There are so many types of furniture paint! How do you know what paint to use on a dresser?
I’ll help you choose the best paint for your DIY dresser makeovers!
Get more furniture makeover ideas here!
What kind of paint to use on wood dresser?
Honestly, it all depends on what you are wanting your dresser to look like in the end.
Are you after a sleek modern look?
Chippy paint look?
It’s best to pick what paint you want to use by first deciding on what you want your dresser to look like.
There are easier, faster, and better options out there to get the look you want, on a budget. Take your pick from this list – with examples and more detail below!
- Latex Paint
- Chalk Paint
- Milk Paint
- Acrylic Paint
- Mineral Paint
- Pigmented Poly
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No Prep Furniture Paint
I want to be super clear from the very beginning. No matter what, if you don’t prep your dresser for paint, you will run the risk of it not sticking to the dresser.
I know a lot of paint companies boast that they are a no prep furniture paint, but that’s just a gimmick to make you want to buy their paint.
You really need to prep your furniture for paint!
If you don’t prep, your painted finish won’t last long at all!
Latex Furniture Paint
Latex paint is the easiest paint to get ahold of locally. It’s in every hardware store. It is made for painting walls.
Yes, it may be a cheap option, but when you add in the primer needed before the latex paint, and then the polyurethane to go on top of the latex paint, it’s not cost-effective, or even easy!
Because of those things, I don’t really recommend latex paint.
But if you’re in a pinch, you CAN paint furniture with latex paint.
Chalk Paint on Furniture
Chalk painted furniture is the hot thing right now. I got the chalk painting bug a few years ago, and it’s one reason why I’m painting and selling furniture now.
Chalk paint is one of those paints that have claimed to be a no prep furniture paint.
And to be honest, it does a great job of sticking to most furniture. But if there is any shine or slickness to your furniture, it can and will easily scratch off.
Sidenote: Country Chic Paint is my favorite chalk style paint. They are a very generous company, and their eco-friendly paint line has such pretty colors. The paint itself has great bonding properties and is so easy to use.
Chalk paint doesn’t require a primer like latex paint does, but it’s super porous, which means that it will suck up any water, oil, stains, or basically anything super easily.
So if you want to be able to easily wipe food or grime off of it, it has to be sealed.
You can seal any chalk paint with water-based polyurethane, hemp oil or wax. My preference is in that order. Water-based poly being the most durable of them all. Here are some ways to seal chalk paint.
What Paintbrush to use with Chalk Paint
Honestly, you can use anything from a dollar store paintbrush to an expensive Annie Sloan paintbrush. Each brand of paint has its own paintbrush that they say work best with their paint. But in all reality, you can paint with any brush that you want.
A dollar store paintbrush will do the job, but it will also create more texture with brush marks in your finish than other paintbrushes.
My personal favorite paintbrush for Country Chic Paint is their Painting Sponge. It helps get rid of brush marks when you thin the paint out a bit, but it also makes it really easy to get into details and paint spindles.
The painting sponge is also really really amazing for applying polyurethane topcoat to chalk paint!
How to Make Chalk Paint
For a budget-friendly option, you can make homemade chalk paint!
After using homemade chalk paint for a few years, this is my favorite homemade chalk paint recipe.
Favorite Chalk Paint Dresser Makeovers
- His and Hers Mismatched Grey Dressers
- How to Add Raised Embossing to Dresser Drawers
- Paint Dipped Dresser in Teal
- Deep Green Chalk Painted Dresser
- Teal Highboy Dresser with Dark Stained Legs
Painting Furniture with Milk Paint
What is milk paint?
Milk Paint is another one of my favorite paints for furniture!
Milk paint makes your furniture look old!
It is used to create an old-world look, a chippy painted finish or even a solid painted finish.
Milk Paint comes in a powdered form, so you have to mix it with water before you can paint.
I love milk paint for how unique it is. It’s the easiest way to make your dresser have a chippy finish.
And the way that it dries just makes it look like the dresser has been painted for years and years.
The best milk paint for furniture is Shackteau Interiors Milk Paint. It mixes up really smooth, she has great customer service, and she actually paints with her milk paint every day!
You can watch her Instagram stories to see what I mean. She’s actually the number one person that I watch on Instagram!
I’ve also used Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint with great results.
This milk paint is not the same as General Finishes Milk Paint. More about that later (in the Acrylic Furniture Paint section).
What Paintbrush to use with Milk Paint
Again, you can use any paintbrush that you want, but my very favorite for milk paint is the Zibra paintbrush line! They are easily found at Home Depot or Amazon.
But the best thing about Zibra paintbrushes is that they come in different shapes. The round brush is nice for spindles and getting into details and tends to be my very favorite!
If you really want a true brush-free finish with chalk paint, learn how to spray paint a dresser with chalk paint here!
Favorite Milk Painted Furniture
- Mustard Yellow Chippy Dresser
- Black Milk Painted Dresser
- Easy DIY Teal Dresser with Floral Transfer
- Emerald Green Painted Dresser: How to Paint with Milk Paint
Chalk Paint Vs Milk Paint
Comparing chalk paint to milk paint is like comparing apples to oranges. They are two different things.
But we get this question all the time.
They are both great types of furniture paint, but the finish that they create is different.
Some of the biggest differences between chalk paint and powdered milk paint are:
- Chalk paint comes pre-mixed, while milk paint comes in a powder form.
- Chalk paint creates a solid color finish, while milk paint has variations of color.
- Milk paint is known for the chippy finish it can create while chalk paint is known for an opaque finish.
Some of the biggest similarities between chalk paint and powdered milk paint are:
- Both are easy to use.
- Both are very porous and need to be sealed with either water-based polyurethane, hemp oil or wax.
- Both can be distressed easily.
Acrylic Furniture Paint
I’m really not sure why they call it milk paint, because it’s nothing like the real thing (the powdered form of milk paint).
General Finishes Milk Paint comes in a pre-mixed liquid form (like most paint does), unlike the real milk paint.