Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs

by Diane Henkler on 11/13/2013

Now that my kitchen floor has been refinished and looks all shiny and new, I got the energy to get the chairs that go around the kitchen table painted.  Instead of spray painting them all one color…


… I used 5 different colors.  My kitchen is now infused with a happy, fresh, and positive vibe!

I was hemming and hawing about what color to paint them, then inspiration hit me over the summer in the most unusual way.


Remember the post I wrote back in the summer, where I told you that one morning I came down to my kitchen that was such a mess since I was painting the cabinets?   I was inspired with an idea that morning on what to do with my kitchen chairs.  The cushion for my deck swing was thrown over the banquette the night before.   In the morning when I saw the colorful stripes on the fabric, I knew I would be painting the chairs each a different color.


I have 5 chairs, but only use 3 around the table now.  We didn’t have the banquette seating when we first moved into the house and needed 5 chairs for seating.  With the banquette, 3 is all that is needed.  I have two extra and will probably change out the colors every now and then.


I pinned this image a long time ago to my Yummy Color Combination Pinterest board.   I saved myself $220 a chair by spray painting wood chairs I already owned to look as positively yummy as these chairs do.

I chose to go the spray painted route because it is a quick process and the paint durable.  Painting all those rungs and legs with a brush  – too time consuming. If I used chalk paint – they would also all need to be waxed and buffed.


I picked the paint by colors I wanted, not by brand.  I had to go to 3 different stores to find colors I liked.   Now that I have used all of the above spray paints on the same surface, I do have a favorite.  Valspar is the clear winner for me.  They have great colors and the can’s nozzle is the best.  Less overspray.  I used Painter’s Touch primer to go under the light blue Rustoleum  enamel paint since it did not contain a primer.  The rest of the paints were paint-and-primer-in-one formulas, so I did not need to add a separate primer coat for them.

The colors I used:  Valspar – Gloss Exotic Sea, Vaspar – Gloss Gold Abundance, Rustoleum Protective Enamel – Gloss Harbor Blue, Rustoleum Ultra Cover  -Gloss Berry Pink and Gloss Real Orange.

How to Spray Paint Wood Chairs


supplies needed:

Spray paint | Primer | Sandpaper & sanding block | Tack cloth | Detergent or TSP cleaner | Mask to cover nose & mouth | Eye protection goggles | Plastic sheeting to protect floor from overspray | Optional – clear gloss sealer

Spray painting is best done outside where you have good ventilation. I use my garage. I open the windows and garage doors so there is a place for the fumes to go.


1. Spread out plastic sheeting or if doing only one chair, a cardboard spray booth.

2. Sand the surface with medium (60 – 100 grit) sandpaper.

3. Wash the surface well with detergent and hot water to remove any grease or dirt.  Let dry.


Cover your face with a painter’s mask and goggles before spraying.

3. If the spray paint does not have a primer in it, spray one coat of primer over the surface. Let dry.


4. Shake can vigorously for one minute after ball rattles.  Hold can upright and about 10” – 15” from surface and spray in a steady back and forth motion, slightly overlapping as you work. Keep the can in motion as you spray.  Apply 2 or more light coats a few minutes apart. Let dry.  If you need to apply more paint or a clear coat to protect – do so within an hour, otherwise wait 24 hours to recoat.

I did not use a clear coat. I spray painted the chairs glossy black  over 8 years ago and did not use it then and the finish held up perfectly without it.


5. To protect my shiny new refinished floor, I added one of these plastic sliders to the bottom of each chair leg.


A simple tap with a hammer is all it takes to attach them.


I feel like I have a brand new kitchen, now.  The best part about the makeover –I did not purchase any new furniture or accessories. I already owned everything and simple updated and transformed everything with paint.  Paying a contractor to re-finish the floor was a splurge, but worth saving up for, as I would have never gotten it to look this good myself.

The rest – cabinets, table, cushions, and now the chairs took time and elbow grease, but shows that when you have a vision, you can still get the look you desire even with a teeny budget if you take the time and effort to DIY. I enjoy the process – it is so exciting for me to see my vision and style come to life.

I still have one more item to transform in the room – I will be showing you that soon.

Have you spray painted anything lately?  What is your fave brand of spray paint to use?




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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan @ November 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I love your chairs! They are so happy. And the floor came out amazing!


2 ashley @ the handmade home November 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm

STOP IT. I DIE. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE! Can you tell I’m excited? I want to steal all those chairs! Your kitchen looks beautiful!


3 Kathleen November 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

They *are* yummy! I’m inspired to do the same thing myself!


4 Lisa November 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Those look AMAZING! What a great idea. Thinking outside the box reaps so many wonderful results.


5 Terri J November 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Love it! Love it! Love it! Wish I had the courage to do it!!! I can see why you would want to protect that precious floor too. Wish I walked into that kitchen every day!


