The Best Spray Paint for Wood Furniture | Rustoleum, Behr, Krylon, Color Place

Looking for the best spray paint for wood furniture to freshen up those old pieces? It’s your go-to for a smooth, brush mark-free finish and super easy application. But hey, with all the types of paint for furniture out there, you might be asking yourself which one tops the list, right?

In this guide, we will discuss some of the top aerosol paint brands known for their high-quality finishes on wood furniture. I personally tested out the top paints you’ll find, on an old wooden table to find what’s the best spray paint for wood.

Bottles of color place, Krylon colormaxx, rustoleum 2x, behr, rustoleum protective enamel, Krylon fusion spray paints

Spray paint has become super popular for wood furniture because it dries fast and is so easy to use. Unlike the traditional brush or roller methods, spraying paint gives you a smooth and even coat with minimal effort. That’s why it’s perfect for both beginners and experienced DIYers!

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But not all paints are created equal, especially when it comes to painting wood furniture. Some brands might stick better or last longer on certain types of wood, while others give you more color options.

It’s important to choose the right paint for your specific project for the best results. So I grabbed 6 popular spray can paints, and 2 popular primers to compare them.

I did a simple scratch test to see what paint stuck the best, but I was also able to see what sprayed the best, and what had the best coverage.

One of these days I want to spray paint a piece of furniture, but I need to know what the best spray can paint is to use before I do that. Haha

Spray Paints for Wood

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Alright, to set up the test, I cleaned up an old beat-up coffee table that I got for free. Then I took it outside, and taped it off into 3 sections.

Do you Need Primer for Spray Paint?

With this test, I hope to put the age old question to rest! We’ll see if you need to use primer beforehand, or if you can get away with no primer beforehand. We’re not worried about bleedthrough issues since the paint is oil based, but we do want it to stick the best it can!

So I tested out each paint with BIN shellac based primer, 123 primer, and no primer. Also, yep, I didn’t scuff sand this before I primed it either. So many people want to skip the prep and go right into the paint. So that’s how I tested this one out.

Bottles of Bin Shellac spray primer and 123 Primer

I’m really curious to see how it turns out without sanding and priming! I ended up getting a lot of overspray on the no primer part, so I quickly wiped that back off. And then I let the primer dry for 2 hours. The primer felt rough, so I lightly sanded it to smooth it out a bit.

Coffee table with 3 taped off sections  for no primer, BIN shellac primer, and 123 primer

Spraying Paint on Wooden Table

All of the paints were gloss, and black. Except for the 2x that I couldn’t find in my local stores in black. So I settled for dark green instead. Haha (I also did a test to see the best spray chalk paint and how it sticks to laminate and wood furniture without sanding or priming.)

Color Place, Krylon Color Maxx, Rustoleum 2x, Behr, Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel, and Krylon Fusion spray paint cans lined up on coffee table

Before we sprayed each of them, we taped off each section, and shook the cans really well for a couple of minutes each. And then I sprayed the paints on in their respective sections. Within 30 seconds of finishing, I sprayed another coat back over each section.

Best Coverage Aerosol Paint

After the first coat, here are my thoughts. The Color Place and Krylon Fusion didn’t seem to have as good of coverage when compared to the others. Behr paint and primer looked the most impressive to us at this point.

The rest of the paints seemed to be about the same – neither really good or really bad at this point. After 20 more minutes, I sprayed another coat over each section. This time, I paid more attention to how they sprayed and I have to say I really liked the way the Krylon Color Maxx sprayed. The Rustoleum 2X and the Behr sprayed great as well.

Spay paint comparison after two coats were sprayed on a coffee table
Coverage after 1st coat – notice some places are thin

The Krylon Fusion, Color Place, and the Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel didn’t seem to spray as nice and evenly as the others, but they still got the job done. Then after spraying the second coat I left it to dry for a week. Here’s what they all looked like 7 days later.

Spray Paint Sheens

Can you tell that the sheens are a little different between all of them? All the cans are labeled as glossy. But the Behr, Rustoleum 2x and Krylon Color Maxx are glossier than the others. 

Spray paint comparison after drying for seven days
Difference in sheens – all are glossy paint, but some are not as glossy on the wood

Before diving into the scratch test, I removed all of the tape, and I made little labels to help identify what was what. You might notice that the primer came off in some spots when I removed the tape. That’s because I put the tape on so soon after priming, so the primer in those spots never stood a chance.

Krylon Fusion Review

After the first 7 days, the no primer section scratched off very easily. The 123 primer scratched off a little less easily, but some of the scratching took off the primer too. And the BIN primer section only scratched off a little bit, but only scratched off the paint, and not the primer. See the 3 photos below for up close results of each section.

