How to Paint Furniture: Metallic Silver Paint Looks – The Home Simple

Sep 17, 2021 | Uncategorized

When it comes to glam, few finishes make a statement like silver metallic furniture. If you have tired, painted furniture and want to give your room that wow factor adding that shimmer of silver metallic creates a statement.

We show you how to paint furniture silver metallic and talk you through the different techniques to help you transform your furniture from glum to glam.

Cheap Silver Paint vs. Expensive Metallic Silver Paint

The first thing to say is you always get what you pay for. Most cheap silver paint retails at around $10 per gallon, whereas expensive paint starts at between $20 and $30.

So, what is the difference, we hear you ask? It all comes down to what’s in the tin. All paint has resins, pigments, and solvents. The more expensive paints have finer pigments, which means they give better coverage.

A cheaper paint has larger pigments, so you get worse coverage. It’s often the reason why you need to apply two coats of cheap paint for every one coat of expensive paint.

Resins hold the pigments together, so the more expensive the paint, the higher the quality of the resin. It makes the paint keep its color for longer and makes the paint more resilient. If you hate decorating, the expensive option means fewer recoats to freshen the color.

Cheaper paints contain lower quality resins, which means that while the paint looks good initially, it will fade faster and need a fresh coat a lot sooner.

And we come to the third element: solvents. Solvent is the vehicle that carries the pigment and resins. Cheaper paints have a lower concentration of solvents, which means that the paint covers less well. It’s the reason why you need two coats instead of one.

Don’t be fooled by the brand name either. Even the most respected brands have an expensive and budget range of paints. So, while you may think you’ve bagged a bargain, you’ve probably only got a cheap paint inside a can with well-known branding.

Oil-Based vs. Water-Based Paints

There are essentially two types of paint: oil and water-based paints. But what makes them so different, and which is better?


Oil-based paints contain oil or solvents that help the paint adhere, drying with a robust outer layer. They also ensure the paint carries better from the brush or roller. The upside is that oil products are harder wearing, and you are less likely to need to recoat.

The downside is that oil-based paints are damaging to the environment because they contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which emit low-level ozone as the paint dries and the solvent evaporates.

You also need mineral spirits or other chemicals like thinners to perform a clean-up, which is also trickier to do compared to water-based products and equally bad for the environment.


Water-based metallic paints are easy to use and wash clean with soap and water, so you don’t need nasty chemicals that pollute the environment.

Water-based products cover easily, and you get a good spread; however, they aren’t as robust as oil varieties, and you are more likely to need to touch up the paintwork sooner, especially in high-traffic areas.

The advantage of having a water-based formula is it is low in VOCs, which is better for the environment, and low in odors, so it is safe to use indoors with limited ventilation.

How to Paint Furniture Silver Metallic

Okay, so we’ve explained the difference between cheap and expensive paint, and now it’s time to run through the best technique. Before we do, we need to gather the right tools.

Materials Needed

Cling On Paintbrush

Cling on paint brushes are designed to stay wet to produce a flawless finish, and the paint doesn’t dry on the bristles. Many paint brushes are treated as use-once disposable items, whereas a cling-on brush is designed to be used repeatedly.

Furniture Tri Wheelies

Having the ability to maneuver your furniture as you paint it is invaluable. It means you can get an even coat without having to battle with your chest of drawers or cabinets.


When it comes to furniture, it’s best to use fine-grit sandpaper because lower grade sandpaper gouges rather than smooths. Something between 180 and 240-grit should be suitable.

Wet and dry paper is also useful if you want to work on smaller sections of the furniture. However, dry sanding provides faster results.


A shop-vac is the ideal tool for keeping your work area as dust-free as possible. This is important for two reasons: the first is for health. Breathing in sawdust can harm your lungs because it contains pollutants that irritate certain conditions like asthma.

Sawdust is a carcinogen, which causes inflammation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and with long-term exposure it could cause more serious health problems.

The second reason is when you are painting furniture, you want the smoothest possible finish, and even the smallest grains of sawdust will ruin that look.

