5 Best Types of Paint for Rattan Furniture

5 Best Types of Paint for Rattan Furniture

Transform Your Rattan Furniture with the 5 Most Durable Paint Options

5 Best Types of Paint for Rattan Furniture

Rattan furniture is having a major revival lately, with its breezy, organic style fitting right in with modern interior design trends. And while rattan has a natural light tan color, painting it opens up countless options to customize these pieces and make them your own.

The textural woven design of rattan lends itself beautifully to painted makeovers. And a fresh coat of color allows you to incorporate rattan into any decor style, from airy Scandinavian to cozy cottage.

But painting rattan properly isn’t as simple as just grabbing a can of paint. The intricate woven texture requires certain types of paint and techniques to achieve an even, durable finish.

In this article, we’ll cover the 5 best paint options specifically for rattan furniture, with a focus on techniques for indoor pieces along with all of the pros and cons of each type of paint.

The 5 Best Paints for Rattan Furniture

When it comes to painting rattan furniture, using the right type of paint is key for achieving an even, durable finish that adheres smoothly across the woven texture. Certain paint formulas work better than others. Here are the top 5 paint options recommended for flawless painted rattan:

1. Chalk Paint

The 5 Best Paints for Rattan Furniture - Chalk Paint

Chalk paint has exploded in popularity in recent years as a top choice for refinishing and painting furniture of all kinds, including rattan. The thick, almost powdery consistency of chalk paint allows it to glide easily over surfaces and grab onto intricate textures like natural rattan weaves.

Chalk paint is formulated specifically for painting furniture, making it a prime candidate for rattan pieces. It goes on smoothly without leaving brush strokes or drips. The matte finish hides imperfections in the weave and can be distressed for a vintage, timeworn look.

With chalk paint, there’s no need for sanding or priming first – you can paint directly onto clean rattan for instant adhesion. It also cleans up easily with just water. Widely available colors like the Annie Sloan line provide tons of options for any style.

While chalk paint adheres well overall, it can still be susceptible to chipping or peeling over time, especially on outdoor pieces. Be sure to finish it with a topcoat sealer like polyurethane or lacquer in a matte sheen for added protection and durability.


  • Specifically formulated for furniture painting
  • Self-leveling for an even coat
  • No sanding or priming needed
  • Easy water cleanup
  • Available in tons of colors


  • Can chip more easily without a topcoat sealer
  • Matte finish shows imperfections

See Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint on Amazon

2. Oil-Based Paint

The 5 Best Paints for Rattan Furniture - oil based paint

Oil-based paints have been used successfully for many decades to paint all varieties of furniture. The oils allow paint to flow out smoothly and take longer to dry, enabling it to fully penetrate into the weaves and pores of rattan to grab hold and adhere tightly.

Oil-based paints are highly durable and resistant to chipping, scratching, and wear, making them a great choice for both indoor and outdoor rattan furniture. The variety of sheen finishes available, from high gloss to flat matte, allow you to customize your finish.

While application requires more caution due to strong odors and fumes, an oil-based enamel like Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel provides superior protection from weathering and UV rays, ideal for rattan furniture used outdoors. Proper ventilation is a must when applying.

Clean up does require mineral spirits, so safety gear like gloves and eye protection are recommended. But the end result is a resilient, lasting finish.


  • Excellent adhesion and durability
  • Withstands weather and sun exposure
  • Wide range of sheen finishes
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors


  • Strong odor and fumes
  • Requires mineral spirits for cleanup
  • Long dry and recoat times

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3. Spray Paint

The 5 Best Paints for Rattan Furniture -Spray Paint

For those looking for the fastest, easiest route to painting rattan furniture, rattle can spray paints are a great option. Spraying delivers a smooth, even coat across the irregular weave, reaching all the nooks and crannies while avoiding drips.

The key is using a spray paint formulated specifically for painting wicker, rattan, and other porous or fabric-like materials such as Krylon Fusion All-In-One or Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer. These are designed with acrylic formulas and bonding primers to adhere properly to natural fibers.

Spray paint dries quickly, allowing you to apply multiple coats in quick succession to build up coverage. The results are professional-looking with a uniform finish, and cleanup simply involves throwing away the empty can – no brushes to wash!

Just be sure to use painter’s tape and paper to mask off areas you don’t want over-sprayed. And work in a well-ventilated area, either outdoors or near windows and fans.


  • Super smooth, even coverage
  • Reaches woven crevices easily
  • Dries fast to recoat quickly
  • No brushes to clean!


  • Overspray can be tricky
  • Not as thick as brushed paints

See Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint on Amazon

4. Mineral Paint

The 5 Best Paints for Rattan Furniture - Mineral Paint

For those concerned about inhaling paint fumes or using harsh chemical paints, mineral paint is a non-toxic, eco-friendly painting option. These paints are made from natural ingredients like clay, minerals, and milk proteins.

Mineral paint formulas are specially designed to bond tightly to many porous surfaces, including rattan’s natural fiber weave. They deliver vibrant, lasting color while being free of VOCs, odorless, and water-based for easy soap and water cleanup.

Popular mineral paint brands like Giani Granite Transformations and Fine Paints of Europe chalk mineral paint provide excellent rattan furniture painting results indoors and out. Just be sure to finish with a recommended sealer for added protection, such as Giani Top Coat or FolkArt Clear Acrylic Sealer.


