What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Plastic Furniture?

If you have plastic furniture that has lost its luster or has faded, painting it can be a wise and easy solution to give it a new lease of life. So what is the best paint and primer combination to use?

Paint specifically made for plastic surfaces is the best option when painting plastic furniture. This can be polyurethane paint or hybrid latex paint. On the other hand, an alkyd-enamel primer is best as it offers excellent adhesion. Also, proper surface preparation is needed before painting any plastic furniture.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The factors to consider when choosing paint for plastic furniture
  • What finish is best
  • What type of paint to use
  • The best paint and primer for plastic furniture

4 Key Factors for Choosing the Perfect Paint

When it comes to painting plastic furniture, it’s important to take certain factors into consideration before beginning the process. (Be sure to refer to my comprehensive guide on painting plastic furniture for more information.) Here are the 4 key considerations to keep in mind:

Type of Plastic

Not all plastics are made equal. Different types of plastic require different types of paint. Once you identify the type of plastic, choose a paint that is specifically made for that type.

Indoor or Outdoor Use

The next factor to consider when painting plastic furniture is whether the furniture is for indoor or outdoor use. If you want to paint outdoor plastic furniture that’s exposed to sunlight, humidity, and extreme temperatures, you need to select high-quality paints with UV inhibitors that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Application Method

When applying paint to plastic furniture, spraying is the most recommended method to ensure a smooth finish. However, if you’re uncomfortable using a spray gun or paint, you can use a roller or brush as an alternative.


The type of finish will depend on the look you want to achieve. Most plastic furniture looks great with a glossy or semi-glossy finish, giving it greater reflectivity and helping to protect against dirt and other elements.

Satin finishes also work well, but they can make cleaning more difficult since any dust particles will be more visible.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Polyurethane Paint


  • Durable and long-lasting finish
  • Resistant to water, chemicals, and abrasion
  • Easy to apply and clean up
  • Provides a glossy finish that is resistant to fading or discoloration
  • Offers protection against UV light damage


  • Can be flammable when in liquid form
  • Can be toxic when it comes into contact with skin or is breathed in
  • Not suitable for use on porous surfaces (such as wood beneath the surface)
  • May require multiple coats for desired results
  • Requires careful preparation of the surface before application

Hybrid Latex Paint (Modified Alkyd or Urethane-enhanced Acrylic)


  • The mix of binders creates a durable and long-lasting finish
  • Acrylic paint will contract and expand better than latex paint, making it more resistant to cracking and peeling
  • Acrylic paint is also UV-resistant, helping it to fend off any fading
  • Alkyd paints are scuff resistant and provide a thicker cover in a single coat
  • Alkyd paints are also more durable than other paints, making them ideal for areas with children playing


  • Alkyd paints can be more expensive than other types of paints
  • Clean-up with alkyd paints can be more difficult since they are oil-based
  • Alkyd paints have strong odors due to the solvents used in their production process

What Paint Finish Is Best?

Semi-gloss paint has a reflective sheen that makes it easy to clean and maintain, which is ideal for high-traffic areas or outdoor furniture exposed to the elements. Its hard surface makes it less prone to scuffs and scratches than other finishes.

Satin paint has a subtle, velvety sheen that offers a more sophisticated look. It is less reflective than semi-gloss, making it a great choice for indoor furniture or pieces that you want to give a more understated appearance.

Satin finishes are also ideal for painting furniture that may expand or contract due to temperature changes, allowing greater flexibility.

High-gloss is also an option, but it can be too reflective, making it a better choice for decorative pieces not often used. Regardless of the finish, preparation is key to ensuring a smooth, long-lasting paint job on plastic furniture.

The Best Paint and Primer for Plastic Furniture

Choosing the right primer is important for your paint to adhere to the plastic furniture properly. The best primer for plastic furniture is the one that is specially formulated for it. Look for a primer labeled “for plastic surfaces” or “for use on plastics.”

Spray paint works best on plastic furniture because it can adhere to the surface evenly without forming bubbles or brush strokes. When selecting spray paint for your project, ensure it is compatible with the primer you chose.

Finally, when choosing paint for your plastic furniture, look for a paint designed to stick well to plastics. Choose a paint that is also durable, flexible, and resistant to chipping and peeling.

If you are painting outdoor furniture, we recommend a paint with UV protection, especially if it is exposed to the sun.

Best Paint

If you’re considering revamping your plastic furniture, Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray Paint for Plastic is the best paint for a durable, long-lasting finish.

Designed for indoor and outdoor use, this oil-based formula is perfect for various plastic materials, including PVC, resin, fiberglass, polypropylene, polystyrene, and vinyl plastics.

Rust-Oleum Spray Paint for Plastic has excellent adhesion, which ensures the paint won’t peel or flake off over time, even with heavy use.

It also dries to the touch in just 20 minutes, so you can quickly move on to the next step in your furniture restoration project.

One of the key benefits of this spray paint is that it can be applied directly to plastic with no primer needed, saving you time and effort. However, for superior and long-lasting results, I still recommend the use of a primer.

Best Primer

Rust-Oleum Specialty Flat Plastic Primer Spray is a revolutionary product that has gained immense popularity among homeowners and DIY enthusiasts.

It is widely recognized as the best primer for plastic furniture, owing to its exceptional adherence and superior paint adhesion properties. 

Its advanced formula is fast-drying and easy to apply, providing a tight bond with the topcoat for long-lasting durability.

One of the outstanding features of Rust-Oleum Specialty Flat Plastic Primer Spray is its ability to adhere to hard-to-paint surfaces. This makes it ideal for renewing or changing the color of plastic items around the home.

Moreover, this plastic primer spray comes in various colors, allowing you to choose from a wide range of beautiful shades. You can confidently select the top coat color that best complements your home decor and personal style.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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