A Blue Bureau + My Favorite Paints for Furniture

By Kate Riley March 7, 2012

Hi everyone, a question landed in my inbox last week about my favorite paints for furniture, here it is along with my answer:

Dear Miss Kate, I can tell you like to paint furniture and you have been doing it for a few years, and I’m very thankful for all our tips. I see you use a lot of different paints, but I’m trying to decide which one I should use on a dresser in my house that I want to paint white. Can you tell me which paint really is the best for furniture?  ~ Barbara M.

Hello Barbara, thanks for the great question!  I love paint, that is clear. I’m happiest with a cup of coffee in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. There are a lot of great paints for your home and I have many favorites from different companies for when it comes to painting your walls.

But if we’re talking furniture, there are three that are my favorite and that I think are the best for this specific kind of makeover.  Well actually there are four, but that Low Lustre enamel by Ben Moore in the middle isn’t available anymore, so I’ll go with three that are.

centsational girl favorite furniture paints


To the left you’ll see my first two favorite paints to work with for furniture – they are Benjamin Moore Advance and Sherwin Williams ProClassic and both are water based alkyd enamel paints.  Alkyds are drying resins and are used in oil based paints but now synthetic versions are used in water-based enamel paints as well.  What’s important is that the enamel gives you a really hard finish, meaning if you tap on it with your fingernail after a week or two of curing it will feel hard to the touch, and not pliable like other latex paints.

I used the Benjamin Moore Advance formula in High Gloss to paint this desk and in Satin to paint this table. I am also using the Satin formula right now to paint my family room built in cabinets – it is an excellent paint choice for kitchen and bath cabinets as well.  I’m also a big fan of Sherwin Williams ProClassic acrylic alkyd which is designed for doors and trim, but is also excellent for furniture. I used it recently on this pedestal table.

The nice thing about the Ben Moore and Sherwin Williams formulas is they are readily available at local distributors in any color you wish. They are slightly more expensive than an ordinary quart of paint at a home improvement store ($18 -20 a quart) but they’re worth it.  I prefer both these Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams enamel paints for cabinetry and modern furniture styles. Both of these formulas require that you prime your piece of furniture first, but the paints are water-based so clean up is very easy.

I’ve also used Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint on several occasions, on this console, this end table, and this dresser and each time it has performed very well for me.  The nice thing about the AS Chalk paint is you can skip the primer step, but it is only available in limited colors, you must order it from a nearby stockist or online, and is more expensive at $39 a quart.  I like this paint for the European or cottage style finishes on furniture, such as hutches, dressers, buffets, etc. – it distresses extremely well.

Hope this answers your question Barbara, for your dresser any of these three choices would be great!  

* * * * *

Here’s a blue bureau I recently finished for a friend’s daughter, in a beautiful shade of pale turquoise (‘Thunderbird’ by Benjamin Moore) and a recap on how to paint furniture – this version with water based enamel paint.


dresser before



turquoise blue bureau dresser


There are a few tools you’ll need to start: a drop cloth, screwdriver, medium (80 – 120 grit) sanding wedge, bonding primer (I prefer Zinsser Cover Stain, especially for wood furniture), enamel paint in color of choice, 2” quality angled brush (Purdy brand is best), furniture wax protectant (optional).

First things first, remove all hardware before you begin.

remove hardware


If your piece is in good condition, you can skip the sanding step or the use of a power sander and go straight to priming your piece. Bonding primers don’t require sanding, even if your piece is heavily varnished, but I do find giving the furniture a good scuffing with a medium (80 grit) sanding wedge not only helps clean off any debris, but also opens the wood’s ‘pores’ and gives your primer a better surface to cling too. No need to sand away all the varnish and get down to the raw wood, just give it a good 5 to 10 minute scuffing with a sanding wedge, then wipe away any debris with a soft cloth.

light scuffing


I bought this particular piece because of its classic lines and solid wood construction, but it was damaged in two places. No worries – a little wood glue to the rescue. 

broken top

wood filler wood glue

If your piece suffers from holes or dents, you can use wood filler to cover or fill those unsightly blemishes. This is a cosmetic problem easily addressed with wood filler, which allows you to repair scratches, dents, welts and fill holes in your wood furniture before you go about painting it.

