What is the best paint for painting / upcycling furniture? (A pros/cons review)

Wondering what paint is best for painting / upcycling furniture? Then you’ve come to the right place! I love an upcycling project, and I’ve done so much paint research over the years – it’s far too much work to be repainting your furniture again a few months later! Here’s a round up of the most popular paints that I’ve come across, and the pros and cons of each, so that you can decide which one’s best for you, your budget and your project.

Upcycling is a brilliant way to transform old, mismatched or boring furniture without spending much money at all! If you’re following my family frugal living guide, then I’m sure you’ll agree that decorating on a budget is a great way to free up money for making memories instead! (You’ve probably noticed that all of our savings go on travel! 😂)

Some of my favourite furniture pieces in our house are repainted second-hand bits, so when you’ve had a look below and decided which paint is best for your project, check out my guide on How to Upcycle your Furniture before you get started! This pink sideboard is my all time favourite project – it’s a heavy sold wood piece that we picked up for free and it was totally transformed with a £10 pot of paint!

frugal mum photo, pink sideboard, upcycling before and after, budget renovations, DIY

 

So, what is the best paint for painting / upcycling furniture? Let’s take a look!

Wilko Furniture and Cupboard Paint

wilko cupboard paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review

PROS: Wilko cupboard paint seems to be really highly regarded. I follow a DIY group on Facebook and SO many people have used this paint on kitchen cupboards, bedroom furniture, dining tables – they’ve painted it all! The comments say how easy it was to use on a range of surfaces, how one or two coats were plenty and that the paint is really durable.

The reviews on the Wilko website are also consistently amazing (which is quite unusual as people love to moan) so I think that speaks volumes. This cupboard paint is fantastic value for money too as it’s one of the cheapest! With this you could transform your cabinets or furniture for next to nothing.

CONS: One thing that seems to be an issue for some people is that the paint is thick and quite glossy in appearance – perhaps with more shine than typical satinwood paint, so it really depends on personal preference.

However, having said that, I think that the sheen is probably what makes it so durable which can never be a bad thing when you’ve got little ones! There are also only a handful colour options currently.

Check out this paint and the colours available on the Wilko website.

 

Dulux Satinwood

dulux satinwood paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review

PROS: I used Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood to paint all of the woodwork in our house and I love it! It goes on really easily and it still looks perfect (and bright white) five years later. I did two coats on all of skirting boards and door frames, Finn’s wardrobe and upcycled the kids’ beds with less than two tins so it goes a long way – making it great value for money.

It’s reasonably priced, wipeable and easy to find on Amazon and in most DIY stores. It has good reviews online, and there are also lots of colours to choose from – especially if you’re looking for something a bit different.

CONS: If your project is a kitchen renovation, this paint is not technically made for kitchen cupboards so it could possibly be less durable than other more specialist paints.

Check out this paint and the colours available on Amazon.

 

Farrow & Ball Eggshell

farrow and ball eggshell paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review
PROS: I used Farrow & Ball Modern Eggshell (40% sheen) on my kitchen cupboards and I chose it for a few reasons. Firstly, I found reviews saying that it was insanely durable (it’s also used for flooring) and, secondly, there are over 100 different colour options and they’re all gorgeous! I fell in love with Moles Breath so it just had to be this paint.
It’s been three years since I painted them, and it was definitely worth it. I’ve had boiling pans spill over down my drawers, steam on the upper units, scrubbed off splats of pasta sauce etc and it’s still looking amazing. It touches up seamlessly too if needed.
CONS: In my experience, this paint was hard-work and it took a lot of coats to get decent coverage. It also took me a while to get used to the paint – if I went too slowly and went over it too much it would dry patchy, but if I worked too quickly there would be bubbles. Having said that, I follow a kitchen painting company on Facebook and they only use Farrow & Ball so perhaps it gets easier to work with when you get used to it.
Another con is the price – it’s very expensive compared to other brands but I decided it was worth it in the sense that for £150 for paint and primer I completely transformed my kitchen. (It’s gone up in price too since I used it!) But despite it not being the easiest paint to work with, I would definitely use it again – it looks great and it really is bulletproof once cured!

