What Type Of Paint Should I Use On Shelves?

When it comes to breathing new life into your shelves or embarking on a DIY shelving project, choosing the right type of paint can make all the difference between a lackluster finish and a stunning transformation.

Whether you’re revamping old shelves, building new ones from scratch, or simply looking to refresh the existing ones, the paint you select plays a crucial role in achieving the desired look, durability, and functionality.

A shelf can be painted cheaply and in a short period. If your shelf is painted appropriately, it will enhance any room’s style, theme, and atmosphere.

Any room’s color scheme can easily be matched with the bookshelf’s color, regardless of if it is free-standing or built in. Let’s continue!

What Should I Paint My Shelves With?

Paint in gloss is the best choice for high-use areas such as pantry shelves since it provides better coverage and is less prone to scuffs and wear.

Paint with a glossy finish is simpler to maintain since spills are inevitable and might require repeated cleaning.

High-gloss paint, oil-based is the most durable finish for wooden pantry shelves. Its application can be messy, and solvents are needed to clean it up.

Additionally, oil-based gloss paints emit strong odors, which are best removed with good ventilation after application.

In contrast to gloss paints, semi-gloss paints are a good alternative if you do not like the mirrored effect of gloss paints. Despite being simple to clean up, spills can easily be cleaned up in the pantry.

Understanding Paint Sheen Characteristics

Understanding Paint Sheen Characteristics

When it comes to choosing the right type of interior paint, there are so many options to choose from.

The best paint for a project depends on the project’s requirements, so it’s essential to understand paint options and their uses. The two main types of paint are water-based and oil-based, or alkyd-based.

Within these two categories, manufacturers offer a variety of sheens. In painting, the sheen is the amount of light that is reflected by the paint. A wide range of paint sheens, including flats, mattes, and glossy paints, tend to reflect much light.

A semi-gloss finish has an average level of light reflection. Matte and gloss paints fall between eggshell paints and satin paints.

It is important to consider the sheen of walls when painting them regarding how the room will look and how light will reflect throughout.

The quality of the glossier paint is less important than its ability to endure repeated cleanings and wear in smaller projects.

Gloss Paint for Moisture Resistance

With gloss paint, you’ll likely get a high sheen and a mirror-like finish. In addition to being smooth, it provides good moisture resistance.

Although high gloss finishes are often used on walls, they aren’t as crucial for pantry shelves.

High gloss paint intensifies the color, so you should keep that in mind when choosing colors.

Semi-Gloss Paint for Durability

Compared with gloss paint, semi-gloss paint has slightly less light reflection. Gloss paint appears wet, whereas semi-gloss paint does not.

Nothing is better than a durable semi-gloss paint since it can withstand repeated washings and scratches.

It is a perfect sheen for pantry lighting that is dim or dark. When painted in a light hue with a semi-gloss finish, the room may feel brighter without causing too much glare from artificial lighting, as with high-gloss paint.

Types of Paints to Use on Laminate Shelves

Types of Paints to Use on Laminate Shelves

Would it be possible to paint laminate bookcases? It’s certainly possible! Compared with wooden ones, they are cheaper and have grown in popularity.

The laminate bookcases may look like wood but are made of synthetic materials.

As a result, laminate bookshelves should not be painted with the majority of paint types you would use on wooden bookshelves.

The latex paint delivers a smoother finish and more durability on laminate surfaces than other types of paint.

A latex paint coat can be fully dry in one to four hours, unlike an oil-based paint that can take eight hours to dry.

Consequently, latex paints possess lower volatile organic compound (VOC) levels and exhibit fewer brush strokes than alkyd-based oil paints.

Besides reflecting less light than glossy latex paints, this super smooth coat will cover any imperfections in furniture.

In addition, latex paint offers a very cheap sheen option for non-use furniture.

Types of Paints to Use on Wooden Shelves

Types of Paints to Use on Wooden Shelves

Chalk Paint

Using chalk paint differs from using enamel or acrylic paint because of the preparation required.

You must sand the wood first and remove the topcoat before using acrylic paint. If you want your enamel finish to be glossy, you must perfectly sand the wood before applying the paint.

When using chalk paint, you don’t have to sand your furniture, whereas acrylic and enamel paints require extensive prep work. Therefore, chalk paint is ideal for painting your bookshelves quickly.

In contrast to acrylic and enamel paints, chalk paints do not last as long. Adding a wax layer can increase durability, although some might find this more troublesome.

Acrylic Paint

On wooden bookcases, acrylic paint is the best paint to use because it works well with the wood.

This adhesive is highly versatile, as it sticks to both waxy and oily surfaces. It is also highly resilient and resistant to cracks, peeling, and yellowing.

