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Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs

What is the best spray paint to paint wood kitchen chairs and how many cans are needed 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.

Spray-painted-furniture-what-brand-of-paint-is-the-best

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 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.

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

The-best-spray-paint-to-use-to-paint-furniture

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

Spray-painting-tools

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. 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.

How-to-spray-paint-furniture

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.

If you don’t want the seat to be painted you can mask it off with newspaper and masking tape before spray painting. Just make sure 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.

Chair-leg-sliders-to-protect-floors

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

How-to-protect-wood-floors-from-scratches-from-furniture

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

Before-and-After-Furniture-Makeover-using-Spray-Paint

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?

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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158 Comments

    1. Hi Pat – Yes you can turn the chairs upside down and do the underside and inside rungs first. Once done, I would flip them right side and do the rest of the chair right away.

      When spray painting, it is best to get all the coats on within an hour. Anytime after this, and you add another coat, it may cause the paint to wrinkle since the underside of the painted surface is still wet. If you can’t get all the coats on within an hour you need to wait 48 hours before reapplying.

  1. So beautiful! We were just given chairs just like these for our new apartment and I really want to touch them up white. Have you tried distressing any chairs? Also, do you have a picture of a chair that you left the seat as it was? Thanks so much for your helpful post!

    1. Hi Christa –

      Yes, I sanded the rungs. Not to the bare wood, just a quick going over with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface a little to provide something for the paint to stick to.

      The easiest way to sand rungs is to take a piece of sandpaper in one hand, wrap it around the back of the rung and grab the other side of the sandpaper with your other hand. Then start moving the sandpaper back and forth and up and down until you have sanded it. It goes very fast.

      You can see a photo of this process in the tutorial part of the post I wrote about painting staircase balusters: https://inmyownstyle.com/painting-staircase-balusters.html

  2. I love this. It is going to help me so much. I have one question. How many cans of spray paint did you use per chair?

    1. Hi Tara – For most chairs and paint colors, one can will cover one chair. If using lighter colors like yellow or white you may need more especially if the spray paint you are using is not a Primer + Paint formula. For my chairs, I used one can for each, except the yellow needed about half of another can.

  3. hello, thanks for this. How many bottles have you used per chair? Is one per chair enough? for two coats?
    thanks

    1. Hi Agnes –

      One can per chair is usually enough. The only time you may need more is if you are using a color like yellow. I find when I use lighter colors sometimes, I may need more to get even coverage, especially if spraying over a darker surface.

  4. So many beautiful WOODEN chains being destroyed by PAINT! Choose a plastic, metal and etc. They were made in wood for a reason. Think about it!

    1. Hi Jake –

      Many pieces of wood furniture has beautiful coloring and grain, but not all. Wood is strong and the perfect material that makes sturdy furniture, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be painted to fit into a decorating color scheme. Sounds like your decorating style leans toward unpainted furniture. I am a big believer in decorating in your own style. What a boring world we would live in if we all decorated in the same way. Better to stay true to our personal style in decorating than worry about a wood finish being painted. Think about it!

  5. Thank you for the instructions. My granddaughter is opening a dance studio, and we purchased a “pile” of wood-framed salvage chairs (the kind you often see in waiting rooms) for her waiting area. They have several different colors of stain on them, but she wants them black. I think this will work out well for this project. I’m a bit afraid to start, but following your direction, I am starting to feel very confident! Wish me luck!

  6. Hello,

    How do you cover around the back spindles on a chair with newspaper? mine keeps crumping up and it’s hard to pin down with painters tape, without going up the spindle.
    I gave up last time and just painted the whole chair.
    but my new set, I want the seat plain.

    Is there a trick I’m not getting?

    1. Hi Nicola – You can just use painter’s tape on the chair seat around each spindle. I rip the tape into small pieces and fit it around each spindle making sure the wood seat is covered. Then add ripped up newspaper and tape it down with more ripped up tape until you have it all covered.

