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How to Spray Paint Wood Furniture

Cleaning and paint spraying wood furniture.

Do you have ugly furniture wrecking the ambiance in your beautiful home?

Oh, sorry, that’s a 100 bummer.

But there’s a simple solution to enhance the appearance of old, unattractive furniture, making it stand out in a room in a good way, for a welcomed change.

It’s spray painting!

Join me for a few minutes to learn about how to transform the look of your old cabinetry, dressers, chairs, bedstands, and more – quickly and economically. If you have horrid wood furniture, this article is for you!

Which Type of Paint Sprayer Is Best for Wood Furniture?

Man spray painting a table.

Well, to start, I don’t recommend using cans of spray paint to paint anything larger than a jewelry box. Although I’ve met at least a few craftspeople who can achieve excellent results using individual cans of spray paint, to me, it’s not the best way to go.

It’s better to purchase a real paint sprayer, like a high-velocity low-pressure (HVLP) sprayer, or an airless paint sprayer. They make life easy and create exceptional results.

Either can work very well to create professional-grade finishes when spray painting furniture. Plus, you get the added benefit of being able to paint your walls, ceilings, garage, outbuildings, fencing, decks, and so much more.

Try painting all that with cans of spray paint, and paying for all those cans, and you’ll agree that an HVLP or airless sprayer is far superior.

You can get an entry-level HVLP paint sprayer for less than $125, and a can of quality spray paint costs about $8, so the math is clear.

Anyway, regardless of which type of paint sprayer you choose to use, and even if you do use cans of spray paint, the procedure remains the same.

OK, let’s get into the action.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to spray paint furniture.

Here we go!

How to Spray Paint Wood Furniture in 4 Easy Steps

Following are 4 simple steps to help ensure delightful results when spray painting your furniture.

Let’s jump right in!

Step 1: Position & Clean the Furniture for Spray Painting

Man cleaning the chair before painting.

The care that you give to preparing your furniture properly will largely determine the quality of the results you achieved. Prep work is hugely important in any type of creative undertaking, be it spray painting furniture, installing shingles on a roof, or even pouring a delicious and refreshing beer!

Details matter.

So, to properly prepare your furniture piece for spray painting:

  1. Approach your work with a sense of calm quality.
  2. Spread out some drop cloths in a well ventilated area (outside is best).
  3. If possible, place the piece of furniture on sawhorses or something else to elevate it. This stops you from having to bend over repetitively in awkward positions, which can thrash your back in just a short time.
  4. Remove the hardware, if there is any, from the piece, and get it soaking in an appropriate cleaning solution. If you can’t feasibly remove it, then use masking tape to cover and protect it.
  5. Clean the piece of furniture thoroughly with a damp, mildly soapy rag, and then go over it again with just a damp rag without any soap, ensuring that no debris is on the surface to be painted.
  6. Allow the piece of furniture to dry thoroughly.
  7. Systematically vacuum the entire piece of furniture and the area where it’s sitting.
  8. Wipe the entire piece down with a tack cloth to remove any remaining dust.

OK, good work!

Now, let’s move on to completing the process of getting the piece ready for priming , and then, painting.

PRO TIP 1: If the piece of furniture that you’re working on has a lot of intricacies – like webbed bamboo on an outdoor lounging chair – pay close attention to those areas. They tend to accumulate a lot of dirt and grime that flat surfaces on the piece will not.

Use a soft-bristled brush or a gentle power washer to get in there and clean it good. Remember, the more time you spend preparing your furniture, the better finished results you will achieve after priming and painting.

Step 2: Make Any Necessary Wood Repairs Before Priming the Furniture

Man repairing the chair with a drill.

Alright, let’s review the steps you should take to ensure that the wood is ready for priming. Here we go:

  1. Take your time carefully inspecting the piece for any flaws or imperfections.
  2. If you notice any wood splintering or loose paint, sand it away until those areas are smooth.
  3. If you notice dents or dings, gloss them over with an appropriate wood filler. Allow the filler to dry completely, and then sand those areas smooth.
  4. Use a tack cloth to wipe the entire piece down, ensuring that there is no sawdust, paint dust, or other type of debris on any of the surfaces that will be primed next.
  5. Now, once again, thoroughly vacuum the entire piece, from the top down, as well as the area around the piece.

Man, you’re good at this!

Let’s keep hoppin.’

Step 3: Prime the Furniture for Spray Painting

KILZ 2 All-Purpose Primer

Choose a quality water-based latex primer, and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re working on a piece of outdoor furniture, be sure to choose an exterior primer, not an interior primer. I have used KILZ primers for decades and consider them to be excellent products.

The priming process is very important and should not be skipped. Not only does it smooth out the surface of your furniture and conceal areas where you may have sanded, it also prepares the surface to adhere to the paint excellently. It gives the paint something to grab onto and yield a superior finish.

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Step 4: Spray Paint the Furniture

Man spray painting the chair.

Yahoo! Here we are, already, on the final step of spray painting furniture!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Ensure that your paint sprayer is properly ready for use.
  2. Practice with your sprayer before you begin painting the furniture. Spray a scrap piece of drywall or something else to familiarize yourself with the sprayer’s action.
  3. Begin a sweeping arc motion, engage the sprayer’s trigger, and gently but consistently fade in to the first pass of your spray job. Return the arc in reverse, overlapping your first pass.
  4. Continue this process until full surface coverage is achieved. Keep the sprayer moving. If you miss an area, don’t worry. You’ll be back soon to fix it.
  5. Multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat that’s likely to run. Mist your coats on, let them dry to the touch, and then mist again until complete coverage is achieved.

Now, leave the piece to sit and dry completely. I always let everything sit after the final coat of paint for at least 24 hours before even messing with it. That ensures that it’s good and dry and ready to be placed wherever it’s new home is.

PRO TIP 2: If you are using an airless or HVLP paint sprayer, take your time cleaning the unit up after you’re finished with it. Spend a little time ensuring a thorough cleanup, and you’ll benefit from years and years of dependable performance.

I have friends who have used the heck out of their sprayers, but also treated them properly, and they have lasted for more than 15 years so far! You can use a sprayer to keep loads of different things fresh around your home, and they really are quite affordable, surprisingly so.

My Closing Thoughts About Spray Painting Furniture

Spray painting old, ugly furniture can transform it quickly and economically. When you approach the endeavor with mindfulness and quality, you’ll enjoy the creative outlet it provides, and the “greenness” of not simply sending the eyesore to the nearest landfill.

Plus, you’ll save money and enhance the beauty of your home. It’s definitely a Win-Win in my book!

Thank you, sincerely, for reading along with me today and learning about the proper way to spray paint furniture. I hope that you find the information and tips valuable, and that you achieve professional-quality results on your furniture spray painting projects – now and in the future.

Enjoy the Spray Paint!