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! Don’t worry my recommendations are included as well.

*This post includes affiliate links, for more info on affiliate links visit here

About Black Paint For Furniture

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 your piece is timeless so you can enjoy it for years.
  • 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.

Your Definitive Guide to Furniture Paint Types

Let’s explore black furniture paint types, including descriptions, benefits, and our recommended black paint selections.

Milk Paint:

  • Description: A traditional, water-based paint made from natural ingredients like milk protein, lime, and pigments.
  • Characteristics: This paint creates an authentic, vintage look with subtle color variations and a matte finish. Often used for distressed or aged effects.
  • Benefits: Environmentally friendly, versatile for different styles, easy to distress, and can provide a rustic, farmhouse appeal.
  • Recommended Brand and Color: Miss Mustard Seed in color -Typewriter

Mineral Paint:

  • Description: A water-based paint containing minerals and pigments that adhere well to various surfaces.
  • Characteristics: Offers excellent coverage, smooth finish, and durability. Often dries to a matte or satin sheen.
  • Benefits: Requires minimal prep work, excellent adhesion, great for modern and classic styles, and provides a consistent finish.
  • Recommended Brand and Color: Fusion Mineral paint – Ash or Coal Black

Chalk Paint:

  • Description: A popular water-based paint known for its velvety, chalky appearance.
  • Characteristics: Yields a matte, ultra-matte, or vintage chalk finish, and can be easily distressed for a shabby-chic or aged look.
  • Benefits: Minimal surface preparation, versatile for different techniques, dries quickly and offers a variety of creative possibilities.
  • Recommended Brand and Color: Annie Sloan Athenian Black

Latex Paint:

  • Description: A water-based paint containing latex particles for durability and flexibility.
  • Characteristics: Provides a smooth finish with various sheen options (matte, satin, semi-gloss). Available in a wide range of colors.
  • Benefits: Easy to find and use, good coverage, suitable for various styles, can be mixed with other latex paints, and offers long-lasting results.
  • Recommended Brand and Color: Benjamin Moore: Wrought Iron or Sherwin Williams: Caviar or Tricorn Black

Acrylic Paint:

  • Description: A water-based paint containing acrylic polymers for quick drying and adhesion.
  • Characteristics: Offers vibrant color options, dries to a plastic-like finish, and can be sealed with a clear coat.
  • Benefits: Suitable for smaller projects, provides a clean and modern look, can be mixed with other acrylic paints, and is easy to clean up.
  • Recommended Brand and Color: Rustoleum Spray paint in Black

Oil-Based Paint:

  • Description: A paint that uses oil as its base, often containing alkyd resins for improved durability.
  • Characteristics: Offers a smooth, glossy finish, and takes longer to dry than water-based paints.
  • Benefits: Provides a luxurious look, high durability, good for furniture with high use, and offers excellent color retention over time.
  • Recommended Brand and Color: I recommend Benjamin Moore ADVANCE – Alkyd Paint (Waterborne paint that is Oil) in Black

Remember, each type of paint has its own application methods, drying times, and compatibility with different finishes. The choice of paint depends on your project goals, desired finish, and personal preferences. Always follow manufacturer guidelines for proper application and safety precautions.

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 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!

chest of drawers painted in Ash by Fusion Mineral Paint.

*This post includes affiliate links, for more info on affiliate links visit here

Personal Picks: Navigating the Best Black Paint for Furniture

Now, let’s talk about my personal favorite! While I wouldn’t call myself a seasoned pro, I’ve had my fair share of furniture painting adventures. When it comes to paint, I almost always reach for Chalk paint or Fusion Mineral paint. Among Fusion’s black options, Coal Black and Ash have been my trusty companions. Fusion Mineral paint impresses me with its rich finish, fast drying time, and built-in topcoat. Opting for Ash, a deep charcoal from Fusion, delivers that perfect matte finish I adore. With just two coats, my pieces come out looking fantastic! But for those seeking a true dark black, Coal Black by Fusion is the way to go.

