The 16 Best Paints to Use on a Wooden Dresser

Do you have a wooden dresser in your home that needs revamping, or have you bought a used dresser off a classified ads site and want to make it look better? What better way to achieve the results than by giving it a fresh lick of paint? To do that, however, you need to know the best type of paints to use.

The best paints to use on your wooden dresser will come down to your unique needs. However, you should generally look for easy to prepare options, easy to apply and won’t chip or peel quickly. The drying time and the component of the paint are other factors you should consider.

This article will give you a list of 16 paints you can use on your wooden dresser. By the end of it, you should have a few options to go for.

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Should You Sand or Prime the Dresser First?

If this is your first rodeo in painting a dresser, you probably want to know if you can get on with painting the dresser or whether you have to sand or prime it first. The right answer is dependent on two factors covered below:

The Type of Paint You’d Like to Use

If you’re trying to paint the dresser using some of the paint from your last house remodeling project or using any other can of paint you’ve picked from your local store, then priming first is necessary. However, if you’re using any of the paints, we’ll recommend later or other furniture paints, you won’t need to prime compulsorily.

The 16 Best Paints to Use on a Wooden Dresser

Conventional paints used on walls are much stickier when compared to standard furniture paints. This is due to the latex content. Therefore, to use such paints on your dresser, you need to give the paint something to stick to, which is the primer.

With some sanding and priming, the paint won’t have a problem sticking to your dresser. Unfortunately, you need to wade a few other steps if you choose to use wall paint for your dresser. This is why specially made furniture paints or chalk paints are always the preferred option for painting dressers.

The State of the Dresser

Are there pet (or human) scratches all over the dresser? Are there lots of chips in the finish on it? Does it have a lot of bumps due to old stickers? If any of these are present, then it’s a good idea to sand it first before painting. You don’t need to go overboard with the sanding. The focus should be on getting it smooth enough for the paint to get on easily.For the sanding process, you need to get started with 150-grit medium-grit sandpaper. Then round it all off with 220-grit fine sandpaper to ensure all scratches are properly smoothed off. You can achieve this using an orbital sander like the Dewalt 20V Max or Bosch ROS20VSC. Don’t forget to protect yourself with a mask during the process.

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DEWALT 20V MAX Orbital Sander, Tool Only (DCW210B)
  • Orbital sander with brushless motor provides runtime and efficiency to get the job done
  • Variable-speed control of the hand sander from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM to match the speed to the application.
  • Low-profile height of the power sander allows user to get close to work surface for precise sanding.

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BOSCH ROS20VSC Palm Sander 2.5 Amp 5 in. Corded Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander/Polisher Kit with Dust Collector and Soft Carrying Bag , Blue
  • SMOOTH FINISH: pad dampening system designed to eliminate swirl marks on both flat and contoured surfaces
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  • VARIABLE SPEED CONTROL: powerful 2.5 AMP motor allows speed to work-piece and task matching with ease; no-load OPM: 7,500-12,000

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For deep gouges or scratches, you should use some wood filler in those areas and then sand to smoothness. Once the filler is dry, you can proceed to paint.

The following are some of the best paints to consider. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but they are the cream of the crop in the wood paint niche.

FolkArt Home Décor Chalk Finish Paint Set

This is a multi-functional furniture paint you can count on for a colorful revamp of your wooden dresser. It is water-based, so the fear of cleaning up shouldn’t leave you dreading giving your dresser a new look. You also don’t have to worry about its safety either as it doesn’t contain any toxins.

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FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Furniture & Craft Paint in Assorted Colors, 8 ounce, Clear Wax
  • VERSATILE & CONVENIENT SIZE - This paraffin-infused wax sealer and protectant comes in an easy-to-use 8 oz bottle - perfect for use with the FolkArt Home Décor Wax Paint Brush
  • CLEAR, SMOOTH FINISH - Load your brush with a small amount of wax and use a downward, circular motion to apply. When dry, this wax dries clear and will protect all your DIY home décor projects
  • EASY APPLICATION - Be sure to work wax into your project's crevices and details. Allow wax to dry for 1-2 hours, then buff with a soft cloth. The more you buff, the glossier the sheen

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It is the perfect paint to rely on when you are going for a layered or distressed look for your furniture. There are nine different colors to choose from in the kit, so you don’t have to sweat about choosing a color.

Nuvo Cocoa Couture

This paint is marketed as a cabinet paint, but it can also look great on a dresser. It comes with everything you need to have your wooden dresser looking great in less than an hour, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time on the preparation process.

