The Best Black Furniture Paint

Don’t mess around with other black furniture paints like chalk paint or milk paint that are a pain to topcoat! This is the best black furniture paint ifyou want a nice smooth satin finish on your wood furniture!

Get more black painted furniture ideas here!

close up photo of black painted dresser with text overlay

My husband picked this dresser up at our local thrift store for only $30! It was a little dinged up but for the most part it was in pretty good condition. The old worn out finish needed some love though.

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For this makeover I used my favorite, and the very best black furniture paint (because painting furniture black is typically a major challenge!)

I also decided to try my hand at refinishing the drawers instead of painting them. I’m so glad I did!! Those natural drawers are the center of attention.

scroll down to see the after photos

Painting Furniture with Black Paint

If you have ever painted with black chalk paint or milk paint, you know how big of a pain black paint can be!

It’s nearly impossible to get the perfect black finish when you have to topcoat it with wax or polyurethane.

  • Oil-based polyurethane is a little bit easier to get that perfect streak-free finish with, but it’s still not perfect.
  • Water-based poly either shows streaks or it can come out foggy.
  • And wax is the hardest to work with on dark colors if you want a streak-free finish.

Even spraying water-based poly with a pro-grade paint sprayer can create a foggy-looking finish.

I struggled with painting furniture black until I ran into this new paint called General Finishes Enduro Poly.

What is General Finishes Enduro Poly?

It’s technically tinted polyurethane. It’s water-based so it’s the clean up is easy and it doesn’t stink! The one and only downside to this paint is that it has to be sprayed with a paint sprayer.

a can of general finishes enduro poly in black

(I tried to brush it on a whole entire piece a few months ago and it was SO HARD because this paint is so thin AND it dries really fast.)

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It comes in black, white, and clear that can be tinted in any color.

The enduro poly goes on fast. You don’t have to thin it for your paint sprayer, it only requires 3 quick coats, with a very fast dry time in between coats at only an hour!! That’s seriously fast!

Let’s dive into this dresser makeover and how to use General Finishes Enduro Poly! This is what the Mid Century Modern dresser looked like before I used my favorite black furniture paint.

mid century modern dresser before the makeover

Did I mention that this WHOLE makeover only took a day!? Yep, it only took a day! I started at 8 am and I finished around 8 at night, only because I was waiting for it to cool down outside.

Check this post about painting furniture without sanding or priming to see another quick 1 day dresser makeover!

(If this paint dries too quickly, it ends up being rough. And it was in the 90’s most of the day.)

So I waited to paint the last couple of coats when the sun was going down and it had cooled off a bit. If I didn’t have to wait for it to cool down, I would have had it done by 6 pm EASY!

Supplies Used for Painting A Dresser Black

Prepping A Dresser For Black Paint

First I cleaned the dresser really well with Krud Kutter and an old damp rag. Then I filled in the few chips and dings with my go-to basic wood filler.

After the wood filler dried (when I was done sanding the drawers) I sanded down the wood filler. I also sanded the laminate top really well with 220 grit sandpaper.

Sanding laminate top for paint with a power sander

Then I scuff sanded the rest of the dresser just a bit. But I definitely didn’t sand it down as much as I did the laminate. Learn about the importance of sanding before painting furniture here.

I don’t usually love laminate furniture, but I’ve learned that a dresser with a laminate top isn’t all bad! Actually, it’s pretty nice because the laminate doesn’t end up scratched like wood.

But laminate needs a lot more attention than wood does JUST to make sure the paint sticks.

Since it had a laminate top, I had to make sure that the paint I used would stick to the slick and shiny laminate.

((Laminate furniture needs a bit more prep than wood furniture before you can paint it. Learn more about how to paint laminate furniture here!))

After I finished scuff sanding, I removed all the dust with a vacuum and a tack cloth (tack cloths are AMAZING for getting off all the last bits of dust!)

Sanding Dresser Drawers

While the wood filler dried (remember that part a little bit ago??), I sanded the drawers down to bare wood.

