How to Spray Paint Furniture and Accessories

Looking for a quick makeover? Learn how to spray paint furniture and accessories to get a beautiful, smooth finish!

black porch swing with nice, smooth finish | Maison de Pax

To use a good ‘ol (slightly inappropriate) redneck phrase, sometimes you just gotta “git ‘er done.” And spray paint makeovers might just be one of my favorite ways to make that happen.

Now that the weather is warming up, I know many people are ready to get back to gardening, outdoor spring cleaning, evenings on the patio, and other fun weekend projects. Plus, since we’ve all been in our homes for weeks on end at this point, we could all use a little makeover magic, don’t you think?

And learning how to spray paint furniture or accessories is a perfect start. It’s quick, it’s easy, and with just a few basic steps, it can be a wonderful way to breathe new life into wood and metal furniture. Indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories can get a speedy makeover with just a can of spray paint!

How to spray paint Furniture and Accessories

Whatever you are painting, there are four basic rules:

  1. Prep the piece
  2. Clean the piece
  3. Paint upside down first (if applicable)
  4. Spray in light, even coats

Our ranch house has a huge wrap around porch, and we knew swings and rocking chairs were a must… but after the kitchen and living room renovations, the budget was long gone. So we found some white rocking chairs on clearance and decided to salvage an old metal table we already had and the old red porch swing left by the previous owners.

black rocking chairs on front porch

This is certainly not my first (or last) time to spray paint outdoor furniture, but this paint project gave me the perfect opportunity to create a little spray painting tutorial for you all. For this project, we needed spray paint for metal and wood. And we had to paint both old pieces with flaking paint and new pieces with glossy paint.

black front porch swing makeover | Maison de Pax

How to spray paint furniture

  1. Prep the piece

    If your piece has gouges, holes, chipping paint, or other blemishes, now is the time to fix them.

    You do not have to remove all the old finish, but you do want it to be smooth before you paint. Be sure to get rid of all chipping paint or your new finish will chip off, too.

    Also, if the previous finish was glossy, you want to give it a light sanding so that the paint will adhere better.
    sand to prep outdoor furniture before spray painting | Maison de Pax

  2. Clean the piece

    Get all the dirt off: brush, vacuum, and wipe, as needed. Then, using a little Simple Green, TSP, or 50:50 vinegar:water mix, clean the piece thoroughly. Then let it dry completely before painting.

    If there is hardware or other parts you do not want painted, cover them with masking tape furniture before spray painting | Maison de Pax

  3. Paint upside down first

    Even if you don’t think the bottom needs to be painted, you’ll be surprised how many angles and spots you can miss if you only paint the top. So turn your piece upside down and spray a light, even coat. I always try to make my spray pattern follow the natural contours of the piece.

    Let paint dry. Repeat if necessary. Be careful not to let drips collect!

    Pro tip: use a comfort grip accessory! This saves time, helps your hands not to cramp, and keeps your fingers cleaner.spray painting light, even coats | Maison de Pax

  4. Continue to use light, even coats

    Once the bottom is dry (follow drying times on the can), turn the piece over and repeat with light, even coats on the top. Your natural inclination will be to try to cover completely while spraying. Resist! Light, layered coats will create a more even, durable finish and will avoid drips.spray paint upside down first | Maison de Pax

Spray painting tips: What not to do

Spray paint without a drop cloth. Colorful stripes on your driveway or garage floor… Need I say more?

Spray it on thick. You’ll have lovely little drips all over your piece.

Forget to clean before you paint. Even if you use the right kind of spray paint for wood, metal, plastic, or whatever else you are painting… This will lead to chipping, crackling, uneven paint.

Spray Painting FAQ

What is the best kind of spray paint?
I’ve used lots of different brands and kinds of spray paint over the years. And while this is not the focus of today’s post (I have not actually tried all the brands to compare!), the one I’m loving the most right now is this kind. It’s coverage is good and the satin finish is beautiful. It is a great spray paint for plastic, wood, and metal.

Can you spray paint patio furniture?
Yes! Spray paint is oil based, which makes it an excellent, durable finish for outdoor use.

Can you spray paint indoor furniture?
Yes! And because spray paint is oil based (see above), it is especially durable, which can be a great option for high-traffic pieces. Be sure to paint outside in a well ventilated area, though, as the fumes and overspray are not good for interiors.

Is it best to paint or spray paint furniture?
It’s a personal preference, but here are some helpful guidelines. For outdoor furniture, spray paint is perfect because it is so durable and the lack of brush strokes make it easier to wipe off pollen and other dirt. For indoor furniture, spray paint can be a good choice for high-traffic pieces or very smooth pieces. But for intricately carved or curvy pieces, spray paint is probably not the best option because drips are hard to avoid.

Also, note that oil-based paints can be harder to remove later… so if you think you might ever want to strip the piece some day, you may want to use a different kind of paint.

Do you need to prime when you spray paint?
With this rust oleum paint, I have never needed a separate primer. However, I always prime if I am painting over raw wood. You also may need to consider a primer if you are painting dark wood a lighter color, as dark wood tones can bleed through white or light-colored paint.

I hope you found that helpful. Go forth and spray paint, friends! And don’t forget to pin it. 😉

spray paint can with overlay: how to spray paint outdoor furniture | Maison de Pax

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  1. Glad I received your email and planning on painting a patio set this week. Any suggestions on how to remove layers of paint that is chipped pretty bad? Would a pressure washer work?

    1. Hi Mary! You can certainly try a pressure washer, but you might also consider a chemical stripper too. 🙂

    1. Great question! Since they are usually metal and will be getting pretty high traffic, I would recommend using a rough sand paper, a separate primer, and then several light coats of paint. You could even follow up with a clear lacquer for extra protection if you want. Hope this helps!

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