Spray Painting Furniture (Revisited)

By Kate Riley October 9, 2013

Every DIYer knows paint has the power to transform anything. Spray paint happens to be one of my favorite tools especially on small pieces of decor, but it can work really well on furniture too. A few years ago I wrote about spray painting furniture, and most of my tips are there, and today I wanted to share two pieces I recently finished, the first is a set of chests spray painted gloss black and the second is a console table spray painted white with gold detail.

spray painted black chests

spray painted white console table


My supply list for spray painting includes the following: a drop cloth for painting in a well ventilated area, spray primer, spray paint, a safety respirator, ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, a sanding wedge or sheets of sandpaper, a spray paint nozzle gun (shown below) and a protectant (not shown).

3m supplies


The steps are simple, first remove all hardware and/or hinges, clean off any debris by lightly sanding, fill holes and make repairs. I’ve used this handy little sanding tool for years with replaceable sheets of sandpaper.

3m sandblast sheets


Tape off any drawers so you can spray the fronts but prevent overspray inside. I’ve been a fan of of ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape for years. I wrap it around the drawers, then tuck the drawers just inside before priming.

paint on drawers


Make sure you wear a respirator when spray painting, you don’t want to breathe in any of the fumes that come with this process. Use a spray paint nozzle gun (found in the spray paint department) and spray your furniture with a bonding primer moving the can back and forth to create a thin layer and to avoid drips. When dry, lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper (if necessary) to remove any drips that might occur.

spray primer on console

I apply two to three light coats of spray paint – lighter fine coats are the best.  When the layers of spray paint are dry, wipe down any residue with cloth and apply a protective coat to seal.

As quick and easy as it is to spray paint furniture, the one problem I run into is a splotchy sheen on the surface, meaning the color is even but the sheen is not. I discovered two ways to remedy it . For a satin or gloss finish use Polycrylic and apply with a sponge chip brush and work in cooler temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees because the product dries very fast. For a more matte finish or subtle sheen (or for white paints), use wax and apply it with a soft cotton rag, then buff it out.

surface finishes


This plain console I bought at HomeGoods was just fine in gray but with gloss white spray paint, it coordinates better with my guest room.

console table before

spray painted console

I found these gorgeous midcentury inspired chests at a local thrift store two months ago and was going to use them for a friend’s bedroom project in progress but it turned out they weren’t quite big enough for her space. My Bay Area blog friend Brittany saw them on Instagram and after a series of email exchanges I agreed to paint them for her instead and I absolutely LOVE how they turned out!

mid century chests before

spray painted black chests with brass hardware

The color on the body is Rustoleum’s Gloss Black and the legs are painted with Liquitex Antique Gold (both spray paints). The new brass ring pulls with a diamond back plate are from Lee Valley and so gorgeous – note they also come in a slightly large size, and they are absolutely perfect for these pieces.

black chests with brass hardware

new brass hardware

Who wants to see the black chests as nightstands in Brittany’s bedroom? Hop on over to Brittany’s blog to see how pur-tay they look, I’m so glad they live in a special place!

brittanys nightstand


Yep, I’m a true believer in the power of spray paint, it’s pretty amazing what it and a little DIY effort can do :)

This post is a sponsored collaboration with 3M DIY. To keep up-to-date on projects, products and sampling by visiting 3MDIY.com and following on Twitter and Facebook.

..spray painting furniture diy tips



  1. Love, love, love me some Brittany. The nightstands are the perfect addition to her already gorgeous bedroom. The girl got some serious skillz!

  2. This is great Kate, thanks a bunch! I’m currently spray painting a thrift dresser for my son’s room using Valspar Navy because it doesn’t drip. Quick question, what’s your take on lacquer spray? Have you tried that? I have yet to add the protective coat on top because I wanted to add some gold detail on the front and paint it free hand. Any thoughts? Thanks a lot!

  3. I have several pieces I am dying to paint but I’m apprehensive. I painted some wood shelves for my kitchen and they are sticky even though I let them cure for several days before putting anything on them. I was wondering how to keep that from happening? Should I wax them? I also recently painted my doors black. It looks great but is starting to show finger prints. I am wondering again if wax is my answer? Thanks for the inspiration, love your blog!