If you’ve opted for new knobs, often they will fit right in the old holes, but many modern pulls are sized differently than the old hardware. Wood filler is also your best bet for starting over with new hardware.

If you want a paint job that will last, using a good bonding primer is key.  For this dresser, I used spray on Zinsser Cover Stain for a quick application and super smooth finish – it goes on quickly and dries in about 20 minutes. If using the spray version instead of a brush on formula, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and dispose of your cans according to your local waste regulations. A spray gun nozzle attachment (like shown) available in most paint departments will also assist in more even coverage, plus it prevents finger cramping!

cover stain primer


primed dresser


Once you’re primer is fully dry, sand away any drips or residue and wipe your piece down with a soft cloth.  Like I mentioned above, two of my favorite water based paints for furniture are the enamel paints by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, and you can have them tinted to any color. Two thin coasts should work if you’re working with lighter shades of paint, sometimes a third light coat is required if you’re painting your piece navy, dark gray, or black.  Allowing 6 to 8 hours of drying time between coats.

A high quality angled paint brush is also essential. The last thing you want to be doing is picking loose paintbrush hairs out of your paint, which happens with cheaper brushes so don’t bother with them. You can apply your paint quicker with a foam roller, but you still will end up with edge marks, so I always follow up a roller with a brush. An angled brush also helps get into grooves and crevices better, plus with a steady hand it cuts in straight lines extremely well. If you take good care of it, a good angled brush like Purdy brand brush will last you for years.

paint dresser

This bureau was painted with Benjamin Moore’s Low Luster enamel paint in ‘Thunderbird’. It’s for an eight year old girl’s room so this shade of pale turquoise with the original brass pulls will be a gorgeous addition to her space.

With enamel paints it’s not always necessary to use a protectant as the enamel paint has a harder finish compared to ordinary latex paints.  However, for a high use surface like a coffee table or the top of this dresser and extra coat of protection will help protect the paint.

Look for Minwax water based Polycrylic in satin or gloss or wipe on or brush on Varathane water based protectant in satin or gloss – I’ve learned using a cheap sponge brush with the Polycrylic or Varathane minimizes brush strokes in your protective coat.  Do not use an oil based polyurethane, it will amber or yellow over time.

finishing products

For a hand rubbed matte finish, choose a furniture wax protectant like Briwax, Minwax clear, SC Johnson, or Annie Sloan.  For this dresser, I used the Briwax clear paste wax, applied with a cotton rag and buffed to soft glow.

I cleaned up the pulls with the tips I mentioned in this post about polishing brass hardware.

brass plated pulls


Reattach your hardware once you’re paint is completely cured. With enamel based paints it usually takes 3 to 5 days, so be patient.

brass hardware up close cg


dresser crop left side cg


turquoise blue bureau dresser

It may seem time consuming and labor intensive but remember a quick spray primer and a protectant are the fastest steps, it’s the repair and painting processes that take the most time. With a little patience, you’ll achieve a perfectly painted piece with smooth even coverage that will last for years to come.  Enjoy!





  1. I’m not a fan of the chalk paint, but other people seem enthusiastic. Good to know about the others!

  2. Ack, I can’t add a pin to Pinterest from my phone and I don’t see this on there yet. I need someone to add it do I can repin. :)

  3. So glad for this post. I just got a SW coupon in the mail…love them. And BM…it’s just farther away…and gas is $3.69/gal. gah.

  4. This is awesome! I was just looking at these paints and am planning on using the BM Advance on my kitchen cabinets. What do you think of the BM Advance primer or do you prefer Zinnser?

    • I haven’t tried the BM Advance Primer Grace, I’ll have to look into it. You want a primer that bonds extremely well and if the cabinets are wood, prevents penetration of stain through the paint – Zinsser does both, but I’ll take a look at the Advance primer. :)

  5. That pale turquoise with the gold hardware is just so lovely! I love your paint tips! I learned about the awesomeness of floetrol from you – changed my life. ;)

  6. Kate- Do you know if you have to worry about “yellowing” of white BM Advance paint? B/c of the alkyd?


  7. In Canada, Home Hardware makes a wonderful water based alkyd enamel that is wonderful for furniture as well. Lovely to use and gives great coverage. Durable, but cleans up well when wet.

