When it comes to taking an old furniture piece and making it new again, nothing quite does the job like a new coat of paint.
Of course, you might not want to paint your bedroom dresser or dining room China cabinet bright pink. You’d want to go for something more sleek, modern, and easily matched with a wide variety of décor.
An ideal color to paint furniture is black. It blends well with any home décor and hides blemishes or imperfections in the furniture well.
So, what are the best paints for black furniture? The best black furniture paints only need two coats, have a deep finish, are scratch resistant, and go on smoothly. You may also want to consider what finish will look best in your home, whether it’s matte, glossy, or satin.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know to paint your furniture black. Plus, we’ve shared our top 7 black furniture paints to help you get the best one for your project.
Preparing Your Furniture
Before you get started with the primer and paints, you’ll need to prep your furniture. This is an important step that cannot be skipped.
First, take out all drawers and remove all doors. Then, remove any handles, knobs, or hinges. Breaking down your furniture into its core components makes it much easier to work with.
Then you’ll want to clean your furniture. You can simply wipe it down with a wet washcloth or rag and allow it to air dry. Or, if you’re pressed for time, you can run a dry cloth over the surfaces to speed up the drying time.
After your furniture has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, you’ll need to sand it down. When sanding down the surface to paint it, you don’t have to sand it too roughly. The paint will hide whatever is underneath.
Sand the surface until smooth with around 150-220 grit sandpaper. If the furniture piece has existing varnish on it, you may need to use 80-120 grit sandpaper instead.
Most dents and scratches will be hidden with the black paint, but if you’d like, you can fix those before painting. After cleaning, fill in any dents, holes, scratches, or other imperfections with wood filler. This must be done prior to sanding.
After letting the wood filler dry and cure according to label directions, move on to the sanding stage of prep.
How To Paint Furniture Black
Now that you have properly cleaned and sanded your furniture, it’s time to move on to painting! This is the fun part, so let’s get started.
If you’d like, you can paint a layer of primer on your furniture. This step is optional since the paint is black and will cover whatever is underneath anyway, but some people prefer the layer of primer to really help the paint seal.
When considering a primer, there are tinted options out there that are darker and can be a better primer for black paint. There are a few ways you can apply your black paint. You can roll, brush, or spray.
If you’re using a paint roller, you’ll probably also want to have a brush handy to get in those smaller spaces. Either way, start with the larger areas first – the wide sides of your furniture piece.
It’s better to start with the larger spaces, then move on to the smaller details, like the edges.
To reduce paint streaks in your final product, we recommend getting a rounded paint brush with high-quality, soft bristles. If your paint brush has stiff, synthetic bristles, it can leave behind obvious lines and streaks in the paint.
You can also spray on your paint, if you have a paint sprayer handy. This will certainly get the job done quicker, but requires much more prep work to get the space ready since paint will spray within a wide radius.
After you’ve painted the first coat, let the paint dry completely. It’s important to make sure it’s completely dry, because you’ll want to sand between coats. Don’t use rough sandpaper – fine grit of around 300 will do great.
Sanding in between layers ensures smooth application, helps eliminate any air bubbles or hair that may have gotten stuck in the first layer of paint, and produces a nicer final product.
Be sure to wipe down your furniture after sanding to get rid of any dust from the surface. Then, apply your second coat of paint, allowing to dry completely.
Your paint should only need around two coats if it’s a good, solid black. Some people prefer three, which works great too. If you’re adding a third layer, remember to sand after the second coat before applying your final coat.
Finishing Your Furniture
After your paint has thoroughly dried, it’s time to add your sealer or topcoat of choice. There are plenty of options for topcoats, but we recommend an oil-based sealer or lacquer spray topcoat finish.
Apply your topcoat according to the label instructions, keeping in mind the potential toxicity or flammability of the topcoat. Ensure proper ventilation and safety gear are being utilized to avoid dangerous accidents.
A great trick to use when applying your sealer is to pour a little of your clear sealer onto a paper plate, then mix in some of the black paint you used for the furniture with your sealer.
This helps tint the sealer and gives your black furniture an even more solid, glossy, smooth look than before. Allow your sealer or topcoat to cure, reassemble your furniture piece, and replace all knobs, hinges, etc.
Just like that, your old furniture piece is new again!
Pros & Cons To Black Furniture
If you’re considering painting your furniture black but are on the fence about whether this is the right choice, we hear you. Black can be a stark contrast to an otherwise bright and airy room. While this is the goal for some people, for others, it can be an eyesore.
The great thing about black paint is that it hides any imperfections in the furniture. If you have dents, scratches, or scuffs in your furniture, black paint is a great way to hide them and make your furniture look brand new again.
