One of the cheapest ways to change up your home decor is to upcycle your furniture.
We’ve seen a huge increase in this trend which is just great to see as it is much better for the environment and you get to create a completely unique piece of furniture for your home. From drinks cabinets to TV units, you can pretty much upcycle anything!
The best way to do this is usually by painting it a new color. Painting is a simple and effective way to transform your home decor. If you have upcycled furniture before, you should know all about the dreaded sanding stage.
We actually shudder just thinking about it! A lot of people believe that to get the best effect when painting your furniture, you should begin by lightly sanding the surfaces of the wood to get rid of any previous finishes or lumps and bumps.
This is an effective way to paint your furniture, however, there are some paints on the market which let you cut out this stage completely. This allows you to save so much time as depending on what you plan on upcycling, the sanding can be quite tricky on more intricate details of your pieces.
There are so many paints to choose from that let you get stuck in straight away. We do recommend giving your item of furniture a quick wipe-down before painting but other than that, you can upcycle to your heart’s content!
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick!
Our top pick is the Heritage Collection Chalk Style Paint. We enjoy working with chalk paint as it is extremely easy to work with.
To begin with, wipe down the surfaces of your item with a dampened cloth to wipe away any dust. Then you can paint directly onto the surfaces of your piece of furniture.
The first coat of paint may look a little scary, but don’t panic. This seems to happen with a lot of chalky paints and the second coat will put your mind at ease.
The first coat will look slightly rough and patchy but this makes a good base for the second coat as the paint can stick nicely to it.
The paint is quite thick which allows you to have more control over the application. This is perfect for a first-timer or an experienced furniture flipper!
OUR TOP PICK
As you have seen from above, this paint is our top pick. Not only does it apply so well but it can also be used on multiple surfaces.
Whether you are upcycling furniture, your front door, or just painting your interior walls, it will work.
We have seen a huge trend of people using chalk paint to revamp their front doors and it is so effective!
The built-in exterior topcoat allows you to paint your exterior door with no worrying over whether it will be long-lasting and durable.
This brand promises there is no need for sanding, stripping, sealing, or priming which makes it exactly the product you’re looking for!
You can just paint the product on and be done with it! Ideal if you need a quick fix or if you need to get a commissioned piece completed by a certain deadline.
- Can be used on interiors and exterior surfaces.
- Durable, hard-wearing formula.
- Color may vary slightly compared to the online picture.
If you are upcycling a piece of furniture that has a grain running through the wood, you may want to consider using this Rust-Oleum Milk Paint.
The thin consistency of this paint allows you to brush the paint onto the natural grain of the wood and keep the texture showing through.
This is something that you won’t get with a chalky style paint as the formula is much thicker.
Don’t think that you can only apply this paint on wooden surfaces though! This product can be used on a wide range of surfaces including wood, metal, glass, or aluminum.
Making this a top choice if you plan on upcycling a few different pieces in the same shade.
To get the best effect, paint this on in V-shaped strokes. This technique makes the finish look super expensive and adds a slight texture.
If you are not happy with the initial coverage, feel free to add additional coats until you get the desired effect.
- Dries in 30 minutes.
- Accentuates the natural grain of the wood.
- Can be used on multiple surfaces.
- Requires a top coat of varnish to seal the paint and protect the item you have upcycled.
Our next recommendation is Fusion Mineral Paint.
We just had to include a mineral paint as the results this paint gives is just on another level. The paint is mixed with a bonding agent that acts as a finishing coat of wax or varnish.
This means that all you need to do is paint as many coats as you desire on the piece of furniture you are flipping and be done with it. It is as simple as that.
The Fusion Mineral Paint also has a built-in self leveler which means that you reduce the risks of any lumps of paint gathering in one spot.
Due to this, we advise you to paint on a flat surface to reap the reward that this paint offers.
This product contains no toxic ingredients, it is lead-free, and has no smell. It also doesn’t contain any ammonia or formaldehyde which is a great bonus. You get a quality product.
- Self-leveling formula.
- Non-toxic, lead-free, and odorless.
- No need for a top coat of varnish or finishing wax.
- If you’re looking for full coverage, you may have to apply three to four coats.
Chalky Chicks Chalk Finish is another great option if you prefer this style of paint. This brand offers a huge variety of colors which lets you express your creativity freely.
Two coats will give you good coverage but if you want full coverage, we recommend that you paint three coats.
This paint is suitable for a wide range of surfaces including wood, brick, glass, cement, resin, and metal. As it requires no sanding you can get going with your project almost straight away!
Another fantastic quality of this product is that when you mix it with water, you can turn it into a stain. That’s right, you can paint it directly onto clean fabric to transform it completely!
It will give the fabric a more leather-like feel so perfect for chairs or your couch. Who needs to buy a new and expensive couch when you have this?
Again, you can achieve a shabby chic look by lightly sanding the surface after you have painted the second coat on.
A trend we are a huge fan of is painting the drawers and legs of a dresser with three coats to get full coverage and then applying two coats to the top surface.
Lightly sanding the surface will create a lovely contrast on the dresser that will make a statement!
- Large shade range available.
- Highly pigmented color.
- Able to use this paint on multiple surfaces including fabric.
- Requires a top coat.
Dixie Belle Chalk Finish paint is a family-run company who know how important it is to breathe a new life into old furniture pieces.