If you use a sander, attaching a dust collection bag removes about 90 percent of the pollutant from the atmosphere, and if you can attach a hose that sucks the debris to a central container, even better.

Lint Free Cloth

A lint-free cloth is the best to use because it doesn’t leave any fluff on the surface of your furniture. It also reduces static charge, especially when wiping electrical items like televisions.

A great tip is to run some masking or decorators tape over the cloth to remove any excess loose fluff. That way, you don’t risk getting debris on your smoothly painted surfaces.

Other Supplies You Will Need

  • Dixie Belle Paint
  • Slick Stick Primer
  • Manatee Gray Paint
  • Metallic Silver Base Coat
  • Metallic Silver Top Coat
  • Silver Gilding Wax

What About Safety?

Whenever you undertake DIY tasks, you should keep personal safety at the forefront of your mind. If you are sanding furniture, wear safety goggles to stop dangerous sawdust from getting in your eyes.

It also reduces the chances of flying debris from lodging in your eyes and causing further damage.

You should also wear a face mask to protect your nose and throat from carcinogens like wood dust. Breathing it in is a bad idea, given the health risks it poses.

Step by Step

So, let’s get straight into how to paint furniture silver metallic with our easy-to-follow guide. For this exercise, we will be painting a small bedside nightstand.

  1. Increase Maneuverability

Place the nightstand on the tri-wheelies so that you can easily maneuver the furniture to get an even finish without missing bits. These wheels are not essential, and you can still complete the task, but it makes life so much easier.

You can pick them up relatively cheaply from most hardware and DIY stores as well as well-known online sites.

The other advantage of mounting the furniture on tri-wheelies is it makes it easier to get drop cloths down and reduces the chances of getting paint on the floor. 

  1. Time To Sand

As with every furniture-painting exercise, you always start with fine-grade sandpaper to remove as much of the original topcoat as possible. If there are any oil-based layers of paint, they need to be removed.

If you are working on a larger piece, a sander might be the best option, but for now, hand-sanding will suffice. Remember that you are trying to create a surface for the paint to adhere to as well as smooth out any blemishes.

  1. Time To Prime

Depending on the type of material your nightstand is made from, you may need to go that little bit further by adding a layer of Slick Stick. It helps paint to adhere to laminated MDF and other non-stick surfaces.

This might seem like overkill to those who think adding the furniture paint is sufficient, but more time spent prepping means less time repainting when the topcoat starts to chip. Cutting corners only means more work further down the line.

This is especially important if the furniture is located in high-traffic areas.

Apply two coats of the Slick Stick using the flat cling on paintbrush, allowing it to dry between coats thoroughly.

  1. Add The Manatee Gray

Because silver metallic paint is a platinum color, adding Manatee Gray paint gives it a more solid feel to the coating to enhance the silver look. It isn’t necessary to do this, but it really makes a difference if you want the best finish possible.

You only need one coat of this gray chalk paint, and it calms the bright white of the Slick Stick.

  1. Time for The Base Coat

Now it’s time to lay down a layer of base coat. When you paint it on, it appears pearlescent white, but don’t panic because it is all part of creating that silvery shimmer. Apply two coats over the entire nightstand and leave to cure fully.

  1. Time for The Topcoat

Once the two base coats have dried, it’s time to lay down the topcoat. Using your flat cling on paintbrush, cover the entire surface of the nightstand. When the paint first goes down, it looks bright white, but as the first coat dries, you start to see the shimmer of the metallic pigments shine through.

Apply a second coat, and the difference is stark between the wet paint and the dry paint, but as the second coat dries, it turns the same platinum silver color with a delicate shimmer.

  1. Apply The Gilding Wax

You can enhance the silver finish by applying silver gilding wax. Use it to pick out highlights on the surface and to embellish the corners. A little bit of gilding wax works wonders on the drawer fronts and the furniture hardware like drawer handles.

It also helps you create that shabby-chic look, where the paint looks distressed.

  1. Paint The Hardware

The easiest way to paint the furniture hardware to match the color of the nightstand is to follow the same steps as you did when painting the furniture. Then add accents with the silver gilding wax.

