Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Jet Stream in Satin on Bed, Ocean Spray in Semi-Gloss on bench

Furniture makeovers are one of the most popular DIY projects, and a quality paint job is key to a great furniture transformation. Painting furniture is easier than completely refinishing and offers more opportunities to be creative. Whether you're giving new life to a vintage find or customizing new furniture, choosing the right type of paint is essential for a durable and attractive finish. Should you use latex, oil or acrylic paint? Is chalk paint a good idea? Since there's a lot of conflicting advice out there, we've put together this guide to help you find the best furniture paint. Read on for the pros and cons of different types of paint, and find out what really is the best paint for furniture.

How is furniture paint different from wall paint?

Chairs painted in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Wild Flower 2090-40Chairs painted in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Wild Flower 2090-40

Furniture gets far more wear and tear than walls, so the surface needs to be very durable. Standard wall paint in general finishes like eggshell will not be durable enough. When furniture is in daily use, furniture paint should be moisture-resistant and cleanable to protect it from spilled drinks and fingerprints. Glossy paint finishes like satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss form a harder surface and are easier to wipe down.

The Best Furniture Paint: Benjamin Moore ADVANCE

Originally created for kitchen cabinets, ADVANCE alkyd paint by Benjamin Moore makes an excellent furniture paint because it’s durable, washable and can be easily touched up when needed. This high-quality paint combines the benefits of oil and water-based paints in a formula that’s safe for your family. Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Interior paint also offers over 3,500 designer color options in high gloss, semi-gloss and satin finishes.

LEFT: Chairs painted in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Cedar Green 2034-40, bench in ADVANCE Satin, Gray Owl OC-52; RIGHT: Bed painted in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Satin, Smoke 2122-40LEFT: Chairs painted in ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Cedar Green, bench in ADVANCE Satin, Gray Owl; RIGHT: Bed painted in ADVANCE Satin, Smoke

Here are few more reasons we think ADVANCE Paint will become your favorite furniture paint:

Hides Brush Strokes

ADVANCE paint makes it easier to paint furniture without leaving brushstrokes. It has a high level of flow and is self-leveling, which means it flows into small crevices to create a smooth surface. This superior leveling ability makes it easy to create a professional-grade furniture finish. You can apply ADVANCE paint with a brush, roller or paint sprayer.

Rich and Lasting Color

ADVANCE paint contains a higher quantity of volume solids than many competitor brands — between 37% and 40%. This means that it has more binders and pigments to provide better coverage and hide surface imperfections. This adds to the product’s durability and provides richer, more vibrant colors.


Sampling furniture colors?

Try our favorite designer tip for testing paint swatches! Paint poster boards with Benjamin Moore paint sample of all the colors you’re considering; then place it where you plan to put your painted furniture to observe the color and sheen in your home’s lighting conditions.

Stain-Blocking Coverage

ADVANCE paint’s stain-blocking technology easily covers blemishes on old furniture. Just prepare your furniture by cleaning, sanding, and then priming before painting. For the best coverage, use ADVANCE as a topcoat over Fresh Start High-Hiding All-Purpose Primer, which seals stains that are hard to cover.

LEFT: Chair and table painted in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Twilight Zone 2127-10; RIGHT: Chairs in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Coral Gables 2010-40LEFT: Chair and table painted in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Twilight Zone 2127-10; RIGHT: Chairs in Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss, Coral Gables 2010-40

Fast Drying Formula

Like latex paint, ADVANCE alkyd paint is dry to the touch in 4-8 hours. This is much faster than oil-based paints which take over 24 hours to dry. ADVANCE paint is ready to recoat after 16 hours. However it can take 14 days to fully cure, so avoid washing the furniture surface for the first few weeks.

Alt text: customer’s 5-star review of Benjamin Moore ADVANCE paint

Because of its no-chip finish, we believe Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Waterborne Alkyd Paint is the best furniture paint on the market. With the right paint formula and a little creativity, you can transform your furniture into stunning statement pieces that reflect your individual style.

Chairs painted with Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss in Bahaman Sea BlueChairs painted with Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Semi-Gloss in Bahaman Sea Blue

Ring’s End carries Benjamin Moore ADVANCE paints in-store and online, conveniently shipping anywhere in the U.S. For more helpful tips on selecting paint products, check out our Interior Paint Guide. Our paint professionals are ready and waiting to answer any questions you have about your paint project. Chat with us online, or text us at (203) PRO-HELP.

