What Kind of Paint To Use On Wood Furniture: The Pros and Cons

November 18, 2022

What Kind of Paint To Use On Wood Furniture: The Pros and Cons

You’re standing in front of your wood furniture, paintbrush in hand. You’ve sanded the piece down and you’re ready to repaint it to give it a new lease on life. But then you realize— you have no idea what kind of paint to use!

There are pros and cons to every type of paint, so it's important to know what you're looking for before you start painting. That’s why we’ve weighed the options and present them to you—both the good and the bad.

Make sure your painting project turns out great. Read this article and get to know the various paint types you can apply on wood furniture:


Latex Paint

Latex paint is a type of water-based paint made with synthetic latex, which is a kind of rubber. It is usually used for painting walls and ceilings, but it can also be used for painting woodwork, such as cabinets and doors. Latex paint is available in a variety of colors and finishes, including flat, semi-gloss, and high-gloss.

Pros:

  • It’s very versatile and can be used on a variety of surfaces.
  • It is easy to clean up after painting since all you need is soap and water to scrub it off from surrounding areas.
  • It dries quickly, usually within an hour or two, which means you can get started on the second coat sooner and you can complete your painting project in a shorter time frame.
  • It’s less susceptible to drips and runs, making for a neater job overall.
  • Because it’s water-based, it doesn’t have the strong smell that some other paints have.
  • It’s good match for budget-minded homeowners since it’s typically less expensive than other types of paint.

Cons:

  • It can be tricky to get the right consistency and thickness when painting with latex. If you're not careful, you might end up with a streaky or uneven finish.
  • It doesn't always hold up well over time and can start to chip and fade after a few years, especially if it's exposed to sunlight or moisture.
  • It doesn't always provide the best coverage. If you're trying to cover up dark paint, you may find that it isn't enough to do the job and you may need several coats to get the desired effect.

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is made from a combination of pigments, resins, and solvents. After application, it usually has a high-gloss finish, so it’s typically used for painting household items like cabinets, trim, and other pieces of furniture. It is available in both oil-based and water-based formulas.

Pros:

  • It doesn’t require a primer, so you can use it when you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing the surface beforehand.
  • It can withstand chipping and scratching due to its toughness and durability.
  • It's resistant to fading and chipping, making it suitable for furniture that will be subject to a lot of wear and tear.
  • It has a hard, glossy finish that makes any surface easy to wipe clean. It’s a great choice for painting furniture in areas that are likely to get dirty such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • It has excellent coverage, so it can help you achieve a professional looking result with fewer coats.

Cons:

  • It takes longer to dry than other types of paint, which can be frustrating if you are trying to add another layer or you want to quickly finish painting your furniture. You need to be patient when working with it.
  • It tends to be thick and sticky, so brush strokes can be visible once the paint dries and it’s difficult to achieve a smooth, even finish.
  • It is not very forgiving if you make a mistake. Once the paint has dried, it is very difficult to remove and fix any imperfections, including the hassle it takes to rub off the paint when it gets on your skin or clothes.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a water-based paint that has a fast-drying time and can be used on many different surfaces. It is made from pigments suspended in a synthetic polymer emulsion. It is also available in both liquid and solid form.

Pros:

  • It dries super-fast, which is suitable if you're working on a time crunch or you want to layer colors quickly.
  • It can be thinned with water, making it easy to adjust the consistency of the paint.
  • It’s versatile and will look good on different surfaces, including canvas, wood, metal, and glass.
  • It has a high pigment load, which means that it is opaque and can be used to cover up dark colors or previous layers of paint.
  • It’s water soluble, so there’s no need for harsh chemicals during cleanups. By just using soap and water, you can remove any spills and drips.

Cons:

  • It doesn't always adhere well to surfaces, so you may need to prep your surface before painting.
  • Since this kind of paint dries so quickly, you can’t achieve certain shades and hues with it. You may struggle to blend colors or create smooth transitions between tones, so you have to work fast.
  • It’s a bad pick for painting outdoors because it can deteriorate when exposed to the elements and extreme weather conditions. It’s especially susceptible to damage from sunlight and humidity.
  • It’s usually more expensive than other kinds of paint, so if you’re painting large furniture or you have a tight budget, it’s better to choose another alternative.

Oil Paint

Oil paint is a type of paint that uses either vegetable or seed oils as its base. These oils can come from a variety of sources, such as linseed, poppyseed, or walnut oil. The oil is mixed with pigments to produce a range of colors, and the paint can be thinned with a solvent such as turpentine.

Pros:

  • It will protect your furniture from wear and tear and it doesn’t need to be retouched as often as other paint types because it’s durable and long lasting.
  • It has lot of pigment, so you can get really rich, vibrant colors when you paint your furniture with it.
  • Because it’s textured, you can create different effects, from a distressed look to a more polished finish.
  • It's easy to clean and maintain, so you won't have to worry about your furniture looking dingy over time.

Cons:

  • It dries after a very long time, so you have to be careful not to smudge or smear it while you're working.
  • Make sure you're prepared for a bit of a cleanup job afterwards because it is notoriously difficult and messy to work with.
  • It usually has a strong odor, so you'll need to make sure you have good ventilation in your work area.
  • It can be hard to get an even coat once it’s dry, and the brushstrokes can be visible.

When you buy wood furniture at flea markets and garage sales, you would want to repaint it to make it your own. If you also have old pieces that you want to revamp, a fresh coat of vibrance should make them look like new. With the information we provided and their pros and cons listed, you can pick out the right paint for your needs.

However, if you don’t want to go through the furniture painting process or you just lack the time and materials, you can opt to buy new pieces instead. If that’s the case, look through our wooden collections on Hunt Country Furniture. You even have the option to select the finish you want so you can get an item that matches your home. If you have a specific design or color in mind, we also offer custom furniture builds.


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