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Kitchen Update – Painting Metal Furniture

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Some of you have already commented about my metal kitchen table base.  I sort of forgot about it in the midst of my current decorating marathon.


The table used to be black. In my quest to lighten and brighten the room – it is now white.

I put the first coat of white paint on the table base in the beginning of the summer, thinking the second would go on right after and I would be finished.  I have since moved on and posted other projects in my kitchen that the unfinished table showed up in revealing the change.

Well, it is the end of the summer and I am happy to report that I just put the final coat of paint on the table. It is now officially completed.

I normally would have used spray paint for this, but the weather was so damp and humid the week I started painting it, I decided to paint it inside so the AC would help the paint dry properly.

If you want an extra smooth finish when painting metal furniture with rounded sections – use spray primer and spray paint.  See this post on how to create the perfect paint finish on this bed frame.

How to paint metal with spray paint

Of course there are more ways than one to get a project done successfully.

The key to getting a very smooth brush-on paint finish on metal surfaces that are thin and rounded is to use a high quality small paint brush., with long flexible bristles. I bought this in the fine art section at the craft store.


Using the right primer and paint will also help you achieve very smooth results,  I like Sherwin Williams Pro Classic. It is self leveling. You can see it level right before your eyes – seriously!  That on top of Glidden Gripper primer is the best duo.  The paint costs a little more, but if you are going to  make the effort to paint something to look good and have lasting durability – it is worth it.

Before:  Metal Table Base

Painting metal furniture

After: Painted Metal Table Base

Painting metal furniture

How to Paint a Metal Table

  • Rough the surface with 60 –100 grit sandpaper.
  • Clean it well and let dry.  Brush on one light coat of gripping primer. Let dry.  I used Glidden Gripper.  It is my go-to primer for smooth surfaces.
  • Go over the surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth any ridges that may have occurred in the primer as it dried.
  • Brush on one more light coat of primer; let dry.
  • Brush on 2 coats of self leveling paint in your choice of sheen. I used semi-gloss. Let the first coat dry, before applying the second.
  • It may take a few weeks for the paint to cure, so be gentle with your piece for the first weeks of use.
  • Use 1-2 light coats of  non-yellowing polyurethane over the surface to add protection if the piece is going to get a lot of use. Minwax Polycrylic is one that I use. It comes in 3 different sheens.

I still have some more trim to paint around the room, the recessed lighting is getting a makeover, the chairs, and floor – along with a few details that need to be taken care of…


…like what to do with black appliance cords when your backsplash is white. My biggest pet peeve!   I wish manufacturers offered both white and black cords when you buy stainless counter top appliances.   My white blender has a nice white cord.  I thought of painting the toaster cord as well as my coffeemaker cord with spray paint made for plastic, but since the cords are so flexible, I am afraid it will chip off and end up making the cords look worse.    I am working on a fix.  For now, I have a short white extension cord that I placed behind the coffeemaker so at least the cord going to the outlet is white,  but it is not much better.


Working in this and a few other details – will show you the kitchen completed soon.







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  1. Your table change is amazing. That table is such a great style that you can keep changing as your tastes change. It doesn’t look so desi anymore. I’ve used spray cords often and they hold up really well. I thought I was the only person in the world who was raised by the ropes of darkness. You can’t wait to see the finished kitchen. I hate ropes too – anyone is showing ropes. I’m going to try out your ideas from my old kitchen set. Wood and metal. Top table wood base metal. Similarly, I am thinking of using light color but I am not sure yet.

  2. I have a hanging chandelier that is black metal base (complete with crystals) that I would like to make oil rubbed bronze. It is not able to be removed. How best do I hand paint it, or glaze with oil rubbed bronze? Due to where it it is I can’t spray it. The crystals are removable.

  3. How would it work if you could find a white coiled telephone cord to slip over your black cord?

    1. Hi Merry – That is a great idea and taking the time to tell me. :-) I will have to go in search of some – if it is still made. If I find it, I will post about it.

