Best Paints for Interior Wood Furniture 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Best Paints for Interior Wood Furniture 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

painting wood furnitureWooden furniture is an important part of every room in your house. By repainting dresser or table you may drastically change the atmosphere. There are tons of colors you can choose from. But more importantly, there are many paints on the market and it’s crucial to choose the right one. Here I listed the best paints for interior wood furniture you could possibly find.

Best Paints for Interior Wood Furniture in January, 2020

#Paint for woodCoverage (quart)Dry time (minutes)Colors 
1Renaissance Chalk Paint
Editor's Choice
up to 100 sq ft2040+ Check Price
2Rust-Oleum Chalkedup to 150 sq ft3030+ Check Price
3Giani Nuvo Cabinet 50 sq ft12010 Check Price
4General Finishes Milk Paint100-120 sq ft3033 Check Price
5Rust-Oleum Chalkboard95-120 sq ft303 Check Price
6General Finishes Chalk Paint150-200 sq ft3020 Check Price
7Annie Sloanup to 150 sq ft3020+ Check Price

1. Renaissance Chalk Furniture Paint – Top Paint for Interior Wood Furniture

If you are looking to easily refinish wooden furniture, cabinets or old trim but don’t know where to start, Renaissance’s Chalk Finish is a great option for you. There’s absolutely no sanding or priming required; you just simply paint on the color that you like the most.

The recent trend to paint vintage furniture produces beautiful pieces but is quite a bit of work. This acrylic product with a smooth finish will help you achieve the same results without having to hire a professional. The paint has superior coverage with a unique chalky finish that adds to the vintage style. Plus, you only need one to two coats to achieve maximum results.

This option comes in 40+ different colors. However, if you need a very specific color, you can order a can that is custom-tinted to match colors from brands like Benjamin Moore, Valspar and Sherwin Williams. The paint dries in less than 30 minutes, so your repainting project could take less than an hour! Speaking of projects, it can be used on nearly everything, from a distressed vintage desk to a sleek and modern cabinet door.

How you apply Renaissance paint

I personally used the Renaissance chalk paint to give furniture the shabby vintage look. This option has a lot of colors but I choose shades of white because I think they have the greatest visual effect. I apply it with a soft brush since I really find it easy to use and it gives a really lovely smooth finish.

As you will be painting you’ll notice even though the paint’s thin that there aren’t any drips. That’s a really key feature of chalk paints. After top dries, you will be ready to put the next coat on your furniture. It takes about 20 minutes for the paint to dry but it obviously depends on your environment how quickly your surface will dry. The coverage is really good, it’s better if you apply two coats of the Renaissance to get a lovely and smooth look.

Even if your wood furniture is already painted, you can paint your favorite style of Renaissance’s Chalk Finish right over it!

Give your project a vintage look

If you want to get a shabby vintage look you have to slightly distress some of the edges of your painted furniture by using sandpaper. The next step is sanding the surface to make it much more smooth, don’t forget to wipe off all the excess dust at the end of the process. Now if you’re going to use the project outside then I highly recommend you to seal your wood to protect it against the moisture and weather. Check out wood sealers to choose the right one for you. I guarantee you will be really pleased with the final effect.

  • No prep work needed on the wood (no sanding or priming)
  • Self-leveling ensures even coverage
  • Non-toxic formula with no harsh chemicals used and no odor
  • This one is somewhat expensive
  • Interior only

2. Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra-Matte Interior Paint – Another Great Product For Wood Furniture

Rust-Oleum has a reputation for creating durable paints that are high quality and their Matte Interior Chalked is no exception. This option has a velvet-like, smooth matte finish that will transform your old interior wood furniture into new treasured pieces. The great part is, this option works extremely well on a number of interior surfaces, not just wood. You can use it on glass, ceramic, metal and canvas.

The paint offers a great opportunity for you to customize your project. After painting it on, you can distress the surface to give your furniture or project a distressed look. You can also put on another layer in a different color to create a multi-dimensional, totally unique look.

Minimal prep is needed to get your piece ready to be painted. You’ll be pleased with how well this covers the surface of your project. It’s also available in spray cans if you’d prefer to use them.

Color your wood furniture

I have an experience of using Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint to brighten up my dark grey dresser. The first coat was just very thin so that it appeared, but after the second coat it was looking amazing. After that I needed to sand a little bit in a few areas right along the edge where the paint got a bit too thick since I didn’t spread it out enough but that’s was my fault.

