There are a bunch of reasons why I think you should paint furniture with latex paint also known as water based paint. I've listed my 11 reasons along with great tips like where you can find great deals on latex paint, what sheen to use, how to have a custom paint color mixed, and more. Once you learn about painting furniture with latex paint you can update your old furniture!
Painted furniture makeovers are super easy with latex paint. Some people will tell you differently and that's their opinion. The first type of paint I used on furniture was latex. That was back in the day before paint shelves at hardware stores and shops online were overrun with specialty furniture paints. I use some of those specialty paints on occasion but I use latex paint more often than not and I'm going to share the reasons with you. Disclaimer: My opinions are based on my experience using latex paints. I am not a professional contractor or paint expert.
This post probably won’t be a hit with the folks who sell specialty furniture paints. At one time I sold specialty furniture paints…and more than one kind…but I got out of that business. Furniture paints are on every street corner, in every antique mall, on Amazon, and just about anywhere there is an empty spot on a store shelf.
11 Reasons Why You Should Paint Furniture With Latex Paint
Latex paint is readily available at hardware stores, home improvement stores, department stores, paint stores, etc. It can also be ordered online. Did you know you can even buy latex paint at Target? The paint at Target is premixed and there isn't a broad selection.
Price is probably tied with availability for the number one reason I use latex paint. Let’s face it, most of the furniture paints are a little on the pricey side. Latex paint is a fraction of the cost of these paints. I’ll let you in on a little secret too. Most stores that custom mix paint colors have a shelf where you can find “oops” paint at a greatly reduced price.
Oops paint is a custom mix color that a homeowner selected and then decided they didn’t like the color. The store will mark the paint down considerably. I have purchased quarts of oops paint for $4 where the regular price would have been $18 and gallons of oops paint for $8-$10 where the regular price would have been $38+.A lot of times you can find sample jars of paint on the oops shelf and those are as low in price as 50 cents.
You would be surprised how much paint is in those samples, usually enough for a nightstand or vintage wood sewing cabinet. If you don’t see any oops paint at your local hardware store ask the paint guy where you can find it. You can also purchase latex paint at a big discount at Habitat Restores. Some DIY’ers and contractors donate leftover paints from home projects to Habitat Restore.
Sometimes you can get new cans of paint at Habitat too. There may be other stores in your area that also collect paint to resell. It would be worthwhile to check listings in your area for this type of shop.
3. Color Selection
There are endless displays of paint color chips in the stores. You can get your own paint deck from the manufacturer for a price. There are literally thousands and thousands of paint colors to choose from. Sometimes when I'm talking a break in the workshop I look through my paint decks for inspiration.
Custom latex paint color for furniture and walls!
You can also have your own custom color mixed up to match wallpaper, fabric, wall color, etc. I mixed a custom color for our bedroom furniture and you can see the dresser makeover here. And here is a little secret I learned from my friend Karianne, Thistlewood Farms, and I have yet to try it. It's hard to explain so I'm going to give you an example.
Say you paint your cabinets dark gray and you want your kitchen island to be just a bit lighter but the next color on the paint chip is too light. You can ask the guy at the paint store to make 50% formula or any percentage of your color to white paint. This will give you a lighter shade of that dark gray. Genius huh! Kari says she thinks they can only do this mix at a paint store like Sherwin Williams, etc.
Latex paint comes in a variety of sheens. The following sheens are usually available from the paint manufacturer; Matte/Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, Gloss, Hi-Gloss. At this time my favorite sheen for furniture is Flat (or Matte depending on the manufacturer) and a close second is Eggshell. I like Hi-Gloss for the retro-modern look that’s trending now.
5. All In One Product
Paint & Primer and sometimes sealer (if needed) combination paint is the norm. For most projects there is no need to buy an additional primer product. For most furniture projects the paint doesn’t require an additional top-coat either. Win-Win!
6. Wax, Sealant, Top-Coat Not Required
As a rule a top-coat on furniture is not needed for latex paint. If I were painting a dining room table I would use a sealer or top-coat over any paint type. If you do need to seal or wax over latex paint there are many products to choose from. Specialty furniture paints require their own special waxes and sealers which are usually pricy.
