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Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs

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What is the best spray paint to paint wood kitchen chairs and how many cans are needed for complete coverage for one chair?

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

Furniture-Makeover-ideas - spray paint wood chairs in a variety of colors

… I used 5 different colors of spray paint.  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.

Decorating with color

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 no sew 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.

Colorful chairs stacked on each other

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 that doesn’t show brush strokes and the paint is 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.

TIP: If you have not used spray paint before to paint a piece of wood furniture, read this post first to ensure you achieve a perfect spray painted finish: Spray Painting FAQ


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 spray paint.

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 primer and Spray paint | Primer | 100 grit 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

When using spray paint to paint furniture first choose what finish you would like. The best would be a sheen between satin finish to a high gloss finish. You don’t need a paint brush, but spray painting is best done outside where you have good ventilation. When the weather doesn’t permit that, I use my garage. I open the windows and garage doors so there is a place for the fumes to go.

Wood Chair-makeover-Before

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.

How-to-prepare-furniture for-spray-painting

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 re-coat.

How Many Cans of Spray Paint are Needed to Paint One Wood Chair?

To get complete coverage on a wood dining chair, one can of spray paint is needed. If using lighter colors like yellow, you may need to have a second can to fill in any areas.  Don’t forget when spraying the chairs – spray using light coats only. One light coat and then another coat about 5 minutes apart. Keep this process up until you achieve the coverage needed.

Do You Need To Seal Spray Painted Wood Chairs

I did not use a clear coat sealer. 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.

  • If you want to use a clear coat to seal the paint.  Follow the directions on the can, especially make sure to see how long you need to wait after the paint is dry to use a sealer over it. If you spray it too soon, you may end up wrinkling the paint.

Painting Option: Leave Chair Seat Unpainted

How to paint a wood chair but not the chair seat

Here is a set of different chairs that I spray painted using gloss Valspar spray paint. The color is Exotic Sea.

I painted the spindles, legs and back, but left the seat unpainted by masking it off with newspaper and masking tape before spray painting. Just make sure when doing this that the tape is secure and the seat is completely covered with no open seams in the newspaper.

Put tape over every seam as you fit the paper around the seat. Use Painter’s tape to cover the seat around the rungs.

How to spray paint wood chairs

All the rest of the spray painting steps are the same.


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.

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

Painted furniture makeover using spray paint. What is the best brand of spray paint to use to paint furniture. I tried several out on these chairs and found the best brand to use.

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  1. 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

  2. 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!

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