This paint’s serenity blue color really brightened up the dresser and made it look so much bigger than it looked before with the dark grey color. It was a quick and easy project so overall I was happy with how this project turned out and with my first experience of this Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint.

It’s easy to apply

This option is incredibly easy to use. In fact, Rust-Oleum boasts that you can finish most projects in just one coat! It also dries very fast, so instead of your project taking days, it takes just hours. You don’t need to sand down your project before painting but should if there are loose chunks of paint. If you’re painting raw wood, it will work better if you apply primer first, though it is not required. If you do use primer, make sure you wait at least two hours or until the primer is fully dried before applying the Rust-Oleum.

It’s very easy to use, just start painting. You will still see through the first coat if your wood was painted dark before but the second coat will go on perfect. There will be no need for the 3rd one. I love the matte finish and so overall I have only great things to say about this option, it’s really a great product. You know it’s some super simple to do but it really changed the entire atmosphere of my bedroom and as I said it made it seem so much bigger.

Definitely, I can say that I was super happy with this product and I would recommend it to anybody I know who wants to color their wooden project and get great results.

  • Only one coat needed for most projects
  • Multiple layers create a unique look and color
  • Available in more than 10 trendy and modern colors
  • Can be used on a wide variety of surfaces
  • Some sanding and priming required, depending on your project
  • Interior only

3. Giani Nuvo Cabinet Paint – Great For Wood Cabinets

This trendy, high-performance paint was created specifically with one goal in mind: to provide you with the best coverage for your cabinets. Nuvo Cabinet paint is a water-based acrylic option that is safe, VOC free and low odor. One can covers a huge amount of cabinetry; nearly 50 square feet or 20 linear feet of cabinetry!

It comes in 10 of the hottest colors for cabinets. I do advise that you test it out before coloring every cabinet. The company warns that some colors, like their coconut espresso (billed as a creamy beige) can appear darker or lighter depending on the lighting that you use in your home. It dries with a lovely, soft satin finish that is perfect for use on high-traffic areas, like your cabinets or baseboards or trim.

Unlike some of the other product on our list that require no prep work before application, you’ll want to make sure that you do prepare the wood on your project or cabinets before you paint the Nuvo Cabinet on. The company says you don’t have to completely remove any finish that remains on your old cabinets. Instead, you should make sure that the cabinets are de-glossed or sanded down before applying this product.

Pay special attention to the areas around door handles or cabinets that are near your stove. They can collect extra grease and should be sanded down until that grease is gone. If the cabinets that you are repainting have a high gloss finish, use a liquid de-glosser first, then sand it down.

  • Specifically formulated for cabinets
  • One can covers a large amount of cabinetry
  • Good for use in high-traffic areas
  • Must sand down wood before application
  • Might need to use a de-glosser on high gloss finished items

4. General Finishes Milk Paint – You Will Find a Color That You Love

There is a little bit of confusion when you first look at this can. It is called “milk paint,” yet the can says also says that it is water-based. The answer is very simple.

Many people have not heard of milk paint, but it has been in use for hundreds of years. Milk paint is a natural paint made from milk, lime, pigment, and water. Since water constitutes the majority of its volume, it is still a water-based paint even though its formula is also milk-based.

Milk paints are absolutely safe

The main advantage of milk paint is the fact that it is totally non-toxic. It has often been used to paint things that will come into contact with small children or animals because of this feature. Milk paint is also very long-lasting and is one of the most long-lasting types of paint known to exist.

We know this because archaeologists have confirmed that this paint can last for centuries if properly made and applied.

Variety of shades of colors

One of the best things about this paint is the huge variety of different colors in which it comes.

Unlike some of the other paints on my list, this one offers bright colors, dark colors, muted pastels, and simple whites and blacks.

This makes GF milk paint one of the more well-rounded paints on our list.

This paint also requires no primer or topcoat when used on wood. You can apply it to bare wood with no worries. This is great for rush jobs, and let’s not forget that time is money. However, milk paint is known to be less adhesive on smooth surfaces. This isn’t a huge problem for us because wood is not a completely smooth surface unless it is coated with another substance. Milk paint should work very well on anything made of wood and should last a long time.