((Obviously, this step is optional if you’re only interested in painting a dresser black. But I wanted to include it because it’s part of what I did to this dresser. ))

I sanded each of the drawers down with my pro-grade 3×4 vacuum compatible SurfPrep sander. See my SurfPrep sander review here to see if it’s worth buying one!

But they could have been sanded down with a regular ole sander. Check out the best sanders for furniture here.

sanding drawers with surfprep sander

I sanded the drawers with

Learn more about the best sandpaper for furniture painting here.

I moved my sander slowly and didn’t apply much pressure to the sander to help avoid those nasty swirl marks. Slowly moving through the grits was a huge help too!

It took about a half hour to sand each drawer front down. But holy moly that wood is absolutely gooorgeous!!

**Note: I sanded the drawers first so I could stain them and let the stain dry while I worked on painting the dresser. Stain takes about 8 hours to dry, and I really wanted to get this dresser done in one day. But the drawers were sooo pretty without any stain so I opted to seal them up and leave them natural.

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Sealing Dresser Drawers

((This step is also optional if you’re only wanting to paint the dresser black!))

Before I sealed the drawers I vacuumed up any dust left on them and then I used a tack cloth to remove the last little bits of dust.

Then I sprayed 3 coats of Minwax’s fast-drying oil-based polyurethane on them.

Learn more about the features, pros and cons, and how-to’s of Minwax polyurethane spray here.

minwax fast drying polyurethane in a spray can
spraying minwax fast drying polyurethane on dresser drawers

I let them dry for about an hour and a half before moving on to the next coat since the back of the can says to recoat within 2 hours or wait 72 hours.

I also kept them in an area that wouldn’t get any dust on them while I worked on the rest of the dresser.

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Setting Up A Paint Booth

Then I got my little paint booth set up in my garage so I would be ready to spray the Enduro Poly.

I laid down some plastic on the floor, then I hung up a 9 foot x 12 foot piece of plastic from some screws in the wall. Then I laid down some cardboard to make sure I didn’t get paint anywhere!

Then we put the dresser on a few 5 gallon buckets to get it off the ground, and I stuck the screws on the legs into a piece of wood.

This might seem a little bit overkill but this black paint I used HAS TO BE sprayed. That’s the biggest downside to this paint.

But between how much time is saved and how amazing this finish is (plus how easy it is to get!) it’s totally worth buying a paint sprayer for. Especially if you paint a lot!

Priming Dresser Before Painting Black

Finally, I was ready to start painting. I primed the dresser with BIN shellac-based primer. This primer is my absolute favorite white-based primer.

priming dresser with BIN shellac based primer

It has EXCELLENT adhesion, it sands well, and mainly it is one of the very few primers that will actually block wood tannin bleed through. Learn how to stop stains from coming through paint here.

I used the BIN primer as a bonding primer to help the paint stick to the slick laminate. But I also used it to help the paint stick to the wood and to help the paint have an even sheen.

Don’t skip the primer. Promise! You’ll regret it! Check out the best primers for painting furniture (and how to choose the right one) here. I rolled it on with a small 3/8” nap roller.

**It is shellac based and it smells a bit, so I wore a respirator to protect my lungs.

I painted on two coats of primer, letting it dry for 45 minutes between coats.

You shouldn’t need more than a quart size of the primer for a project this size or a bit larger. You could also use a couple of the BIN shellac in spray paint cans if you don’t want to roll it on!

Then I sanded it all down smooth with 220 grit sandpaper, vacuumed up the dust, and then wiped it all down with a tack cloth.

sanding primed dresser before paint

Spraying Black Paint Onto A Dresser

Like I said earlier, I chose to use General Finishes Black Poly on this dresser. I love how easy this paint is to use, it’s honestly the very best black paint for furniture!! No joke!!

So after the primer was sanded smooth, I loaded my paint sprayer with my paint. Read through this post for a step by step tutorial on painting furniture with a sprayer.

I always recommend using a mesh paint filter when putting paint in a paint sprayer, just to make sure no clumps clog the paint sprayer.