Nuvo Driftwood 1 Day Cabinet Makeover Kit
  • Low VOC, low odor, water-based acrylic paint and primer in one
  • One-day application process that dries in a soft, satin finish
  • Professional results with simple tools included in each kit

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This is another option you can go with if you’re looking for furniture paint with low quantities of VOC and doesn’t smell. Another good advantage of the Nuvo Cocoa Couture paint is that it can dry fully in a day or less. The satin finish will leave your dresser looking really impressive.

Buying one of these gives you a primer and water-based acrylic paint mix that can effectively cover over 100 square feet of the dresser surface. So it would be best if you had more than enough to use.

Retique It 

This is a highly-rated chalk furniture paint that can deliver stunning results on your dresser. It delivers a smooth and properly covered finish on the wood. The snow-white color will leave your dresser looking elegant at the end of the process. With Retique It, you can jump straight to painting the dresser as you don’t need to prime and sand first. You also won’t need multiple coats to get the job done.

Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint - Old Linen 1 Pint (16oz) - Chalk Furniture & Cabinet Paint - Non Toxic, Eco-Friendly, Superior Coverage
  • ALL-IN-ONE - contains built in primer & top coat. Using a poly after painting is optional.
  • GREAT RESULTS - Amazing adhesion to a wide variety of surfaces; great coverage (requiring less paint coats); long-lasting durability; little-to-no prep work required (just clean first).
  • FURNITURE & MORE - Formulated specifically for furniture & home decor; can be used for craft and art projects as well.

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With a single coat of paint, you can give your dresser a contemporary or vintage feel. The paint is environmentally friendly and safe to use indoors with children and pets around on the ingredients front. There are also no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in it. You’re guaranteed a super smooth and chalky finish that will continue to look great for years.

Rust-Oleum 253537 Metallic Accents

Do you want to give your dresser a luxurious look? This metallic accent version of the Rust-Oleum paint will do a fantastic job of it. It doesn’t smell, so you don’t have to leave your dresser outside for days. It dries in less than an hour, and the magnificent shimmering high-end finish you’ll be left with is down to the mixture of mica beads in this water-based paint.

Rust-Oleum 253537 Metallic Accents Paint, Quart, Soft Gold
  • Elegant metallic paint adds a decorative touch on interior/exterior walls, trim, doors, furniture and more
  • Low odor, water based formula contains mica beads for metallic look
  • Dries to the touch in 30 min and covers up to 105 sq ft

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For the best result, leave the dresser under direct light to add some sparkle to the room. Many people end up using the paint on other wooden furniture after the dresser’s done. This is also another easy-to-clean paint option. You only need soap and water to clean up when you’re done painting.

Majic Paints 8-9405-2 Diamond Hard

This is another durable, resistant, and hard-wearing paint option for your wooden dresser. It is an acrylic, satin enamel paint that you can trust to not get scuffs, marks, and scratches from the kids or your pets. Once the painting is done, you’ll have an appearance that will remain for months.

Majic Paints Interior/Exterior Satin Paint, RePurpose your Furniture, Cabinets, Glass, Metal, Tile, Wood and More, Serenity Teal, 1-Quart, 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • Color: Serenity
  • IDEAL FOR DIY PROJECTS: Repurpose furniture, trim, cabinets, doors, or any project you have in in mind
  • SUPERIOR COLOR-RETENTION: Levels to a beautiful smooth satin finish

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If you don’t finish the tin on your wooden dresser, you can use the paint on other furniture or fixtures in the room to create an accent. The accent piece doesn’t have to be wooden either. The paint adheres nicely to aluminum, plastic, vinyl, tiles, and even glass.

General Finishes QAW Milk Paint

This is a highly rated furniture paint that will look great on your dresser. It sticks well to surfaces and won’t chip or fade easily. You don’t need a top coat for the paint, and its characteristics make it a great option to use for dressers in high-traffic rooms.

General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint, 1 Quart, Perfect Gray
  • This paint is self-sealing and does not require a topcoat
  • Do not apply clear topcoats over bright white paint, as yellowing may occur due to a reaction to the substrate. Light color paints may also experience yellowing due to topcoat application, but it will less noticeable
  • Extremely durable premium furniture paint with high adhesion rated for interior or exterior use.

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There are more than two dozen mixable colors to choose from, so you can always find the color you are looking for. Mix any of the colors with GF chalk paint, and the result you’ll get is a low luster sheen that will remain durable for a long time.

