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Choosing the Best Paint for Furniture & How to Test with Samplize

    At Samplize, we obviously love beautifully painted walls, but they’re not the only way to add color to a space. Painting furniture is a powerful decorating tactic. It can lend a rustic touch to modern decor, add a bold splash to more antique aesthetics, and bring new life to that desk, chair, or table that’s seen better days. It’s also a great way to make your mark on an office, apartment, or dorm room that you’re not allowed to paint.  

    But before you break out the brushes, you’ll need to make two key choices: the type of paint, and the color. Read on to discover the best paint types for furniture, and how you can use Samplize to make absolutely sure you’ll love the color you go with.   

    Furniture Paint Varieties

    You have a lot of options when it comes to paint types that work well with furniture. Your choice will depend on the kind of furniture you want to paint, how simple or complicated you want the process to be, and the kind of finish you want. Let’s cover the best furniture paint varieties. 

    Chalk-Based Paint

    This water-based paint type will adhere easily to almost any furniture surface. It also requires very little prep, though adding a sealer at the end is important for durability. It finishes flat and is great for revamping old furniture (or making new furniture look more vintage).

    Mineral Paint

    This paint type is made using natural minerals mixed with a binder and a solvent. It’s durable and adheres well to almost any furniture surface with minimal prep work. It has a matte finish, which is ideal for a rustic, antique, or distressed look. 

    Urethane Enamel Paint

    This water-based enamel paint type is a good choice if you're looking for a durable and long-lasting finish that retains its color over time. Be aware that it usually has a strong odor that requires adequate ventilation during application and drying. It also tends to require more coats and takes longer to dry. 

    Acrylic Paint

    This water-based paint type comes in a wide array of colors and is great for a more modern finish. It dries quickly, is durable, and can often be used with or without a primer, depending on the surface you’re painting.


    painting wood furniture


    Types of Paint to Avoid When Painting Furniture

    Clearly there are many good paint types to choose from, but there are even more types to avoid. We recommend steering clear of the following:

    High Gloss Paints Without Proper Prep

    High gloss paints aren’t inherently bad for furniture, but smooth application and adhesion requires meticulous surface prep. Without good sanding and priming, high gloss finishes can highlight imperfections and tend to peel and chip.

    Non-Furniture or Non-Cabinet Formulated Paints

    Why to Avoid: Paints not specifically formulated for furniture or cabinets may not offer the hardness and durability required for surfaces that are frequently used or touched. This includes some types of artist’s acrylics and craft paints, which may not stand up to regular use and cleaning.

    Cheap or Low-Quality Paints

    We’re all for keeping projects on budget, but furniture paint is not the place to cut costs. Low-quality paints lack the pigmentation, adhesion, and durability you want for furniture painting. Poor coverage will mean more coats, and you’ll likely end up repainting frequently to cover wear and tear. 

    Spray Paint (Maybe)

    There are conflicting opinions on using spray paint on wooden furniture. Some advise against it, as it often won’t result in the kind of finish and durability you want on nicer pieces. That said, it is quick to apply, quick to dry, and it can make it easier to paint tricky areas that a brush might struggle to access. Keep in mind that sanding and priming will probably be necessary to achieve good adherence. Multiple coats will likely be needed, overspray can lead to a mess, and you’ll need proper ventilation to deal with the fumes. If none of that deters you, spray away.  

    How to Choose Furniture Paint Color with Samplize

    Time for the fun part: choosing your colors. It’s fun when you use Samplize, that is. It’s also economical, convenient, and gloriously free of messes. Here’s how it works: 

    Step One: Choose Your Samples  

    Start by browsing our huge collection of paint colors, starting here. You can go with our bundles, or handpick a stack of samples in just a few minutes. Finish your order, and your samples will arrive on your doorstep the next day. 

    Step Two: Peel and Stick 

    Your samples will be painted (not printed) with two coats of paint, so you’ll be able to really see how the paint will look in various conditions. All you do is peel a sample and stick it onto the furniture. They’ll go on easily on the (non-upholstered) seat of a chair, the top of a side table, the drawer of a cabinet, etc.

    Step Three: Dream, Deliberate, Decide

    This is our favorite part. Walk around the furniture. Turn the lights on and off, draw the curtains, wait for sunset, light some candles—explore how each color presents in each condition. If you don’t fall in love, just repeat steps one and two until you find the color you absolutely must use. 

    The end result is you finding the exact color you want for your furniture, with no mess or hassle. Fun, right? Click here to give it a try. 


    best furniture paint samples


    Neutral Furniture Paint Colors

    Looking for inspiration in your quest for the perfect color? Here are some places to start if you’re looking for something nice and neutral.


    Pure white is crisp and clean—great for contemporary or minimalist decor styles. Off-white leans more ivory or cream, adding warmth and subtle elegance.


    Warmer beige tones can be cozy and inviting without overpowering other elements in your decor. Cooler beige offers a more sophisticated vibe that’s still calming and understated.


    Light gray is subtle, ideal for creating a serene and modern atmosphere. Charcoal gray adds depth and even a little drama—the bolder side of sophisticated.


    Taupe feels timeless, adding warmth and depth and can fit a huge variety of aesthetics.


    wood surfaces with neutral paint


    Vibrant Furniture Paint Colors

    If you want to make more of a statement with your furniture paint, consider these directions. 

    Sunny Yellow

    Capture a bit of sunshine with this vibrant color. Great for adding a playful energy.


    This blend of orange and pink radiates warmth and good feeling to contemporary or traditional spaces.


    A nice bright turquoise brings a cheerful and easygoing vibe. Pair it with white for a hint of the tropical.


    Tangerine brings zesty energy and is known to stimulate creativity. Not recommended for napping furniture..

    Emerald Green

    This rich jewel tone creates a sense of luxury and plays well in modern and traditional decor.

    Lime Green

    This bright, refreshing color infuses youth and energy. Great for creative spaces.

    Cobalt Blue

    This vibrant, clean blue is great if you want to add a splash of color to a neutral space.

    Electric Blue

    Electric blue adds a dynamic and futuristic edge and is great for modernizing older furniture.


    This combination of red and purple is perfect for adding an intense pop to neutral rooms.

    Hot Pink

    Fearless and fun, this color is energy. Add it to more neutral spaces for a statement nobody will miss.


    orange coat of paint on wood furniture


    Soft-Toned Furniture Paint Colors 

    For a more understated look that adds personality, check out these possibilities.

    Soft Gray

    This gentler gray is versatile and timeless and is great for opening up a smaller space.

    Pastel Blue

    This tranquil and airy color is ideal in spaces you want to feel calming.

    Sage Green

    With its muted and earthy tones, this color evokes nature and can be wonderfully soothing.

    Dusty Rose

    This muted pink adds warmth and a romantic touch without feeling overwhelming.


    This color offers warmth and elegance. Great for softening an otherwise bold space. 


    A soft lavender brings a peaceful and soothing vibe, perfect for inducing relaxation. Ideal for bedroom furniture or accent pieces in a living area.

    Pale Yellow

    This subdued and pale color can gently brighten things up without making you squint.

    Light Taupe

    This is a warm choice that can add depth and sophistication to modern or traditional interiors.

    Sky Blue

    This fresh and light color can bring airiness and calm, especially to smaller spaces.

    Mint Green

    This crisp color can add a clean and refreshing touch, invigorating without overwhelming.

    Ready to Get Started?

    Clearly there’s a lot to consider when preparing to paint furniture, but don’t let it overwhelm you. An easy place to start is picking a few samples to try. Once you’re in love with a color, the rest will feel less daunting and more exciting. 

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