 

Dulux Cupboard Paint

dulux cupboard paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review

PROS: Dulux Cupboard Paint has lots of good reviews, and I generally rate Dulux pretty highly (most of our house is painted with Dulux) so I doubt this paint would be any less superior. Unlike the satinwood, this one claims to need no primer and to be tough and scruff resistant which might make it a better option since it has been designed to withstand use in high traffic areas, like kitchen cupboards.

At around £20 a tin, it’s also really affordable so a great option for anyone working on a tight budget.

CONS: I did find a few reviews where people said it had chipped further down the line, but this does seem to be true of all the paints I explored – they’ll always be a few negative experiences. I do wonder if perhaps this would be less likely with priming – even if using non-priming paint I think I would be tempted to prime first anyway.

There are only a handful of colour choices to choose from in the Dulux Cupboard Paint which is fine if you’re happy with those but if not you’d need to get something mixed.

Check out this paint and the colours available on the Dulux website.

 

V33 Cupboard and Cabinet Paint

v33 cupboard and cabinet paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review

PROS: Like the Wilko cupboard paint, the V33 Cupboard and Cabinet Paint is talked about a lot on the DIY page I follow. Because of the great reviews online, and its mid-sheen (so wipeable but not too glossy) appearance, I used it last year to upcycle a chest of drawers for Finn’s room. Though it seemed really thin and watery, it dried well and only needed two coats. A year on, it’s also stood the test of time and still looks immaculate despite being manhandled by a child! 😂

You can pick up a big tub from B&Q for just £40, so it’s really well priced, and they’ve added some new colours too.

CONS: I found the paint watery which made it trickier to work with than some other paints I’ve tried, but this doesn’t appear to hinder its performance.

Check out this paint and the colours available on the B&Q website.

 

Johnstone’s Cupboard Paint

johnstones cupboard paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review

PROS: A quick glance on Amazon and you’ll see that Johnstone’s Cupboard Paint has got lots of brilliant reviews. There are some really love colour choices with this one too – I LOVE this deep blue! It’s also really affordable, although the tins are small in comparison to what some of the other brands offer so you may need a couple.

I’ve used Johnstone’s paint on past furniture projects and never had a problem (although nothing as high traffic as a kitchen so I can’t vouch for it there), it’s also quick to be touch dry and doesn’t have much of a smell which is definitely a plus.

CONS: There’s the odd bad review about durability (but as I said before they all have a few) but one thing that did come up a few times was an issue with the likeness of the colour. One of the greys is said to more of a blue, and there were some colour complaints with other colours too – so have a look at photos of other people’s projects before you buy to be sure it’s what you want.

Check out this paint and the colours available on Amazon.

 

Frenchic Alfresco Paint

frenchic alfresco paint, what is the best paint for upcycling painting furniture, frugal mum review

PROS: Frenchic Alfresco Paint seems to have a big buzz around it at the moment – and I’ve used it several times around the house to upcycle and refresh old furniture, mirrors and photo frames.

It’s self-levelling and self-sealing, and ridiculously easy and lovely to work with. Their facebook page is full of happy customers and they share lots of photos and ideas for inspiration. The colour range is brilliant too; there are tons of lovely colours to choose from and different size tins available. It’s also really affordable.

The Alfresco paint in particular is said to durable enough for indoor and outdoor use so I always pick from that range, hoping it will stand the test of time!

CONS: Unlike the satin paints I’ve used elsewhere in the house, Frenchic Alfresco range is matt which looks gorgeous. Whilst this paint is my new favourite for furniture projects, I think I would stick to satinwood for high traffic areas like kitchen units.

Check out this paint and the colours available on the Frenchic website.

 

Other articles that might interest you…

How to paint your kitchen cupboards – a step by step guide and the mistakes to avoid!

How to paint your kitchen cupboards, frugal mum step by step beginners guide, frugal mum

 

How to improve your home on a budget

how to renovate house on a budget, DIY, frugal mum guide and tips, cheap

 

Budget DIY: How to paint / upcycle furniture for beginners

frugal mum photo, pink sideboard, upcycling before and after, budget renovations, DIY tips guide

 

How to improve your garden on a small budget – 15 ways to transform your outdoor space!

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The Ultimate Family Frugal Living Guide: 25 simple tips to save you money!

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