What is the Best Black Paint for Wood Furniture? (2024)

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Searching for a true black paint that will endure regular usage can be a challenge. Most options do not give a rich black shade, and some even turn grey and dull over time!

For a truly opaque and lasting pigment, I’ll share the best black paints for wood furniture I’ve been using for years—great for furniture makeover or new pieces! 

Premium Option
Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black
Editor’s Choice
General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint
Budget Option
Country Chic Paint - Chalk Style All in One Paint
Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black
General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint
Country Chic Paint - Chalk Style All in One Paint
• Easy to apply and self-leveling
• 100% acrylic
• Non-toxic
• Matte finish type
• Lead-free
• 500ml Covers up to 75sq ft
• High-adhesion
• Zero VOC colorants
• Flat, low-luster sheen and premixed
• Self-sealing
• Extremely durable premium paint
• Satin finish
• Built in primer and top coat
• Chalky Matte Finish
• Easy to distress
• No harsh chemicals
• Safe for children’s furniture
Premium Option
Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black
Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black
• Easy to apply and self-leveling
• 100% acrylic
• Non-toxic
• Matte finish type
• Lead-free
• 500ml Covers up to 75sq ft
Editor’s Choice
General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint
General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint
• High-adhesion
• Zero VOC colorants
• Flat, low-luster sheen and premixed
• Self-sealing
• Extremely durable premium paint
• Satin finish
Budget Option
Country Chic Paint - Chalk Style All in One Paint
Country Chic Paint - Chalk Style All in One Paint
• Built in primer and top coat
• Chalky Matte Finish
• Easy to distress
• No harsh chemicals
• Safe for children’s furniture

Reviews of the Top Black Paints for Furniture

1. General Finishes Water-Based Milk Paint in Lamp Black

This water-based milk paint is reliable for its durability and longevity. As a self-sealing paint, it stands up well to the everyday spills and minor bumps that come with regular use.

The General Finishes Water-Based Milk Paint in Lamp Black is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality. The Lamp Black shade is versatile enough for both interior and exterior projects, from revamping raw wood to furniture upcycling.

You can apply this paint using various methods—from a roller, brush, or spray—to achieve great results. Its finish is a low-luster sheen that lasts. The low odor and lack of VOCs make it safe for kids and pets, and it has self-leveling properties.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black

The Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black is a great option if you want a darker shade. It is an all-in-one paint that’s easy to use, which is suitable for both professional and amateur painters. 

This 100% acrylic paint is self-leveling. But it requires a wet brush and sanding between coats for a smooth finish. It’s non-toxic and lead-free, with low VOCs. The paint does not emit a strong odor, making it a kid-friendly option. 

The Fusion Mineral covers well, requiring only two coats. It has a long-lasting effect, but it takes three weeks to cure, which is typical for water-based paints.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Country Chic Paint Chalk Style All in One Paint in Liquorice

This Country Chic Paint Chalk Style All in One Paint in Liquorice provides a rustic, sharp look. It’s an all-in-one solution with built-in primer and topcoat suitable for a variety of surfaces. If you want to paint furniture black while achieving a luster finish, I highly recommend this product.

This particular paint is marketed towards artistic mothers and is certified toy-safe by European toy safety standards. No harsh chemicals are present, with a mild, pleasant smell.  

The only downside here is the price. But it’s worth it, given the included primer and topcoat. However, the paint may not be as durable as water-based polyurethane and may still require a final finish.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. Retique It Chalk Furniture Paint by Renaissance DIY in 08 Midnight Black

The Retique It Chalk Furniture Paint by Renaissance DIY in 08 Midnight Black is perfect for DIY enthusiasts as it’s easy to use. Ideal for cabinets, and indoor and outdoor furniture, it dries to midnight black in just 30 minutes. It requires only a wax coating; no primer is necessary. 

The single coat application allows for distressing if desired, and cleanup is a breeze with just water and soap. You can use this acrylic paint with a chalk finish on any surface, which provides a thick, even coat for a complete furniture transformation.

It’s eco-friendly with low VOCs and odor. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and safe for kids. Overall, it is a versatile paint and I highly recommend it for various arts and crafts projects.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. General Finishes Water-Based Enduro Black Poly

The General Finishes Water-Based Enduro Black Poly is a top-notch combination of faux paint and polyurethane, resulting in a durable and stunning black finish. 

The Enduro black poly is ideal for millwork and cabinets. With its urethane blend, you won’t need to apply a topcoat as it already offers ample protection from water, scratches, and chemicals.

You won’t need a primer, and with just two coats, you get a solid finish. It’s quick to dry, though for optimal results, I’d suggest a light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper between coats. Although packaged in a plastic jug, the quality of the finish isn’t compromised and results in a smooth, low-gloss surface.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. Krylon K02754007 Fusion All-in-One Spray Paint, Black

The Krylon K02754007 Fusion All-in-One Spray Paint in Black stands out for its user-friendliness and the sleek, even finish it provides. With its exceptional adhesion, you can use it for numerous projects and materials. Plus, its fast drying time is a major convenience.