  8. Thanks for all of your tips and hints, I have been refinishing furniture for years and am always looking out for new ideas and tips. I am so glad that others realise that you don’t have to always restore wood to its nature state. Yah for color!

  9. In Canada, AS paint is $50 It would have to be something VeRy special before I’d buy it!

  10. Love your blog Kate. I’m about to paint a pine buffet and hutch (and if successful my table and chairs) to match my new kitchen cabinetry done in an ivory paint with brown brushstroke glaze finish over top. Have you ever tried to do a glazed finish over any of your pieces? Thanks for such clear instructions and all the inspiration. Your projects are great!

  11. Wow – this post is great timing for me…I have some thrift finds that I’m upcycling. Thanks again!

  12. Hi Kate, I’ve been wondering if you have tried painting old hardware and if so what paint you have had success with. I was thinking that the lovely blue bureau that you posted above would look sweet with white hardware as well. Thanks for you insight as always.

    • Hi Alison, I had the same thought about painting them white but in the end stuck with the original brass hardware. You can redo any hardware in metallic sheens with Rub N Buff, if you want them white you’ll have to use a light dusting of white spray paint in several layers, but note, sometimes the paint can wear off around the hinges if frequently pulled on so be prepared for that. Otherwise you’re looking at replacing the hardware which is easy to do as long as you fill the holes first before you prime and paint, then drill new holes for your new hardware.

  13. I started out, thinking I have to use ASCP on everything! Now that I’m comfortable painting furniture, it’s time to try some other brands. Great post!!

  14. I am trying the chalk paint for the first time on a project. I have so many things going on I am tyring to get to it already.

  15. Hi Kate, I am learning so much from your blog!!! I plan to refinish a beautiful old desk by re-staining the top and then painting the remainder of the desk with AS Old White and slightly distressing. There is a 2″X2″ damaged spot with small cracks on the top along the back edge where a mirror was once attached when in a former life the piece was actually a vanity. Since I plan to stain the top, how do I repair the damage for a uniform look? I am afraid that any filler I put over/into the cracks will not stain properly. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Tara, that is a small problem but worth attempting a repair and stain. Minwax offers a stainable wood filler and also wood putty in various shades, so you could attempt the stainable wood filler (I haven’t tried it yet so let me know how that goes) or try matching the wood filler to your stain.

  16. okay….so what if i wanted to paint a floor? we just moved into a rental cottage that was built in 1923. the floor is wood with i have no idea how many layers of paint on this thing. i’m not that keen about sanding down to THE first level…holy cow. i mean…the bathroom is smallish. there’s clawfoot tub in there that i do not want to move…not to mention the toilet. i’d really like to just cheat my way through a bathroom floor paint job that will give me wonderful and miraculous results that will make me exceedingly happy. the easy way…any suggestions?

    • Hi Jenni, without any pictures it’s hard to say, but you have two choices. If the layers of paint are chipped, consider using some Citrustrip on the floor to get it all off. It may take several applications and you should use a lead based paint tester too to make sure you’re not scraping up lead based paint which is toxic. Once you scrape off the layers, you’re left with wood which you can sand with an orbital by hand, but wear a respirator. If you dont’ mind all the layers of paint, then look into a Porch & Floor paint offered by several different brands, they’re designed for your project.

  17. Thanks so much for this post. I plan on using it as well as yours from last week on painting a table this weekend. Even as an interior designer I am always amazed at all the different paint formulas and their uses. Having worked in only in commercial design I welcome any advice on paint for furniture. Thanks!

    • Hi Patricia, I’d probably spray paint rattan, several light coats should do it!

  18. Thank you so much for the handbook! Truly a life (and time) saver!! No more bookmarking and linking up from one post to another. I am always super cautious before I begin a project and love to read and study it before I dive in! This helps so much! Just finished my Annie Sloan dresser and ready to tackle more!

  19. I do like all the same paints as you; however my all time favorite is Pittsburg Manor Hall. It’s simply beautiful paint!

