Best Rollers for Painting Furniture

Are you confused about what the best roller for painting furniture is? Let me help you decide! If you’re new to painting furniture, (or new to painting in general) picking what roller to use is overwhelming. There are so many different sizes, and types. Heck, I get overwhelmed by it myself!

Learn more about furniture painting tools and supplies here!

Different sizes and types of paint rollers laid out

Rollers are a great option for painting furniture because they can help you paint a large surface faster than if you use a paintbrush.

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But, on the other hand, they can leave some unwanted texture or bumps behind, and you’ll probably have to use a paintbrush for the corners, details, and crevices.

rolling paint onto a dresser with a mohair roller

So what type of roller is best for painting furniture?

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Mohair Mini Roller

Mohair Mini Roller

A common problem when using a paint roller is that it leaves a textured or bumpy finish behind. That’s fine if you don’t mind some texture on your furniture, but I prefer a smooth finish without bumps.

The Sherwin Williams mohair rollers are my go-to rollers because they don’t leave as much texture behind.

The 3/16 inch nap is smaller than most, so I think this contributes even more to create a smooth finish.

closeup of mohair mini roller


  • Creates a very smooth finish
  • Can be used for all types of paints and clear coats
  • Does not shed
  • Durable/ Can be cleaned and reused


  • It is not available in major hardware stores. I make a separate trip to Sherwin Williams to buy it.
  • It may cost you a few more bucks, but considering how good it is, it is worth it.
  • Make sure to buy the roller handle too, since these don’t come with one.

Where To Buy Mohair Mini Roller

1/4-inch White Woven Mini Paint Roller

1/4- inch White Woven Mini Paint Roller

This paint roller is similar to the Mohair Roller. The nap is a little bit longer, but not by much. So it can also create a smooth finish.

But it can also get into details a little bit better than the Mohair Roller.

closeup of 1/4" white woven paint roller


  • Minimal shedding
  • Holds more paint than other rollers
  • Works with latex and oil-based paints
  • Creates a smooth finish
  • Durable / Can be cleaned and reused
  • Available at big box hardware stores


  • It’s more likely to shed than the Mohair roller

This means you might find fibers on your painted furniture once the paint dries.

So, before painting with this roller, wrap it with some painter’s tape, and then remove the tape to remove any loose threads.

Wrapping roller with painters tape to remove any loose threads

Where To Buy 1/4-Inch White Woven Mini Paint Roller

High-Density Foam Mini Paint Roller

High-Density Foam Mini Paint Roller

DIY enthusiasts commonly use high-density foam rollers because they are widely available and budget-friendly.

These rollers are suitable for all paints and stains but aren’t as durable as other rollers mentioned above.

closeup of high density foam paint roller


  • Shed resistant and lint free
  • Creates a smooth finish
  • Works with all paints and stains
  • Can get into details, crevices, and corners easier because it’s so flexible
  • Available at most hardware stores and big box stores


  • Not as durable as the other rollers
  • More prone to leave bubbles or bumps behind

Where To Buy High-Density Foam Mini Paint Roller

Tips for Using Rollers

Here are some guides on choosing a paint roller nap and tips to help you paint furniture with a roller.

What Is the Nap in a Paint Roller?

The nap is the length of the material on a roller, which determines coverage and texture. Below is a size guide for you:

mohair roller, white woven roller and high density foam paint roller naps lined up
  • 3/4 inch to 1 inch – I wouldn’t recommend using this size of a nap when painting furniture. This is best for textured surfaces like stucco or brick.
  • 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch – These naps are best for semi-smooth surfaces like drywall. A 3/8 inch nap is better for painting furniture than a 1/2 inch, but it does not create as smooth of a finish as the 3/16 inch to 1/4 inch nap.
  • 3/16 inch to 1/4 inch – These are the best roller naps for painting furniture because they create an almost texture-free finish and work great on smooth surfaces.

Learn more about the differences in paint roller naps here.

What Size of Roller to Use When Painting Furniture?

You may be curious as to why I use and recommend mini paint rollers when I said that rollers cover a larger surface area quickly.

Based on my experience, I wouldn’t use anything bigger than a 4 inch roller because most furniture has a lot of details and smaller areas, and it’s harder to get into and around the details with a larger roller.

Holding 4 in and 9 in rollers

If you’re in a pinch a 6 inch roller would be fine. But 4 inch rollers are the best for painting furniture.

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What Is the Best Paint for Furniture?

If you are a beginner, I would choose a self-leveling paint like Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel or General Finishes Milk Paint.

Read through this post to learn more about painting furniture with enamel paint.

A self-leveling paint allows you to roll the paint on your furniture without it leaving a lot of little bumps (or texture) behind. Learn more about the best paint for furniture here.

How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish with a Roller

rolling primer onto furniture with mohair paint roller
  • Don’t put too much paint on your roller. You want it to be covered in a very small amount of paint before your roll it onto your furniture. This will create a smoother finish and thinner coats of paint are better for adhesion.
  • Ensure that the surface you initially painted on is dry before rolling another coat of paint onto it. Rolling over a partially dry coat of paint will make the paint feel rougher.

Get more tips on how to get a smooth finish here in our post about how to paint furniture without brush marks.

Is it Better to Paint Furniture with a Brush or a Roller?

This is a personal preference. A roller allows you to cover a larger area faster than a brush. But, you will still probably need a brush for the corners and crevices of the furniture you are working on.

brushing paint onto a dresser in the details and trim

However, if you use a brush, you will not necessarily need a roller, but it doesn’t get the job done as quickly as the roller.

Both tools leave some sort of texture behind. Brush strokes can be seen when using a paintbrush, and little bumps or bubbles can be seen when using a roller.

Spray Paint vs Roller for Furniture

I invested in a paint sprayer because it creates the smoothest finish and overall it’s much faster.

But it’s hard to use indoors. And you have to cover everything nearby with plastic, so you don’t get paint on everything.

Here’s a great post about what goes into preventing overspray when painting furniture with a paint sprayer.

hanging plastic on the wall to prevent paint spray from getting on the wall

If you’re interested in using a paint sprayer, here is my list of the best HVLP paint sprayers for furniture.

Paint rollers are easier on your wallet, and you can paint indoors, which is good during winter. You also don’t have to cover everything around you…. just cover the floor typically.

But, rollers do leave behind some texture, and it does take a little bit longer to paint with a roller. Here is a closeup of some of the texture you might get with a roller.

Here’s a detailed comparison if you can’t decide between a paint sprayer vs roller.

closeup of a dresser with roller texture
Check out this dresser makeover about painting furniture without sanding or priming here.

You’ll just have to weigh the benefits of each and decide which one to go for.

Now that you know what the best rollers for painting furniture are, try it and let us know how your project turned out!

More Painting Furniture Resources

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