For the best results, use a sprayer, brush, or roller to apply multiple paint coats on your dresser. Cleaning up is also a breeze because, just like other paints on this list, you only need some water and conventional cleaning soap.

Rust-Oleum 329598 Chalked Ultra Matte Paint

The Rust-Oleum ultra-matte chiffon cream paint will make your dresser come alive. It’s easy to use, and it takes effect pretty quickly. All you need to create a vintage look is a single coat of paint across the dresser.

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Rust-Oleum 329598 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint 30 oz, 30 Fl Oz, Chiffon Cream, 30 Fl Oz
  • Use on a variety of interior surfaces like wood, metal, ceramic, canvas and easily distress to create a vintage look
  • Low-odor, latex formula allows for easy clean up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in just 30 minutes and covers up to 150 sq. ft.; one-coat coverage allows projects to be completed easily

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If you’re looking for paint that’s easy to clean, this should be high on your list. It’s made from latex, so all you need to clean it is soap and water. It doesn’t peel, and you can expect a dry dresser in half an hour. One tin of this paint contains 30fl. Oz. and you can use it to cover 150 square feet of dresser surface.

BB Frösch DIY Chalk Paint Powder

If you’d like to create some chalk paint, the BB Frösch chalk paint powder is one of the most affordable ways to achieve your goal. You only need to mix it with any water-based paint of your choosing to get an aesthetically pleasing color mix that will look great on your wooden dresser.

BB Frosch Paint Transformer | Paint Powder| 100% All-Natural Ingredients | Affordable| Easy to Mix with Any brand | color paint| Ideal for Wood| Metal| Tile| Fabric and many more | 1 Gallon
  • 100% All-Natural Ingredients - BB Frösch Mineral Powder contains a unique blend of all-natural minerals that have been specially processed without unnecessary or harmful ingredients. Many DIY “recipes” contain harmful ingredients, unpredictable and do not produce the same smooth, creamy, bonding, distressing properties as true mineral based paint. For eco-friendly painting, mix BB Frösch mineral paint transformer powder, with no-VOC paint.
  • Affordable and alternative to pre-mixed mineral paints - BB Frösch is affordable and has excellent coverage. Perfect and very easy to mix with ANY brand/ANY color latex or acrylic paint, You only mix in as much as needed, ensuring no waste.
  • Very Versatile - Creates a smooth, creamy, self-leveling paint that bonds to virtually every surface, including: Wood, Metal, Fabric, Laminate, Plastic, previously varnished furniture, Kitchen cabinets, Linoleum, Tile, and many more!

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It’s popular because you can mix with any brand of acrylic or latex paint. Also, you don’t need to spend time preparing the surface of the dresser first. Being able to mix only the exact quantity of paint you need is another advantage of choosing this paint powder. Importantly, the powder isn’t made of any toxic materials, so you don’t have to worry about its impact on the environment.

Dixie Belle Paint Company Satin Coat

If you want to give your new dresser something a bit different, you should consider going with the Dixie Belle top coat. It’s an excellent alternative to more conventional wax, and it’s a lot easier to work with. It would be best if you brushed it on to get amazing results.

Dixie Belle Paint Company (Satin Clear Coat) Use with Chalk Finish Furniture Paint (32oz)
  • Easy to use Dixie Belle Paint Company Clear Coat Satin Finish
  • Use with or without chalk finish furniture paints.
  • An easy brush on alternative to waxing.

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Once applied, the result is an exquisite-looking clear, satin finish. If this is what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. Many DIY enthusiasts love this product because combining it with standard chalk finish paints leads to an impressive high-shine colored satin paint.

On your dresser, you’ll get the dual benefit of beautification, as well as protection against scuffs and scratches. The paint dries like standard matte paint, which makes it a great option for wooden dressers.

Frenchic Paint

This chalk paint from Frenchic is without any toxic elements and can allow you to transform your wooden dresser quickly. You don’t have to shake, stir, or worry about how much water to mix into the can. It comes with a creamy texture and also has excellent coverage. Apply it directly to your wooden dresser and leave it to dry to get a captivating distressed look.

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Greys and whites are the most popular choices when people pick this paint, but there are more than two dozen other colors for you to choose from. The lack of toxins, solvents, or VOCs makes this paint truly eco-friendly and a perfect fit for a home with pets and children.

Hemway Chalk Matt Finish Paint

Do you want to give your wooden dresser a matte finish? This paint from Hemway should be high on your list. It has no smell, and you only need just a single coat to transform the look and feel of your worn-out dresser.

