In this post: How to paint furniture with latex paint!


Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need fancy paint to give furniture a makeover. Turns out you can totally just paint it with regular (quality) latex paint!

how to paint furniture with latex paint

Life is always busy, but one of the projects we managed to squeeze in recently was the grey tweed hutch in the dining room.

grey tweed hutch

I’ve missed the hutch from our old house’s dining room, but have been making do with the very first cupboard that Dean made many years ago. It is pretty but doesn’t quite hold everything I needed it to in the dining room. As a result, there were a lot of platters, etc. taking up space in kitchen cupboards and all of the vases were up so high I couldn’t reach them without help.

sheet music wreath

Over the last couple of months, several times a week, I’d pop onto kijiji (like Craigslist if you’ve never heard of it) and do a quick search for a hutch in our area. I really didn’t want to spend any much money at all. Even the $150-200 hutches were more than I wanted to spend. So when I saw the now-grey one above for $50 I was thrilled!

Some of you may have clicked over to Instagram from the tour post this week to see the before of our little grey tweed hutch. But for those of you that didn’t, here’s what the hutch looked like when we brought it home:

grey hutch before

I loved the shape and size of the hutch, but I was honestly a little nervous once we brought it into the dining room.

It was SO shiny!

And not entirely solid wood. Not melamine though, more like stained pressboard. Eek!

And since I was really limited on time and resources, there was no milk paint or chalk paint in this hutch’s future.

Wait. What? No using the fancy blogger paints?  

Nope, I bought flat latex paint.

Gasp.

Now let me say I have nothing against milk paint or chalk paint or any other special paint. I’ve used them and like them just fine. I just don’t have a good source near me with decent business hours, and I had no time to wait for shipping. Plus spending $40+ on one quart of paint just wasn’t in the budget this time, especially when I really wanted to use TWO different colors.

gray hutch corner detail

Let me also say that for those of you with limited resources and no milk/chalk paint supplier near you – YOU CAN PAINT FURNITURE WITH REGULAR LATEX PAINT AND HAVE IT TURN OUT BEAUTIFULLY!

painting furniture with latex paint

Painting Furniture with Latex Paint

painting furniture with latex paint

Supplies

  • sander and sandpaper
  • lint-free rag/tack cloth
  • flat paint (I used the Duration line by Sherwin Williams)
  • quality brush (like Purdy)
  • furniture beeswax (I used Miss Mustard Seed beeswax I had on hand) or finishing paste (like Minwax)
  • clean cloth
  • painter’s tape is optional (I used FrogTape on the glass)

christmas decorated hutch bottle brush trees snow

Instructions

  1. Sand well. You don’t have to sand down to bare wood or anything. Just get the shine off.
  2. Wipe off dust. Get rid of all the dust you just sanded off.
  3. Paint with a quality brush and FLAT PAINT. Let dry.
  4. Repeat Step 3.
  5. Optional: Distress edges if desired using sandpaper.
  6. Wax or finish with finishing paste and a clean cloth. I used Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax and Antiquing Wax because I really like it and had some on hand. But you could (and I have) use Mixwax’s Finishing Paste in Regular and Dark, which are fabulous too.

embroidery hoop ornament detail

Tips

  • I used a good quality paint from a line called Duration at Sherwin Williams – it’s wipeable and durable.
  • Use FLAT paint!
  • Be sure to test other โ€œpaint and primer in onesโ€.  A lot of them are more like thick, gloppy paint. Which means they won’t go on well and won’t go as far.
  • Use clear wax/paste first and then use the darker was/paste on top. If you end up with a look that’s too dark add some more clear wax and buff off some of the darkness.
  • I loved the shape of the handles and knobs on the original hutch, but the color wasn’t right after painting the hutch. So I used some Rub ‘n Buff in Pewter and voila, beautiful “new” handles!
  • Oh and because I know you’re all curious, the paint color of the outside of the hutch is Grey Tweed (a CIL color matched at Sherwin Williams) and the inside is Stratosphere (also a CIL color matched at Sherwin Williams), both of which coordinate well with the wall color (Analytical Gray, by SW) and the finish on the farmhouse table.

grey hutch handle knob detail

We’re pretty happy with the new hutch.

Okay, I totally LOVE it and could sit and stare at it all day!

I try really hard not to. Honest.

