If you’re planning a makeover of your home’s interior, you may be considering painting some of your furnishings. If that’s the case, you need to consider using chalk paint. And, of course, you’ll want to be sure to use the best chalk paint for furniture.
Chalk paint will impart a matte finish to furniture and is particularly useful in creating a “distressed” or “shabby chic” look. But the major selling point of chalk paint is that sanding or priming isn’t necessarily required before applying it.
Read on for our choices of the best chalk paint for furniture and some tips on using it in your DIY furniture-painting project.
Our Top Picks
Retique It® by Renaissance
Amy Howard Home One-Step Chalk Paint for Furniture
With a 53-color palette from which to choose, Amy Howard One-Step Chalk Paint for Furniture can help you accentuate the existing look of your home and furnishings or take them in a refreshing new direction.
But the color palette is just one reason Amy Howard One-Step has earned our best overall ranking among chalk paint for furniture. This paint isn’t limited to just transforming your wood furniture. It can be used on various surfaces, from glass to fabric to iron and even concrete.
Additionally, Amy Howard One-Step contains no volatile organic compounds, and it cleans up with water, two more reasons it made our list of best chalk paint for furniture.
- Great for “upcycling” projects
- Matte finish hides blemishes in furniture
- Paint has a lingering smell that may be unpleasant for some users
- May set up unevenly
- Shades depicted on cans may not exactly match the paint color
Best Premium Option
Retique It® by Renaissance
Retique It® by Renaissance is an excellent choice of chalk paint for a high-quality chalk finish with silky character. But the high-quality finish you’ll get with Retique It® is far from the only reason it has our recommendation as the premium option for the best chalk paint.
Particularly if you have young children in your household, you’ll appreciate the fact that Retique It® is non-toxic, containing no volatile organic compounds and producing no odor. Those properties, of course, also make Retique It® very safe for indoor use.
In terms of application, Retique It® goes on thick and will produce even coverage. It will dry in 30 minutes, so even if you need or want a second coat, your DIY furniture-painting project won’t take an inordinate amount of time.
- Self-leveling coverage
- Great for beginners to use
- Easy clean-up
- Matte finish may not appeal to all users
- Colors may go on lighter than expected
- May be streaky when applied
Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Acrylic Paint
If it’s important that your DIY furniture-painting project be finished after just one coat, you should choose Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Acrylic Paint. This paint has made our list of options for the best chalk paint for furniture for its one-coat coverage, its sheen, and other qualities.
In terms of sheen, this Rust-Oleum paint dries to a velvet-like finish. Plus, if you’re redoing more than one piece of furniture in the same color, you should know that a single can of Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte chalked paint will cover 150 square feet. It dries to the touch within 30 minutes, and clean-up is easy.
- No odor
- Economical way to transform decor pieces
- Great value
- May have some issues with mixing to the proper consistency
- May need more than one coat to cover
- May dry darker than indicated color
Best Budget Option
FolkArt Acrylic Chalk Paint
If you have just a small project, FolkArt Acrylic Chalk Paint is our recommendation as the budget-conscious option for the best chalk paint for furniture. Sold in 8-ounce containers, most often at slightly more than $1 per ounce, FolkArt paint nonetheless provides a beautiful “ultra-matte” finish.
FolkArt chalk paint covers wood, glass, metal, terra cotta, and other surfaces. It is available in a variety of colors, including interesting shades of pink, blue, green, yellow, and even a currant shade. And if you’re aiming for a shabby chic look, FolkArt chalk paint is easy to distress.
- Great finished texture
- Easy application
- May be too thick for some users to work with
- Mixing may be an issue
- Colors may not exactly match labels
Best Spray Option
Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Spray Paint
Combining the designer look of matte-finish chalk paint with the convenience of spray application has earned Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Spray Paint a place on our listing of the best chalk paint for furniture.
A single can of this Rust-Oleum chalk paint will cover up to 12 square feet, making it ideal for smaller furniture-painting projects. Plus, this Rust-Oleum paint can complete your project with just one coat, drying to the touch in 20 minutes.
And when your refurbished piece of furniture is dry, you’ll notice both its velvet-like finish and the fact that it has hidden any imperfections in its surface.
- Good for covering metal items
- Smooth finish
- Levels well while drying
- May be too thin for some projects
- Paint smell may linger for some time
- Application may be somewhat spotty
Best Chalk Paint for Furniture Buyer’s Guide
The most important thing to know about choosing the best chalk paint is that there is no industry standard for it. Called “chalked” paint by some manufacturers and “chalky” paint by others, the quality, texture, and sheen of what is most familiarly called chalk paint will vary between manufacturers.
You can get some ideas from your local paint or home improvement store about how a particular brand of chalk paint might look on your furniture. But your best option for a satisfactory project will be to try samples of various paints on the item you plan to paint before making a final choice.
Beyond color, you’ll also want to choose a sheen that achieves your desired look. Chalk paints generally dry to a matte or flat finish, but actually seeing the degree of flatness you’ll get from a particular brand can help you make the best decision for your project.
As a final bit of guidance, be sure to check the thickness of the chalk paints you’re considering for your project. In general, thicker paints will be more durable.
Best Chalk Paint for Furniture Frequently Asked Questions
It’s certainly possible that you may still have questions about choosing the best chalk paint for furniture as you consider your own DIY furniture-painting project. Read on for some additional guidance on choosing and using the best chalk paint for your planned furniture-painting project.
Is there really no need for surface preparation when using chalk paint?
As you’ve already learned, one of the great things about using chalk paint to refurbish a piece of furniture is that there is no need for surface preparation before starting the job. That’s certainly true enough, but there are some instances where some preparation can be helpful.
For instance, you’ll routinely want to give your piece of furniture a quick wipe-down with a damp rag just to get the dust off of it. And if, for instance, your piece of furniture has any particularly deep gouges, you may want to use some wood filler to even things out before painting.
Also, if your piece of furniture is oily to the touch, you might consider wiping it down with odorless mineral spirits and letting it dry before painting.
As a final hint, if you plan on changing any furniture hardware — handles, drawer pulls, etc.- you should sand down any areas where the old hardware has left indentations in the piece before painting it.
Which is best, spray chalk paint or brush chalk paint?
You can use either spray paint (or a sprayer) or a brush or roller to apply chalk paint. Your decision regarding the best chalk paint will depend on the look you want to achieve with your repainting project. If you want a sleek appearance, a sprayer is best, while with a brush, you can leave stroke marks on the furniture piece for a more rustic look.
On a related note, if your aim is to get the job done quickly, you should opt for spray paint. Particularly if you’re painting a piece of furniture with a lot of carved features, panels, and other indentations, spray paint will get into those areas more quickly and completely.
Can chalk paint be used on things other than furniture?
Even if you don’t have a piece of furniture on which you’d like to try chalk paint, plenty of other home decor items can be used to give a new look to your indoor surroundings.
If you’re not ready to tackle a DIY furniture-painting project, try chalk paint on picture frames, bowls, vases, trays, lampshades, or overhead light fixtures.
Wrapping up the Best Chalk Paint for Furniture
As you’ve learned, chalk paint can be a great way to bring some new life to your home decor. In particular, our recommended overall best chalk paint, Amy Howard Home One-Step Chalk Paint for Furniture, can give your DIY furniture-painting project a professional touch.