Hemway Magnolia Chalk Based Furniture Paint Matt Finish Wall and Upcycle DIY Home Improvement 1L / 35oz Shabby Chic Vintage Chalky (50+ Colours Available)
  • Simple & Easy to use Can be used on Walls, Furniture, Woodwork or on accessories to give decorative matt colour finish
  • No.1 Premium Chalk Paint available on the market We use the best raw materials on the market, to create the best possible product, this is why our chalk paints have exceptional coverage in just one coat. Water-based with virtually no odour.
  • No Priming or Sanding necessary Can be painted straight onto most surfaces without sanding or priming. Smooth flat touch finish, apply directly onto walls, furniture, wood, brick, stone, plaster, plastic or metal. Suitable for use with stencil, or masking tape to create shapes on your chosen surface.

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You don’t need to prime or sand the surface, and you should have your dresser ready to use in two hours. This is the best paint to go with if you’re looking to transform your dresser quickly.

Beyond Paint Refinishing Paint

This Beyond Paint model is a hard-wearing, durable option that will look great on your wooden dresser. Just like other quality options on this list, you don’t have to strip, sand, or prepare the dresser surface for this paint to catch on.

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It’s easy to apply, and with two coats, you’ll get an excellent looking dresser with paint that is water-proof. Washing off spilled cosmetics will no longer be a tedious chore that can deface your dresser.

This paint is popular because it is a combination of a bonder, primer, and finisher. You won’t find many easier paint options to enhance the aesthetics of your wooden dresser.

Johnstone’s Revive Chalky Paint

Are you looking for an affordable paint to use on your dresser? This option from Johnstone’s is one of the best you can use. There are five pastel shades for you to choose from to transform your dresser’s look and spice up the feel of your overall décor. It is easy to apply, and it dries quickly. Once the paint has dried and settled in, you’ll get an exquisite finish that’s also scratch-resistant.

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Farmhouse

If you’re interested in working with real milk paint, you’ll love this option. It’s packed in a powder form, so you’ll be able to mix as much paint as you need to transform your wooden dresser. Just mix equal parts of water and the powder, and you’re ready to go.

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The result you’ll get is a beautiful look that will not chip or peel. You can choose it for touch-ups or complete makeovers of your dresser’s appearance. However, its coverage isn’t the best on this list as it’s a light option. Depending on the size of your dresser, you may need a couple of bags of the powder. For large-sized dressers, the cost of the paint can add up pretty quickly.

Regardless of how much it will cost you to complete the dresser’s painting, you’ll be left very satisfied at the end of the project, thanks to the resultant effect of the paint when it dries.

Ronseal Chalky Paint

If you’re going for a distressed look on your dresser, most DIY tutorials will tell you to first sand, prime, and wax the dresser before and after you apply the paint. These steps are tasking and clearly not for everyone, so if you’d rather not go through them, using the Ronseal Chalky Paint on your dresser is an excellent choice.

Once applied, you only need to give it half-an-hour for the paint to dry, leaving a flat matte finish you’ll be proud of. It’s also very durable, so you don’t have to worry about chipping with everyday use.

Beyond Paint BP19

The Beyond Paint BP19 is a refinishing paint made for wooden dressers and other such pieces of furniture. Like many others on the list, it’s also a multi-purpose option that doesn’t require you to prime, degrease, strip, or sand the dresser before you get started with the painting process. 

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Beyond Paint BP19 Furniture, Cabinets and More All-in-One Refinishing Paint Gallon No Stripping, Sanding or Priming Needed, Pebble
  • Beyond Paint furniture, cabinets and more all-in-one refinishing paint -gallon- color: Pebble
  • No stripping, no sanding and no priming needed
  • Application is quick and easy and the result is a beautiful

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After the paint has cured, you’ll find a lovely matte finish surface that can be easily cleaned.

This paint is highly rated because the result always looks so professional. You don’t have to worry about brush or roller marks. It also dries in two hours. As a water-based paint, it doesn’t have a strong odor. However, it’s not entirely odorless like some of the others we’ve seen above. If you’re sensitive to fumes, you should consider other alternatives.

However, the paint still does an excellent job of giving you a dresser that is resistant to greases and stains. You’ll also not have to worry about the paint washing off once it has cured. The Beyond Paint BP19 is a lot harder to wash off from clothes, though, so you should only paint with your DIY clothes. It would be best if you keep your valuables out of the dresser until the paint has dried properly.

