It’s clean, sleek and sophisticated – sometimes a bit moody and rather melodramatic and according to my furniture painting friends- black painted furniture is very “in” at the moment! In this blog post, I’m sharing the best black paint colors for you to consider before embarking on your next furniture upcycle or new wood furniture project. To deliver the best information I elicited help from 6 furniture flipping experts and had them share their top picks for the best black paint colors, and their go-to black paint when working on projects for their customers. They are also dishing with some expert tips! Read below to see what they had to say.
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About Black Paint
Black paint isn’t just for your front door, shutters, or kitchen cabinets anymore. Painting furniture black has become a very popular trend and accent pieces in black can be seen all over Instagram. Here’s why:
- Timeless: Painting furniture black will ensure that your piece is timeless so you can enjoy it for years to come.
- Neutral: Black is also a great neutral color and pairs well with any color scheme and decor style.
- Versatile: A black furniture piece can be either a bold statement in a light-colored palette or blend beautifully with rich bold colors.
- Works with any decor style: Black painted furniture is versatile, stylish, and a great option for farmhouse-style homes, traditional homes, modern homes, and everything in between.
Why Choose Black Paint for your Furniture Makeover
Aside from style, there’s a practical side to using black paint for furniture. First black paint is typically easy to apply and by choosing the right black paint and using specific techniques (shared below) you can be sure to get a smooth finish. Black tends to be more durable than lighter colors and often less paint is needed to get full coverage. By using black paint you also can avoid old stains bleeding through making it the best choice for those old furniture pieces that have a dark stain.
Choosing the Perfect Black Paint Color
You’re probably thinking black is black, right?? Not so fast, there are many tones of black paint to choose from including paints that are considered to be a true black paint color with darker shades to soft black, dark gray and other lighter black colors. Most paint companies carry a variety of black paint colors, some with blue undertones and some with gray undertones like that of a warm black. You will also have to decide if you are looking for a high gloss finish or a matte finish. Keep reading – I have experts here to help!
About our Experts
In order to help my readers choose the best black paint for furniture, I decided to interview 6 talented furniture painters all of whom have several years of using paint to bring old furniture pieces back to life. These talented ladies have all worked with several different paint mediums and are sharing with you their favorite black paint colors and brands to help take the guesswork out of choosing the black paint that is right for your project. All were so gracious in sharing their expertise and what I found interesting is they all could answer the “What is your favorite/go-to black paint when painting furniture” question in a snap! No hesitation whatsoever – and there were several different opinions on the subject! Keep reading to see what they had to say!
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Meet the Experts
Katie Cloud – Katie + Company
Find Katie on Instagram and on her website Katie + Company Website
I have been following the very talented Katie Cloud for several years. Katie was the inspiration for my green apothecary turned card catalog. After staring for days at the blue milk-painted apothecary my husband bought for me, trying to decide what color I wanted to paint it, a gorgeous happy spring green dresser popped up on Katie’s Instagram feed, and knew I found my color. I’ve been a Katie & Company fan ever since! In researching this post I knew I wanted to ask Katie about her favorite black. Katie has been painting furniture for years and her work is in a word…exceptional! I knew she would have a favorite to share – here’s what she said, “My favorite black paint by far is Lamp Black by General Finishes! I love it because it is super durable and sprays so nice with great coverage. If you’re using a paintbrush it is also self-leveling so it is nice and smooth whether you spray it or brush it.” Katie seals her pieces with Minwax Polycrylic in either Matte Finish or Satin Finish depending on the sheen she is going for.
Expert tip from Katie:
(when working with General Finishes lamp black paint) “A good tip is to do a light buff with a 220 grit sanding block between each coat to give it an extra smooth professional look.”
