Refinished console table with me and my favorite paint brushes
Decor,  Renovations

What paint brush should I use? For a smooth finish, a perfect line and more!

Do you use the same paint brush for everything? I used to! Then I realized that painting projects become so much easier when I use the right paint brush.

Some paint brushes are created specifically for making really straight, crisp lines. Other paint brushes are made specifically for leaving really smooth finishes. The list goes on!

I’ll give you a quick guide to the best paint brushes to use for each type of project. Also, I’ll tell you just a bit about rollers as an added bonus!

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Best Paint Brush for a Smooth Finish

The best paint brush for a smooth finish is the Purdy Nylox Glide brush. It has super soft bristles that do not leave brush marks. It’s perfect to use with latex paint. Projects that are perfect for this paint brush include painting cabinets, trim, furniture and doors.

I recently painted a console table using this brush. I completed the entire project in about 2 hours of work time and 5 total hours including dry times!


Step by Step Tutorial for Painting a Console Table

Here’s what I started with. It’s a typical piece of furniture that you might see at Goodwill or a rummage sale. It doesn’t match most people’s current style. It looks a bit outdated. I got it for free from my mother-in-law. I knew I could revive it with a quick coat of paint!

Old console table ready to be refinished

STEP 1: Clean it with TSP.

First remove any dust, dirt and grime using a mixture of water and TSP. Allow the table to fully dry.

Cleaning console table with TSP before painting

STEP 2: Paint the table with Krylon Chalky Finish Paint using a Purdy 2 1/2” Nylox Glide Brush.

As I mentioned before, the Purdy Nylox brush is perfect for leaving an ultra smooth finish, which is exactly what I wanted for this console table! I chose a 2 1/2″ brush to make the painting go quickly. Since it is an angled brush, I could easily get into all the crevices.

Painting console table with Purdy paint brush and chalky finish paint

Can you tell from all the paint on the handle that this is one of my most-used and most-loved brushes?! It definitely is!

Depending on the piece of furniture you are painting, you could also choose to use a mini roller, like the Purdy White Dove Roller. This roller will leave a smooth, lint-free finish. I didn’t grab one since there wasn’t that much flat surface area to cover. If you are painting a larger table, like a kitchen table, this roller would be perfect!

I only applied one coat since it covered really well.

STEP 3: Apply Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish – Clear Matte to the table once the paint is fully dry.

Applying polycrylic to the finished console table

I chose a matte finish but polycrylic is available in many different sheens. Feel free to choose whichever one best fits your style preferences! I applied one coat.

The updated console table!

Refinished console table in a soft green chalky finish paint color

Doesn’t this table look SO much better now?! I love it! It has a soft, warm feel to it. Also, it only took a few hours to complete!

Close-up of refinished console table without any brush strokes

Here is a close-up so that you can better see the really smooth finish that this paint brush left behind. I love it and highly recommend the Purdy Nylox Glide brush for furniture painting projects!

Best Paint Brush for Clean Crisp Lines

One of the hardest parts of painting is getting really clean, crisp lines. When you are painting a wall, it can be a struggle to make a perfect line along the trim and ceiling. I’ll tell you a secret: The paint brush that you use makes a HUGE difference!

The Secret to Perfect Cut-In Lines

The magic tool is the Purdy Clearcut Elite Paint Brush. Why is it so amazing? It has stiff bristles that help you create really crisp lines. It will help you easily navigate around trim, corners, ceilings and more. This is my second favorite Purdy paint brush (after the Nylox of course :)).

Painting crisp cut in lines along trim in room

I recently used it in my daughter’s room to create a fun color block wall. Head here for all the details on how I created this!

Color block modern arches wall in Little Girl's Room

Most Versatile Paint Brush

Are you looking for a paint brush that you can use for a ton of your projects? If so, the Purdy XL Sprig brush is perfect!

It can be used with all paints and stains. It can be used for both interior and exterior projects. The bristle ends are tipped and flagged to help create crisp cut-in lines but also leave a smooth finish. It’s a wonderful brush to start with when building your collection!

I recently used it to apply stain to a modern stool I made for my daughter.