  20. Fabulous!! Love the paint color, but alas, I cannot find it anywhere! Will you share???? :)) Thank you!

    • Which paint color Rebecca, do you mean the one on the dresser? It’s ‘Thunderbird’ by Benjamin Moore.

  21. What a simple and wonderful overview! I will absolutely be referring to this the next time I paint a piece of furniture as I’m always looking for the very best solution. Thanks, Kate!

  22. You are an inspiration Kate! I have a question after reading your Blog on Everygirl. If you paint the piece in high gloss, do you still use a varathane or polyacrylic on top? Thanks for giving us so much valuable information!

    • Hi Laura, I don’t use a poly on top of the high gloss, I find it’s not necessary – and I loved working with the Advance in High Gloss, gave a really nice sheen to the piece!

  23. Kate, please, please do a post on Homemade chalk paint!
    I know there is a craze for the Annie Sloan and I’ve been dying to try it but for us poor folk, or simply for the gun shy at ordering paint over the internet, I’m wondering if a homemade variety can stand up to the “real thing”. I’m also wondering if there are any other chalk paint brands to try.

    Oh. and only because I’m question happy….what is the difference:”Chalk Paint” vs. “Chalkboard Paint”?

    Would love your insight!

  24. Hi Caroline, I’ve never made the homemade version of chalk paint, but I have made my own chalkboard paint – you’ll find the recipe in my Project Gallery.
    Chalk paint and Chalkboard paint are very different. Chalk paint is a brand by Annie Sloan designed specifically for furniture, you can’t write on it with chalk. Chalkboard paint is just that – black or colored chalkboard paint that allows you to use white chalk or chalk pens to write on the surface.
    Hope this helps!

  25. Do you have any recommendations for painting interior doors? I’m currently involved in an ambitious project to strip the paint (all 10+ layers of it) off of my interior doors and start from scratch with a fresh coat of white paint. I’m working my way through the removal stage but eventually will need to start painting. Do you think the same paints you recommend for furniture would work well, durability-wise, on a door?

  26. Kate,

    Have you ever painted a large piece of furniture using a paint sprayer? I am wanting to paint a hutch and desk for my daughter. The piece is big and I thought it might be easier to paint with a sprayer but I am nervous and not sure if I should dilute the paint or not. Thanks!

    • Hi Melissa, yes I have, the Wagner I own did a good job priming, but not enough of a fine mist finish for my taste for the final painted finish – it really just depends on the sprayer you use and the viscosity of the paint – there are good ones available but most of the good ones are quite expensive.

  27. Thanks so much for writing this post Kate! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some bookshelves like you used in your Alma House to paint white just like these. I’m not great with painting and your tips are super helpful. Do you recommend using a brush or a roller on furniture? I’ve had mixed results but I think it may have been because I didn’t use the conditioner like you recommend. Next time I will for sure!

  28. Do you use a topcoat of any kind over these paints? Wax? Poly? I’m going for “this piece has been this way for years” look.

  29. Kate, this is fantastic, thanks so much! This may be elsewhere on your blog (I’m new), but what if you wanted to rub off some of the paint on high-wear areas for a more distressed/shabby-chic look? I’d imagine that would be a fine-grit sanding wedge after the final paint coat and before the top coat. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Yes JJ, a good sanding wedge can distress your piece to your liking before the final top coat.

  30. Love the dresser you painted. The color is a beautiful blue the hardware is gorgeous. I don’t like to paint, but I appreciate excellent work.

  31. Hi Kate,
    Great post and wonderful pieces. Any reasons spray paint isn’t a good choice for furniture? I have a mod coffee table I just picked up at a thrift store and was thinking of going a dark coffee color. I was planning on using the spray primer, and a spray paint color. Does spray paint not offer the same durability?

    • Hi Sarah, I love spray paint for furniture, but only for smaller pieces. Otherwise, you’ll end up using a lot of cans and on long surfaces, the finish can be splotchy. But I did use a Polycrylic on top of spray paint on this piece:
      Turned out great! I love to spray paint furniture, but usually save it for the smaller pieces.

