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The Best Paint Roller for Cabinets and Furniture

Do you have cabinets or furniture that you would like to update with paint? That’s awesome! I have the best paint roller for cabinets and furniture that will give you a wonderful, smooth finish for years to come.

Paint is a great option for updating or giving cabinets and furniture a new life. I love getting a new piece of furniture from antique stores or Facebook Marketplace and giving it a good coat of paint. I have painted tons of pieces and will share with you today my favorite products to help you get a smooth finish.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more details see my full disclosure.

What is the best tool to get a smooth finish, sprayer or paint roller?

There is a lot of debate on this subject. Can you get a smooth finish on cabinets or furniture by using a roller, absolutely you can.

Many people will only use a sprayer and feel that it’s the best way to get a smooth finish. A sprayer is by far the easiest way to get a smooth finish but not everyone owns a paint sprayer, and they can be expensive.

Paint rollers can get just as smooth of a finish at a much lower cost than using a sprayer (if you don’t already have one).

The finished cabinet painted sage green with black hardware.

Here is a cabinet I painted with a high-density foam roller for my daughter’s apartment bedroom. She plans to use it as a tv stand and it also has tons of storage!

The Best Paint Roller for Cabinets and Furniture

There are a lot of rollers available on the market and they all have specific uses. Here is a table to give you an idea of the different ones and their uses:

3/4 Inch Nap – ThickBest for concrete, brick, and heavily textured walls (think stucco)
3/8 Inch Nap – MediumBest for walls and ceilings and light to medium textured walls
1/4 Inch Nap – ThinBest for walls and ceilings with no texture

None of these are really good for painting cabinets or furniture. You could get away with using 1/4 inch nap but most likely you will have a slight texture, or stippling, appear on your project. You won’t have the perfect smooth finish that you might be looking for.

The best roller for painting cabinets or furniture is a high-density foam roller. They typically come in 4 or 6-inch widths and can be purchased at any home improvement store (or Amazon).

Paint Rollers

The paint rollers you are looking for are 4 or 6-inch in length and have a very skinny stem. They do not have the cage that larger rollers have (such as the ones you would use for walls).

Paint Roller Covers

When choosing your high-density foam roller cover make sure you get the same size as you have in the roller (either 4 or 6 inch).

Personally, I like the ones that have a rounded end like this one.

Foam Paint Roller, Roller Frame with 4-Inch Mini Paint Roller Cover Refills with Foam-Covered Ends, High-Density Foam Paint Tray Set for Room Home Repair Mini Paint Kits(12 Piece)
  • Foam Paint Roller Set - These mini paint roller covers measure 4" in width, Perfect choice for easy painting cabinets, doors, metal, furniture, shelves,...
  • Replacement Covers-For ease of use these paint roller covers,it can be swapped out in just a few seconds.Paint-filled foam cover for a fresh cover whenever...
  • Ergonomically Paint Roller Frame-Comfortable And Lightweight While Durable And High-Impact Rubber Handle, Treaded To Fit Any Extension Pole
  • Smooth, Consistent Finish- These mini paint roller covers made with high density foam, these 4-inch mini paint roller provide a smooth, consistent finish...
  • The refill paint covers pack includes: 10 x foam replacement covers with paint frame and handle for your paint job

When it comes to brand they are all pretty much the same. I really think that the high-density foam rollers are very similar. This one I recently purchased for painting this cabinet. I really like that it came with a tray, so very handy.

Rolling on sage green paint with a high-density roller.

How to Get a Smooth Finish with a Paint Roller?

There are several steps to get a smooth finish and each step is important. The first one is to make sure you are starting with a smooth surface.

If you have any dents or dings in your project make sure you fill with wood filler and sand smooth.

The next thing you should do is have good quality paint. Personally, I like to go to Sherwin Williams and get paint because they have very high-quality stuff. I know it’s more expensive than what you can get at say Walmart but in this case, you get what you pay for. Spend the money on good paint and you will be rewarded in the end.

Let your paint dry fully before adding a second coat of paint. It will be tempting to go over some spots before it’s completely dried but don’t do it! This will only add texture because the paint is still tacky. Wait until it’s completely dry then do a second coat.

Prior to doing your second coat of paint lightly sand your project with 300 grit sandpaper to remove any texture that might be there. I had to do this on my board and batten project and it made all the difference in having a smooth finish in the end.

If you are not happy with the finish you are seeing you can always add Floetrol. This is a product you add to the paint to thin it out a bit. Once you apply it to the cabinets or furniture piece the paint will spread and fill in any texture and create a more smooth finish.

After one coat of paint of sage green on a cabinet.

This is my cabinet after one coat of primer and one coat of paint. You can see some stops on the top I had to use wood filler so I will definitely be doing a second coat. But finish-wise it’s pretty smooth!

Frequently Asked Questions

What roller is best for painting furniture?

A high-density foam roller is the best roller for painting cabinets and furniture.

Which paint roller gives the smoothest finish?

A high-density foam roller gives the smoothest finish.

Should I use a roller when painting furniture?

Absolutely! Using a roller is a great option when painting furniture. Using a paintbrush leaves brush marks so that’s not the best option. Another great option is to use a paint sprayer.

Can I use the same roller cover for multiple coats?

Yes! What I do when working on a project is I put the roller in a plastic Ziploc bag or wrap it in saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator. This keeps the paint wet so you can use it for multiple coats. I do this also when painting walls with a larger roller. My family doesn’t even ask me anymore why there is a paintbrush in the fridge, LOL.

Can I clean and reuse a foam roller cover?

Yes, you can but it’s important to keep a good eye on the cover. After a couple of washes, the foam will start to break down and you won’t get the smooth finish you like.

How do you prevent roller marks when painting furniture?

There are a couple of things you can do to prevent roller marks when painting furniture, one of them is to keep a wet edge. That means don’t let an area dry then go over it again with wet paint. Always keep working on an area until you are finished.

The other thing you can do is add Floetrol to your paint. This will thin out the paint and after you apply it to your cabinets or furniture the paint will spread and fill in any areas that might have roller marks and create a smooth finish.

Other painting tips you might want to check out:

Rolling paint on a cabinet with text overlay.

As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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