How to Choose the Best Paint to Use

With all the paint options to choose from, you may still find it difficult to decide what paint to choose. Below are some factors you should consider when making a decision:

The Finish You Want to Achieve

You probably have an idea of how you want the dresser to look when you’re done. Do you want a chalky look or a matte finish? Would you prefer a high shine? Your desired finish should influence your choice of wooden dresser paint. Chalk paints are your best bet if you’re going for a chalky finish, while most multi-purpose paints are known for their matte appearance.

Your Budgetary Limits

How much are you willing to spend on this makeover? You can get a gallon of some paint options for around $100, while others will cost double that amount. You need to consider other expenses, such as sanding and priming equipment—if the paint requires such surface preparations.

The 16 Best Paints to Use on a Wooden Dresser

Shopping with the price filter turned on is almost second nature for most people. Even if you’re buying the paints from your local store, your eyes will remain glued to the price labels as you walk down the aisle. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong with eliminating paint options from the list based on how much you’re willing to pay.

The Position of the Dresser

Is your dresser too close to a window or a door that leads outside? You have to consider how the elements will affect the paint before making a decision. While most paints you can use on your dresser are marketed as durable, some of them will begin to look different if the dresser is left under direct sunlight all the time. The paint will most likely peel or crack under the constant heat. The same applies if the dresser is prone to moisture.

If your dresser is in these positions, you should choose durable paint options to withstand indoor and outdoor use.

The Length of the Dry Time

Choosing paint solely because of how long it takes to dry may sound superfluous, but many people do it for good reasons. If you’ve got young children at home and there’s little space overall, you’d definitely love to use paint that can dry as fast as possible so the home will have little or no fumes when they are back.

The 16 Best Paints to Use on a Wooden Dresser

Paints with shorter drying time mean you don’t have to worry about measures to prevent smudges, fingerprints, or damage from pets, children, or anyone else.

The Constituents of the Paint

We are more environmentally aware today than ever, so more people are paying attention to the content of the paint they buy. Therefore, it’s a good idea to base your choice of paint on whether it contains any substances that are harmful to your family’s health or the environment.

Paints that don’t contain VOCs and other toxins are always the best, and doubly so for parents and pet owners. You can also choose your paint based on the eco-friendliness of the product. If it’s made from natural products, washing it down the drain won’t be a problem for the ecosystem.

The smell of the paint is another sub-factor to consider here. Paints with strong smells can leave your dresser emitting uncomfortable smells hours after you’re done painting. This could be problematic for people dealing with breathing difficulties or other allergies.

Fortunately, many paint options are very eco-friendly and won’t cause any allergic reactions. We’ve mentioned some of the above, but you can always read product descriptions and customer reviews before deciding on the paint.

Color Options Available

Finding gray or white paint for your dresser is super easy, but what if you’re looking for something a bit more different? While many paint options for your dresser will invariably come in white or gray, only a few of them offer a range of two or three dozen colors to pick from.

The 16 Best Paints to Use on a Wooden Dresser

So, if you’re not looking to paint the dresser in the obvious color choices, your list of possible choices will thin out quickly.

Safety Tips While Painting a Wooden Dresser

  • It would be best if you kept the work area properly ventilated. Even paints that don’t have a strong smell can still contain fumes you don’t want to inhale for long. Ideally, it would help if you painted outside to ensure proper ventilation. However, if this isn’t feasible, keep the doors and windows open and use an exhaust fan if you have one.
  • Don’t paint while smoking or while heating the room with open fire. Some paints are highly flammable. So, it’s a good idea to avoid all heat sources such as open fires and even working heaters and ovens.
  • Wear the right protective gear. A respirator is often the first protective equipment that comes to mind, but you may also need goggles and hand gloves, depending on the type of paint you’ve gone for.
  • Use cloth material as protection for the floor. Plastic may be easier to clean, but it increases the risk of slips and falls.
  • Clean up and dispose of paint remnants properly. Most of the recommended paints above are easy to clean with some soap and water. If you’ve got some paint left in a can, cover it properly and store it out of the reach of pets and children.

Conclusion

If you’ve bought a wooden dresser that needs a revamp or want to change your current option’s look and feel, getting some quality paint is always an excellent way to transform the look and appearance.

The hard work comes down to choosing the right paint and spending the time required to get the job done on the wooden dresser. As you’ve seen by now, the right paint will vary from Jose to Janet. Please go over the list we’ve provided to choose a brand that appeals to you the most based on your unique needs.

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