  4. Hi, I have an indoor metal table that has some cracks on the top. I will follow your instructions and sand first. If I’m using the Benjamin Moore paints, should I use a similar primer. Also Can I seal it with the sealer you recommend or do I need to purchase a sealer that works with spray paint. My home projects never turn out well so any suggestions would be appreciated.

  5. Re: Black cord & white tiles. I came across a crochet idea where the cable was just crocheted without any fancy edge .. just like casting onto a knitting needle …
    Have you thought about buying that heat shrink that’s used by those into computers & electronics? I think you would be able to cut it up the middle, wrap it around the cable (like using the cardboard rolls around the coat hanger middle for tablecloths) … Just can’t remember how hot you need to make the heat shrink for it to ‘set’ onto the cable. You can buy heat shrink in all colours & diameters, etc. Just as at any of your local electronic shops.
    You could remove the plug, slide the heat shrink onto the cable, then put the plug back on & ‘set’ the heat-shrink.

    Then again have you thought about spray painting the c able? As you know, there are paints for all sorts of materials, so I’m sure you’ll find one that will cover plastic/rubber cable.
    electricians tape. I’m sure you can buy it in white … then just wrap the tape around the cable.
    Hope these suggestions help … Cheers, Wendy from Oz … :)

  6. Thanks for the detail on painting metal. Please keep sharing your blog, it helps in getting innovative idea.

  7. Fun, fun colors. Outstanding job. My friends & I go to yard sales almost every weekend. We always find something that is dated and needs a makeover. Thank you for all the tips. Our local garden club is having a plant and yard sale Memorial weekend. I have a few patio & garden items that I hope to donate once the projects are complete. You have been very helpful. It was kind of you to take the time to share your ideas.

  8. I’ve never thought that painting metal could be so hard until I tried to paint my pork. I wish I’ve read your post before I started. Thanks for the great tips.

  9. Hi, Diane! Thank you for this! I was wondering, I have a coffee table that has fake gold legs. Would that be considered metal? It’s shiny. I don’t think it’s brass because it attracts magnets. I wanted to spray it dark chocolate or expresso but not sure if that would work since it’s a shiny metal.

    1. Hi Natasha – You can paint the legs, no problem :-) Just go over the surface with sandpaper first to rough it op a bit. Clean off the grit and then prime with a metal spray primer. Once that is dry, you can spray on the new color. When spraying – more thin coats are better than one or two thick ones. Follow the directions on the can on how long to wait before re-coating. It is usually around 5 mins between coats. Some new formulas of spray paint have primers in them already. I am old school and feel like some of these don’t adhere as well in the long run. I would use a primer on its own, – one/two light coats will help the paint stay on for a long time.

  10. I want to spray paint a white rod iron daybed with porcelain knobs on the four sides of the bed. What is the first steps I need to do before starting. Also, I want to spray it a black or dark brown. Do I need to sand it first so that the paint will adhere. Also, what paint should I look for.

  11. I used white cloth hockey tape on the cords of a couple of wall-hung lamps. Then I painted the cords to match the wall. The hockey tape absorbs paint very well.

  12. Hey, Diane! :) Would you recommend this same treatment if you’ve got some rust on your metal? I’ve found these awesome outdoor patio wrought iron chairs at the thrift store that need painted ASAP for an upcoming post. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Thrift Diving

    1. Hi Serena –

      I would not use the paints I used if you are going to place them outside. My table had no rust and was black wrought iron in great condition. I would use Rustoleum metal primer after you clean off the rust with steel wool and a detergent and water mixture. Let it dry. Then Rustoleum spray paint. If you want a metallic brush on finish – try Benjamin Moore’s Molten Metallics paint. I used it to makeover a rusted metal light fixture. It is amazing paint. You can see it in this post: https://inmyownstyle.com/2013/05/transform-outdoor-light-fixtures-with-a-hammered-paint-finish.html You can use chalk paint on metal, too. I would still clean off the rust first – unless you want a rusty look to the pieces.

      On another note – I am going to start the the piece in my dining room using the chalk paint colors you did or very similar in the Annie Sloan workshop we went to. I am so excited to get started on it. Hope yo are enjoying the extended weekend.