6 Stacy Risenmay November 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I LOVE your chairs!!! It is so YOU. So cheerful and bright :)


7 anna whiston-donaldson November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

These look FANTASTIC! So cheery and bright. I love the colors you chose!


8 Jen November 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I am so over the moon in love with your chairs! They turned out so lovely and color happy! You have the best style!


9 Melanie November 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm

This post is fantastic – I love how your chairs turned out; the different colors look perfect in your kitchen; the project is easy; and you described how to do it! Thanks for the inspiration – I am going to do this with my kitchen chairs. I can handle spray-paint…anything more complicated than that, forget it!


10 Serena @ Thrift Diving November 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Hey hey, Diane! You know, it’s funny– just yesterday I was telling myself that when I walk into my house, I want to feel HAPPY. That’s not to mean that I feel unhappy when I walk in. But I want to feel cheerful, and for my kids to look at it as a fun place to be. I decided that I would start doing more pops of color (although, like I mention, I LOVE turquoise). But I had decided I would start using more color. And then I go and read this…..You done solidified that decision ;) Thanks for the great blog, always. :)

Thrift Diving


11 Jo @ Let's Face the Music November 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I love charcoal metallic Rustoleum which, naturally, has been discontinued. When I see a can I hoard it. It’s sort of like gunmetal. When it’s sanded it looks like slate. It is no more. Alas. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music


12 MK November 14, 2013 at 7:46 am

I used the charcoal metallic on hardware for a dresser I repainted for my son. It only took a little, so I used the rest on various craft projects. Great color. Had no idea they discontinued it…


13 Donna November 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

Check on-line. I found it on Amazon.


14 Jo @ Let's Face the Music November 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thanks! Jo


15 casey November 13, 2013 at 5:18 pm

oh my goodness I love lovity love the colors you chose for your chairs. I am a color fiend but I am a bit too chicken to bring that much color into my own home more often than not. I recently purchased bright green chairs for my living room and adore them so maybe I’m finally branching out:). Your dining room would bring a smile to my face every day! Great choice!


16 Christy Keyton November 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

THIS IS SO GREAT! I have been putting off painting my kitchen chairs for like two years. Why? Because I was going to use chalk paint and the thought of how long it would take to paint, wax, and buff them all was just overwhelming. I never thought of spray paint – I didn’t think it would give a smooth finish. BUT these chairs look amazing. So, you have inspired me. I am going to collect spray paint in shades of blue and green to do all of mine. I am so excited. THANKS, Diane!


17 kat November 14, 2013 at 7:16 am

Just stunning!


18 Heidi November 14, 2013 at 7:16 am

I work with automotive paint & Here’s a tip I’d like to add: Clean & de-wax or de-grease your project before you start sanding. Wax can get bedded in the grain by sanding & cause lifting or wrinkling later. Sand until there is no shiny finish left. Use a tack cloth after sanding. I love your color sense always!


19 Donna November 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

Great tip.


20 MK November 14, 2013 at 7:50 am

I love the way your chairs turned out!!! Will be interested for you to update us on how the painted seat bottoms hold up. I notice that you left the seat natural-stained when you painted them black, but that you painted the seat bottoms on this last evolution w/the multi-colors. I have the same deal with my bar stools and kitchen chairs—-that natural blondish colored stained seat with painted legs. Am thinking it will be a pain to tape off the stained seats–would be easier to just paint them and would update them as well, but I have wondered if the seat, which may get the most “wear” will hold up to painting. Please keep us posted:)


21 Cheryl November 14, 2013 at 7:53 am

I don’t know if I’d have the guts to try such bold colors, plus a different one for each chair. But they look terrific and I love the pop of color.


22 Rhonda S November 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

This is my all-time favorite post from you. Thanks for sharing.


23 Sylvia November 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

B R A V O ! ! ! I’ve been putting off spray painting some chairs…you’ve given me the inspiration and the knowledge I needed.


24 Jann from Newton Custom Interiors November 14, 2013 at 9:29 am

Diane, I absolutely love your chairs! The colors are wonderful. Thanks for the recommendation of the Valspar paint. Definately pinning this!


25 Joan November 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

Well aren’t you the clever girl. The inspiration you got from your outdoor cushions is amazing. Your chairs turned out so pretty. Love thay you keep showing us little peaks of your kitchen makeover.

How is your Daddy doing? You sound like a wonderful daughter.


26 Denise November 14, 2013 at 9:40 am

Hate to be slightly off topic but your floor looks AMAZING! It’s one thing to see the total finish and another to see the before and after in this post! Have been wondering how the table area looked. Best money spent on having them professionally done!