  7. Hi Diane! Have you ever used a dark wax over spray paint on a piece to give it a slightly aged look? I’ve worked with chalk paint before but it was such a pain to get sufficient coverage on the furniture (pair of antique spindle beds) that I didn’t think it would be practical for painting my just acquired set of 6 vintage Ethan Allen Windsor chairs. But I loved the finished look with the wax added.

    1. Hi Tricia –

      I too, love the way a waxed finish looks on furniture. I have never used wax over spray paint, but have used it over brush-on latex paint. The problem you may run into is the wax will simply sit on the top of the paint and not sink in as it does on a porous chalk painted surface. It can’t hurt to try though. Maybe try it on the underside of a chair and see if it sinks in.

      Your best bet would be to use Chalky Spray Paint by Krylon. It is a flat spray paint and the wax will be able to penetrate. Once the paint is dry, apply clear wax first and then buff, then add a layer of dark wax. This way you can push the dark wax exactly where you want it to go.

  8. This looks Amazing!! Such a great look! Love it!
    A few questions/concerns. What are the Steps that you go through to cover the entire chair with spray paint? I mean, I’m just confused on how to get all the parts and pieces of the chair covered? withour running into to problems….
    Do I start with the chair upside down? But then Im thinking how to you turn it upright again without getting smudges and fingerprints on the work that has already been done…. I too tend to get drips when I tried to do a simple candle lantern….. You make it look and sound so effortless, just need to know the technique for best coverage and outcome.
    Thanks in Advance!!
    Kim

    1. Hi Kimberly –

      The best way to spray chairs is to place them on a table so you can see the underside as well as the top when you are in a standing position. If you don’t have the ability to do this then you can raise the chair up by placing the chair legs on a few wood blocks. When I spray painted my chairs, I went over the entire surface from top to bottom. I started at the top front and worked my way around and down the chair. I then got down on my knees and sprayed around each leg and underside. You have to move around the chair quite a bit to make sure you have gotten everything covered.

      I spray the paint on only using light coats. More light coats are much better than 1 – 2 heavier ones where dripping will occur. After the first coat, wait 5-7 minutes and then spray another light coat. Use wide sweeping motions holding the can about 8 inches away. 2 – 3 light coats should do it. Also important to know is that you need to spray all the coats on in one hour. After an hour, do not spray anymore or you could get wrinkling of the paint. If you need to re-coat after an hour, wait 48 hours and then add another light coat.

      I also have a post with tips for Spray Painting that will ensure success.

      You can find it here: https://inmyownstyle.com/spray-paint-faqs

  9. I am going to try spray painting my chairs, yours look great! How many cans of paint will I need for 8 chairs?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jill – If your chairs are a similar size to mine, then you will need at least one can per chair. If using light colors, you may need more of these colors. Especially yellow. It took 2 cans to get full coverage for that chair.

  10. Hi Diane. Did you sand the seats down to bare wood, or is just roughing it up good enough? My chairs are antique looking with engraving on them. I’m a little concerned about the ability to sand them appropriately. I’ve read things about liquid sander and contemplating doing a “test drive” on one of the chairs using that. Love what you did with your chairs!

    1. Hi Wanda – I did not sand the seats down to the bare wood, I only roughed them up. I have never used Liquid Sander, but have heard good things about it. If you do have to sand, just make sure to clean out all the grit from all the recessed detail areas before painting. I would love to hear what you think of the Liquid Sander if you use it.

  11. I used a matte black on my chairs what do i spray on the chairs to keep the color from coming off

    1. Hi Charlotte – If you still want the chairs to have a matte finish, I would use Rustoleum’s Chalked matte sealer. It is made especially for furniture. You can find it here: http://amzn.to/2qXNiTW

      You can also use Minwax Polycrylic spray. You can find it here: http://amzn.to/2rWHn6A It does not come in matte, but does come in Satin. This would add a very low sheen to your finish.

      Both of these products will work. Follow the directions on the can, shake well and re-coat as stated on the can to get a nice smooth finish. Recoating times are very important.

    2. Diane, thanks for the inspiration. I want to spray paint some dressers and want them black and really shiny. Suggestions?