Tonya C – Appaloosa Artisans
Find Tonya on Instagram and on Facebook
Tonya is a furniture refinishing Rockstar! She is able to pump out the most amazing upcycled furniture and shares her work day after day on Instagram. What’s crazy is that she does this all while being a full-time teacher, a true Rockstar for sure! Tonya has a large local customer base who love to drop off their latest thrift or antique finds to have Tonya work her magic on them. I knew I needed to hear what she had to say about her favorite black paint for furniture and her response had me floored! Tonya swears by Rustoleum Spray paint and boy is she the expert on its application! She shared that she goes between semi-gloss and matte depending on the piece when choosing the best spray paint for furniture and her process is as follows:
- Step 1 – Clean the furniture piece
- Step 2 – Scuff/sand
- Step 3 – Prime the piece with Rustoleum Primer
- Step 4 – Paint with Rustoleum Paint
- Step 5 – Seal with Polycrylic
Expert tip from Tonya:
(On working with spray paint/dealing with drips) ” I have mastered it through the years. I always spray primer first – the primer gives the paint better adhesion and therefore less drips. Then – the trick is small even coats staying 6 inches away from the piece. I will spray the entire piece – not full coverage and then go back and spray again aiming to get full coverage the second time – I do not wait for the first coat to dry. If drips happen – because they may – let it dry completely and then take sandpaper (150 grit) and sand down in the direction of the drip to remove it then sand with 220 grit to smooth. Also -shaking the cans for about 1 minute before spraying helps as well. Flat, satin and semi-gloss are the best to minimize drips.
See below a before and after from Tonya using Rustoleum Spray paint in Semi-gloss.
Krista – Deer Run Vintage
Find Krista on Instagram and on Facebook
Krista, another teacher and a Kansas girl transplanted in Iowa is one of the most inspiring furniture refinishers I follow on Instagram. What sets her apart and keeps her loyal customers coming back is her unique ability to use paint in a way that enhances the original beauty of the furniture piece instead of just painting to cover. When painting a piece, she draws upon a myriad of learned techniques to bring forth the original finish in such a subtle but stunning way. Krista’s pieces are often a mixture of paint and woods which she does so incredibly well. While her white paint color with natural wood pieces are my favorites, I knew she worked with black quite a bit too so I reached out for her take on the best black paint for furniture. Here’s what she shared, “My go-to black paint for furniture is Lamp Black milk paint from General Finishes. It goes on super smooth and is as true a black as I’ve found in furniture paints. I often like to add water to thin it a bit and use it for a paint wash or a paint stain. Melange Paint’s Jett Black is very similar, but I always go back to my tried and true Lamp Black! ”
Expert Tip from Krista:
(Regarding sealing a piece painted with General Finishes – Lamp Black) “I love to seal it with hemp oil as it deepens the black and leaves a beautiful, smooth matte sheen.”
Cheryl & Amanda – Fine Flipping
Find Cheryl and Amanda on Instagram and on their website Fine Flipping
Cheryl and Amanda are a mother-daughter team located in Ohio. This team of expert furniture refinishers has a great eye for thrifting and finding great pieces to refinish and flip and well…two creative minds are better than one!! Both Cheryl and Amanda have an eye for detail and draw upon several paint mediums to choose the best application for the piece. Their Instagram is full of inspiration and they sell their fabulous work at Brothers Antiques North in Medina, OH. After spying some beautiful black-painted pieces on their Instagram feed I was curious to see what their favorite black paint was. Here’s what they said, “We love Coal Black by Fusion Mineral paint. We love the rich color and how well Fusion “wet distresses” for a beautiful time-worn finish. Fusion paint also has a built-in top coat which is an added bonus.”
Expert Tip from Cheryl and Amanda:
(Of course, I wanted to know more about “wet distressing”) “When using Fusion we love to lightly mist the piece and our brush using a mister bottle (of water). It gives a beautiful brush stroke free finish every time.”
Sara Levitch – Pop Salvage Designs
Find Sara on Instagram and on her website Popsalvage
Our next expert is the one and only Sara from Pop Salvage Designs! Sara is an expert furniture refinisher from Bethesda MD. Her pieces have sleek lines and are a bit more modern – often with a mix of natural wood and paint. Color is Sara’s jam and her Instagram feed is filled with beautiful bright pieces that are simply stunning! She is an expert at getting the smoothest finishes I’ve seen! How does she do that?! Here’s what Sara had to say about her favorite black, ” I don’t paint black all that often but when I do, I typically use Annie Sloan Athenian Black because of its rich velvety finish.”
