around, come back to this post for a refresher on how to paint wood furniture with wall paint.  

Also, feel free to share this DIY project idea with people you think would love to give it a shot.

Happy painting!

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