Krylon Fusion paint with no primer scratch test
Krylon Fusion with 123 Primer scratch test
Krylon Fusion with BIN Shellac scratch test

But, after the paint dried for 46 days, it held up so much better than before. I didn’t get any scratching from both of the primer sections. The no primer section scratched a tiny bit. So, if your painted wood gets a lot of use right off the bat, be extra careful. It needs more time to dry to be as durable as it can be!

Krylon Fusion paint on coffee table after 46 days of drying test
After 46 days of drying

As for color options, there are 50+ colors to choose from in at least gloss, satin and flat sheens. But, on the other hand, it didn’t spray as well as some of the other cans of paint did.

Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel Review

After 7 days, the Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel no primer section scratched off very easily. The 123 primer section scratched less easily, and the scratches were down to the wood. But the BIN primer section didn’t really scratch at all! Here’s what it looked like, close up!

Rust-oleum Protective Enamel with no primer scratch test
Rust-oleum Protective Enamel with 123 Primer scratch test
Rust-oleum Protective Enamel with BIN Shellac review

After 46 days of drying, the no primer section continued to scratch. But I had to work really hard to get the 123 primer and BIN primer sections to scratch a tiny bit.

Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel paint on coffee table after 46 day scratch test
Results after 46 days of drying

For me personally, the Rustoleum Protective Enamel with the BIN shellac primer was also a top contender. There are over 50 color options to choose from and it sprayed well, but not as amazing as some of the others. Durability is one of my top factors for if a paint is good or not though, and this paint passes durability for me!

Behr Premium Review

After 7 days of letting Behr Premier Paint and Primer dry, the no primer section scratched off easily, but not as easily as the other no primer sections so far. The 123 primer section left marks, but I had a hard time actually scratching the paint off. And the BIN primer section was the same as the 123 primer section!

It left marks, but I didn’t scratch the paint off much. See the light marks in the paint in the 3 pictures below?

Behr premium spray with no primer test
Behr premium paint and primer paint with 123 Primer scratch test
behr aerosol paint durability test
Behr Spray Paint on coffee table after after 46 day scratch test
Scratch test after 46 days

After drying for over a month, it did about the same as before, but it didn’t leave as many scuffs behind as before! The glossy sheen of this paint is also more true than some of the other options. But, there are only 20 colors to choose from, in either gloss or flat sheens.

Behr Premium paint was probably the best overall. It didn’t hold up well with no primer, but it held up very well with 123 primer and BIN shellac primer.

Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover Review

The Rustoleum 2x was similar to the Krylon Fusion paint. After 7 days, the no primer section scratched easily, except for where the finish on the table was down to bare wood. That part held well. That proves that scuff sanding beforehand definitely helps paint stick better.

The 123 primer section did a little better, but still scratched off, and even took the primer with it. The BIN primer section scratched off some too… and it even took the primer with it. See the 3 photos below for closeups of the results.

Rust-oleum 2X paint with no primer scratch test
Rust-oleum 2X paint with 123 Primer scratched down to the wood in some spots.
Rust-oleum 2x with BIN Shellac durability test

After 46 days it did about the same as before. The best section was the 123 primer, by a little bit. Followed by the BIN primer section. The no primer section was definitely the worst as it still scratched off more.

Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover paint on coffee table after 46 day scratch test
Real durability results after 46 days

Thankfully, the 2x paint comes in over 50 colors, in flat, satin and gloss sheens and is available many places. I did really like the way it sprayed out of the can as well! But, I think there are more durable options than this one.

Krylon Color Maxx

The Krylon Color Maxx in the no primer section scratched off pretty much like the other no primer sections after 7 days of drying. The 123 primer section scratched a little less, but the primer scratched off too.

And the BIN primer section scratched off, but less than the 123 primer section… and still the BIN primer scratched off a little bit too. See the closeup results in the 3 photos below!

Krylon Color Maxx with no primer durability
Krylon Color Maxx with 123 Primer test
Krylon Color Maxx with BIN shellac scratch test

After drying for a month, things didn’t change much for this paint! I love the 50 plus colors to choose from in satin, gloss and flat sheens. And I really like how the Color Maxx sprayed onto the wood surface. It’s also a glossier option than some of the others, when you use the gloss sheen.

Krylon Color Maxx paint on coffee table after 46 day scratch test
Durability results after 46 days

Color Place Scratch Test

Finally, the Color Place aroesol paint. I was blown away. After 7 days of drying, the no primer section barely scratched. And it scratched only where there were scratches on the table before. The 123 primer section didn’t hold up as well, but it took the primer with it. And the BIN primer section held up really well.

It scratched in one spot where there was a scratch on the table before. Can you see it in the photos below??

