Chalk Paint vs. Regular Paint – Pros & Cons

Chalk paint vs cabinet paint are two common options that frequently come into play when it comes to giving your furniture a new look. Each has a unique collection of traits, benefits, and drawbacks.

Painting furniture can transform its look and give used pieces new life. The distinctions between chalk paint and cabinet paint must be understood before you pick up the paintbrush. Both have their distinctive qualities, and your decision could have a big effect on how your project turns out.

In order to assist you in making an informed choice for your upcoming furniture restoration project, we’ll compare cabinet paint versus chalk paint in this post.

chalk paint vs cabinet paint

What is Chalk Paint?

A kind of hidden treasure in the worlds of interior design and furniture restoration is chalk paint. This paint has a different formula than typical paints.

There are many different colors of pigment mixed in with some chalk and calcium carbonate. When you apply it, it does its magic and leaves behind a distinctive matte finish that has a somewhat chalky sensation. It attracts attention since it adheres to almost everything, including cloth, glass, metal, and wood.

What’s even better? Priming and sanding are often not necessary. You can produce a variety of designs using chalk paint, from a comfortable shabby-chic atmosphere to a clean and futuristic finish.

Chalk paint is thus your go-to for giving furniture and home décor items a bit of individuality whether you like DIY projects or are a pro wanting to work wonders.

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Pros of using Chalk Paint

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Discovering the world of chalk paint can help you understand why it has such a devoted following. These are the most notable benefits:

No Priming Required: Forget spending hours prepping your furniture; the secret ingredient in chalk paint adheres to surfaces like glue. Your DIY project will go more smoothly because it saves you time and effort.

Versatile Finish: Chalk paint does not confine your imagination. From that wonderfully faded, vintage appearance to a sleek, contemporary finish, you may easily obtain a wide range of appearances. It is like to having several paint selections in one can.

Easy to Distress: Have you ever wanted your furniture to have a worn-in, weathered appearance? It becomes simple using chalk paint. You may distress your artwork to perfection with only some sandpaper or a damp cloth.

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Cons of using Chalk Paint

Considering the fact that chalk paint has a lot of benefits, it’s vital to be aware of its drawbacks as well:

Limited Durability: Chalk paint, despite its charm, isn’t the most durable choice available. It works best for ornamental furniture or items that won’t be used frequently. It may deteriorate more quickly if used on busy surfaces.

Requires Sealing: To safeguard your chalk-painted masterpiece and maintain its stunning appearance, use a sealing wax or polyurethane coating. This extra step is necessary, but it increases the amount of time and work needed for your project overall. It’s similar to giving your creation a shield of protection so it can withstand the test of time.

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What is Cabinet Paint?

Cabinet paint is a specialist paint made for surfaces with high traffic, primarily cabinets, kitchen islands, and bathroom vanities. Thanks to a special formulation that combines hardeners and resins, it stands out for its longevity.

A strong finish that can withstand moisture, heat, and normal wear and tear is produced by this mixture. Cabinet paint can give your room a sleek, glossy, or satin finish to give it a contemporary, sophisticated feel.

However, in order to guarantee proper adhesion and durable effects, it often requires considerable surface preparation, such as sanding and priming.

Pros of using Cabinet Paint

There are various benefits to painting your cupboards or furniture:

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High Durability: Cabinet paint is designed to survive daily usage and is therefore perfect for surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens where moisture, heat, and frequent cleaning are frequent occurrences. It gives enduring defense against deterioration.

Smooth, Professional Finish: Cabinet paint gives your area a polished, smooth sheen that adds a touch of contemporary elegance. It’s ideal for folks who value a simple yet elegant appearance.

Color Retention: Cabinet paint is less likely to fade or become yellow over time, keeping your cabinets’ original shade and appearance.

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Cons of using Cabinet Paint

Despite the many benefits of cabinet paint, there are a few disadvantages to take into account:

Preparation: For the greatest results when painting cabinets, a full surface preparation routine that includes sanding and priming is frequently necessary. This extra step can take some time and requires careful attention to detail.

Limited Aesthetic Options: If you’re going for a distressed or vintage aesthetic, cabinet paint might not be the greatest option. Its glossy appearance works well with a modern or contemporary style.

Chalk Paint vs Cabinet Paint: Key Differences

Understanding the main distinctions between chalk paint and cabinet paint before choosing one for your furniture or cabinets is essential. Let’s examine these differences:


Chalk paint cans typically cost $25 to $40 per quart, making it a reasonably priced option. For DIY enthusiasts, price is a crucial consideration.

Cabinet paint normally costs between $30 and $70 per quart, making it significantly more expensive. Its endurance and expert polish justify the higher cost.

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Finish and Aesthetics:

Chalk Paint: For its matte appearance and textured look, chalk paint is recognized. To achieve a vintage or shabby-chic effect, it provides a pleasantly rustic or damaged look.

