Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs

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?





  1. says

    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!

  2. Amber says

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

  3. Karen Madden Dreiser says

    I love the chairs. They look amazing! How do you avoid the drips? Thanks so much for sharing them :)

    • says

      Hi Karen – To avoid drips when spray painting – spray on very light coats in a back and forth motion. Don’t hold the can in one position – keep it moving. After the first very light coat, let sit for about 5 minutes, then repeat with another very light coat. Then again – another very light coat every 5 – 10 minutes until the piece is covered. It should be done within a 30 minute time frame. Let dry for 24 hours. If you need to respray- wait after 24 hours so the paint won’t wrinkle.

  4. Sabina says

    Hi Diane,
    Your chairs look wonderful. I decided to spray paint my kitchen chairs a glossy black and used Valspar gloss ( with primer included) and after it dried(ostensibly!) as per the directions on the can- I proudly sat down on it.
    And my clothes stuck to the chair!! The paint seems very tacky to the touch. And this is 24 hrs after painting it! Even now 2 weeks later it,s still sticky.!
    I wonder what I did wrong?

    • says

      Hi Sabina –

      Sometimes paint can be sticky, it is why I like chalk paint – it takes the stickiness out of the paint. When I sprayed mine – some dried much faster than the others even though I painted them at the same time. For you chairs – Depending on how heavy the coats of paint were applied and the humidity in the air – the drying time for the paint can vary a lot. It can sometimes take days to weeks to fully cure. Your best bet is to wait for the paint t be fully dry – no stickiness. Sand any areas that got messed up and then on a very dry day re spray by applying very light coats of paint. Let it dry for a few days to a week and then go back and spray any areas that could use a touch up. You don’t want to re-spray too soon or you could get wrinkling.

  5. Mike says

    Looks great! Curious to know if there was any roughness to the chairs due to overstay. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Mike – I did not have any problems with overspray. The only way I have ever had roughness happen from overspray is when I painted when it was too hot outside. Hot air dries the paint a bit before it hits the surface. If you paint when the air is cool – over spray should not be a problem. Keep your can about 8 – 12 inches away from the surface and no further will help too.

    • says

      Hi Kellie – I used one can for each chair except the yellow one. I needed to buy one more can since it was a light color. I used about half of that second can to get full coverage. If you using a light color over dark or have a lot of dark marks on the chairs from scuffs etc, you may want to buy a few more cans since these are the areas that took more than 2 coats.

  6. melissa says

    I love these chairs! I am wondering if you could update us on how they’ve held up since you painted them?

    • says

      Hi Melissa – The chairs have held up great. I had spray painted them 8 years ago and they held up very well then,too so I knew spray paint works for the long run. The yellow chair is the hardest to keep clean since it is a light color.

      • melissa says

        Thanks so much for the response! I bought all my supplies and can’t wait to start my project!

  7. says

    Your post inspired me to tackle this project today, I’m using valspar satin finish in a navy blue with primer included, my question is that I have a one year old that is not only fearless and messy, but fairly destructive and I’m nervous about not using a top coat. I work a lot so my project time is limited and I bought valspars satin clear coat but I don’t want to crack the spray paint so I guess what I’m asking is should I use the top coat or just pray my kiddo (or husband for that matter) doesn’t ruin the paint job? And if I should, how long should I wait to use it?

    • says

      Hi Kiley –

      If you want to protect the paint without wrinkling the finish, use a brush on water-based poly like Minwax Polycrylic. Or wait a week for the paint to cure, then spray the clear sealer over the painted surface. Read the directions on the sealer label to see what they recommend time wise for time between spraying on coats. It is usually 3-8 minutes. The spray sealer may yellow the color a bit, the water-based will not.

  8. Harley says

    Hi! This post is great and very inspirational! Quick question, in line with Kiley’s question. If I were to use the brush on minwax poly seal, how long after the painting would I need to wait? Until the paint is fully dried? Or just 24 hours after? Or minutes after painting? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Harley – I would wait at least 48 hours before sealing them just to make sure the paint is truly dried. If you live in a humid area, you may want to wait a little longer. Your patience will be rewarded with a long lasting bond and finish.