Color Place spray paint with no primer test
Color Place paint with 123 primer durability
Color Place with BIN Shellac durable test

After drying for 46 days, this paint held up just as well as before. Unfortunately, it only comes in black or white and only in gloss sheen. But, its a very budget friendly option and durable, if that’s what you’re looking for!

Color Place scratch test after 46 day scratch test
Scratch test after 46 days of drying

Please note though that the coverage wasn’t the best, so you may need to buy more cans to get full coverage.

The Best Spray Paint For Wooden Furniture

Overall, the paint and primer scratched more easily in the spots where there were already scratches in the table before being painted. If there weren’t so many scratches, the paint and primer probably would have held up better. I’m sure that sanding out the scratches and sanding to remove the sheen would have helped the paint stick.

Also, if there weren’t scratches in the surface before I painted, that would have helped the paint chip less, because a lot of the scratches were in the exact spots where scratches were in the table.

It’s so hard to compare all of these paints and really choose a winner. There were definitely some that were better than others, but no spray paint made it out of this test without scratching. But still, some paints held better than others.

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Behr Premium paint was probably the best overall. It didn’t hold up well with no primer, but it held up very well with 123 primer and BIN shellac primer. Check out my honest Behr spray paint review to learn more about the features, and pros and cons of this product. Behr is also one of the best spray paint for outdoor metal furniture in my opinion!

Rustoleum Protective Enamel with the BIN shellac primer was also a top contender. After a month of drying, the Krylon Fusion with both primers did very well too. It did decent in the no primer section as well. Check out my comparison between Krylon vs Rustoleum aerosol paints here.

Rustoleum also offers a chalk paint line, head on over to this post to learn all about Rustoleum Chalk Spray Paint.

And then I was completely shocked, but the Color Place, the cheapest of them all, did better than some of these other more expensive paints. With the Color Place, the no primer section, in the end, was by far better than any other no primer section. But it did pretty well in both of the primer sections as well. Especially for a cheaper option!

If you’re looking for recommendations on black spray paint to use on your furniture here’s our list of the best black spray paint for furniture.

For more painted dresser makeovers using spray paint here’s our list of spray paint dresser ideas!

So, what spray paint do you think won overall? Watch the full video of us putting these to the test right here!

Can you Spray Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding?

This test proves that you CAN spray paint wood furniture without sanding. But you will need to prime with a bonding primer beforehand. The areas that were not primed before, for the most part, didn’t hold up very well to a simple scratch test. And even then, where we primed, the results weren’t as good as I had hoped.

The results, no doubt, would have been more durable if we would have taken the time to lightly sand the furniture with 220 grit before priming and painting. Learn more about the importance of sanding before painting furniture here!

We see this where the paint AND primer both scratched off. The sections of the table that were worn down to raw wood adhered better than the sections that had the original finish on them still. So yes, if you want an okay paint job, you can spray wood furniture without sanding. If you want the painted finish to be as durable as possible, you’ll need to sand and prime before spray painting wood furniture.

So if you decide to go the extra mile to get the most durable finish, then check out our post with all the details on how to prepare furniture for painting.

How to Spray Paint Wooden Furniture

I hope that this comparison helps you when you want to paint your wooden furniture. If you’re confused about the exact steps you should take when spray painting furniture, here are the steps I will be taking.

  1. Clean with Krud Kutter
  2. Lightly sand the surface with 220 grit sandpaper to scuff up the surface
  3. Prime with BIN shellac primer
  4. Spray 2 light coats
  5. Spray a compatible polyurethane topcoat to add durability

You might notice I threw the scuff sanding and topcoat in that lineup. I think the results of this test would have turned out better if I would have scuff sanded the table and top coated it. I know from years of experience that scuff sanding always helps paint stick, so it only makes sense that spray paint could really benefit from it too. It will only make your paint job stick better!

Check out this antique dining table that we spray painted gold! You can even get more spray painted furniture ideas here.

Here’s our detailed guide on how to spray paint furniture to learn more about the ins and outs spray painting furniture.

And then top coating with a clear coat could definitely help the paint be more durable. I’m not 100% sure that any topcoat is compatible with all of these different aerosol paint options, so I’m not going to recommend a specific one right now. But most brands also have a clear topcoat available too.

I would read the back of that brand’s (that you are using) topcoat can to make sure it is compatible with the aerosol paint you are using. You can also learn more about topcoats for painting furniture here!

More Furniture Painting Resources

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5 Comments

  1. Jackie M. says:

    Thanks so much for this video. I’m going to try my hand at spray painting an end table for the first time, and this was SUPER helpful.

  2. So which of the spray paints did you feel was the best looking and most durable after the testing?

    1. Hey MK, I left my final thoughts and what paints won near the end of this post. Hope that helps!

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