However, just as with black clothes, black furniture is much more obvious when it’s dirty. Any animal hair, dust, dirt, or stains can be obvious on black furniture, meaning you’ll need to clean it more often to keep it looking its best.
This can be a major drawback for people who don’t have time to dust every week, but not that big of a deal to people who don’t have pets and already wipe down their surfaces routinely.
How To Distress Black Painted Furniture
A smooth, glossy, dark paint can make a furniture piece seem sleek and modern. But what if the theme of your décor is more rustic? Don’t worry, you can still paint that old end table black! Here are some tips for distressing painted furniture.
You’ll still start with cleaning and sanding, then your optional primer coat. Next, paint your two (or three) layers of black paint.
Before you get that sealer, though, bring back your 180-220 grit sandpaper. Lightly sand along the edges at the corners and ends of your furniture, wherever you want the distressed accents to be. This will remove the layers of paint and show off the wood underneath.
Be aware, though, that sanding over black paint can leave a kind of chalky look, taking away the dark sheen of the paint. You can try getting the sandpaper a little wet to make this less noticeable, but it will still happen.
Fortunately, your topcoat or sealer will help hide that issue! Once you’ve rubbed away the paint in your desired distressed areas, apply your sealer or topcoat as per the instructions above.
You’re all set! Now you have a piece of black furniture with that classic, distressed look.
Black Paint For Wood Furniture
At this point in the article, you’re fully prepped and ready to take on your furniture painting project. But now, it’s time to pick your black paint!
It may seem like all black paints are the same, but there are tons of options to consider. Chalk-based vs water-based vs latex paint, coal black or licorice or caviar. In a sea of black paints, how do you choose?
The best black paints require only two coats, have a deep finish, and are easily applied to your desired surface.
Paint isn’t always cheap – especially when you’re tackling larger projects like painting two five-drawer dressers, or an entire dining room table that seats eight plus the eight chairs that go with it.
Not just for budgetary reasons, but for time as well, you want a black paint that only needs two coats to achieve the dark, solid look you’re going for.
If you have to spend all day painting five coats of black paint on a table and eight chairs, you’ll turn your weekend project into a month-long project.
Save yourself the time and stress of painting layer after layer after layer after layer and find a paint that needs a minimal amount of coats to achieve the right finish.
There’s nothing more disappointing than painting end tables black, then realizing it’s actually a charcoal grey and now they don’t match the black coffee table you already own.
When searching for a good black paint, you want to make sure it has that deep, dark finish of true black. Unless your goal is to have a grey, smoky looking black, you want to find a paint that’s true to color.
The best way to check if a paint will be true to color is to check reviews with photos from real customers. See how it looks on other people’s furniture before applying it to yours!
To achieve the best look with your black furniture paint, you want to make sure it has a smooth, creamy consistency that can be applied easily. If your finished furniture piece is left with globs, streaks, or uneven patches, then the paint didn’t do its job right.
You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by finding a paint that goes on smoothly to start with so you don’t have to go back and fix it later.
The 7 Best Black Furniture Paints
The 7 paint options we’ve included below are our top recommendations for black furniture paint.
In this list, you’ll find chalk-based, water-based, and latex paint. You’ll find paints that are good for the sleek, modern look and paints that are designed for the matte, distressed look.
Consider what you want your final product to look like, then choose the paint to best help you achieve this look from the list below.
|1.||Shabby Chic Chalk-Based Paint||Matte finish, no primer needed for wood|
|2.||Country Chic Chalk Style Paint||Clay-based, matte finish, quick-drying|
|3.||Fusion Mineral Paint||Natural color, 2-in-1 paint and topcoat|
|4.||General Finishes Milk Paint||Solid coverage, durable acrylic, sprayable|
|5.||Dixie Belle Chalk Finish Paint||Silky finish, durable, no primer required|
|6.||KILZ Tribute Satin Paint||4 finishes, durable, mildew resistant|
|7.||Rust-Oleum Latex Paint||Durable, thick coverage, no primer needed|
1. Shabby Chic Chalk-Based Paint – Black Licorice
Our first option by Shabby Chic is best for those looking to create a matte, distressed look.
Chalk-based should not be confused with chalk paint. This paint is not designed to be written on with chalk, but rather to give that soft, matte finish you often see with chalk paint.
In two size options, you can get as much or as little paint as you need to give your furniture new life without wasting half a can. A little goes a long way!
With this paint, you don’t need a primer layer. It’s ready to be applied directly to your wooden furniture piece and will still give you that deep, solid finish. (If using on metal or surfaces other than wood, a primer coat is still recommended).