But if Dean asks you why dinner isn’t ready, don’t tell him it’s because of the hutch. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another latex project

Years after we did this makeover, we refinished another piece with latex paint. Here’s how the Facebook Marketplace find turned out:

dining room buffet farmhouse table

grey hutch sheet music wreath chandelier

Have you ever painted furniture with latex paint? Have you tried milk paint or chalk paint? Have you found any good thrifty finds lately?

shannon sign off

home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

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107 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this post! LOVE it as you know! I have not painted with chalk or milk yet… but I have used latex and mixed that with plaster of paris, I adore the finish, after it’s sanded and finished with Minwax paste. So I can imagine that it is a similar finish! I’m so glad you are getting attention for your beautiful home. Hoping by this time next year, people will want to see mine too! xo

    1. Laurie, I was just thinking after all the home tour love that I’ve been blogging for over three years…and I can finally take decent photos 99% of the time and I’ve finally found “my style”. ๐Ÿ™‚ Stick with it!!!

  2. Your hutch is gorgeous! I love it, the colour is perfect and the style of it is very pretty. I have a china cabinet just like it sitting in my sons basement. I have no place for it yet. I am hoping to move to a larger house in about six months time and I hope to have room for it then. It is solid oak, but it needs a good paint job like yours.

  3. thank you Shannon for the awesome idea ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a very retro old bedroom set and cannot afford to get new ones and want to do something with them… They are not real wood either… I will give it a try, what do I have to loose? Make my ugly furniture uglier? lol

  4. I was so glad to see this project. Love it. I have a bedroom set that needs painted but was reluctant to spend the money on the chaukboard or milk paint. I do have a question though regarding keeping the furniture clean. On my wood furniture I use a Microsoft cloth to dust but use lemon oil twice a year to brighten and clean it. My furniture is an old fruitwood finish with lots of decorative carved wood. How do you clean and refresh the wax finish?

    1. Mari the wax can be buffed with a soft cloth. You can also add more wax sparingly if necessary! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Looks Beautiful! I love the color, I seem to be painting all the furniture I once painted white, gray. Is gray the new white? I also loved how you styled your pretties on the inside. Lovely.
    PS Found you on Tatertots and Jello link party.

  6. i wanted to say that i have been painting furniture for over 3 years and i have never used just straight flat paint…i’ve always used gloss or semi gloss, chalk paint, or homemade chalk paint…you don’t have primer listed…that is correct? i am trying this for sure…one of my junk friends has a hutch for $50 OBO…i am for sure getting it after seeing this…yours is beautiful!

  7. With laminate furniture, use Zinsser oil or water based primer first. No sanding is required before applying the primer. You have to wait 4 to 7 days for the primer to cure. Then use latex paint over the primer. Use fine sandpaper on first coat of latex and paint second coat of latex. Distress furniture if wanted. Finally apply wax or polycrylic.

  8. I LOVE your hutch! I’ve been debating on painting my grandmothers hutch, but you’ve made up my mind. One question, why is it good to use flat paint?

  9. I know this is an old post but this hutch is what I long for!! I love it and your step by step tutorial helped tremendously, excited to be following your blog! Cheers!

  10. Looks GREAT! Never thought of the wax. Finish look looks better than when I have used gloss paint. Now I have to find something to paint. With flat latex of course. PS love the color. So rich looking.

    1. I’ve used gloss too. It’s great for certain looks. But this flat/matte finish is perfect with wax!

  11. Looks great, you did a fantastic job of color coordination and achieving that distressed finish.
    One comment, if you find the latex scraping off or peeling easily (which often happens with those laminate panels)
    Be sure to use a shellac based primer first. It will seal the wood and adhere to almost anything. Then your latex will stick like glue, no peeling!
    Great job!

    1. I am so happy I found this blog while looking for “painting a hutch” . The one I have was solid oak bought in NC in the mid 80’s I know I am showing MY AGE,! After painting my living, dinning, and kitchen a pale gray/ taupe the piece just stood out like a sore thumb, almost a week later I’m,getting close to the distress and wax steps. I purchased minwax paste wax and the lowes chalky Paint aging wax for the finish. I. Am nervous to go the next step but excited to get done. Thanks for the step by step directions! For the paint I used SW emerald matte finish matched to Ben Moore Copley gray. I painted the inside back with a pale cream satin latex I had on hand. I will post a pic when it is done. You have a lovely home, stick with “your style” it definitely works. I love the warm and welcoming entry way!,

    2. Thank you so much for your comment, Judy. I’m so happy to hear you’re painting your hutch to make it more you!

  12. I love this!! I just found this on pinterest and has given me plenty of ideas for a hutch I’m taking from my mother. One question though, how much paint did you use? The hutch I’m acquiring is similar in size and I don’t have paint on hand so just curious as to how much I should buy! Thanks in advance! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I love this piece, I been looking for one but they all seem to be so expensive. Love the colors inside and out. My favorite place to find great old furniture are garage sales and estates sales at high end neirhborhoods, it never fail.