Expert tip from Sara:
(When I asked Sara about her ultra-smooth finish) – “My trick for a smooth finish is thinning the paint up to 30% for my sprayer and then sanding with a high grit (at least 400 grit) between coats.”
Kalyn Denno – Boxwood and Spruce
Find Kalyn on Instagram and on her blog Boxwood and Spruce
When planning for this post I immediately thought of my friend Kalyn! She has such beautiful style and is able to effortlessly mix vintage with traditional in her home decor! Kalyn paints furniture for her home and to sell and I knew she had done a few black pieces! Kalyn is a blogger and amazingly talented thrifter from Colorado where she lives with her husband and 3 daughters. They are currently building their home while living in their barn turned fabulous (soon-to-be) Airbnb. It is so exciting to watch their dream home come together! Kalyn loves to work with milk paint! She uses General Finishes, Old Fashioned Milk Paint as well as Miss Mustard Seed. For the piece below Kalyn used Miss Mustard Seed in the color -Typewriter which is a beautiful soft black. What Kalyn loves about Milk paint is, “You can create your own unique smooth, chippy or distressed finish. It’s easy to mix and simple to apply. Milk Paint also dries fast with a beautiful matte finish.” Clearly, this paint checks all the boxes for this talented lady!
Expert tips from Kalyn:
(On working with Milk Paint) “When it comes to milk paint make sure your piece is clean of dirt and grime, as an uncleared piece will prevent the paint from adhering. Also, the thing that makes milk paint so wonderful is the very thing that can make it super frustrating…And that is it’s completely unpredictable! However, with the right tools and prep work, any look can be achieved with milk paint! If you want to ensure that your milk paint will adhere without any chipping or flaking, then make sure to add a bonding agent and use it with the milk paint. Lastly, remember… The first coat will always look scary and horrible! But stick with it, because the second coat is where the magic happens.”
My Thoughts on The Best Black Paint for Furniture
Last but not least is my pick! I do not consider myself an expert furniture refinisher but I have painted a piece or two in my day! My go-to for furniture painting is almost always Chalk paint or Fusion Mineral paint. I have painted several pieces with both black colors (Coal Black and Ash) from Fusion Mineral paint. I love how rich the finish is and love working with Fusion Mineral paint it’s self-leveling, dries fast, and has a built-in topcoat. For this piece, I went with Ash which is a dark charcoal gray, a popular black paint color by Fusion. I love the matte finish I get with Fusion with two quick coats I can have the piece looking great! As far as Fusion’s black furniture paints go, for a true dark black, Coal Black is the better choice.
What I love about dark colors, especially furniture pieces painted black, is with natural light the shade changes depending on the time of day which adds interest to the piece. I also love that black can be both a neutral color and an accent color depending on where you place it.
I hope you found this post, The Best Black Paint Color for Furniture (6 experts weigh in) helpful! I figured the best way to help you decide the right shade of black paint for your project was to reach out to those who have tried their fair share of paint mediums and colors and have landed on their favorite black paint! As you read above it is not only the black paint that makes for a beautiful finish but also the tips and techniques our experts shared.
Be sure to visit my How to paint furniture white post where 5 experts weighed in on not only their favorite white paint but there tips for getting that perfect finish everytime.
A very very special thank you to Katie, Tonya, Krista, Cheryl and Amanda, Sara and Kalyn for contributing to this post and sharing their expertise all designed to give you the best results for your next black painted furniture project! Be sure to give them all a follow to watch their journey and see more of their incredible work!
For more furniture inspiration visit my Furniture Refinishing page!
Stephanie, thanks for such great information! For those if us who don’t do this that often, it can be really overwhelming.
Thank you Debi, I hope you found it helpful!