  • Zero VOCs, low odor
  • Excellent adhesion
  • UV/weather-resistant
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Easy water cleanup


  • Limited color selection
  • Needs sealing for protection

See Fusion Mineral Paint on Amazon

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5. Milk Paint

The 5 Best Paints for Rattan Furniture -  Milk Paint

Milk paint has been used for centuries for painting furniture, walls, and other surfaces. It offers a uniquely matte, slightly textured finish that cannot be duplicated with modern paints. For rattan furniture, it provides a subtle distressed, vintage look.

Milk paint is made from all-natural ingredients like milk proteins, clay, lime, and earth pigments. It goes on smoothly but tends to be thinner than some paints. Using multiple coats allows the color to build up fully. Brands like General Finishes Milk Paint and The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company provide beautiful rattan finishes.

For the best adhesion and protection, milk-painted rattan should be sealed using a water-based acrylic sealer like FolkArt Clear Topcoat. This prevents fading or damage from moisture. The sealer also provides a subtle sheen while allowing the timeworn character of the milk paint to show through.


  • Distressed, worn-in matte finish
  • Non-toxic, zero VOCs
  • Unique look you can’t replicate
  • Available in wide color range


  • Doesn’t adhere as well solo
  • Multiple coats usually needed
  • Needs sealing for protection

See Milk Paint on General Finishes

Types of paint for rattan furniture: Pros & cons summary

Paint TypeProsCons
Chalk Paint– Specifically formulated for furniture painting, Self-leveling for an even coat, No sanding/priming needed, Easy water cleanup, Tons of colors– Can chip without topcoat, Matte shows imperfections
Oil-Based Paint– Excellent adhesion and durability, Withstands weather/sun exposure, Variety of sheen finishes, For indoor/outdoor use– Strong odors and fumes, Mineral spirits cleanup, Long dry and recoat times
Spray Paint– Super smooth, even coverage, Reaches crevices easily, Fast drying, No brushes to clean– Overspray can be tricky, Not as thick as brushed
Mineral Paint– Zero VOCs, low odor, Excellent adhesion, UV/weather resistant, Long-lasting durability, Water cleanup– Limited color selection, Needs sealing
Milk Paint– Distressed, worn-in look, Non-toxic, zero VOCs, Unique matte finish, Wide color range– Doesn’t adhere as well, Multiple coats needed, Needs sealing

Rattan Furniture care tips

Prepping Rattan Furniture for Painting

Properly preparing rattan furniture prior to painting is crucial for helping the paint adhere evenly and smoothly across the woven texture. Here are some tips for prep:

  • Clean the surface thoroughly – Use a mild detergent and warm water to remove any built-up dirt, dust, debris, grease or grime. For smoother rattan, lightly go over the piece with steel wool. Rinse off any cleaning solution and allow to dry fully.
  • Sand lightly – After cleaning, go over the entire rattan surface lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. This helps rough up the fibers slightly and give the paint something to grip. Be careful not to sand too aggressively.
  • Spot prime if needed – For rattan furniture with existing paint or varnish that is cracked or peeling, spot prime those areas after sanding so the new paint will stick. Use an oil-based bonding primer.
  • Apply primer – Once prepped, apply 1-2 coats of high quality acrylic primer formulated for plastic, wicker or rattan. Primer fills in pores and creates a surface for paint to adhere to.
  • Use painter’s tape – Tape off any rattan areas you don’t want painted like edges or details. Remove tape immediately after painting before the paint dries.

Properly prepping rattan pieces takes a bit of time up front, but saves headaches down the road. It allows paint to bond tightly and evenly across the entire surface for a smooth, durable finish that resists chipping and peeling over the long term.

Sealing and Protecting Painted Rattan

While paint adheres well overall to rattan’s natural fibers, applying a clear topcoat sealant provides an added layer of protection, especially for outdoor pieces. Here are some tips:

  • For outdoor use, apply 2-3 thin coats of high quality water-based outdoor polyurethane. This provides the best protection from sun damage, moisture, and wear and tear.
  • For milk-painted rattan, use a water-based acrylic sealer like FolkArt Clear Acrylic Topcoat Sealer to prevent fading and damage. 2-3 coats are recommended.
  • Opt for a matte or satin sheen to maintain the beautiful painted finish. High gloss can yellow over time.
  • Be sure to seal all surfaces – fronts, sides, undersides, and crevices. Rattan wicks moisture easily.
  • Reapply sealant yearly on outdoor furniture to maintain protection as it wears over time and seasons.
  • Allow proper dry time between coats as directed on the product label.

Sealing painted rattan makes the finish far more resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and cracking from sun and moisture exposure over many years of use.


With the right paint and prep, you can customize your indoor rattan furniture into any color creation you desire. Chalk paint, spray paint, oil-based enamel, mineral paint, and milk paint are all excellent options for coating rattan’s natural woven fibers.

Always properly clean and lightly sand rattan prior to painting indoor pieces. Carefully apply paint in smooth coats, working it into every crevice. And be sure to seal painted items for protection and durability.

Follow these tips for stunning painted rattan furniture makeovers that add personalized style and color to your living spaces. You’ll be rattan-ing and rolling your way to stylishly refreshed indoor decor in no time!