27 Cheryl @ Artzzle November 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

Now you’ll do a happy “Sigh” whenever you go to the kitchen. And these will really brighten up your winter days!
Right now I’m doing a small spray paint project, using RUST-OLEUM Hammered Copper and KRYLON green chalk board paint. (I didn’t want to mix anything up for this one, so went with quick, easy spray paint).


28 Vickie November 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm

What a happy day brightener these chairs are as you eat breakfast and start your day. And, what a great pick-me-up they would be sitting down to dinner after a long day. Great choices and such a happy look!


29 Kathy November 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Seriously beautiful! I had been considing this for my chairs, to go with my Fiestaware! But alas, I painted the apron & legs of my table with ASCP in duck egg, which I love. Now . . . what to do with my chairs??? My walls are painted Fiestaware red (I took a plate to HD and they matched it!) Maybe I should just pait them white and recover the seats with something that has red, duck egg and other colors?
Your home is so beautiful! You are a great inspiration to us all!


30 Kathy November 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Oh, and the Valspar paint is my favorite too! I just painted an antique dresser turned vanity with it and it went on so beautifully!


31 kathy t November 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm

i think your kitchen looks happy:-) love the different color chairs.


32 SuzieO November 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm

You’re chairs look amazing.
I wanted to share with you that the plastic protectors on the bottom may not be the best for your hardwood floor. We found out the hard way if a small sand grain/rock gets under it it will scratch the floor terribly. We went with the stick on soft felt after our mishap.


33 Diane Henkler November 14, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Thanks for the tip Suzie. We have used them in the dining room and didn’t have a problem. I have loads of the felt ones – they do fall off, but I will try using them again.


34 Jill November 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Your chairs are so joyful. Your kitchen is delightful and inviting. Thank you for being brave with color. Sometimes I worry home decor is becoming bland. You, my lady, do color with class. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Please keep inspiring us all!


35 JP November 15, 2013 at 12:35 am

I noticed in the second picture of a “before” chair the legs are not black but are the blond wooden color. Is this because you sanded away every trace of black paint or was this chair never painted black?


36 Krista @thehappyhousie November 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Oh, I LOVE them Diane – such a fabulous hit of colour!! Awesome!


37 Casandra November 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Hi Diane, I have some chairs I’ve been meaning to paint but all those legs and rails and nooks and cranies have me putting it off. Spray paint does seem like the best solution. How many cans per chair should I expect to need???


38 Diane Henkler November 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hi Casandra – Good question :) I meant to put that in the post. I will add it. 1-1/2 cans for each chair.


39 Bonnie November 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

the colors are dreamy and fun at the same time.


40 Erika November 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm

LOVE the chairs!!!! I have cheap-o chairs, but I think this would work. Fabulous mix of colors.


41 Sheryll & Critters. November 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

I just LOVE the colors you chose. Oh my, I will try once again to sand the chew marks out of my fake wood chairs.

Years ago I spray painted my dinette and chairs from chrome legs to glossy black and it was the best decision I ever made. I did have a bit of over spray outside, but it went away fairly quickly. Just annoying while doing it. Cause even if you think there is no wind, there is still enough of a breeze (airflow) to be a pain.


42 Crystelle December 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Wow!!!! They turned out ridiculously cute… How festive your kitchen looks! I love the bright cheerful colors…. That outdoor cushion matches the chairs perfectly…. That must have been our literal color inspiration when you went shopping, am I right?
Have a very merry Christmas!!
hugs x, Crystelle


43 Laurel Stephens December 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I love your new spray painted chairs!


44 Cindy Casique January 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Omg, you’re amazing! You just saved me so much time and some of my sanity. :-) I love all of your beautiful bright pictures. Thanks for sharing this.


45 Jessica February 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm

How hard was it to sand the rungs on the back of each chair?


46 Diane Henkler February 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Hi Jessica -

It is not hard to do. What I do is fold a piece of sandpaper in my hand and then wrap it around each rung and go up and down until the surface is roughed up enough. I move it all around front to back and then move to the next rung. It takes about a minute a rung.


47 Lisa February 11, 2014 at 3:26 am

Your chairs look amazing – so colourful and fun! How many cans of spray pain did you need for each chair?


48 Diane Henkler February 11, 2014 at 11:10 am

Hi Lisa – One can for each chair except the pink one. To get the deep color, I used 1 1/2 cans to get full coverage on the pink chair.


49 Sabrina February 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Hi, love love love the chairs!!!!
Just one question: Did you only sand down the actual seat or did you have to sand down the entire chair?

Thanks so much! Love your blog!


50 Diane Henkler February 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Hi Sabrina -
I ran sandpaper over the entire chair. Only to rough the surface up, not to the bare wood.


51 Amber February 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

OMG super gorgeous & creative! I never would’ve thought to paint kitchen chairs different colors. LOVE this!!


52 Michelle April 17, 2014 at 11:21 am

Love it! Such spectacular colors!


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