Types of Furniture Paint

Chalk Paint


Easy to Apply
Primer not always required
Chalky, matte aesthetic
Easy to create distressed look


Requires top coat
Easily damaged and scuffed
Limited color selection
Cannot be sprayed


Chalk paint has become popular for DIY furniture painting projects because of its thick coverage. You’ve probably seen it at the local hardware store in liquid or powder form. This kind of paint is popular for home decor and upcycling projects because it requires less prep work and has a fast dry time. It can’t be sprayed on, so you’ll need to use a roller or paint brush, which may leave brush marks. Adding chalk to the paint makes it far less durable. Chalk paint sands off so quickly that a distressed, heirloom look is easy to achieve, and sandpaper quickly removes drips. For a chalk-painting project to last, it needs a top coat of durable polyurethane sealer. This adds a second coat to the process, so chalk paint isn’t necessarily the time-saver it appears to be.

If you want your piece of furniture to have the chalky look of vintage milk paint, chalk paint is simple to use. Just remember it won’t create a durable finish; even mild wear (like taking a book off a shelf) will damage the surface over time. Chalk paint is only available in limited paint colors and a matte finish. It’s not suitable for outdoor furniture or table tops.

Latex Paint


Quick drying
Wipable finishes
Wide color selection
Soap and water cleanup



Requires multiple coats
Interior use only
Must use a specialty primer coat
Less durable than alkyd paints


Latex paint, also known as water-based paint, is a popular choice for furniture painting. It’s available in thousands of colors, dries quickly to a smooth finish and cleans up easily with soap and water. You’ll find latex paints in satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes. These glossy sheens can be wiped down more easily and resist staining much better than a flat finish. Latex spray paint makes painting a piece of furniture faster and easier while eliminating brush strokes.

However, when using latex paint on furniture, it’s crucial to prepare the surface first. Sand the entire piece thoroughly to de-gloss the old finish and apply a primer that’s designed for latex paint. This step improves the paint’s adhesion to the surface, which helps to prevent chipping or peeling over time. For the most durable paint job, follow the primer with two coats of paint. If you want to use latex paint for furniture, choose a formula that’s intended for high-wear surfaces like cabinetry and trim.

Oil-Based Paint


Very durable once fully cured
Hides brush marks


Requires multiple coats
Strong fumes pollute indoor air
Colors can yellow over time
Solvents required for cleanup

For centuries, oil-based paint was considered the best paint for furniture because of its exceptional durability and smooth finish. Superior leveling makes it easy to avoid brush marks, and it cures to a hard surface. However, oil paint is a highly polluting product; it has strong fumes and continues to off-gas chemicals known as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the home even after it dries. It also requires flammable solvents for clean up. Over the past few decades oil paints fell out of favor as latex paint became more durable, and new alkyd paint formulas offer the same performance in a much safer, non-VOC product. Today there is no reason to use oil-based paints in a residential setting.

Solid Wood Stain


Durable finish
Protects against moisture
Covers in 1-2 coats
Latex formulas clean up with water


Exterior use only
Must be brushed on

If you’re painting outdoor furniture, it’s important to have extra protection from the weather. A solid wood stain resembles a painted finish but has the added protection of a stain. While paint sits on the surface, wood stain penetrates deep to create a durable finish that resists moisture and protects against mildew, peeling, and stains. Benjamin Moore’s Woodluxe Solid Stain is ideal for painting outdoor furniture. It has excellent color retention and is available in all 3,500+ Benjamin Moore paint colors.

Alkyd Paint


As durable as oil paint
Will not yellow over time
Hide brush strokes
Very low odor, no harmful VOCs
Soap and water cleanup


Interior use only
Costs more than latex paint

Alkyd paint is a water-based formula that's engineered to perform like an oil-based paint. It's as durable as oil paint, but will not yellow over time the way oil does. Alkyd formulas provide superior coverage in fewer coats, with almost no odor and low VOCs; and they clean up with soap and water. Like oil paint, alkyd paint has an extended open time (the period in which imperfections on a fresh coat of paint can be fixed). Once it is cured, alkyd paint matches the performance of oil based paint, creating a hard, water-resistant finish that’s durable enough for living room furniture.

Benjamin Moore ADVANCE paint is a water-based alkyd enamel paint that offers premium quality and lasting performance in three durable sheens. ADVANCE paint is the professional’s favorite because of its easy application, superior coverage and smooth finish.

Furniture Paint FAQs

Do I have to prime furniture before painting it?

What is the best paint for furniture without sanding?

Is acrylic or latex paint better for wood furniture?

Can furniture paint be sprayed?