  12. I have green chairs with oak seat. The green has been scratched with the cushions zips. Would I need to sand before spraying with enamel it will be green again but may not colour match
    Thanks Diane

    1. Hi Diane – Yes I would sand the sections you are going to paint first. Use a piece of 100 grit sandpaper and rub it up and down the painted sections to provide some tooth for the new paint to adhere. Clean well, let dry and then paint. If you are not familiar with spray painting, you may want to read my Spray Paint FAQ page. The most important thing to remember is to use light coats and get all the coats needed on the chairs within an hour. Read the label of the paint you buy to make check re-coating time. FAQ page is here: https://inmyownstyle.com/spray-paint-faqs

  13. Hi iv spray painted my chairs in satin black. Iv let it dry but on top of the seat it’s very rough? What should I do?

    1. Hi Jodi – Let the paint dry for a few days and then rub fine 220 grit sandpaper over to smooth. If you sand before the paint is truly dry, you will just make matters worse as the paint will gunk up :-)
      Once the paint has had a chance to dry for a few days, sand, then wipe off the grit, clean off all the sanding grit with a damp cloth and let dry. Repeat until the surface smooth, respray using very light coats when it is not hot or humid outside. Also use long sweeping motions as you spray about 8 inches from the surface.

    1. Hi Marie – The number of cans of spray paint depends on the brand of paint and the color. I used one can on the blue, pink, and turquoise. 2 cans for the yellow, orange and pink.

  14. This is exactly what I want to do, for a garden chair. Except I want to stripe the legs like barber poles. I painted the base color white, waited 24 hours, taped & was ready to paint the next color. But when I repositioned the tape, I saw that it had taken a lot of the white paint off. I think I made several mistakes, from reading your post. Didn’t wait long enough after the 1st color, too hot outside & probably should have sanded better. Now that I’ve botched this up, how do you recommend fixing this?

  15. Hi Diane, I have come across your site with much interest and your home is beautiful, great ideas!
    I’m particularly interested in restoring chairs as I want to start a similar project however I haven’t done anything like this before so really a newbie!
    I have purchased with much delight on EBay , 4 x faux bamboo chairs which I’d like to restore.
    Currently they are mahogany in colour and need reupholstering.
    I’ve read that automotive spray is good, especially for a high gloss finish, however wanted some ideas on best spray to use?
    As I’m from the UK, the climate is very cold and even in my garage, the temperature is not above 10degrees on a good day!
    I would like to spray them either White or Off White, and high gloss. Do you suggest primer would be best too?
    Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated, many thanks and keep up the great work! 

    1. Hi Joanne – Since you are in the UK, I am not sure what brands of paint you have. My advise would be to get the brand names – Rustoleum, Krylon, Valspar. I like high gloss Valspar. Plasikote is a UK brand I think and one I like. Auto paint is great to use. Test it out on a scrap piece of wood first just to make sure you like the sheen.

      It is always a good thing to sand the wood first then prime. Once that is dry, then paint. Most brands sell a primer and nowadays it seems like most spray paints have a primer in them already. If this is the case, you should be OK with sanding the chairs, cleaning them well and let dry and then spray painting. I would wait to do them when the weather gets warmer. The cold air will not only effect the spray, but the way the paint dries and cures. I have a pile of items myself that I am waiting for a few nice days so I can get them spray painted outside.

      Best of luck with your project. If you sand first, spray on a 75 degree day with low humidity and use light coats you will have success.

    2. Diane, love your blog! Do you have suggestions for painting only the legs and back of wood dining chairs? In other words, the seat would stay it’s natural wood color. Thanks!

    3. I am actually spray painting the exact style chairs right now … Using black spray paint. I was thinking it might be easier and smoother to,hand paint with a brush, getting a lot,of runs .. Maybe by the 6th chair I will,jade it down correctly!

      1. Hi Linda – If the paint is running, then you may be spraying the paint on too heavy. Use more lighter coats then a few heavier ones. Using light coats will help the spray paint adhere better also. Shake the can well a few times as you spray and use long sweeping motions as you spray, don’t hold the can in one place and spray. Doing this you will get a nice even finish. :-)

  16. How many cans of spray paint did it take to complete one chair? I remember painting two metal wall hangings and had to use at least 2 cans and the coverage area was smaller than a chair. Thanks!