  32. Thanks for answering so completely! The dresser turned out wonderful. I would like to see the pulls painted white for a fun updated contrast.

    To Sarah, I have used spray paint with great results. It takes a few cans 3-4 though for just a small piece, and you need a good place to spray. Good luck

  33. Have you ever used Behr paint + primer? I have used it on our walls and absolutely love it so I wonder how it would hold up and look on furniture?

    • Hey Jill, those are the gardenia paisley curtains from Pier One, totally fab and beautiful colors!

  34. Hi! Wonderful tips! I wish I had read all this a year ago! I’ve recently painted some wooden furniture with latex semi-gloss paint without using primer. Do I need to strip it all off and start over with the primer and enamel to achieve that nice hard finish?

  35. Hi Haley, I’ve never used a paint/primer combo on furniture, I’m not convinced it’s the best step for those surfaces, and I prefer a guaranteed bonding primer before paint. However those are good choices for walls.


  36. Hello! I found your blog recently and now I’m addicted! As I was visiting your older pages, I realized that this dresser is the EXACT design that I did for my husband a year ago! It was my first furniture project and required me to repair some of the drawer guides (read: about 5 trips to Lowes in 24 hours). I wish I had read your instructions because it would have been helpful as far as the paint to use.

    I noticed you used the same drawer pulls– The problem I ran into on this project was that when I went to replace the hardware, I discovered that the spacing for the hardware between the bottom two drawers happens to be (3.5″?) a width that drawer pulls are not commonly made in anymore! So I’m stuck with having painted the entire dresser black with the top drawer pulls replaced with a modern silver pull, with the bottom drawers still with the old hardware. :( I think I might end up spray-painting all of the old pulls so that it looks better, but oh well.

    Thanks for all your advice!

    • Hi Betsy, you can always fill old holes with wood filler, sand any rough spots, paint it, and drill new holes!

  37. Kate,

    Thank you so much for posting your house and furniture paint colors. It can be so overwhelming standing looking at paint chips. We set out for Lowes last weekend, in search of Valspar’s Churchill Hotel Wheat (your entry paint) for our entry/hallway. My man would NEVER spring for Benjamin Moore paint (sigh) so big time THANKS for offering comps in your post. Brilliant!

    The Wheat seemed like it might be a little too dark (our entry/hall doesn’t get much natural light) so I picked up the Churchill Hotel Ecru. We bought a gallon of the Ecru and a sample of the Wheat. It was a HUGE help that I did a lot of online research pre-Lowes, as the menfolk don’t like pondering and, giving choices the “casual glance” while we debate colors.

    Love the blog!


    • Fantastic news Karen! Yep, going with the lighter color was a good call, I hope you are enjoying your new shade of paint in your home, I love Valspar’s paint for walls!

  38. How to you get streak free with a brush? I am using a good quality brush (in the $25-30 price range) and Benjamin Moore Aura I believe, but I am getting a lot of brush strokes. I tend to use a foam roller on furniture which gives mixed results. for one or two layers of paint its all good, but if you get 3 or more (like primer and 2 paint) the texture does add up.
    So at this point I have no good solution.

    Also, I know you use Purdy brushes no? The only Purdy’s I have ever seen are $60-80 (CDN). Is this the level of brush you use or do they have a range of brushes I just dont know about?

    Thanks so much!

  39. I love this color…do you know of any spray paint colors that are close to this? I am doing a two small end tables and would rather spray paint than hand paint?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Ali, have you seen RustOleum’s ‘Aqua’ ? So pretty! Krylon has a few blues too, I don’t recall the names though. I think Michaels carries their entire line of colors.

  40. Hi,

    I can not seem to find the Low Luster enamal paint on Benjamin Moore website. Is it even available online?

    • Hi Ryann, yes I think it’s been discontinued, but try the Advance, it’s just as good!

  41. Thank You Kate! I am in the process of refinishing an old desk/vanity for my daughter and I absolutely love what you did with the dresser above! The color is stunning. Thank you for the inspiration.