  13. What is the CIL Gray Tweed? Is CIL a Canadian Paint. If so, would Sherwin Williams in USA be able to match it? I am wondering if they would have the formula here. It is very pretty. I have a narrow chest in upstairs hallway. Not too pretty, but right size for hallway.

    Thank you. Like you and your posting friends articles.

  14. Shannon, your hutch is gorgeous! I recently started subscribing to your blog and came across this post while looking for ways to change our existing furniture. We have a few Ikea pieces that I would love to paint. Is this furniture considered laminate? Not exactly sure what laminate is. ๐Ÿ™ How should I paint it? I know very little about furniture and am relatively new to all this DIY, but find I’m loving it.

    I recently purchased a console table at an antique/collectible store that is pretty scratched on top – perfect for a makeover. It has a dark, very glossy finish that I’d like to make look rustic. My mom gave me an antique sewing case (for thread) that desperately needs some help. Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much for all your advice and tutorials. Keep it up! You help people like me actually believe we can do this! God bless!!

    1. Ikea furniture can be painted. You’ll need to use a really good primer likely. And even with that it won’t stay perfectly painted, so if you want perfect paint, don’t paint laminate type furniture. But if you don’t mind the chippy look – go for it! You can always sand a piece to get the gloss off (I recommend it) before priming too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun with it!

  15. Love your tips. As a former faux finisher, I’m not crazy about chalk paint. I only use water based acrylic for most projects. I do, however, always use TSP to clean the furniture first. I love your color. It’s so smart looking, and at $50 how could you go wrong. BTW, that bar cart was stellar. Bar carts I like are around $500, so I transformed an end table.

  16. hi, I am painting an old stand up jewelrybox of my mothers that I think is part presswood with wood grain something on it. I’m using SATIN latex paint in zebra stripes. I want to make it old looking..muted. Not bright white and black. Something I saw, the white/black looked yellowed. I think I put a stain over it and wipe it off to do that right? But what color stain? Help. What is glazing?

  17. I love this post! I just bought a sideboard at an antique store today and was looking for a way to refinish. Do you have any tips on how to pair the paint color with wax color? I’d like to make my piece an off white or cream but, I’m terrified of choosing the wrong combo.

  18. Hi Shannon,
    I agree about the paints. I’ve tried them all. Specialty paints are very expensive for a tight budget, so I prefer latex. Also, living in dry Colorado, I’ve found eggshell is a little easier to wax than flat. It seems to use up less clear wax, but doesn’t give a high sheen. I like it.
    Love your hutch!
    Ann

    1. Good to know about the dry area. We have it so humid much of the year here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Shannon,
    I am about to start a project painting the inside of a hutch just like this one. I’m concerned about the paint being tacky and sticking to my china/peeling. Is the wax a sufficient sealer?? I saw another post about using Polycrylic??? You’re the expert….what do you think??

  20. Hi! Excellent how-to article of the hutch painted with latex paint!! I’m absolutely disgusted by the cost of all those fancy milk and chalk paints. I simply won’t pay that much for paint…period. I’ve always painted my furniture with latex paint. Once you distress the piece, I really don’t see much of a difference between latex and chalk paint. They both look beautiful! I’m not as good as you though…I don’t wax afterwards; that’s too much work! I just get paint in egg shell or satin. All my furniture pieces painted with latex have held up so well and have stood the test of time, so save your money and go with latex. You can also make your own chalk paint out of latex, if you’re dead set on that look. Instructions are all over the internet. So, your hutch looks amazing!! Enjoy!!

  21. Hi Shannon, love this piece. Question though; I was under the impression that latex paint was too hard to absorb a wax finish unless you added plaster of paris or another additive to make it into chaulk paint?

    1. I used flat latex paint so it is somewhat chalky! It “absorbed” the wax just fine.

    1. I honestly don’t know because I’ve only tried it with flat. The wax wouldn’t take so well on satin if you wanted to wax it afterwards.

