Can You Use Regular Paint on Dressers? Tips and Tricks for a Successful Makeover

Have you ever wondered whether you can use regular paint on dressers? Well, wonder no more! It’s a common question that many DIY enthusiasts ask themselves when it comes to upcycling furniture. The truth is, using regular paint on dressers is possible, but it’s important to know the characteristics of the paint and the dresser’s material to ensure a successful outcome.

If you’re thinking about revamping your tired old dresser, regular paint can do the trick. But before you start, it’s crucial to consider the type of paint you want to use. Not all paints are created equal, and each has its unique properties that can affect the final result. So, whether you’re going for a bold pop of color or a subtle matte finish, choosing the right paint can make all the difference.

When it comes to painting dressers, preparation is key. You want to make sure that you are starting with a clean, sanded surface that will take the paint well. Once you’re ready to apply the paint, you can choose between brush, roller, or sprayer, depending on your preference and the finish you want to achieve. With the right technique and a bit of know-how, you can transform your old dresser into a beautiful piece of furniture that complements your style.

Types of Paint for Furniture

When it comes to painting furniture, there are many types of paint available that can give your pieces a unique and beautiful finish. Here are some of the most popular types of paint for furniture:

  • Chalk Paint: Chalk paint has become very popular in recent years due to its ability to adhere to most surfaces without the need for sanding or priming. It dries with a matte finish, making it a great choice for achieving a vintage or distressed look. Chalk paint also comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to create a custom look for your furniture.
  • Milk Paint: Milk paint is made from natural ingredients such as milk protein, clay, and lime. It has been used for centuries and is known for its ability to create a beautiful, organic finish. Milk paint comes in a powder form and needs to be mixed with water before applying. It dries with a matte finish and can be used on bare or painted wood surfaces.
  • Lacquer: Lacquer paint is a popular choice for furniture that will be used regularly, such as dressers or dining tables. It creates a high-gloss, durable finish that is resistant to scratches and chips. Lacquer paint requires multiple coats and needs to be applied in a well-ventilated area due to its strong fumes. It also requires a primer before applying.

Each type of paint has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your specific furniture piece and desired finish.

Pros and Cons of Using Regular Paint on Dressers

Painting a dresser is an easy and affordable way to give it a fresh new look without having to replace it entirely. However, choosing the right paint for the job can make a big difference in the final result. While regular paint can be used on dressers, there are both pros and cons to consider before making a decision.

  • Pros:
  • Cost-effective: Regular paint is widely available and generally more affordable than specialty paint products
  • Ease of Application: Regular paint is easy to apply and doesn’t require any special tools or techniques
  • Choice of Colors: Regular paint is available in a vast range of colors, making it easy to find the perfect shade for your dresser
  • Finish Options: Regular paint finishes can range from matte to high gloss, providing plenty of options for achieving the desired look for your dresser
  • Cons:
  • Drying Time: Regular paint can take longer to dry than specialty paint products, which may result in a longer project timeline
  • Durability: Regular paint may not be as durable or long-lasting as specialty paint products, which may lead to chipping or peeling in high-use areas
  • Extra Steps: Applying a primer or sealer to the surface of the dresser before painting may be necessary to achieve the desired finish and durability of the project

Overall, the decision to use regular paint on a dresser comes down to personal preference and the desired outcome of the project. While it may be more cost-effective and easier to apply than specialty paint products, the trade-off may be a shorter lifespan and additional steps in the painting process. For those looking for a longer-lasting, durable finish, specialty paint products may be the better investment in the long run.

It’s important to consider all factors before deciding on the best type of paint for your dresser project. A little research and planning can go a long way in achieving the desired result and ensuring the longevity of the finished product.

Type of Paint Pros Cons
Regular Paint Cost-effective, easy to apply, choice of colors, range of finishes Longer drying time, less durable, may require additional steps
Specialty Paint Products Durable, long-lasting, chip and scratch-resistant More expensive, limited color selection, may require special tools or techniques to apply

Comparing regular paint to specialty paint products can help weigh the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision based on your project needs and budget.

Preparing the Dresser for Painting

Before diving into your painting project, it’s important to properly prepare the dresser to ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish. Here are a few steps to follow:

  • Clean the surface: The first step is to clean the dresser thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, or dust. Use a cleaner that won’t leave any residue and allow the surface to dry completely.
  • Remove hardware: Take off all the hardware from the dresser, including knobs, handles, and any other decorative pieces. This will make it easier to paint the surface and ensure that the hardware doesn’t get damaged during the painting process.
  • Sand the surface: After cleaning and removing the hardware, it’s time to sand the surface to create a better adhesion for the paint. This step helps to create a smooth surface and remove any old paint or imperfections. Use a medium-grit sandpaper or an electric sander to get the job done.

Once you have completed these steps, you’re ready to begin painting. It’s worth mentioning that some dressers may require additional preparation, such as filling in scratches, dents, or gouges with wood filler. If your dresser has any of these issues, be sure to address them before moving on to the painting step.

Remember, proper preparation is key to achieving a perfect paint finish that will last for years to come.