  42. I have a mudroom with built in storage lockers. The builder painted them a gloss enamel. They are way too shiny and still tacky after 2 months! The brush strokes on them look awful!! I want to re-paint. Do I have to sand them? I think the low luster enamel is the way to go…oh and they’re black….any thoughts or advice? Thanks

    • Hi Colleen, so sorry they’re tacky still, not sure why, I haven’t experience that with enamel paints. Are you sure it’s enamel? I assume it’s a water based paint if you’re experiencing any tackiness, oil based paints dry much harder. If it’s water based you can paint right over it with a new water based enamel formula.

  43. Thanks for the reply. Should I sand the brush marks before I repaint? Will that give it a smoother finish?

  44. Hi,
    I’ve been a reader of your blog for quite a while off and on, I love it! Especially love the wine country articles. Anyway I am refinishing a porch rocker today per your instructions here and am wondering if you have any outdoor furniture paint recommendations. I don’t really seem to find that on the blog, though perhaps I am missing it. I am thinking of doing it the color of the green rockers you featured here: http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2010/05/scenes-from-a-weekend/#more-8556.

    off to prime now. :) thanks for all the great tips and articles!

  45. Hi! I love your blog! I just wanted to let you know that Benjamin Moore Metal & Wood Low Luster enamel is still available – but now it’s called Super Spec Low Luster. Would you recommend this paint over Sherwin Williams Pro Classic and Benjamin Moore Advance? I am planning to paint a dresser – Hershfields recommended BM Super Spec Low Luster, which is also self priming!? Would you agree? HELP!

    • Hi Caty, I’m not sure it’s self priming, I think especially with wood furniture, you need to prime if you’re using an enamel paint – but I was really hapy with the Low Luster enamel paint by Ben Moore, will have to give the Super Spec a try!

  46. Hi. Love your blog. Just turned on a fantastic Houston architectural antique hardware furniture, etc store. I was wanting to know if you can tell me if I need to sand a wood table that has been painted in just a few places but has some coating over it. Also nail heads but how do you not get them painted. Very difficult to cover. Also wrong placement but left my chandyy outside that was antique heirloom white. Mows its droopy chalky mess. Is there an easy way to start over? Also all of the crystal holes got filled in. Thanks so much. Goddess Kate!,

  47. Thanks for all the great information! I am getting ready to paint my son’s old furniture in preparation for my new daughter. I went to the store and couldn’t find the zinsser cover up in the spray can. I ended up buying zinsser bulls eye 123 primer for all surfaces. Have you used this and do you think it is sufficient?

    • Hi Kari, the 1-2-3 is a water based formula, it has good adhesion too but takes a lot longer to cure, I think up to a week (it says on the can!)

  48. Is the wax used over the polycrylic or do just use the polycrylic on high use areas and wax the remainder?

    • Hi Judy, I choose one or the other, waxes for white paint or a subtle matte finish, polycrylic or varathante for a satin or gloss finish on darker furniture.

  49. Hi Kate –

    Love your site! I followed your first How To instructions, but didn’t see this updated post where you recommend using the Wax protectant when painting furniture white. I recently painted a buffet white and then used the water-based polycrylic. It is yellowing in some areas now. Would you recommend that I lightly sand the buffet again, repaint white and then use the wax? Thanks!

    • Hi Becky, yes if that’s what you’re experiencing it sounds like a good plan – I’m redoing a piece myself in white and using wax since it won’t change the color.

  50. Just found this site and wanted to say “Thank You!” for being so detailed in your explanation of how to do this and including photos. I am getting ready to paint several oak barstools to make them more “hip” by painting them Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay color and reupholstering the seats with a lime green & cream geometric fabric. I wasn’t sure how to accomplish this, what type of paint to use, brush vs spray, how to sand, etc. until I found your site. Now I know exactly how to do this job! Thanks again!

    • Great news Judy, thanks for sharing, your idea to spruce up your barstools sounds fab!

  51. Great post. So informative. Thanks! One more quick question: Is there any preference of any of the brands of wax you listed for different furniture? Like is one better for a bench (more wear and tear) vs an armoire?

  52. A very helpful post! Thank you! And I, too, love this dresser transformation!!! I have the same questions as Emilee. I just sprayed two bedside tables I built for my master bedroom in Rustoleum Heritage White. I really want to try the wax application but I want to be sure to use the right one for the tables’ finish. I also just built a king panel headboard and I wonder if the same wax could be used on it as well?