Staining a modern style stool bright pink

For more details on this stool, head here!

Finished Pink Stool for Little Girl in Daughter's Pink Room

Best Paint Brush for Every Project

What if I’m painting a rough surface? What if I’m painting exterior patio furniture? What if I’m using a really thin oil-based stain? Purdy has an amazing Tool Selector that will help you find the right products for your project!

But wait….what is the best roller to use?

The Purdy Tool Selector will also help you choose the right roller!

However, I’ll give you a quick basic overview now.

The standard size for a roller is 9″. However, there are mini-rollers and really large rollers! It all depends on the surface area. If you are painting a wall, you will probably use a 9″ roller. If you are painting a really big wall or ceiling, you might want to use a roller larger than 9″ – like 14″ or even 18″. Small areas will probably require a mini roller.

Using a Purdy roller on a wall

One of the most commonly used roller covers is the Purdy White Dove Roller Cover. It leaves a smooth, lint-free finish. It works well on smooth surfaces and is commonly used for painting walls.

If you plan to paint rough surfaces like bricks, stone or concrete, the Purdy Marathon Roller Cover is perfect. It’s durable and will help you fill in all the nooks on rough surfaces.

Still not sure which paint brush or roller to use?

Just head here to the Purdy Tool Selector!

Looking for more paint project inspiration?

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Head here to check out all the paint projects on my website.

Head here for more info on why Purdy paint brushes are truly the best!


  • maseczki z filtrem

    I’m extremely pleased to discover this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to see new stuff in your site.

    • admin

      Thank you! So glad you found it helpful!

  • Егор

    Using the brush parallel to the area to be cut, let the paint brush open up into a semi-oval and bring it into the line you are cutting. Follow the line until the line of paint begins to break up. Repeat. It is best to cut in while breathing out or holding your breath. Generally, a second coat of paint should be applied at least two hours following application of the previous coat. However, if it is humid or you are using a heavily tinted paint, it can take longer.

    • admin

      Thanks so much for these tips! I find that breathing out, like you suggested, when cutting in can help SO much!

    • Marie

      These are great tips! And so many cute projects! We love Purdy products!

  • Paula@SweetPea

    I have always wanted to try a Purdy paint brush. After reading your review of them, they are on my list for my next Home Depot or Lowe’s run.

    • admin

      Awesome!! They really are so so nice to have! They stay perfect for years if you take good care of them 🙂 I think you’ll love them!

  • Danielle

    Purdy brushes are the only thing that I will use. It really does make a difference with a high quality brush! It’s worth the little bit more of money to save the time and hassle that using a cheap brush causes!

    • admin

      Couldn’t agree more! I bought other brushes years ago and I hated them. Learned the hard way when bristles kept falling out and the finish looked terrible. Never going back to anything but Purdy! 🙂

  • Christin

    Great post! I’m totally pinning this for reference! Anything to help make painting easier, I’m in!

  • Renee Barton

    Great post! I only looked at paintbrushes for the paint type, I didn’t realize there were special ones for lines. and I agree I really like the Purdy brand

  • Carol Karl

    Wow! I love this console. It looks fabulous. Great information in this post too. I was really interested in the was finish you applied. I’ve used Briwax before but not this product. They Briwax you put on with a cloth. I’ll be looking for this next time I need to paint any furniture. Thanks so much for this information, Mary.

  • Kim Waldorf

    I recently used my first Purdy paint brush and really liked it! This post was so helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kimberly Snyder

    So much great information! Your projects look fantastic! I really need to become a better painter! I am going to refer to your post when I get ready to tackle my next project!

  • Juliet

    I’m forwarding your post to a friend who paints everything! I’m a reluctant painter and had no idea there were different brushes for different finishes. Eek … I just said that out loud. I absolutely love the color of the desk you painted … I have a similar desk that could use a new coat of paint. Maybe my friend will read you post and come over and do it for me!!! xo

    • admin

      Hah, I love that!! And it’s okay – tons of people don’t know that paint brushes are made for specific types of paints, finishes, techniques, etc. I also hope that your friend comes paint it for you! 🙂