  • Huge variety of colors
  • High-durability paint
  • Non-toxic
  • Requires no special preparation of the surface
  • Requires no topcoat, though it is recommended for high-traffic areas
  • Very good adhesion to wood
  • Not very good for smooth surfaces
  • A little bit thin
  • Somewhat expensive for only a pint

5. Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalkboard Paint – Best Chalkboard Paint for Furniture

This is a special-use paint that offers a unique and interesting functionality. Using this paint, you can put a clear layer over any surface. This layer will be all but invisible to anyone who isn’t specifically looking to see. However, this layer functions as a transparent blackboard.

Designed Just for Kids

Blackboard paints have existed for a long time. They allow you to transform any surface into a functional blackboard that can be written on with chalk. However, this product takes it to a whole new level by allowing you to do the same thing with a clear surface. This means that you can paint your walls or your wood furniture with this stuff, and you will then be able to mark on them with chalk and easily erase the results with a soft eraser.

Of course, a special-use item like this isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but it might be particularly useful for people who have a lot of kids.

If you can’t stop them from writing on the wall while you are away, just put some of this on the walls and let them draw as much as they want.

Can be used on many surfaces

This paint works on a variety of surfaces including wood. The paint itself is mostly composed of latex, which is great because it is non-toxic and easy to clean up with soap and water. That being said, some people have allergies to latex, and this product definitely wouldn’t suit their needs.

This is some of the most fast-drying paint that I have seen, as it dries to the touch in only 30 minutes.

This is great for those with impatient children or for those who are just too busy to invest a lot of time in something like this. However, don’t get confused. The surface will not be fully cured for another three days.

When the three days have elapsed, this paint will have formed a hard and scratch-resistant surface. You will then need to condition the surface by rubbing it with the edge of the chalk and then erasing. The surface will then be ready for use.

Rust-Oleum is a very trusted name when it comes to paint, so that puts a couple of points in this product’s corner. They have often been known for making some of the most innovative and interesting paint on the market, and this one is no exception.

  • Turns any surface into a notepad
  • Easily erased
  • Quick to dry
  • Non-toxic
  • Adheres well to wood surfaces
  • This is very much a “special-use” or “niche” product
  • Surface is not 100% clear

6. General Finishes Chalk Style Paint – Versatile Option

This is another winning product from General Finishes, where we can see their take on the classic “chalk paint.” If you don’t know, chalk paint is the thick stuff that you most often see on antique furniture. It is still very popular for painting wooden furniture of all sorts because of its wonderful opacity.

“Opacity” is a fancy way of saying that chalk paint produces a surface that you cannot see through at all. The rich tones that are possible with this kind of paint were preferred by many furniture makers in the past, and some still use them to this day.

Dries rather quickly

This kind of paint has the advantage of being very quick to dry. This paint is usually dry to the touch within 2 hours, which is pretty good. However, it does not create a particularly durable finish.

Even the advertising will tell you that this paint is not suited for outdoor use, although they note that you can use it outdoors if you want an “aged” look.

This is also somewhat thin paint, but one good thing about that is the fact that you can spray it from a paint gun. It is compatible with virtually any paint gun on the market, including those that use compressed air and those that are airless.

Chalk paint is not a gloss paint, so don’t expect that. This paint almost always produces a matte finish, which is why they call it “chalk paint.” In case you’re wondering, this paint does not contain chalk. It is named for the surface look that it provides.

Mix it!

Another excellent feature is the mixability of this paint.

GF chalk paint can be mixed with any of their milk paints. This gives you a lot of room to experiment and test your creativity.

By combining these two types of paint, you can potentially increase the durability of chalk paint while increasing the opacity of milk paint. Of course, it will probably take some trial and error to get it just right. I would recommend starting with a 50/50 mix (by volume) and modifying from there as desired.

  • Excellent opacity
  • Great for furniture
  • Dries relatively quick
  • Compatible with most paint guns
  • Can be mixed with milk paint for maximum versatility
  • Opacity isn’t always what you want
  • Not very durable – unsuited for outdoor use
  • Not available in gloss

7. Annie Sloan – The Paint That Gives You an Artist’s Touch

If you haven’t heard of her before, Annie Sloan is legendary in the art world, specifically because she has been so influential in leading the movement to repaint and renovate wood furniture instead of discarding it. While Chalk Paint is now a somewhat universal term used by brands of all kinds to distinguish a type of paint with a smooth, thick finish that is easily applied and easily “distressed,” Annie Sloan actually invented the original Chalk Paint in the 1990’s!