2. Country Chic Chalk Style Paint – Liquorice
This Country Chic option also comes in two sizes: a pint or a quart. The Country Chic brand recommends purchasing a pint-sized can for a small dresser, or a quart-sized can for a larger wardrobe.
Although this paint is clay-based, it’s designed to have the same type of finish as chalk-based paint with long-lasting durability.
This brand is a top pick thanks to its great coverage, only needing two coats to get the dark finish we love, and little prep work required. Just as with the Shabby Chic paint, Country Chic doesn’t require a primer. Simply clean, sand, and paint!
One of our favorite qualities to this paint is its quick-drying ability. Each layer only needs 30 minutes to dry! You can get your whole project done in one day with Country Chic paint.
If you’re going for a distressed look, this paint is another fantastic option. It’s extremely easy to distress, but is also very durable and stands up to scuffs and scrapes.
3. Fusion Mineral Paint – Coal Black
This smooth, dark paint is perfect for a solid, sleek look. Fusion Mineral Paint uses natural pigments instead of synthetic ones, which enhances its coverage and allows you to only use one or two coats to get the solid black finish.
Although this paint takes 2-4 hours to dry between each coat, we think it’s worth it, because it doesn’t require a topcoat!
This paint is self-leveling and includes the topcoat polish in its paint mixture. So although the time between layers is longer, you don’t have to spend time adding a topcoat at the end.
(For items in high-traffic areas or that get a lot of use such as coffee tables or dining room tables, we still recommend a topcoat for best results).
Unlike traditional paints, the Fusion Mineral paint is eco-friendly without all the added formaldehyde or ammonia. This makes it easier to breathe in as you work and better for the environment.
4. General Finishes Milk Paint – Lamp Black
General Finishes is a classic paint brand that’s recommended time and time again. Offered in three sizes (pint, quart, or gallon), this paint is an ideal option for those looking to achieve a smooth, dark, solid finish.
The Lamp Black color is a true, deep black. Because the black is so pure, it provides beautiful, solid coverage. Even the wood grain won’t be as distracting or obvious with this paint.
Although it’s labeled as milk paint, this General Finishes paint is actually a durable acrylic paint. It works great for those who are utilizing a spray gun.
Unlike some of the other options on this list, a primer and topcoat are recommended for best results.
5. Dixie Belle Chalk Finish Paint – Caviar
Don’t be fooled by the blue-ish tint of this paint in the can – once painted on, it gives your furniture a beautiful, antique black.
If you’ve watched some DIY videos on YouTube to help you get ready for your project, you may recognize Dixie Belle Paint. It’s a popular brand for many furniture painters, and for good reason.
This paint is high quality and saves you time and money because it doesn’t need sanding or priming. It also comes in three size options: 8 oz., 16oz., or 32oz.
While this brand may seem on the pricier end of the spectrum, it’s definitely well worth it for the finish quality you get. Especially since you only need one coat, depending on the project.
The wax is best for use with legs of tables and chairs, or furniture items that don’t get worn down as much. Gator Hide is a tougher, thicker topcoat designed for tabletops that get high use such as dining room tables or coffee tables.
This paint has a smooth application and a gorgeous, silky finish.
6. KILZ Tribute Satin Paint – Deep Onyx
With finish options of eggshell, matte, satin, or semi-gloss, the KILZ satin paint is sure to be the right fit for whatever project you have in mind.
We recommend choosing the satin finish as this will go well with any furniture piece, regardless of whether you want a smooth or distressed look.
Although this is interior paint typically used on walls, it’s still a great option for painting furniture because it’s built to stand the test of time. With high durability and resistance to mildew, it’s perfect for furniture you want to keep in the family for generations.
With paint and primer in one, you won’t need to use a primer layer prior to applying this paint. Just make sure your surface is clean and free of any dust or dirt.
7. Rust-Oleum Latex Paint – Semi-Gloss Black
Our final option is Rust-Oleum, a top interior paint brand known for great quality. This paint is another option for those looking to use a more durable, thick paint, or wanting to paint a furniture piece for outdoor use.
Just like with the Country Chic paint, this Rust-Oleum paint only needs 30 minutes to dry in between coats, helping you to finish your project even faster.
One of the great things about this option is that it comes in a 6-pack of 8 oz. cans. While this may seem a little silly, it’s actually great to help you save paint.
Only open one can at a time and use it until empty. This prevents you from wasting half of a 32 oz. can on a project you anticipated needing more paint.
For this brand, it’s recommended to sand your surface with 180/200 grit sandpaper, wash with a degreaser, and allow the surface to dry. Then, you’re ready to paint! No primer necessary.
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