This paint doesn’t need to be thinned because it’s pretty thin to begin with (that’s one reason why you can’t brush it on).

A couple of years ago I upgraded to the Fuji Q4 paint sprayer and I wish I would have upgraded sooner! It was definitely a bit of an investment, but holy cow this thing sprays like a dream.

If you’re looking for a budget sprayer, or you’re just starting out, I totally recommend the Wagner Double Duty paint sprayer. I sprayed with it for 3 years and it was a great starter sprayer!

The Homeright Super Finish Max is another budget-friendly paint sprayer I have recently discovered that does a great job spraying paint!

Take a look at this homemade chalk paint dresser makeover we painted with the Homeright sprayer. Check out the best HVLP paint sprayers for furniture here.

I sprayed 3 coats of this enduro poly onto the dresser, letting the paint dry for an hour between coats. This paint dries SO FAST!!

spraying the best black furniture paint onto dresser with my fuji Q4 paint sprayer

After 30-40 minutes the paint is ready to scuff sand and after an hour you can put another coat on! That’s another huge reason I love this paint!

After the paint dried, I scuff sanded the paint down smooth with 400 grit sandpaper just to make the final paint job super smooth.

I waited to paint the last coat or two when it was cooler outside, right at dusk. It was in the 90’s most of the afternoon, which made the paint dry even faster, which made it feel rough.

But painting it when the sun wasn’t as strong and when it cooled off a bit made the paint take a bit longer to dry, which made the paint dry a lot smoother.

Then I put the drawers back in and let it dry for at least 24 hours before I did anything with it.

Paint takes about 30 days to cure into how durable it will actually be, so be sure to be really careful with it for at least 30 days after painting.

That’s it! Seriously, this makeover was pretty simple and super fast!! I couldn’t believe how fast it went actually!

If you’re wondering is two-toned furniture in style, check out this makeover guide to find out.

Here is what it looks like now!

Check out mid century modern painted furniture ideas for more inspiration here.

closeup of top of black painted dresser
Full shot of Black Painted Dresser with Natural Wood Drawers

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

Black Painted Dresser with Natural Wood Drawers
scroll up if you missed the after photos

Painting a Dresser Black | The Best Black Furniture Paint

black painted mcm dresser with natural wood drawers

We'll be using the best black furniture paint for a nice smooth satin finish. Here's how to paint a dresser black.

Instructions

  1. Clean the dresser, fill in chips and dings with wood filler, and sand the filler. Then sand the laminate top with 220 grit sandpaper.
  2. Scuff sand the rest of the dresser just a bit and not as much as the laminate. Remove all the dust with the vacuum and tack cloth.
  3. Sand down the dresser drawers to bare wood with a sander. Move the sander slowly and don't apply much pressure to the sander to help avoid nasty swirl marks.
  4. Spray oil based polyurethane onto the drawers. Let them dry for about an hour and a half before moving on to the next coat. Spray 3 coats.
  5. Set up a little paint booth by laying down some plastic on the floor, then hanging up a 9 foot x 12 foot piece of plastic from some screws in the wall. Lay down some cardboard to make sure to not get paint anywhere! Then put the dresser on a few 5 gallon buckets to get it off the ground, and stick the screws on the legs into a piece of wood.
  6. With the 3/8” nap roller, paint on two coats of primer to the dresser, letting it dry for 45 minutes between coats. Then sand it all down smooth with 220 grit sandpaper, vacuum up the dust, and then wipe it all down with a tack cloth.
  7. Put black paint into the paint sprayer using a mesh filter, just to make sure there are no clumps. Spray 3 coats of this Enduro Poly black paint onto the dresser, letting the paint dry for an hour between coats.
  8. After the paint dried, scuff sand the paint with 400 grit sandpaper to make the final paint job super smooth. Then put the drawers back in and let them dry for at least 24 hours before doing anything with them. Remember that paint takes about 30 days to cure as well.
  9. Enjoy your new black painted dresser!

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    black and wood mcm dresser with text overlay

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