Each color is chosen by experts to reflect current trends, from bold hues to muted, soft pastels. The velvety, matte finish adds new life to your project, whether that’s a wooden dresser, a dining room set, cabinets, floors, walls and more. Like some other paints on this list, Annie Sloan product works well with wood, metal, concrete, plastic, ceramic, glass and more! It’s water-based and non-toxic, so it can even be applied to your dog’s house or baby’s crib.

It is incredibly easy to use-no sanding or priming required with this paint. While Sloan recommends you apply it with one of her signature brushes. The quality is so high, it is evenly applied with even the most inexpensive of synthetic brushes.

The paint is extremely versatile; add water to dilute it and create a stain or use a speckled brush to achieve a look on your walls with more texture. The possibilities are endless with this high-quality product!
  • Can be used on almost any surface imaginable
  • No sanding or priming required
  • 20+ colors offered (a wide variety!)
  • So popular it is often unavailable online
  • Interior only

15 thoughts on “Best Paints for Interior Wood Furniture 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Hi, William,

    I’ve got an old unfinished wooden dresser in my bedroom which I and my wife want to be painted grey. This is my first time painting anything so I’m really afraid of spoiling the furniture. I’m looking for paint which is designed for interior wooden furniture and is quite easy to apply (even by a newbie like me). Having read your article I got that Renaissance Paint and Rust-Oleum Chalked Interior are the best options but for me, those are pretty much the same. Both have many colors, easy to apply, minimal preparations and both are intended for interior use. I’m really confused. Which one would be a better option? Also, it would be wonderful if you briefly tell me steps I have to follow to paint my dresser properly. Sorry, just do not want to totally screw up the dresser. Thanks.

    • Hi Sam. It’s okay, I understand your concern. Actually, these two options are pretty similar, both products got high quality. Choose any, you will love the results. Do not overthink it, just pick up Renaissance.

      Painting furniture is not as complicated as you think. Though Renaissance requires no preparations I suggest you do some easy extra steps to get the best results possible. First, sand your dresser to get rid of inconsistencies on the surface. Then apply a good primer: it covers wood knots (if there are), increases adhesion of the paint and keep wood agents from penetrating into the paint (which may change the color of the paint). I’ve got an article about primers, you could choose top 2 option, it’s great for furniture
      Then sand the primed dresser after it dries. Now you can start painting, two coats will be enough. Sand again after the first coat of the paint dries. Finally, apply the second coat. Believe me, it’s much easier than it seems to be, just take the first step.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Hi, William.
    I want to refresh my old vintage light wooden dresser so I’m seeking for interior paint for furniture. Rust Oleum seems to have many great options but I can’t decide what will be better: spraying or brushing? For me, both these alternatives seem pretty the same but I may miss something crucial. Looking forward to hearing your opinion, thanks!

    • Hi, Karen.
      That’s a great project you’ve got. Refinishing vintage furniture is an interesting process which leads to a beautiful wooden piece, you will love it.

      You are right; both methods are suitable for your situation. Let me explain spraying first.

      1. It’s a good option if you got little time since spraying is much faster than applying paint with a brush.
      2. Another important moment is that you will get a smooth layer of paint free of brush strokes which you may find unacceptable.
      3. It’s much easier to paint hard-to-reach areas using a spray rather than roller or brush

      But spraying also got a few drawbacks:

      1. It’s harder to get an even layer of paint. You may get it too thick in some areas. And to fix it you will need to add additional paint to the areas lacking thickness.
      2. Adhesion while spraying is not as good as while brushing. In this case, you will need more preparation before painting namely sanding the surface thoroughly to increase the adhesion.
      3. It’s better to spray your project outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. If the only option you have is indoors then I highly recommend you to use a respirator.

      On the other hand, brushing has its own advantages:

      1. Better adhesion. Unlike spraying, brushing requires less preparation. Some brands may be brushed even without sanding.
      2. You can apply paint more evenly because controlling brush is easier than a sprayer.
      1. Much slower application in contrast to spraying
      2. Brush marks are commonplace here
      3. Hard-to-reach places may be the problem

    • So I described objective moments. Actually, both methods are nicely suitable for your project… but I personally think that painting vintage furniture should be done via brushing.

      Why? You see old vintage furniture has a special look and meaning and I think spraying it is boring, it deserves something much more interesting and extraordinary. That’s why I prefer brushing vintage pieces rather than spraying.