      1. Oooh, I like that molten metallics! I have some nasty outdoor lighting that could use that treatment. I think it would look nice on the chairs, too. And I can’t wait to see your rendition of my paint colors! I am going to be doing mine, too! I’ve got a bunch of furniture stocked up in the garage that needs to be cleaned out so I can makeover my garage. I’ll be sure to use those colors on at least ONE of the pieces! :)
        Thanks for the painting tips. You’re fabulous! :)

        Thrift Diving

  13. The table looks so perfect. Sigh, wish I could do just almost as good as you do with paint.

  14. Hi Diane,
    Love your posts about painting techniques! Just wondering if you can suggest a clear coat paint to cover hand painted over metal desk items (like jayesstudio.com)? I always worry that in time these pieces will chip and thought a good clear coat may help.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Doreen-

      You would want to use a clear water based polyurethane that will not yellow over time. Polycrylic is a water-based one that I have used. One to two light coats would give you the protection you want. You could also add a clear wax coat instead of poly and buff it to a shine. It will sit on top of the paint, but it will protect it. Spray paint clear coats will offer you a smooth finish, but will yellow the finish.

        1. Thank you Doreen and Diane,

          Because of both of you , I come to know the about best suggestion to paint metal desk items. The technique is awesome.

          Thanks again :)

  15. Yes! Cords need to be white, or beige, so they don’t stand out so much! Table looks great! ;)

  16. Cover the cords with a white cloth sleeve. Velcro it together so it can be put on and taken off to be washed.

  17. Diane,
    Could you use the vinyl spray paint found in automotive stores for the cord? I used it on a vinyl seat and it worked great. It has some movement to it and doesn’t crack. The table looks great! Karen

  18. Diane, love the white table base. Cords are something that bug me too. Thought I was the only one. I know you will find a solution that will work. Can’t wait to see the whole kitchen reveal.

  19. Love the table! Looks so much better white than black. I agree about the cords, too. Lamp cords running across walls/floors bug me more than anything. They make cord covers (Google “Kordrap”) but I’ve never seen them in person. Someone who is handy with a sewing machine (not me!) could probably make their own similar ones in any color.

  20. I love hearing that you just finished painting your table! It makes me feel so normal. :)

    Great painting tips…thanks for sharing…I have a metal table base that I might be painting.

  21. Thanks for the detail on painting metal. You always get great results!
    It is ironic that appliance and lamp cords so frequently contrast with their backgrounds! Waiting for the day when every thing is cordless…

  22. I’m always paranoid to keep my toaster plugged in when not in use, fearing a fire can accidentally happen.

    However, I’m not a fan of keeping lots of appliances on the counter anyway due to visible clutter.

    What about a possible solution for an appliance cubby, etc.?

    1. i am going to try your ideas with my old kitchen set. wood and metal. top table wood base metal . buffet same. i am thinking of using a light colour but not sure yet..
      thank you for the tips.

  23. Diane,
    Can’t wait to see your finished kitchen. I too hate cords – ANY cords showing! This might sound petty but did you realize that leaving an appliance plugged in draws current/electric expense? Would you consider unplugging appliances when not needed? Obviously you’d hide the cord until you need it. Just a thought. (I’m a crazy person and hate clutter on my counters so put all appliances away till needed – another option lol.)

    1. I’m so glad to hear Denise’s comment. I so much agree! Not only are plugged in cords energy hogs but they can also be a fire hazard. I, too, put the appliances away where I can. Love the table, Diane.

  24. Love the change in the table. It doesn’t looks quite so rustic now. I have often spray painted cords and they hold up really well. I thought I was the only person in the world that was bugged by dark cords…lol xo Diana

    1. Hi Diana – They are such eyesores – vice versa if I had a dark backsplash – white would look awful. I think I am going to try the white plastic spray paint. Thanks for telling me it works! :)

  25. Your table makeover is awesome. That table is such a great style that you can just keep changing as your tastes change.
    Maybe use washi tape on the cords? Not sure how that would hold up, but it is an option. Can’t wait to see what you do.