If you’re still unsure about how to prepare your dresser for painting, below is a table summarizing the steps:

Step Description
Clean surface Remove dirt, grime and dust with a cleaner.
Remove hardware Take off all hardware and decorative pieces.
Sand surface Create a smooth surface and remove any old paint or imperfections.
Fill in imperfections (if applicable) Fill in scratches, dents, and gouges with wood filler.

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to transforming your old, worn-out dresser into a beautiful and functional piece of furniture.

Techniques for Painting Dressers with Regular Paint

Painting a dresser with regular paint can be a fun and cost-effective way to update your bedroom decor. However, it’s important to know the right techniques to ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


  • Sand the dresser: Before applying paint, you should sand the surface to remove any rough spots or imperfections. This will help the paint adhere better and give a smoother finish.
  • Clean the dresser: Wipe down the dresser with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris. Make sure the surface is completely dry before painting.
  • Prime the dresser: Apply a layer of primer to the dresser to create a smooth base for the paint to adhere to. This will also help prevent any stains or knots from showing through the paint.


When it comes to painting the dresser, there are a few techniques you can use:

  • Brushing: Use a paintbrush to apply the paint to the dresser. This method allows for more precision, but may leave brush marks.
  • Rolling: Use a roller to apply the paint. This method is faster and creates a smoother finish, but may create air bubbles.
  • Spraying: Use a paint sprayer to apply the paint. This method creates a flawless finish but can be messy and require more cleanup afterwards.

Drying and Finishing

After painting the dresser, allow it to dry completely before adding any finishing touches. Here are some tips:

  • Dry time: Allow the dresser to dry for at least 24 hours before using or adding any hardware.
  • Sealant: Consider applying a clear coat sealant to protect the paint and make it more durable for long term use.

Table of Recommended Supplies:

Supply Brand/Type
Sandpaper 3M SandBlaster Pro 320 Grit
Primer Kilz 2 Multi-Surface Primer
Paint Brush Purdy XL Elite 2.5 inch
Roller Purdy Marathon 9 inch roller
Paint Behr Premium Plus interior paint
Clear Coat Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish

By following these techniques and recommended supplies, you can successfully paint your dresser with regular paint and achieve a beautiful, updated look for your bedroom.

Best Practices for Painting Dressers with Regular Paint

Painting a dresser with regular paint can be a great way to update its look without spending a lot of money. While regular paint may not be specifically designed for furniture, it can work well as long as you follow some best practices to ensure a long-lasting finish. Here are some tips for painting dressers with regular paint:

  • Prepare the surface properly: Before painting, make sure the surface of the dresser is clean and free of any dirt, grease, or other contaminants. Sand any rough spots or imperfections, and fill any holes or gaps with wood filler. Let the surface dry completely before starting to paint.
  • Use the right type of paint: Regular paint can work well on dressers, but you’ll want to use a paint that is durable and long-lasting. Choose a high-quality paint that is specifically formulated for surfaces that receive a lot of wear and tear, like furniture and cabinets. You may also want to consider using a primer to help the paint adhere better to the surface.
  • Apply the paint in thin coats: Rather than applying a thick layer of paint, it’s best to apply several thin coats. This will help the paint to dry more quickly and will also help to avoid drips or brushstrokes. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one, and lightly sand the surface between each coat to ensure a smooth finish.

In addition to these best practices, it can also be helpful to use the right tools and techniques for painting dressers. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Use a high-quality brush or roller to apply the paint. This will help to ensure an even and smooth finish.
  • Avoid painting in humid or damp conditions, as this can cause the paint to dry too slowly and can lead to problems with adhesion and finish.
  • Take the time to properly clean and maintain your painting tools. This will help to ensure that they last longer and perform better over time.

Choosing the Right Finish

When painting dressers with regular paint, you’ll also want to consider the type of finish you want to achieve. There are a variety of finishes available, from matte to high-gloss, and each has its own advantages and drawbacks. Some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a finish include:

  • Gloss finishes are typically the most durable and long-lasting, but they can also be more difficult to apply and may show imperfections in the wood more readily.
  • Matte finishes are more forgiving of imperfections and tend to be easier to apply, but they may not be as durable over time.
  • Satin or semi-gloss finishes can provide a good compromise between durability and ease of application, and may be a good choice for dressers that receive a lot of wear and tear.
Finish Type Advantages Disadvantages
Gloss Very durable and long-lasting Can be difficult to apply and may show imperfections in the wood
Matte Forgiving of imperfections and easy to apply May not be as durable over time
Satin/semi-gloss Good compromise between durability and ease of application May not provide as high a level of shine or gloss as other finishes

Ultimately, the finish you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the type of dresser you are painting. By following these best practices and choosing the right finish, you can create a beautiful and long-lasting finish on any dresser with regular paint.

Alternative options to using regular paint on dressers

If you are looking to give your dresser a new look, but don’t want to use regular paint, there are several alternative options you can explore.