Not only is it better for the environment but it also gets us away from our screens. Time away painting is extremely therapeutic and an excellent stress reliever.
This company knows the joy of furniture flipping and therefore developed this product.
This product doesn’t need any prep before painting onto clean surfaces. It grips onto surfaces easily and is extremely hard-wearing.
This is a great product for any well-used furniture items. You must remember that once the paint is dry to use a top coat of finishing wax to seal and protect the paint further.
As this is a chalk style paint, you can get two different effects. Distressed or full coverage finishes can be easily achieved with this formula.
Remember, two coats and light sanding for distressed and three coats for a full solid color.
- Fast drying and hard wearing formula.
- Produced by a family run company based in the USA.
- Two different effects possible.
- Requires finishing wax.
- Colors may slightly differ compared to online photos.
Best Paint for Furniture Without Sanding Buying Guide
Painting furniture without sanding seems like a dream but trust us, you can make it a reality.
The way that these paints glide ensure maximum coverage in as little as two coats.
If you decide to paint your furniture, it can be quite overwhelming to choose which type of paint is best for you and your technique.
The number of options available shows that it is possible to get a quality looking paint job without sanding first.
To sand or not to sand?
You may be weighing up whether you would prefer to sand your piece of furniture before painting. A lot of decorators swear that you can’t get a long-lasting finish without the sanding stage. However, this isn’t the case.
Sanding is an added benefit when prepping your piece of furniture to be painted however it does take up a lot of time. Many paint brands realized that people do want to upcycle their furniture, but they don’t want to do the entire process. That meant that they had to come up with a quick fix.
Chalk paint is probably the most popular choice for anyone who is looking to spruce up their furniture. This was invented in 1990 with the sole purpose of having less prep time. There was a gap in the market.
The good thing about chalk paint is that you can achieve different results based on how many layers you apply. If shabby chic is your thing, this is a great option for you. If you are looking for a more solid application, you can also look to use chalk paint as all you need to do is add another layer.
One trend that many people do is to paint two coats of one color, wait for it to thoroughly dry and then apply a second color. Once that coat is dry, lightly sand the top of the surface to let the color underneath peek through.
We advise you to paint the lighter color first and then cover with a darker color to get the best effect.
Mineral paint is another good choice if you’re looking to cut down on prep time. What makes it so wonderful is that it is mixed with a bonding agent and a solvent.
What this means is that the bonding agent, usually a resin, acts as a protective shield on the surface. So not only can you skip the sanding stage, you can cut out the waxing at the end of your furniture flip too!
We advise people to use this if they want to save time or if they are in the furniture flipping business. It has fantastic coverage and all you need to do is wipe over your piece before starting to paint it.
This is a great option for those who want a solid sheen effect.
Another paint option you could consider is milk paint. Milk paint has been around for a long time, in fact, King Tutankhamen's coffin was painted using it. How is that for a fun fact!
The best thing about this type of paint is that it is made completely out of natural ingredients. Lime, skim milk and pigment is all it’s made out of.
You can make milk paint at home which we recommend if you cannot find the shade you’re looking for. Otherwise, there are plenty of milk paints on the market which would make an excellent choice for you to use.
Once you have applied your milk paint and are happy with the coverage, you will need to wait for it to dry before finishing with varnish. This is an important step as the paint is not wear-resistant until a topcoat is applied.
If you feel like you need to sand an intricate or detailed area on your piece of furniture but still do not want to commit to the extensive work of sanding, maybe a liquid sander would be appropriate for you.
Just like paint, all you have to do is paint it onto the area you need to smooth out and leave it on the item for the recommended time on the packaging.
Once that time has passed, you can wipe down with a lightly dampened cloth to remove any residue left behind. Then you need to wait until the stated time on the product before painting.
This is an option if you feel like you need to do an extra step before painting but don’t forget our recommendations above can be painted straight onto your item with ease.
Finishing Wax or Varnish
Once you have finished painting your piece of upcycled furniture, you will need to ensure that it is protected against wear and tear. This can easily be done with either a clear finishing wax or varnish.
A finishing wax protects the paint from being easily scratched or from any spilled drinks. Clear wax will do the job, so leave the paint to dry overnight, and then you are ready to wax.
To do this, grab a cloth and generously apply wax to your piece of furniture. Rub the wax into the furniture in small circular motions to ensure you get the best coverage. We advise you to use a finishing wax if you choose to use chalk paint.
If you choose to varnish your newly upcycled item, it is best to use a clear varnish. The clear varnish doesn’t interfere with the color.
Do not attempt to varnish on top of a wet or sticky surface. Varnish can be painted onto your piece of furniture as soon as the item is completely dried. We recommend you use varnish if you choose to use milk paint.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I paint furniture with wall paint?
You can use wall paint on furniture however it may not give you the best outcome.
Wall paint is made without the qualities that furniture paints include so the end result may be disappointing.
You will get a better end look by using a dedicated furniture paint and sealing with the appropriate finishing technique.
Is upcycling furniture sustainable?
Upcycling furniture is eco-friendly and sustainable.
A lot of people would always look to buy new but with the ongoing efforts to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint, upcycling furniture can be rewarding.
By upcycling your furniture, you are reducing the amount of furniture items being discarded each year and doing your bit for the planet!
It is also more cost effective so a win-win all round.