    1. Hi Gayle – Every type of wood accepts the paint at different rates. More porous wood like pine may take more paint. Some spray paints cover better and you will need less. You will need at least 1 can of spray paint and some colors will require more. 1-1/2 cans would be ideal, but since they don’t sell half cans, I would get 2 cans per chair.

  17. Hello,
    I just painted an oak baby high chair using white primer+paint krylon spray paint in white. I’ve seriously gone over the chair like 4 times and it still doesn’t seem even. I got a lot of drips and really isn’t looking like i had pictured it in my head. I see that it only took two coats for your chairs but for me it took 4 and it still isnt fully covered. Did i do smething wrong?

    1. Hi Alex – Sorry to hear you are having a problem painting your high chair. White is always a hard color to get even coverage. What sheen are you using? If you wanted it shiny, you may have picked up satin or flat by mistake. I would check that first. If you are using the right sheen and it is gloss, gloss can look uneven if you don’t keep the stream of spray even. Also make sure the weather is dry, spray painting in the cold or on a damp day can cause problems. Krylon is a good brand, but the can or cans you are using could be old and need more shaking than normal. Here are a few things to check. First – shake the can a lot. Before you spray and every 3 – 5 minutes as you spray, shake the can. Use long sweeping motions about 8 inches from the surface. This will help you get even coverage and lessen drips. Place the item in a fully lit space without shadows if you can. This will help you see that you are spraying the paint evenly. If you have done all this and the paint still looks uneven, let it dry for a few days. When it is completely dry, take a piece of 220 grit sandpaper over the surface. You just want to rough up the surface lightly to even out the surface a bit so a new coat of paint will adhere to all areas. Clean off the grit and then respray. This should give you a nice even coat. I hope this helps. With a little more effort, I think you will get the look you are after.

      1. I don’t see any place to just comment so I’m replying on the tale end of one of your responses. Sorry.
        You have inspired me! I just got an old dinning room table and chairs from a neighbor, it had been in his house when he moved in and boy is it a mess.
        The former owner did some really strange things to this poor table and for no apparent reason. The table has a leaf and he put it in and then glued 6 strips of wood to the underside so it could not be removed. He then took plastic wood and filled the cracks between the leaf and the table before badly painting it. The chairs have lots of drips and one leg is Jerry Rigged with Duct tape wrapped around x fashion the leg and the rungs then painted.
        This is going to be a major project just to get it ready to paint but with some sandpaper, elbow grease and time I will get it done.
        I was stumped as to what color to paint it, no more white and yellow as it is, and I can’t be to bold because of the colors I already have and the size of my place but now I know not just one color.
        I spray paint everything…… my friends have warned people that when I’m painting don’t stand still for to long or I might paint them.
        Thanks. You’ve got me thinking.
        Alice

  18. My spray paint wipes off on my hand when I run it over the dry painted table…how do I fix and avoid next time? I did sand first. Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura – How long ago did you paint it? If it is coming off on your hand the paint is not dry and or cured. Drying time varies depending on the moisture in the air. If you live in a humid area, it could take a few days to dry and weeks until the paint is fully cured.

      1. I am having this same problem. I painted the table over a week ago and it is still brushing off. It seems more like dust wiping off but I sanded and cleaned ahead of time. Not all the paint wipes off. I’m not sure how to fix it.

        1. Hi Jessica –

          It sounds like when you painted it was done when it was too hot out or the can was not shaken enough.

          When you sprayed some of the paint could have dried in the hot air and attached to the surface. As the paint dried, these little tiny specks lay on the top and that is what I think you are feeling when you run your hand over the surface.

          The fix: Sand over the table with 100 – 160 grit sand paper to smooth it out, then run 220 grit over it. It may not take much. Clean off the surface well a damp rag of dish detergent and water. Then go over a few times with a damp cloth with clear water and then let dry completely.