7. Quality And Durability
When buying latex paint stick with top brands and manufacturers. Paint quality and durability has been steadily getting better and better over the last few years. I have used a number of paint brands that cover in one coat! It all depends on the color you are using and what color or stained finish you are covering.
8. Paint Furniture With Latex Paint: Custom Mixes
The best thing about latex paint is the ability to have the color of your dreams. Take in a favorite blanket, decorator pillow, rug, fabric, you name it,and the paint guy can match the color to a tee or pretty darn close.
Junktion Red Cedar Chest Antiqued With Wax
I love to combine my own colors at home until I come up with the perfect color for a project. For example, I mixed a fabulous red from different latex colors in my stash. I liked it so well I brushed some on a paint stirrer and had Home Depot color match the paint for me. It's called Junktion Red!
9. Special Paint Techniques Friendly
Latex paint can be distressed, antiqued, aged, white-washed, glazed, crackled, stenciled, decoupaged over, etc. You name it, I haven’t found a technique I couldn’t use on latex painted furniture.
Latex paint can be used in a paint sprayer. I often use it in my HomeRight Finish Max Sprayer. Foam brushes, bristle brushes, and rollers can be used to apply latex paint.
Read all about distressing paint here.....What You Should Know About Distressing Painted Furniture And Home Decor
10. Ease of use
Buy the latex paint of your choice, bring it home, shake or stir, and paint. There is no mixing of powders or painting with lumpy paint.
11. Paint Samples!
I talked about the paint samples earlier but I didn't mention how useful they are. Most specialty furniture paints don't come in sample sizes. You have to pay the big price for the big jar.....and what if it isn't the color you thought you wanted. No returns. Most latex paint companies have sample sizes you can purchase for less than $6.
I just thought of another reason to use latex paint on furniture. You can use a paint sprayer with latex paint. I'm not sure about some of those other paints. I painted my metal glider with a paint sprayer using beautiful yellow latex paint by HGTV Home Sherwin Williams.
Paint jobs like these are so much easier with a paint sprayer and latex paint works like a dream in a paint sprayer. Easy clean up too. Now you know why I paint furniture using latex paint! The following furniture makeovers feature latex paint.
To see the complete makeover with paint information and more photos just click the photo or the link below it. If you have any questions or observations on latex paint there is a comment section below.
Painted Furniture Makeovers using Latex Paint.....
White paint is so classy. Paint a chest of drawers for your bedroom or a stunning piece for your foyer. Did you know there is an endless number of white paint colors? Just go to your local hardware store and check it out.
Painted furniture makeovers using metallic paint are some of my favorites. You can just let it shine or give it an aged or antiqued look by applying a toner or dark wax. The table above was dark and drab. I applied one coat of primer tinted gray (my favorite is Glidden Gripper), two coats of metallic silver paint, and toner to give the paint depth. It would be perfect in a beach house or in a little girl's room anywhere.
What a pretty blue. The detail doors on the top part of the chest called for something extra, make those details pop. White wash was the perfect answer.
Yep, this one stirred up some controversy but I was patting myself on the back. I never know what a project will look like until I'm finished. Sometimes I'm happy with the results and sometimes not.
I've repainted furniture I don't know how many times because I didn't like the finished product. This one I loved but others didn't. To each his own.
I've received several comments about the VOCs in latex paint. Actually some latex paints are VOC free now. You can find a list of them here at My Chemical Free House. You can also find a list of no VOC paint here on House Beautiful. Behr Premium Plus is one of the Zero VOC paints and Behr is one of my go-to paint brands for painting furniture. Once you have your furniture painted you might want to distress it. Distressing painted furniture gives it depth and character and latex paint is perfect for distressing. I made a short video showing the distressing technique. Watch it below...
How To Distress Painted Furniture
Paint Furniture Makeovers Using Latex Paint
Do you have any latex paint around the house? Maybe some leftover from a house painting project. Maybe you have a piece of furniture that needs a little love. Go for it! As always, thanks for being here and have a great day, Kathy