    • Hi Lianna, there are several clear furniture paste waxes available, I’ve had a lot of success with Briwax and Annie Sloan.

  53. I found some of that Benjamin Moore Metal and Wood Enamel low lustre black paint in a dollar store. Is there a reason it was discontinued. I know it’s messy to clean-up but is it dangerous?

    • Not dangerious Denise, I think they just perfected the formula with their new line of Advance paint, speculating but that’s my thought.

  54. I was so excited to see this post. The dresser you featured is part of my bedroom set. I’m thinking of painting the two pieces, I have, black. I’m not sure if I should go glossy or simi-gloss. We’ve used Benjamin Moore paints for our walls for over 30 years. They are the best. What type of Benjamin Moore paint would you recommend for this project. I know black can be tricky.

    I love your blog and have forwarded to my daughter in the UK.

    • Hi Karen, BM has several blacks, I’d visit the store for some samples!

  55. i tried to get a dark teal at Sherwin Williams in the water based acrylic alkyd, and they were unable to tint it as dark as i wanted. they said it isn’t made in a base that dark. just letting you know! i was pretty disappointed.

    • Oh no Sarah! Didn’t know that about SW, hopefully they’ll make it in a dark base!

  56. I ran into the same problem at Sherwin Williams recently that sarahbclark did. I want to re-paint a desk in black, and they told me that the ProClassic Interior Water Based Acrylic Alkyd Enamel wasn’t available in colors that dark (at least in Satin and Semigloss – I can’t remember if the same thing applied to all finishes). The sales guy recommended their All-Surface Enamel Latex as an alternative, but I’m wondering if I should go to Benjamin Moore instead — does anyone know if BM Advance has the same limitations on dark colors?

    • Hi Nancy, I don’t know! Next time I’m there, I’ll find out! The line is designed for kitchen cabinetry so I hope it’s avail in all bases.

  57. I finished painting my dresser white. I went to the store and found the sc Johnson wax. I bought it but now i am wondering if I have to let the paint cure longer before I wax? I used the Sherwin Williams Proclassic and finished painting two days ago. And how long should I let the wax cure?
    Thanks so much for your help :)

  58. Thanks so much for posting the specific brand names and types of paint. I have never been able to get a good black paint to properly dry. Even a year later, it seems somewhat sticky at times. So good to know about using the Alkyd instead of regular Latex – can’t wait to try it.

  59. Hello
    Using this tutorial, I have undertaken painting a huge media center white. So far it’s going perfectly…thanks for all your help! I had a question. Do I have to sand before applying the water-based polyurethane? I am hesitant to sand even though the can’s instructions say to do so…I took so much care to do great paint job and don’t want to ruin it!

    • Hi Sofia, I do not sand between paint and applying a Varathane or Polycrylic protectant.

  60. I have a question regarding the protectant. I came across your blog after I finished painting with my latex paint. However I took your advice on the protectant and actually returned my previous purchase of the oil based product because I didn’t want it to yellow. While applying the polycrylic protectant I noticed some of the paint color on my brush. Then after 12 hours of drying time, it is blotchy and a lighter color than it was previously. I allowed at least 2-3 days of paint drying time before applying the protectant. Do you know why this would happen?

    • Hi Jen, I have not experienced that problem, wondering if it was the brand of latex paint?

  61. So I’m assuming, since you don’t mention it on this page, that you don’t use Floetrol when using water based alkyd enamel paints???

    • Yes Sarah, the Floetrol isn’t necessary for enamel paints, they have enough flow if you work in the ideal temperatures (55 – 70 degrees)

  62. I’m totally being lazy and didn’t read through all of the comments, but which paint would you suggest for a “whitewashed” look. Online it seems that most people just say to water down your paint and wipe it back off as you go, but they never say which type of paint is best for this. Any advice?

    • Hi Whitney, you can use any latex or enamel paint that is water based, or the AS Chalk Paint watered down a bit, either will work!