  22. Wow! That is exactly what I need to do to my 70s hand me down China cabinet. I can’t believe the difference.

  23. Love this post! I need to start finding thrift stores in Florida! You were so lucky to find that hutch at a steal of a deal! The makeover, is absolutely gorgeous! I’m still repainting my entire house inside. Walls, sealing, trim. Oh My! I’m thinking about painting the hardware on the doors black. What do I use for this? Also, do I use Latex paint for my kitchen cabinets? ( When I get to that point). Thanks for your advice, Shannon!

    1. Wow! That’s a lot of work! I’ve heard of bloggers using spray paint for the door hardware. But I honestly have no experience with that. We just bought oil-rubbed bronze hardware one door at a time. You can use latex for your kitchen cabinets. Read about our kitchen cabinet painting adventures here: http://akadesign.ca/how-not-to-paint-kitchen-cabinets/.

  24. Could I use flat latex paint OVER chalk paint? I am mid-project on a side table and not thrilled with what I have so far. Can I just paint it all out with flat paint?

  25. Love this – great job! But I especially love the wreath do you have instructions on that anywhere on your blog? Thank you

  26. I have a solid teak handmade hutch that I bought in Japan in the early 80’s. They stained it what we would know call in IKEA language “black/brown”. I’ve wanted to paint it for decades but my mother and others insisted that because it’s 100% teak that it would be a sin to paint it because it would lose it’s value. I could care less about the value because I don’t ever see me selling it. We recently retired from the military and it has withstood all the moving like a pro (it’s heavier than yeck!!!) Would it really be a full-fledged sin to paint it? Perhaps I’m just not seeing what others are. I think a 3rd party opinion like yours would be helpful..whatever advice you would give even if its not a vote for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    ~Thanks bunches~

  27. I too was looking for an inexpensive piece for my living room, as well as an inexpensive paint!! I checked out the milk and chalk paints and laughed. I’m a single mother and there was no way I was going to be able to afford that! I painted my piece with latex (gray also!!). Then I finished it up with a finishing wax. However, I believe I may have used too much wax and it’s “gummy” in spots. Is there a way to save my piece without having to re-sand & paint the entire piece? I truly hope there’s something that can be done! Granted, it’s still has a day or two to “cure” as I literally just finished it. My 2nd coat of wax was last night (1-23-17). Perhaps if I give it time? But, what if that doesn’t solve the problem?!? Help, please!! I truly love the way it turned out with the exception of the sticky wax in areas! (First time distressing a piece and now I’m hooked!!)
    TIA

    1. Finishing wax should be able to be buffed out. Just get a clean, lint-free cloth and work it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Hi! Just to be clear, you’re saying to use 2 waxes…correct?? First the clear one, then the darker one correct? After that, do I need to seal it with a poly or anything?? Thanks so much!!

    1. Yes. By applying the clear wax first, you won’t have such a concentration of dark wax and you’ll have more time to work in the dark wax. And no you don’t apply poly over wax! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Wow! Thank you for restoring my faith that refinishing my dresser, bedside tables AND HUTCH in *Gasp* latex paint is not detrimental! Heaven forbid I use something other than chat or milk paint!…… or the fancy name brand wax finishes!

    This is gorgeous, as is your farmhouse table !!! Do you think it is essential to use flat paint?? I bought glossy just for the easy of wiping it down,,, I wasn’t sure i was going to use a wax finish, but you have convinced me!

    THANK You for this post!! LOVE It!!!!!!

    1. You could try the glossy paint – I’ve not used glossy on our projects but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just be careful with your brush strokes – glossy paint shows those more.

  30. Hello! What do you mean by CIL color match? If I take those words into Sherwin Williams with the color you said you used, will they be able to mix it for me or do I need additional information? Thank you!

    1. Hello Emily! CIL is a paint brand here in Canada. So the color was matched to CIL’s Grey Tweed and Stratosphere into a Sherwin Williams paint. Does that help explain it better?

  31. Hi, I was wondering what shade of gray pint you used? I have the hardest time with gray as they hold a purple background hue. I amlooking for a true light gray paint.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Sue,
      As the post says:
      “the paint color of the outside of the hutch is Grey Tweed (a CIL color matched at Sherwin Williams) and the inside is Stratosphere (also a CIL color matched at Sherwin Williams).”

  32. So, I failed to do my research ahead of time and we ended up with a semi-gloss latex paint for two pieces in the soon-to-be nursery. How necessary is the wax or paste after painting, both generally and given the type of paint we used? Also, bear in mind one of the pieces also contains some stained portions, because we had to make things more complicated… Thanks in advance!