Projects, where you wish to add character and a hint of nostalgia, can benefit greatly from the matte texture’s warm and inviting vibe.

Because of its adaptability, chalk paint encourages creativity by allowing for methods like distressing or color layering for a distinctive, handcrafted appearance.

Cabinet paints: Cabinet paints, which provide smooth and glossy surfaces, are a popular choice for kitchens. They provide a sense of richness and depth to cabinets with their brilliant gloss.

Customization is essential, since they are available in a variety of colors ranging from traditional whites to vivid colors, letting homeowners properly complement their kitchen décor.

Furthermore, the longevity of cabinet paint implies that it can endure severe use, dampness, grease, and stains. Its adaptability allows you control over opacity and coverage by applying many applications as needed. Using cabinet paint, you can stylishly transform your kitchen.

Application and ease of use

Chalk Paint: DIY enthusiasts frequently use chalk paint since it requires little surface preparation and does not require laborious priming and sanding.

Beginners and experts of all skill levels can benefit from its thick consistency and superb coverage. It encourages creative versatility because it adheres well to many surfaces, including wood, metal, glass, and fabric. Whether a painter is a beginner or an expert, everyone may achieve satisfying results.

Cabinet paints: For improved adhesion and longevity, particularly in high-traffic areas, cabinet paint requires careful preparation, which frequently involves extensive sanding and priming.

This route calls for more skill but yields a finished product that is polished and expert. With increasing emphasis on skilled hands, patience, and precision become essential.

Those who are dedicated to the pursuit of a refined finish will find cabinet paint to be the best option for a polished and long-lasting result.

Durability and Longevity:

Chalk Paint: Although it has a lovely appearance, chalk paint is typically less long-lasting and is best used on decorative items or in rooms with less circulation.

It could age and show indications of wear over time more quickly than other forms of paint. While it has a lovely appearance, sections that are subject to regular wear and tear may need more frequent touch-ups or refinishing.

Cabinet paint: Cabinet paint, on the other hand, is designed for exceptional durability. It is the best option for high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms since it is specifically designed to endure moisture, heat, and routine cleaning.

The durable makeup of cabinet paint ensures that it keeps its spotless appearance for an extended period of time, eliminating the need for routine maintenance or repainting.

Cabinet paint is clearly the winner, providing a long-lasting solution for busy living spaces if durability over time and a clean, polished appearance are your requirements.

Color Options:

Chalk paint comes in a variety of hues, allowing for creativity and personalization. Colors can be combined to produce specialized tints and effects.

Cabinet paint also provides various color options but may have fewer choices than chalk paint. It does, however, frequently feature a variety of vintage and contemporary hues.

Choosing Between Chalk Paint vs Cabinet Paint

Choosing between chalk paint and cabinet paint is dependent on your specific project and personal tastes. Consider the following factors:

Factors to Consider

Start by assessing what you’re painting and where it will be displayed. This factor may have a considerable impact on your selection.

Aesthetic Preference: Your style preference is important. Are you drawn to the attraction of a distressed, vintage appearance, or are you pulled to the allure of a sleek, modern finish?

Time and Effort: Consider how much preparation work and time you’re willing to put in. Some paints necessitate more precise preparation than others.

Examples from Real Life

Let’s look at a couple of real-life examples to illustrate these points:

Situation 1: Assume you’re in the midst of reusing an old dresser to improve the ambiance of your bedroom, with the goal of obtaining a shabby-chic style.

In this scenario, chalk paint is the better option. Its matte sheen and rustic texture lend to the intended vintage impression seamlessly.

Situation 2: Assume your project involves refinishing your kitchen cabinetry. You want a long-lasting, modern look that will withstand the demands of regular use.

Cabinet paint takes center stage as the preferable option in this case. Its durability and smooth surface are ideal for achieving a timeless and stylish kitchen remodel.


There is no obvious winner in the chalk paint vs cabinet paint contest. It all comes down to your particular preferences and project goals. A new coat of paint may revive your furniture and give it a new lease on life, whether you choose the durable qualities of cabinet paint or the rustic charm of chalk paint.


Can I use chalk paint on kitchen cabinets?

In order to increase durability, chalk paint can be used on kitchen cabinets, but it must be carefully sealed.

Is cabinet paint more expensive than chalk paint?

Cabinet paint offers long-term durability but might be more expensive due to the additional prep work and layers needed.

Does cabinet paint require a professional application?

While professional applications can produce the greatest results, DIY enthusiasts can produce outstanding results with correct preparation and technique.

Can I mix chalk paint and cabinet paint for a unique finish?

Yes, you can experiment with both paints to produce a unique look, but make sure to try it out first in a small area.

How do I maintain furniture painted with chalk paint?

Avoid abrasive materials and keep things clean frequently. To retain the finish over time, you might need to reapply wax or topcoat.

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