The condition of most wooden bookcases already includes a varnish layer before the acrylic paint is applied. Protect your wood by using a high-quality varnish. Aside from that, some paints contain oil and contain tung oil or linseed oil.

If your bookshelf has a varnish topcoat, it should be removed before painting. If that is the case, it is impossible for acrylic paint to adhere to the bookshelf surface.

Enamel-Based Paint

Enamel-based paint is another popular choice when painting wooden bookcases because it is durable, similar to acrylic paint. While it lasts longer than acrylic paint, it turns yellow as it ages.

Paints made from enamel give all furniture a glossy finish, unlike acrylic paints. Therefore, you should choose enamel-based paints for the best glossy surface results.

However, one serious disadvantage to using enamel-based paint is its toxicity. As an oil-based paint, enamel-based paint produces a strong smell and is highly flammable.

If you are worried about the toxicity of enamel-based paints, you can always use acrylic paint. The paint used in enamel-based paints is also chemical-free.

How To Paint Cabinet Shelves?

Supplies for Cabinet Shelves:

  • Foam roller
  • 1″ angled brush
  • Stain-blocking Primer
  • Paint
  • Sanding Block 
  • Cloth

Tip: Make sure you use an Alkyd oil-based paint and a stain-blocking primer for these shelves.

The Process: 

  1. Make sure all shelves are clean and free of debris. 
  2. “Cut in” the top and sides with the angled brush.
  3. Start with the top, then roll the paint down the side. The bottom of each section should be painted last to catch any paint drips. Wait for it to dry.
  4. Finish by applying one more coat. Let it dry.
  5. Roll out the paint along the outer edge of the cabinet shelves.

Ensure that the paint has entirely dried between coats, and when you are finished, enjoy the new look you have achieved. 

Shortcut: If painting the inside of every cabinet in your kitchen seems too time-consuming, try this trick: simply paint the 1-inch border inside each cabinet box. Despite looking neat and professional, it will still look nice and tidy.

What Type of Paint to Use on Wood Bookshelf?

What Type of Paint to Use on Wood Bookshelf

It is important to determine the type of material used to construct the bookshelf before choosing paint.

Even though most bookshelves are made of wood, some are made of laminate products that mimic wood. Let’s examine the different types to determine which paints work best for what type of material.

How To Paint Bookshelves?

Bookshelf Painting Supplies:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum or rag
  • Paintbrushes
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Nail

Tip: If you paint wooden bookcases with water or oil-based paint, you only need a primer. A stain-blocking primer must always be used. 

The Process:

  1. Remove all shelves and hardware, and tape up any screw holes. 
  2. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the entire bookcase, including the shelves. 
  3. Take care not to leave any sawdust residue on the bookcase. The dust can be removed from the crevices by vacuuming or gently dampening a rag with water.
  4. When painting a solid color on the bookcase, smear a thin coat of primer on the shelves.
  5. Apply the primer with a bristle paint brush and paint the wood grain-directed. When painting with oil-based paint, use an oil-based primer.
  6. When painting with latex paint, use a latex primer. Three hours are needed for the primer to dry.
  7. Spray on a thin coat of paint on top of the primer, going with the grain of the wood.

Make sure every layer of paint and primer is dehydrated between coats, then reassemble the bookshelf.

The Best Paint For Pantry Shelves

A gloss paint is the best choice for high-use areas, such as pantry shelves, since it provides better coverage and is more resistant to scuffs and wear.

Furthermore, gloss paint is more resistant to spills, so it requires fewer cleaning sessions to keep it looking good.

A high-gloss, oil-based paint is the most durable coating for wooden pantry shelves. The application process can be messy.

Solvents are required to clean it up. In addition, oil-based gloss paints produce strong odors that require ample ventilation for a few days after application.

As an alternative to gloss paints, semi-gloss is an excellent choice for coverage and durability for those who dislike the mirrored effect. Despite being easy to clean, spills in the pantry are easily cleaned up.

What Paint to Use on Wood Closet Shelves?

Shelf units, baseboards, and closet ceilings look great in satin. The satin closet finishes require little maintenance, but they clean easily when needed.

A reduction in painting frequency. You can actually skip painting the closet when you repaint the interior!

What Paint to Use on Wood Shelves?

In general, semi-gloss or high-gloss sheens are the best for their ease of cleaning, smooth, non-porous finishes, and durability since moisture beads on them rather than absorbs them.

Final Words

The following tips will help you refresh any room by simply painting shelves. The process of painting shelves can be done by yourself, but you will need time and skill to ensure the job will last.

It constantly takes off and puts items on shelves because they are designed to hold things. As a result, it is essential to have a fantastic paint job to ensure that the paint does not wear away, the shelves don’t become sticky, no black skid marks appear, and anything else that may occur.

The best thing you can do is turn to a professional and never worry about anything.

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