The matte black furniture paint and the finish do not drip or run, which you can use on various projects indoors and outdoors. It’s a reliable paint for refinishing furniture and rust protection.   

On the downside, the coverage is limited to 25 sq ft per can, and it’s a solvent-based spray. It requires well-ventilated areas and must be kept away from children and pets.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. Shabby Chic Chalked Furniture Paint in Black Liquorice

The Shabby Chic Black Liquorice Chalked Furniture Paint is perfect for those who appreciate unique design and art. With a vintage look in mind, this paint is popular for creating a distressed furniture appearance. 

Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, it’s water-based, providing good coverage. The formula also has low VOCs, minimal odor, and free from harmful substances like phthalates, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and solvents. 

This versatile paint can be used on so many furniture and surfaces, including plastic, wood, metal, and stone. It only requires two coats without the need for primer. Plus, the brush strokes that are integral to its vintage charm mean that sanding isn’t required, streamlining the entire creative process.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

8. Dixie Belle Paint Company Chalk Finish Furniture Paints in Caviar

The Dixie Belle Paint Company’s Chalk Finish Furniture Paint in Caviar is a real hit for its user-friendliness. It’s particularly popular with beginners and DIY enthusiasts due to its no-fuss application.

There’s no need for a primer or sanding between coats and only one coat can suffice, given that the paint surface is dark and properly cleaned. The only requirement after is wax, which may take up to three coats. 

It’s non-toxic, dries rapidly, releases no VOCs, and offers good coverage. An 8 oz jar covers 38 sq ft, which is 20% more than average. Also, I like how its matte finish is easy to distress.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

9. Rust-Oleum 1974730-6PK Painter's Touch Latex

This is a well-respected household paint brand. Despite its affordability, the Rust-Oleum 1974730-6PK Painter’s Touch Latex is a reliable choice. Its water-based acrylic formula can be used on different surfaces, including wood and unglazed ceramics, even without a primer. 

Simply sand, degrease, and paint the surface, and you’re done! Also, this latex paint offers good protection and resists chipping without a topcoat. A small can cover 30 sq ft, making it ideal for multiple pieces of furniture.

Drying time is also quick, with a touch-dry time of 30 minutes. With this, you can complete projects quickly with the right conditions.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Black Paints for Wood Furniture: Buyer’s Guide

The best black paint for wood furniture should give your piece or project a fresh appearance and finish, so it’s important to consider the following factors:

Adhesion

Painting furniture can be difficult due to poor adhesion, but it’s not necessary to use a primer if the paint has good adhesion. The paints listed have high adhesion and don’t require a primer or topcoat, but you can still use one to reduce the number of paint coats needed.

Finish

When searching for black furniture paints, the appearance you desire for your wooden furniture should be the first consideration. The paints on the list come in different sheen levels, and some, like the Shabby Chic, provide a weathered look. 

For a modern feel, a chalk mineral paint finish is often desired for cabinets and vanities, and for this, the Shabby Chic or Fusion paint can be used. For a more classic appearance, General Finishes is a good choice as it offers extra durability.

Toxicity

Painting pieces of furniture indoors often leads to exposure to harmful chemicals such as toxic fumes, VOCs that have a satin finish, solvents and phthalates which can be carcinogenic [1] and cause respiratory issues, skin and eye irritation, and dizziness. 

To protect homes with young kids, it’s best to use non-toxic interior paint. The black chalk-based paint options on the list are all safe and non-toxic. The Krylon paint sprayer and Enduro Poly should be avoided, but they are safe once dry. 

If you’re planning to use the paint for toys, Country Chic is the right paint.

Application Method

When painting black furniture, there are different methods of application to choose from. A brush is typically the preferred method, especially for simple designs. However, for faster results, using a paint sprayer is the way to go, as it eliminates the potential mess of brush strokes. 

If you prefer to see some paintbrush strokes in your black chalk paint, any of the options listed are suitable. For those who desire a perfectly smooth finish and plan to work on multiple projects, a sprayable option like Enduro Poly might be the best black paint choice.

Price

Using price as the primary factor when choosing coal black paint for furniture can be misleading. Instead, I’d recommend you look at the great coverage area. 

For instance, an 8 oz jar of Rust-Oleum can cover an area of 30 square feet, whereas the equivalent amount of Dixie Belle paint can cover 38 square feet.

It’s also important to consider additional tools you’ll need, as in the case of Dixie Bell, which requires clear wax as a topcoat. With Rust-Oleum, a topcoat is not necessary. 