          Once dry, you can paint again. Make sure it is not too hot or humid out. The best temp to spray paint is when it is around 75 degrees with little humidity. Also shake the can very well before spraying and shake a few times while spraying.

          If the problem still happens, then it simply could be the brand of spray paint.

  19. love the chairs, going to try it myself tomorrow – questions- how much work do i need to do with the sand paper? just a light going over or do i have to get down and dirty? thank you.

    1. Hi Tara – A light going over. You need to rough up the finish to remove the shine on the previous finish to provide some tooth so the paint has something to adhere to. After you sand, don’t forget to wipe the chairs clean with a damp rag to remove all the sanding debris.

    1. Hi Trudi – To actually spray one coat on each chair takes 5 -10 minutes per chair, then another 5 mins for the second coat. It is waiting for them to dry that takes time. Once I have the coverage I want, it can take 24 – 48 hours for the paint to dry depending on the humidity level where you live.

  20. Hi, Diane. Now that your chairs have been painted for some time, are you happy with how the paint is holding up, and do you see any difference between the Valspar and Rustoleum? I am thinking of painting dining room chairs in our beach home, and they will get a lot of use! Thank you:) Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie – I am happy with how my chairs have held up. The only one that has one spot of wear on it is the pink one. One of the seat back rungs I noticed has worn away in a spot. My husband used to sit on it daily all day when he used the kitchen table as his desk. The paint is good everywhere else so I can’t say it is the paint. It more likely is from the same motion everyday of him getting up and down all day long and his belt hitting the same spot constantly. If your chairs are going to get lots of use, you may want to put a water-based spray sealer over them once the paint is completely dry. Water based sealers won’t change the color. Minwax Polycrylic comes in a spray and is water based. In comes in both a semi-gloss and satin finish. It is applied the same way you use spray paint, but read the label for timing and re-coating.

  21. Hello, I had spray painted some furniture black about a year ago, I now want to paint it baby blue and yellow and other bright colors similar to your chairs, while painting over black will I need to use primer first? Or as you had mentioned, will color with primer work just as well over a dark color like black?

    1. Hi Derek – My chairs were black before I painted them and it did take more coats of the yellow to hide the black. When using lighter colors, I would use spray primer by itself, then spray paint. This way you can get an even finish base color (white primer) to completely hide the black and then need less color coats to a nice even finish.

  22. Love the chairs! I have been wanting to do this with my wooden chairs for a new look. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Do you have a #2 to Valspar? The Lowes is about an hour from my house and the Ace Hardwares in my area only carry the canned paint. I’m going to be painting my dining chairs as well and always used Rust Oleum in the past because it’s easy to find just about anywhere, but I can’t really say yay or nay regarding the quality.

    1. Hi Lindsey – Any brand name is good, I really like the nozzles on the Valspar the best. Rustoleum is a great paint and so is Krylon. You can go wrong with either brand. the key is light coats.

  24. great chairs…I especially like the pads you put on the legs. I learned an interesting spray paint bit of knowledge yesterday. Our local high school has a phenomenal art festival, Focus on the Arts, where they invite hundreds of artists to give classes over three days to the students. I was a parent volunteer at a graffiti artist class. She used spray paint from Australia & South Africa because the overspray (the cloud of paint) is less and she had amazing control over the spray direction. We were told the U.S. Companies do this on purpose so we consumers have to buy more cans. Not sure how true this is but it sounds plausible. I seem to coat the world whenever I paint something…including our water heater panel so I’m no longer allowed to paint in the basement!

