November 2, 2013

Choosing The Right Protective Finish For Your Painted Furniture

Choosing the right protective finish for your painted furniture (or any other) projects can be tough.  I muddle through this choice with each and every piece of furniture I paint.   So I know that those just starting out might find this one a bit daunting.  Especially if you have nothing to go on.

I've had trial and error with a few different types of protective finishes and each one brings something different to my project.  So I've made a list of my favorites in order of how much I use them. I hope this is helpful!
#1 - Minwax Lacquer
For long lasting durability and ease of use, this one is by far numero uno on my list. If you are painting a table or dresser that is going to get high use, this is the one you want.  I have not had a dresser get scratched or scuffed yet after applying this lacquer.  Just brush on with a cheap brush and that's it. No sanding required.  It DOES smell horrible though. So use in a well ventilated area.  

#2 - Anne Sloan Soft Wax
I love this soft wax.  The problem is that most of the stuff I paint gets high wear and tear and this finish will scratch.  For things that do not get a ton of use, this is perfect.  It gives of the most beautiful shine that no lacquer or poly can.  You just wipe this wax on with a rag or brush on with a paint brush --- let sit for a minute and then buff off.  It takes a bit longer than applying a lacquer or poly, but I swear you will fall in love with the end result.  I used this on my black dresser and loved loved LOVED how it turned out.

#3 - Minwax Polyurethane
Minwax Polyurethane is a great protective finish for your projects.  In fact, this is the most used product I've seen in DIY blog-land.  It is similar to Minwax Lacquer in application however they do recommend you sand between coats.  I never do.  This product is tough but not quite as tough as Minwax Lacquer AND will turn your white furniture yellow over time.  My DIY Chalk Painted Dresser is finished in this and is also turning yellow.  I think it adds a bit of character. 

#4 - Rust-Oleum Clear Enamal Spray
This spray is the best thing ever for smaller projects.  I use it on my chicken wire frames religiously.  It gives a nice shine and protects really well. I did try to spray a dresser with this one time and it was a disaster - I would not recommend it.  

 Also, it's good to know that you don't need a protective finish on all your furniture! If it's a piece that is never going to be used I would absolutely not worry about it.

Also, if you are wondering about what type of paints to use you can read my post about that here along with how to get a smooth paint finish here.

Have a great weekend :) 


  1. This is great information! Thanks for sharing on DBB!!

  2. What a great post! Thank you so much for this. I'm pinning/sharing, etc. :)

    1. Thank you for the nice comment!! It made my day!!!

  3. Anonymous7/13/2015

    Hello! Will the minwax lacquer paint turn my white (100% acrylic) painted furniture, yellow? Great post! Thank you


I love comments and enjoy reading each and every one of them! Thanks for stopping by!