Hence, the price should not be the most crucial factor when choosing paint. You should consider weighing this in when comparing two identical products. However, with high-end paints like gold paint for wooden furniture, the quality often matches the price.

Preparing Your Furniture for Painting

Proper preparation is key to a successful wood restoration project. Neglecting to prepare the furniture properly can result in issues such as peeling paint, clumping, damage from underlying dirt and debris, and more. 

To ensure a flawless application, it is important to follow the necessary steps of preparation.

1. Detach the doors, drawers, or any hardware

For a professional, store-bought finish, it is important to put in extra effort during the preparation stage. This includes removing doors, drawers, hinges, and doorknobs so that every surface of the furniture can be thoroughly cleaned and painted, rather than just the front.

2. Clean the Furniture

Before painting your furniture, it is necessary to determine the current finish and take the appropriate steps to prepare the surface. If your furniture has an old stain, it only needs to be degreased. 

cleaning cabinet top

To do so, combine a gallon of warm water and ¼ cup of TSP thoroughly clean the entire furniture piece, including areas not being painted, with a sponge. Note that TSP is a potent substance, so it’s crucial to wear gloves and goggles while applying it. 

For painted surfaces, generously apply a paint stripper, then carefully scrape off the paint until the underlying wood is exposed. If there is any remaining paint, you may need to use steel wool to scrub it off. 

After stripping or degreasing, wipe the surfaces with water and dry them with a lint-free cloth or microfiber cloth, then allow them to air dry completely.

3. Apply Wood Fillers, If Needed

After your furniture project or a DIY project has completely dried, inspect it for any holes and fill them using wood filler. Allow the wood filler to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Sand the Furniture

Sanding furniture is a favorite step in woodworking. Before starting, make sure the furniture is completely dry. Use 150-220 grit sandpaper for general sanding, or if you want to remove any residual finish, use 80-120 grit sandpaper.

5. Tidy Up the Surface

sanding wood surface

To ensure a flawless finish, it is important to clean the furniture thoroughly one last time before painting. Start by using an efficient shop vac to remove any small dust particles. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe down the surface to ensure no dust is left behind. 

I recommend being careful in this step, as black paint for furniture tends to hide blemishes and dust, unlike other paints. Once the cleaning is done, you can proceed to gather the tools needed for painting the furniture black.

How to Paint Your Wood Furniture Black Like a Pro

Tools You’ll Need

Step #1: Apply a Primer

It’s true that paint sometimes struggles to stick to wood, which is why a primer can make a significant difference. Of course, unless you’re working with a paint specifically formulated to go without it.

Otherwise, the primer will help seal the wood and minimize the number of coats necessary to achieve the desired result. For the best match with black paint for furniture, use a dark-colored primer.

paint primer

Step #2: Start Sanding the Primer

I suggest sanding each coat of protective coating applied on wood for better results. Light sanding of the primer will create a smoother surface for paint adherence and an even surface. 

Use 220-grit sandpaper for gentle sanding, then clean the wood with a vacuum and dry cloth before the next step.

Step #3: Apply the First Paint Coat

Applying black paint with a brush is the optimal method. However, for larger pieces of furniture, you can opt for a roller or HVLP sprayer. If using a brush, transfer the paint to a separate container or tray, or dip the wet brush directly into the paint.

Begin by painting the edges, then proceed to larger areas. For hard-to-reach areas, a brush may still be necessary, even when using a sprayer or roller. Ensure consistent, long strokes following the wood grain for the best outcome.

Using Paint Rollers

When using a paint roller, it’s helpful to also have a small brush to access tight spaces. Begin by covering the larger areas of the furniture before moving to the smaller areas like corners. I recommend you start with big spaces first.

Using Rounded Paintbrush

To avoid visible brush strokes in your final product, make sure you use a premium quality soft bristles round paintbrush. Synthetic and stiff-bristled brushes tend to produce visible lines and streaks in the paint.

Using a Handy Spray

Using a paint sprayer can be a fast process, but if applied to a larger area, it will require more preparation. Moreover, wait for the first thin layer of paint to fully set and dry before sanding. 

Make sure to use fine sandpaper with a 300-grit to avoid damaging the surface. Sanding between coats promotes a smooth application, removes any bubbles or fibers from the first layer, and results in a polished final product.

Step #4: Let the Paint Dry, Then Sand Again

After several hours, the paint should be dry and ready for light sanding with 220 or 300-grit sandpaper (depending on the product used). 

Sand along the grain, smoothing out any blemishes or brush strokes. After sanding, remove any dust with a vacuum cleaner and tack cloth. Paint does not adhere well to dust, so it’s crucial to take care in removing it.

Step #5: Begin Applying the Second Coat

After the surfaces have dried, apply a second coat. For most of the products, this will be the final layer.

If you find that the grain has risen after drying, or there are still brush strokes or uneven areas, sand it down and apply another coat.