    1. Hi Debbie – I have not heard that about the spray paint in other countries, but I do know that over the past few years some brands of spray paint have changed and the cans are finicky to work with. When I started working in retail display over 30 years ago, I used spray paint every day. Our biggest problem was learning how to un-clog a nozzle, but the paint always went on smoothly and covered well. There was always overspray to deal with, but we set up “spray booths” out of big cardboard boxes. I have a few of these in my garage to use when the weather is warm enough to spray paint. I usually do not spray paint in the colder months. I posted about how to make a collapsible spray booth in this post: https://inmyownstyle.com/2013/07/spray-painting-chic-faqs.html

      I have been know to get overspray on a few things in my life…including my husband’s car. :-)

  25. Hi Diane.
    Your home looks beautiful! And the chairs, they ‘pop’ which makes me happy! Your choice of colors are fantastic!
    I’d like to paint my (stainless steel topped) wooden counter height/pub table and 4 (wooden) stools some vibrant colors just as you did.
    I’m so happy I came across your site. :)
    Thank you!
    Have a great day!

  26. I want to do this to my chairs. My chairs have already been previously painted. Do I just sand them, the entire chair, including spindles? Do I need paint remover first?

    1. Hi Buffy – You do not have to use paint remover. I would go over all the surfaces of your chairs with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface a bit. Clean off the grit and then rinse the chairs with some dish soap and water to clean any grease or oil off. Make sure not to use too much soap and rinse off by going over with a wet rag. Let dry. Now your chairs are ready to spray paint. Use a formula with a primer in it – most all have it now. Read the directions on the back of the can as each brand has slightly different re-coating times and temperatures to paint in.

  27. I tried spray painting an old, brown dining room chair with white, flat, valspar paint and I can’t get the pinkish tint to go away (I’m guessing from the brown underneath?). Did I not sand it good enough? Also, I did not wash it after sanding … could that be it? Any ideas? Thanks …

    1. Hi Chris – The reason the white paint turned pink is because you did not use a primer or a paint/primer-in-one formula of spray paint. The stain/poly from the original finish bled through. Older furniture with dark stains always bleed through the paint. My chairs were previously painted so I didn’t have to worry about that happening, although some of the paints I used were paint and primer formulas. It will say it on the label. To remedy your chair, I would sand the surface with 100 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface a bit and then clean it off well with a damp rag. Let dry. Kilz, Rustloleum, and Krylon all make a spray primer. Use one of these first – one or two light coats, then after it is dry – use the spray paint in your color choice. Or if you can find a color that you like that is a paint/primer in one, then that should block the stain from bleeding through, too.

      On every piece I paint no matter what kind or type of paint I use, I always clean the surface with a damp soapy rag and then rinse and dry the surface before painting. It cleans off dirt and grease that can mess up the painted finish.

  28. I just bought four great chairs and couldn’t decide what to do with them. (I plan to sell them in my Antique Booth). Anyway….This has inspired me. I always do bright colors in my own home (even have crazy different colored chairs in my home). But seeing the response from your readers I see its not just me that loves crazy mix and match colors! And its done so beautifully! Well done!

    1. Thanks Zada – In the past I had painted the chairs all the same color. Having them each in a fun color is by far my favorite transformation of them. My kitchen has such a happy vibe now. I am sure your customers will love the chairs you paint in different colors.

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

  30. 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

  31. 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!

    1. 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!

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

  33. 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?

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

  34. 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! :)

  35. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

  36. 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?

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  39. 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?

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

  42. 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!

    1. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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

  45. 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.

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

  47. 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???

  48. 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?

  49. 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!

  50. 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.

    1. 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.

  51. 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!

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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).

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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.
    Again…BRAVO!

  58. 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.

  59. 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:)

  60. 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!

  61. 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!

  62. 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!

  63. 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

    1. 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…

  64. 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. :)

    Serena
    Thrift Diving

  65. 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!

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

  67. 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!

    1. I love your chairs, too!What a great idea!!!love the bench cushion, too. Where did you get the chairs, and were they unfinished?

      1. Hi Polly – I bought the chairs over 20 years ago at a local furniture store. They were painted dark green and the seats were polyurethaned when I bought them. Over the years I have painted them 3 times.

        1. Hello, I want to paint some yellow chairs black-do I need to sand and prime first or can I simply spray black?

          1. Hi Mary – You can never go wrong with sanding a piece first. It will only help with paint adhesion success. I always sand. I quick 5 minute going over with 100 girt sandpaper in your hand or on a palm sanding block will be good enough.