Types of Paint for Furniture

By Karl

Common Questions and Answers about Types of Paint for Furniture

Different types of paint should be used for different types of wood furniture. Before beginning a furniture painting project, make sure to read the common questions and answers listed below. No matter what type of paint is selected, it is important that the furniture is prepared and primed correctly.

The most common choices of furniture paint are:

  • Oil-Based
  • Water-Based
  • Lacquer-Based


Painting is an excellent method of rejuvenating the look of wood furniture. It is often a top choice for pieces of furniture that have been previously painted.

Common “How to paint furniture” Questions and Answers:

Q: Is there a safe paint for baby furniture?

A: The general answer to this question is “yes.” There is a safe way to paint baby furniture. There are also safe types of paint to use on furniture that babies might touch and possibly chew. To start, the old paint on the crib should be checked for the presence of lead. If it is determine that the crib was originally painted with lead-based paint, the crib should not be re-painted nor should it be used at all. If the old paint is not lead-based, or if the crib does not contain any paint at all, the old finish should be stripped. After stripping, the crib should be painted with a latex-based paint. At least two layers of paint should be applied, and the paint should be allowed to dry for a full week before allowing a baby to touch it.

Q: I would like to repaint a piece of furniture I found at a thrift store. It’s in bad shape. How can I rejuvenate it?

A: You have a few choices. First, if you like the antique look of the furniture and you just want to add a layer of protection, you can apply a layer of polyurethane sealant right over the old paint. Second, you have the option of sanding off the old paint and repainting the entire piece with your desired color and sheen. If you decide on this option, be careful about the dangers of lead-based paint. If you are unsure, purchase a lead-based paint test kit at a local hardware store. Third, you can add new paint right over the old paint as long as the old paint is not chipping or flaking. Before painting, you will want to fill any dents or gouges with filler, lightly sand the piece, and add a layer of primer.

Q: Can furniture be painted with a brush, or must paint be sprayed?

A: You can achieve similar results with both a paintbrush and a spray when painting furniture. For best results, start with a piece of furniture that is smooth and dent-free. You can achieve this by sanding, filling dents, and priming the piece before applying paint. No matter if you are using a paintbrush or a spray, make sure to allow each coat of paint to thoroughly dry in between coats. Even though using spray paint to coat furniture is often faster, you may find that using a paintbrush allows for more control of the paint.

Q: My wicker furniture needs a new layer of paint. Is there a specific type of paint for wicker?

A: The first step in re-painting wicker furniture is to remove as much of the old paint as possible. The recommended tool for this is a brass brush. Especially in older pieces of wicker furniture, it is easy to cause damage to the piece while removing old paint. Therefore, use extreme caution. After as much old paint as possible has been removed, lightly sand the piece with sand paper. Next, using a paintbrush, apply two or more layers of oil-based primer to the wicker. Make sure to allow the primer to completely dry in between coats. The last step is to apply several layers of oil-based paint. This type of paint is recommended because it is strong, it resists peeling, and it is good for furniture that may be utilized on an outdoor patio.

Q: What is the easiest way to paint furniture?

A: Using the correct types of paint to re-coat furniture is important, but in reality, painting furniture is relatively simple. Furniture is usually small enough that it can be painted by anyone in a matter of hours. The tricky part is ensuring that the furniture is correctly prepped, sanded and primed before the paint is applied. Besides selecting the best type of paint, getting a piece of furniture adequately ready for paint is the best way to guarantee that the paint will last for years and will not peel or chip.

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