My Top Tips for Painting Furniture Black:

  1. Clean Thoroughly: Before painting, ensure the furniture surface is clean and free of dust, dirt, and grease. A clean surface ensures better adhesion and a smoother finish.
  2. Use Bonding Primer: For laminate furniture or surfaces prone to chipping, use a bonding primer specifically designed to promote adhesion. This helps the paint adhere better and prevents chipping or peeling. I would recommend Stix Primer by Benjamin Moore . (you can learn more about primer in my, The Best Primer for Painting Cabinets: How to Make the Right Choice post)
  3. Light Sanding: Lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to roughen it slightly. This provides better grip for the primer and paint and helps achieve a smoother finish.
  4. Choose Quality Paint: Invest in high-quality black paint formulated for furniture. Quality paint not only provides better coverage but also ensures durability and a professional-looking finish.
  5. Apply Thin Coats: Apply thin, even coats of paint rather than thick layers. Thin coats dry faster, minimize drips or brush marks, and result in a smoother finish.
  6. Use Proper Tools: Use high-quality brushes and foam rollers suitable for the type of paint you’re using. Brushes are ideal for detailed areas, while foam rollers ensure smooth coverage on flat surfaces.
  7. Allow Proper Drying Time: Allow each coat of paint to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before applying the next coat. Rushing the drying process can lead to tackiness or uneven coverage.
  8. Sand Between Coats (Optional): If necessary, lightly sand the surface between coats with fine-grit sandpaper to remove imperfections and ensure a smoother finish.
  9. Consider Distressing (Optional): For a vintage or aged look, consider distressing the painted furniture. Use sandpaper or a sanding block to gently rub the edges and corners, exposing the underlying wood or previous paint layers. Click here to learn about distressing.
  10. Consider a Protective Topcoat: For furniture that will undergo heavy use or frequent cleaning, consider applying a clear protective topcoat. This adds an extra layer of durability and helps preserve the black finish over time. If you choose Chalk Paint, Read my, The Best Furniture Wax for Your Chalk Painted Pieces post for the best topcoat.
  11. Patience is Key: Take your time and don’t rush the process. Patiently following each step ensures a professional-looking finish that will last for years to come.
a chest of drawers painted black with a hand holding a paint brush with black paint on it.

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!

Meet the Experts

Katie Cloud – Katie + Company

Find Katie on Instagram and on her website Katie + Company Website

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:

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 fewer 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.”

beautiful sideboard painted with general finishes black milk paint.
Stunning dining room sideboard by Deer Run Vintage

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.”

Recap: Expert Recommendations for Black Furniture Paint

ExpertFavorite Black PaintExpert Tips
StephanieFusion Mineral Paint – Ash or Coal Black (personal favorite)– Incorporate thin, even coats for a smooth finish. – Consider distressing techniques for added character. – Choose a protective topcoat for durability and longevity.
KatieGeneral Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint– Lightly buff with a 220 grit sanding block between each coat for an extra smooth professional look.
TonyaRustoleum Spray Paint (Semi-gloss or Matte)– Apply small, even coats staying 6 inches away from the piece to minimize drips. – Sand down drips with 150 grit sandpaper, then smooth with 220 grit. – Shake cans for 1 minute before spraying.
KristaGeneral Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint– Seal with hemp oil to deepen the black and leave a beautiful, smooth matte sheen.
Cheryl and AmandaFusion Mineral Paint – Coal Black– Use Fusion Mineral Paint for “wet distressing” by lightly misting the piece and brush with water.
SaraAnnie Sloan Athenian Black– Thin paint up to 30% for sprayer and sand with 400 grit between coats for a smooth finish.
KalynMiss Mustard Seed – Typewriter (Black)– Ensure the piece is clean before painting with milk paint. – Add a bonding agent for better adhesion and prevent chipping or flaking. – Don’t be discouraged by the scary first coat.

I hope you found this post, The Best Black Paint 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 their tips for getting that perfect finish every time.

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!

my signature. a drawing of me holding a coffee cup that says Create.

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  1. Stephanie, thanks for such great information! For those if us who don’t do this that often, it can be really overwhelming.

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