      • Harley says

        Thank you!! Can’t wait to embark on this project next week :)
        One last question – in addition to 4 chairs I plan to refinish a beautiful old high chair I found for my son. Do you think the minwax poly seal is tough enough for a baby/toddler’s messes? If not, any other recommendation?

  9. Stephanie S. says

    GREAT job on these chairs! I found you on Pinterest and saw you did what I’m about to do!! I’m getting ready to Paint four chairs I purchased from a flea market. They were spray painted black and honestly need lots of TLC. I initially wanted to paint them with a brush. I felt like spray painting would be difficult because of the shape of the legs and backs of the chairs. Was it more difficult to spray more rounded surfaces than squared? *I’ve repainted lots of bookshelves and coffee tables*
    Since the chairs have a heavy shiny black coat of spray paint do I need to prime after I sand or do you really think think the spray paint with primer already mixed in it will work? *I’m painting the chairs a dove grey* I’d love to cut out an extra step! Thank you for your time and for sharing your project! :)

  10. Ashley B says

    They look great! I have 6 chairs I’m planning on painting a mustard yellow.. But the chairs are old with lots of layers of cracking paint on some. The dowels on the backs seem like they’ll be an immense chore to sand, any tips?

    • Ashley B says

      Also, when I’m sanding a table I go in varying grit up to 240 for a nice smooth finish. Any reason why I wouldn’t go that high on these chairs?

      • says

        Hi Ashley – You can use the varying sandpaper on the chairs, too. The more you take the time to sand – the smoother and more factory like your finish is going to look.

  11. says

    The happiness of this work is contagious. What a great way to great a morning by sitting around this cheerful table! Thanks Diane!!

  12. says

    Those chairs look So awesome!! I love it! I came across this on Pinterest. :)

    And yes Vaslpar is my favorite too! I love the way it sprays and it has a better smell! Its great for beginners with less chance of dripping with its mist like spray. No caps either, I swear I have caps everywhere no matter how hard I try! ha ha! I use A Lot of paint! Rustoleum in my second favorite. I try to avoid Krylon except for some of their metallic.

    Thank you for sharing and Ive had a pleasant visit to your blog, my first time here!

    • says

      Thanks Kelly for taking the time to say hi on your first visit to my blog. I find that Krylon has the most intense smell, but the pieces come out fine. The Rustoluem Metallics with the nozzle grip lids – beautiful finishes, but are pricy and a bit frustrating. I have never been able to use an entire can before the spray stops working. Not a fan of that style of nozzle. The Valspar nozzles are the best by far!

  13. Lillian says

    Hi Diane,
    Lillian in Kansas City here ~ you probably just saved me some big bucks! I came across an old wood table that was in the barn at my friends farm ~ Free. I went to the junk store and came across chairs which I thought were Ethan Allen. I did my research and sure enough they are Ethan Allen. They are the same chairs I grew up with. I bought 2 of the chairs for $5. I am a fiesta ware fanatic. I’ve been collecting since 1994. I kept looking at the chairs, and my fiesta ware and thought I would take 5 pieces of my FW to SW to color match my pieces. Thanks for saving me a lot of money. Spray painting the chairs is genius! I ran across this blog at just the right time! Yesterday, I pulled up your site to make your CC chalk paint recipe. I painted the top of the table is vintage red, legs are creamy color. Around the edge there once had to be an aluminum strip going around the edge. I had some Martha Stewart silver glaze that I bought a year or so ago, so I re-created the look of an aluminum edge (genius idea). I’ve cleaned up the brass around the feet of the table – that’s hard work! So far it looks great, I’m ready to rough it up and put a couple of coat of poly. Can’t wait to do the chairs now. I’m going to look at the Valspar colors, two of the chairs I already have will be painted lilac ~ it was mom’s favorite color! Thank you so so much for all the inspiration I get from your web site. I’d post a picture but I don’t know how to attach one. Perhaps I can put on your facebook site. Lillian Kenney

  14. polly plum says

    gorgeous!!! Did you make the benches or their cushions?If so, do you have a tutorial?

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