    1. Don’t worry! It happens! If you let the semi-gloss fully cure (like 30 days I think, but check the label on the can) before heavy use of the pieces, you should be okay. ๐Ÿ™‚ And congrats on baby coming!

    2. Thanks for the information!! I have loved refinishing these pieces and now I want to do it to everything! My husband, however, hates it and refuses to help with another project. I guess that means I’ll have to wait until after the baby is here, you know when I have all that spare time. Ha!

  33. I painted 6 dining room chairs with latex paint about 6 years ago and now it’s rubbing off on the backs where we grab the chairs to pull them out from the table and on the seats.. They look awful and I don’t know what to do short of stripping them down and starting over. I hate painting with oil so is it possible to sand down the bad parts and paint them with chalk paint (which I’ve never used before). BTW….your hutch is GORGEOUS!

    Thanks!
    Kathy

    1. Aw. I’m so sorry. It’s tough when it’s something that gets used so constantly AND likely with unclean hands too. Do you have the original paint? Or know the color and finish? You could try cleaning those areas and sanding just enough to get rid of any edges and then paint those parts to match? Just make sure you shake any leftover paint really well or the color may not match perfectly! Please let me know what you decide and how it turns out!

    2. Thank you so much for the reply! And thank you for the suggestion. That is what I was thinking might be the best solution. I do still have the original paint. LOVE your blog!

  34. This is beautiful. When you use a finishing wax, does the piece turn out “shiny”? I really want a semi-gloss look on my finished project. Thank you for posting.

  35. “Don’t buy a paint and primer in one!” That was my first mistake. I recently did that, not realizing how gloppy and thick it was. The piece did not turn out like I wanted, not to mention I still had to do three coats for coverage, plus it dried super fast before I was done working it. Thanks to you, I now realize why that paint was wrong. I’m now going to go to Sherman Williams for a better paint to redo this piece. Thanks for the tip!

  36. Thanks for the info! So, even though you did not use a paint and primer in one, you didnโ€™t need a primer at all?? Planning on painting my china cabinet – itโ€™s a blonde wood that my MIL started to repaint to a yellow. Time to finally do something about it!

  37. I just found your blog and ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜! Iโ€™ve been searching for a blog with someone who isnโ€™t afraid to use latex paint on furniture. Thank you! Latex paint is so easy to find and choose the perfect color for.
    Iโ€™ve painted a dresser and couldnโ€™t find anyone who used wax over latex… THANK YOU!
    Iโ€™ll be digging through your blog for the rest of the day lol
    Do you lightly sand before you apply the wax? I didnโ€™t get flat paint, unfortunately. I only used a paint sample size and it didnโ€™t come in flat.

  38. Sherwin Williams advertises their duration interior paint as a paint and primer in one, so I donโ€™t understand how you didnโ€™t use a primer?

    1. Hi Emily,

      Iโ€™m not sure I understand the question? When this post was originally written, most paint and primer in ones were pretty awful – thick and gloppy. I didnโ€™t use a separate primer. And yes, SW now advertises their duration line as a paint and primer in one. I donโ€™t recall that being pointed out when I originally purchased the paint though, so it wasnโ€™t really a deciding factor. If that doesnโ€™t help clarify, please let me know what I can clear up!
      xo, Shannon

  39. Hi! I’m preparing to paint furniture for the first time ever (eek) with an old china hutch I’ve bought recently. After going back and forth with all the conflicting opinions about chalk vs latex paint, I think I am leaning latex after reading this! I do have a question though – why is using “flat paint” so important? I have seen this mentioned on several different websites, but without any explanation as to why. Would the “satin” finish of a Sherwin Williams paint work? I just want to make sure I get this right the first time!

    1. Hi Stacey,
      Flat is recommended because it works best. Satin just does not leave the same finish, and doesn’t quite “look right” on furniture. The further away from flat you go – eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss – the more brush strokes you will see and the shinier the finish will be. You can use something other than flat, but you will have a harder time making the finish look good – especially as a beginner. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope that helps.

  40. Let me see if I got this Sand, Clean it, paint (flat), dry, seal. No additives by needed? Like Plaster or anything else? If not then why buy anything else other than latex. Thank you in advance.

  41. How would I get the colors at Lowes? What is CIL? Painting my hutch & yours is the closest I’ve found to what I want!

    1. Hi there. CIL is a Canadian paint brand, and I don’t believe it’s available at Lowe’s. You would have to ask your local paint place to try to color match the colors I mentioned. Usually they do a fairly good job color matching, but it may not be exact.