  • Milk paint: Milk paint is a non-toxic, water-based paint that comes in a powder form. It is easy to use and dries quickly, giving furniture a beautiful antique look. Milk paint comes in a variety of colors and can be used to create different effects, such as distressing or layering.
  • Chalk paint: Chalk paint is a versatile, water-based paint that can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and ceramics. It dries quickly and can be easily distressed to give furniture a vintage or shabby chic look. Chalk paint comes in a wide range of colors and can be used to create different effects, such as crackling or waxing.
  • Spray paint: Spray paint can be used to quickly and easily transform a dresser, giving it a smooth and even finish. Spray paint comes in a variety of colors and finishes, such as matte, gloss, and metallic. It is important to use a primer when using spray paint to ensure that the new coat of paint adheres well to the surface of the dresser.

Each of these alternative options has its own unique benefits and can be used to achieve different effects, depending on the look you are going for.

If you are looking to explore different finishes, you can also consider using a variety of tools and techniques, such as stenciling, decoupage, or using a faux finish. These can add texture and depth to your dresser, creating a one-of-a-kind piece that reflects your personal style.

Refinishing a dresser: A step-by-step guide

Regardless of the type of paint or finish you choose, the process of refinishing a dresser typically follows the same basic steps:

Step Description
1 Clean the dresser thoroughly, removing any dirt, dust, or debris. If necessary, sand the surface of the dresser to create a smooth and even base.
2 Apply a coat of primer to the dresser, using a brush or spray paint. This will help the new coat of paint adhere to the surface of the dresser.
3 Apply the first coat of paint, using a brush, roller, or spray paint. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat.
4 If desired, use a technique such as distressing, stenciling, or waxing to add texture or depth to the surface of the dresser.
5 Apply a coat of sealant or wax to the surface of the dresser to protect the new finish and give it a finished look.

By following these steps and using one of the alternative options to traditional paint, you can transform your dresser into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture that adds personality and style to your home.

Maintaining and Caring for Painted Dressers

Painted dressers can provide a beautiful and unique touch to any home decor. However, maintaining and caring for your painted dresser is crucial in ensuring its longevity and appeal.

Here are some crucial tips to follow:

Cleaning the Dresser

  • Use a soft cloth and a mild cleaner to clean the surface of the dresser
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals, ammonia, and vinegar as these can damage the paint
  • Never use abrasive sponges or scrubbers

Handling Scratches and Chips

Painted dressers are not immune to scratches and chips. To deal with this, you can:

  • Use small touch-up paint to cover small scratches and chips
  • Use furniture markers to fill in scratches
  • Retouch the dresser every few years to maintain its appeal

Preventive Care for Painted Dressers

Precaution is always better than cure, and it also applies to painted dressers. Here are some measures to help prevent damage and prolong the appeal of your dresser:

  • Avoid exposing the dresser to direct sunlight, as the sun’s UV rays can cause the paint to fade
  • Do not place hot items, such as candles or hot plates, directly on the surface of the dresser
  • Protect the dresser from moisture and humidity

Refinishing the Dresser

Over time, the paint on your dresser may start to peel, chip, or fade, and it may need to be refinished. Here are some of the steps involved in refinishing a painted dresser:

Step Description
Remove the hardware Take off the knobs, handles, and hinges from the dresser
Sand the dresser Remove the old finish by sanding or stripping the dresser
Repair the dresser Repair any damage such as dents, scratches or chips, and let the filler dry
Prime the dresser Apply primer to the wood to help the new paint adhere to the surface
Paint the dresser Apply at least two coats of paint to the dresser, and let it dry completely between coats
Reinstall the hardware Put back the knobs, handles, and hinges once the paint has dried

By following these tips you’ll be able to maintain your painted dresser’s aesthetics and appeal for years to come.

Can You Use Regular Paint on Dressers? FAQs

1. Can I use regular wall paint on my dresser?
Yes, you can use regular wall paint on your dresser. However, it may not provide the best coverage and durability compared to furniture-specific paints.

2. Do I need to sand my dresser before painting it with regular paint?
Yes, sanding your dresser before painting is crucial to ensure the paint adheres well to the surface and offers a smooth finish.

3. What type of paintbrush should I use for regular paint on my dresser?
It is recommended that you use a high-quality paintbrush that is specifically designed for furniture. These brushes often have natural bristles, which work well with oil-based paint.

4. How many coats of paint should I use on my dresser?
Typically, you should use at least two coats of paint to ensure proper coverage and to achieve the desired color.

5. Do I need to use a primer before painting my dresser with regular paint?
While primer is not always necessary, it is recommended as it will create a barrier between the wood and the paint, allowing for better adhesion and durability.

6. Can I still distress my dresser after painting it with regular paint?
Yes, you can still distress your dresser after painting it with regular paint. However, it may be more difficult to achieve the desired effect compared to using furniture-specific paints.

7. How long will it take for the paint to dry on my dresser?
Drying times will vary depending on the type of paint used, humidity, temperature, and other factors. It is recommended that you allow at least 24-48 hours for the paint to fully dry before use.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading our guide on using regular paint on dressers! While it is possible to use regular wall paint on your dresser, it may not provide the best results. It is recommended that you use furniture-specific paints and follow proper preparation and application techniques for the best results. If you have any other home improvement questions, feel free to browse our website for more helpful articles, and don’t forget to come back soon!