      Most of the time, brush strokes are undesirable, but in this case, they play a big role in making the vintage furniture looking even more vintage. A smooth layer of paint is just so dull and tedious. After brushing you may distress the surface to make it look even older. That’s how I think a vintage wooden furniture piece should be refreshed. For this purpose, Renaissance Chalk Furniture Paint or Rust-Oleum Chalked are the best choices.

  3. Moved into a new house a couple of weeks ago, there’s a shabby lovely wooden table in the living room. It’s totally unfinished and I suppose it’s never been. The former owner told me that the table’s made of satinwood. Actually, I’d like to finish it (namely to paint) since it’s kind of faint. Could you please recommend some decent satinwood paint? Or maybe there’re other kinds of finishes that are more appropriate for satinwood. Appreciate.

    • Hi, Mark.

      Satinwood is one of the most beautiful woods. You see since I started practicing wood finishing and woodworking I’ve done a satinwood project only once. I was a tall cupboard made mostly for decorative purposes. We finished it with lacquer and it turned out to look just awesome.

      So, based on my personal experience I can say that using some clear satin or gloss finish would be more preferable in comparison with paint. In my opinion, satinwood got nice shade and grain by itself, there is no need to paint it, I’d rather use lacquer or oil to protect the wood and of course, give it a satin look. There’s a great article about oil brands you may take a look at I don’t really think that painting your table is a good idea. But that’s just subjective opinion of mine.

      Anyway, if you really want to paint your furniture then I’d suggest using some satin/semi-gloss option such as Rust-Oleum Satin or Latex, I’m afraid chalk matte isn’t the best choice in this case. Get a good bristle brush, fine grit sandpaper and you’re ready to go. Rust-Oleum paints are easy to apply so your project won’t be a big deal.

      So, I hope you will decide which is better for you.

    • Hi. KILZ floor paint is the only option for painting floors on the list so far, you can surely use it to paint interior pressure wood. Nice product, the only blemish of this paint is that it’s got only a couple of colors so if grey shades are not appropriate for your floor then you should seek for some other options on the market.
      Actually, you can use wood stain instead of paint, there are much more stains for pressure treated wood than paints. Stain enhances wood color and its grain so it’s a great alternative for painting. Read this article if you want to find out more

  4. Hi there, William! I and my husband are doing a renovation of my grandma’s apartments. We’ve done a lot so far, there are only trims and doors left. The oak doors are quite aged: the paint’s cracking and fading. Now we’re wondering how we could refresh them. What paint for wood doors could you recommend? And how can we apply it properly?

    • Hi, Debra. I’ve painted different types of interior and exterior doors using different paints so I’m glad you asked me. I’m sure that kind of paint, as well as gloss, doesn’t really matter a lot here: chalk, latex, acrylic… all these could be used to get nice results, it all depends on your general apartment design. For example choose one which fits the color of the walls, whatever you want. If you want matte surface then choose chalk product such as Renaissance or Rust-Oleum Chalk. For satin or semi-gloss choose latex options. And, of course, you have to use only paint designed for interior, we don’t want your grandmother to breathe chemicals of exterior paints, I mentioned it earlier in one of the comments above.

      Painting door is harder than choosing paint thought, but it’s pretty simple at the same time. Take your doors off hinges, remove hinges and handles. Then remove existing paint using paint stripper or any mechanical tool. Use putty to fill wood crack, then sand using 180-200 grit sandpaper. Now I highly recommend you to prime your door: by doing so you will save initial paint color and hide any wood blemishes. This article will help you the best wood primer for you, as I recall KILZ Original is pretty good options for wooden doors Then finally paint the door, you can do it very quickly using a roller. Use brush to paint hard-to-reach areas.

      Feel free to contact me if you’ve got any questions left.

  5. What a great article, love it! Looking for paint to refresh my white kitchen cabinets. I see that Nuvo brand is designed just for that purpose but it’s got only 2 faint colors… Disappointing. I’d like some darker color like dark grey, brown. What would be a good substitute for Nuvo??! Thanks for help!

    • Hi, Ava. As you already mentioned, Nuvo is perfect for cabinets. Yes, there are only two pale colors, but they set calming, gentle ambiance. Also, Nuvo is more durable paint since it’s intended for high traffic surfaces like cabinets. Anyway, if you want more color then I suppose Renaissance paint will be a good choice: there are plenty of colors and it can be used to paint cabinets. Remember, Renaissance isn’t as traffic resistant as Nuvo, so you’d better use clear top coat like polyurethane to protect your work. See my list of the best polys out there

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