Tips and Tricks for Using Silver Metallic Paint

What are the best ways to use metallic paint? Let’s find out.

Use Metallic Paint As An Accent Color

You don’t have to completely recoat your furniture with silvery paint. It is possible to revamp old pieces using metallic paint as an accent. Use it on chair legs, edging, or even the top while the rest is coated in standard paint.

What you are trying to do is lift the furniture and make it stand out, and sometimes a little less shimmer goes a long way.

Use The Correct Base Coat

For the best results, use the base coat that corresponds with the make of the topcoat. The two are designed to work together, and you benefit by getting the best finish possible. Why make life difficult trying to mix and match different products?

Get Different Effects

While you are cheering up old furniture, remember that the purpose is to create a sense of fun. Why not extend it to using different brushes and rollers to create different textures and finishes.

Try two-tone effects, textured surfaces, and metal effects with the right paintbrush.

Paint In One Direction

Because metallic paint contains mica pigments to create that shimmer, the direction you lay down the paint makes a difference to a uniformed shine. Try and paint it on so that the brush strokes go in the same direction.

Imagine running your hand across a velvet cover, and the way the cloth moves creates a different effect. It’s the same for metallic paint.

Consider Spraying

One of the easiest ways to apply silver metallic paint is to spray it on. This technique is faster, and you get a super-smooth finish. Sometimes, when you brush paint on, it can be difficult to get a finish that is free of brush marks.

Spraying silver metallic paint eliminates that issue. The only downside with this method is it can be extremely messy to execute, and you waste a lot of paint through overspray. It can also be difficult to control where the paint goes.

That said, if you are in a hurry and want immediate impact, spraying is definitely worth considering.

Work With The Grain

Ask any seasoned decorator, and they will tell you that the only way to paint wood is to work with the grain. If you work against the grain, the paint is harder to lay down, and the brush marks are a lot more noticeable.

You get a smoother coverage working with the wood grain, and the paint goes further. This technique is crucial if you are painting a tabletop, where every blemish or scratch will show through.

How to Paint Furniture Silver Metallic FAQ

What is the best metallic paint for furniture?

The best paint is a matter of opinion, but there are some names that appear in the top 10 lists time and again. Look for Dixie Belle, Rust-Oleum, Modern Masters, and Shabby Chic. All of these brands are popular and feature in homes across the country.

The other way to determine which is the best metallic paint is to read the reviews on sites like Amazon. There is no substitute for honest feedback from people with nothing to gain other than to recommend or warn you about their experiences with the product.

Is Spray Painting Furniture Best?

It isn’t necessarily best, but it is quicker, and you do get super-smooth results. It is also more convenient from a clean-up and storage point of view. However, spray paint is relatively inaccurate, and you get a lot of overspray, making it a messy way to paint.

Having said all this, the preparation work for spray paint is equally as in-depth, and more detailed in some cases. Remember that brushing the paint on means it applies in thicker layers, so you might get away with hiding some minor surface blemishes.

You don’t get that luxury with spray paint. Every mark, dent, scratch, and uneven layer will show through. Plus, if you lay on too much spray paint, you risk getting drips and runs.

What is Latex Metallic Silver Paint?

Latex metallic silver paint is a water-based product that contains resins, metallic pigments, and solvents. It is easier to clean-up because you only need soap and water, and it wipes clean.

Latex paints still contain resins and solvents to help carry the paint from the tin to the brush and the wall, but they are far less harmful to the environment compared to oil-based products.

How Do You Get an Aged Metallic Silver Paint Look?

One effective way is to go for the distressed look. Use fine-grade sandpaper and remove selected areas of paint, so it looks faded. The other way is to use silver gilding wax to add accents to the surface of the furniture.

From Glum To Glam

Metallic furniture is both retro and modern; it fits the smartest designs, and yet is equally at home in that shabby-chic look. It rejuvenates tired furniture, transforming it in ways that make it completely unrecognizable.

If you are feeling brave and want to create a statement piece of furniture, consider painting it metallic silver.


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