  63. I just wanted to clarify before I start painting. Is it ok to use a oil based primer, like the Zinsser cover stain oil based primer + a water based alkyd enamel paint, such as BM Advance or SW ProClassic…together? They are both recommended above I just want to make sure that they are can be used together. Thank you! :)

  64. Hi…I always use the Ben Moore metal and wood enamel. Our BM store still carries it. It is in a different label…it is now Super Spec D.T.M. just thought you might try that.

  65. Hi,
    I’m painting my kitchen cabinets. I started with bare maple and am using BM Advance. Because I wanted as smooth a finish as possible, I added Floetrol.
    So, after priming, also with BM Advance Primer, I painted my first coat with a brush… ugh, brush strokes! After sanding and more painting, more brush strokes!!!
    so, then I tried the foam rollers that are recommed=nded for cabinets, so now instead of brush marks, I have dimples and orange peel effect everywhere!
    I thought that Advance was superior for leveling, and now with the Floetrol added, I thought for sure it would give me a silky smooth finish!!! I am so discouraged at this point!
    My first brush I used was a Purdy but i didn’t realize that it was medium stiff. I tried another Purdy, this time a soft one… the painted finish seems to be a bit better.
    So do i just add more Floetrol? At this point, I think I like the brush marks better than the dimples. I’m noticing that after painting ever-so-carefully each door, there always seems to be areas where it looks like the paint just dries up (when using the rollers).
    Okay, so can you tell that I’m going out of my mind already?????
    Please, any advise would be greatly appreciated!!!

    • Hi Gail, don’t be discouraged! I don’t use Floetrol with the Advance paint, it’s an enamel paint and it levels really well on its own, especially the semi gloss and gloss formulas. Right now you need to sand away those brush strokes and dimples with a medium and then fine grit sanding wedge. Next time use really thin coats, don’t add the Floetrol to the BM Advance and paint in ideal temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees. Hope this helps!

  66. FYI – I have used Annie Sloan chalk paint on 4 pieces of furniture now — it DID REQUIRE PRIMER on 3 pieces –2 of the end tables I did had lots of bleed through, as well as a pine pantry I painted, where all of the small knots in the pine wood kept drying much darker than the other flat areas. (After much research online, I see this is a common complaint.) I think that there is too much talk about not needing primer with ASCP. It is paint – and all paints need to be tested on an area first. I think I will always use Primer with ASCP now. And I really don’t anticipate using it much more. I prefer the smoother paint feel rather than the icky, rough chalky feel of this paint. AND, I don’t see how someone could pass up using the wax (a laborious process, if you ask me.) All kinds of fingerprints will get absorbed into that surface and show like crazy if you don’t finish it with something. Well — enough with my rant, I was wondering if you can recommend your best success with a clear-coat/finish that will not yellow? I want to paint my dining room set white/ivory. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. (PS – I am re-staining the tops, just painting the sides/ legs/etc.)

    • Hi Alisa, great timing for this comment, yes I had to prime an oak cabinet this past weekend even when using AS Chalk Paint to prevent bleeding, I recommend primer underneath with any pine or heavily stained piece first.
      It’s hard to find anything other than wax for white surfaces, I always worry about yellowing or changing the shade of the white, so I use wax with white surfaces but the Polycrylics and Varathanes work fine with colored paints. I also love the BM Enamel paints, if you use the semi gloss or gloss they don’t need a protective coat.

  67. Hello,

    I am painting my kitchen cabinets with the Benjamin Moore Advance formula in a dark grey. The paint went on very smooth. However, I used the satin formula and it appears more matte than I desire. I also want to use a protectant but I am nervous about the Miniwax polycrylic (bubbles). So I think I will use the wax. How long after painting did you wait to apply the Briwax? And, do you think the wax will give me the soft lustre that I want?

    Thanks so much for your help. I am sweating bullets over this project, fearing that I will invest so much effort and then take one wrong step.

    • yes it will Loris, if you buff it enough. You might consider instead doing one more coat of BM Advance but in the gloss formula, that one hardens to a tough finish and wouldn’t require a protective coat.

  68. Hi! Thanks for all the tips :)
    I have a quick question… Do you sand in between coats of paint or is it just necessary after the primer step?
    Thanks again :)

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