Step #6: Allow the Paint to Cure

Allow the paint to cure for a minimum of one day before using it gently. Some products may require a cure time of up to three weeks, so it’s important to consider this before making a decision.

Step #7: Apply Polyurethane (Optional)

This step is optional, but I recommend this step if the furniture is going to endure frequent use or exposure to wear and tear.

If you are painting dining tables, kitchen cabinets, or furniture for children’s rooms, a clear protective layer of poly will save you money in the long term.

close up view Varathane 200241H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

Applying polyurethane will make the furniture water-resistant, scratch and scuff-resistant, and protect it from chemical spills without changing the paint color.

Step #8: Clean the Wood Furniture and Put Back the Hardware

After sanding the first coat, clean your furniture to remove dust and then apply a second coat, letting it dry completely. If the black color is strong, two coats should suffice. 

For an even better result, you can opt for a third coat, but if you choose to do this, be sure to sand the furniture after the second coat before you apply another coat.

Finishing the Wood

Apply the Top Coat or Sealer

When the paint is fully dry, start to apply a sealer or topcoat. I’d recommend using lacquer spray paint or oil-based sealer as the top finish. 

Before starting to apply the topcoat, carefully read the instructions, being mindful of its potential toxicity and flammability. For safety, make sure to use protective gear and have proper ventilation in place.

How to Apply the Sealer

When applying your sealer, follow these steps:

  1. Mix a clear sealer and black paint for furniture
  2. Pour the mixture on a paper plate
  3. Apply the mixture as a top coat for tinting and a glossy finish
  4. Ensure the topcoat matches the furniture piece and replace knobs, hinges, etc.

Distress Your Painted Black Furniture

A shiny, even, and black paint finish can bring an updated and sophisticated appearance to your new or old furniture. But if you prefer a rustic style in your home, you can still give an old table a fresh look by painting it black. Here are some tips to distress black-painted furniture:

  1. Begin by cleaning and smoothing out the surface of the furniture
  2. Then apply a primer layer (optional). 
  3. Finish by applying 2-3 coats of paint.

Before applying the topcoat, use sandpaper with grit between 18 and 220 to distress the paint. Focus on sanding the corners and edges to reveal the wood underneath.

Beware that sanding black paint furniture can result in a chalky appearance that dulls the dark paint shine. To minimize this, dampen the sandpaper before sanding.

The sealer or topcoat will help conceal any sanding issues. After you have distressed the paint, follow the previously mentioned instructions to apply the topcoat.

Black Furniture Pros and Cons

If you’re considering painting your furniture black, there are some drawbacks and advantages you need to know. 

The color black will be a striking contrast in a light and airy room, and it can be a goal for some but a mess for others.

One advantage of painting furniture black is it covers all the unneccesary marks and flaws in furniture. It’s ideal for hiding scuffs, scratches, and dents, giving the piece a new look.

However, like black clothing, black furniture is also prone to showing dirt and stains. It needs more frequent cleaning than other colors, which may be a challenge for those people who are busy cleaning weekly or have pets. 

But it’s manageable for those who regularly clean the furniture surface.

More For You: 

FAQ

How can I paint my dresser black without sanding?

To paint your dresser black without sanding, use a heavy-duty cleaner to rough up the surface, then apply a high-quality primer designed for glossy surfaces, followed by two coats of black paint. 

Make sure to clean and dry the surface thoroughly before starting.

What black paint doesn't need a primer?

The paint that doesn’t need primer is Fusion Mineral Paint. It’s simple to use and sticks well to surfaces. 

The paint uses natural pigments instead of synthetic ones, making it highly efficient and requiring only one or two coats. This paint’s drying and re-coating time is between 4-8 hours.

Is black paint the same as a black stain?

No, black paint and black stain are not the same. Black paint is a pigmented liquid that forms a protective layer on the surface, creating an opaque and solid black coating.

On the other hand, black stain is designed to penetrate the material, enhancing its natural color while adding a dark tint. This allows the texture and grain of the material to remain visible, giving it a more subtle and translucent black finish. 

Is chalk paint the best choice for painting furniture black?

Not necessarily. Chalk paint can be a good choice for painting furniture black, but it may not be the best black paint choice for every situation. 

The best black paint depends on various factors, such as the material of the furniture, the desired finish, and personal preference. 

My Top Pick For Black Paint for Wood Furniture: General Finishes Water-Based Milk Paint in Lamp Black

My choice for the best black paint for wood furniture is the General Finishes Water-Based Milk Paint in Lamp BlackThis water-based milk paint is a staple in my shop due to its low VOC content and the flexibility it offers.

I can apply it with a brush or a spray gun with equal ease. Its longevity is impressive, and it’s also quite affordable. It can also be directly applied to untreated wood, which streamlines projects significantly.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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