  4. Both links take me to Thrive furniture. These pieces look amazing and I’m really interested in that hardware – can you redirect please?

  5. Thank you so much again! Love how the console table, and of course the nightstands, turned out! You seriously have some amazing talent revamping furniture :)

  6. Weird…the links to me to the Baccarat Crystal Website!!
    I typed the title of the post in the search bar, then clicked on the result to get to the full story.

  7. The transformations of these two pieces is amazing. They both look like you bought them like that. As a matter of fact, I’m not convinced you didn’t do a bait and switch. :) nice work.

    • Okay that’s just weird about the link taking you elsewhere! I’m having my tech support look into it, make sure when you hover over the link it’s showing the Lee Valley hyperlink and refresh your browser (CTL + F5) if necessary.
      THanks for the heads up!

  8. I never comment on blogs but I just had
    To tell you that you give the best
    Tutorials. They are super easy to understand.
    Your so creative and I really enjoy reading your blog.
    Keep ’em comin’.

  9. O-M-G! Your work just amazes and inspires me! I love both pieces, but I must say the transformation of the mid-century chests is just awesome. And those pulls with the diamond back plates are like the perfect addition. You are one talented woman! Reading your blog was easily the most relaxed and enjoyable part of my very stressful day. Thanks!

  10. How gorgeous! You do beautiful work Kate and it’s always done to perfection. I love those brass pulls! Perfect touch on the nightstands.

    • Hi Louise – that’s the 3M Sandblaster Tool with flexible sanding pads, the replaceable sandpaper sheets come in all grits, I love it for small jobs when I don’t want to use my orbital, I used it a few years ago when we transformed our staircase and I’ve been a fan ever since, look for them at your local home improvement store.
      Here’s the link: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Sandblaster_US/Home/


  11. I have always used spray paint for little things but recently sprayed my first piece of furniture. I have to say, I found it more difficult than I thought. My biggest problems were the top flat surface (it was a small end table). It took several try’s to make it look even. It was fast, though. Yours look fantastic! I guess it will take a bit to learn.

  12. I love all your spray paint projects! I started following your blog several months ago, right before purchasing my first home (knowing I would need some DIY tips to help save money), and your spray paint tips and posts are what I used to start my venture into the DIY world. I was very nervous that I would mess it up, but I followed your directions and love how all of my pieces have turned out! This post just gave me the itch to finish off a dresser that’s still sitting in my garage…and perhaps take a trip to the thrift stores soon! Thanks for all your tips.

  13. Can you share exactly which products you used for each of these projects. I always thought that wax would cause white paint to yellow over time, but you seem to indicate that you prefer wax with white paint?

    • Clear wax works best with white paints Krista, I’ve used Johnson’s, Briwax, and Annie Sloan, no yellowing, they are great.

  14. I’m inspired! I actually have a very similar, mid-century piece. LOVE those brass pulls. Going to see if I can find them. Thanks for posting!!

  15. You make it look so easy and all of your stuff is so gorgeous. I’m just a beginner with spray paint. But have to admit my spray paint trigger starts twitching when I see a post like this. I would love to know the name of the sanding wedge. I love the idea of that. Thanks!

  16. Those chests are gorgeous – I love the glossy black with the gold hardware. They look stunning in Brittany’s BR. Your painting is incredible. Thanks for all your sharing. It’s so helpful.

    Take Care!!!!

  17. Kate, way off topic, but do you have an update on your fabric line?! I am so excited to see more of your design inspiration jump to life in fabric.
    Anxiously awaiting the release!

    • Hey Kassie, I’m releasing a limited edition collection for Christmas and then in January will roll out more patterns, thanks for asking!

  18. I love how they all turned out. I have used spray paint in the past and I sometimes get a streaky look. Do you find that the spray nozzle helps with this? Thanks!

    • The spray nozzle gun does help with consistency, but make sure you shake the can thoroughly, sometimes that’s a contributing factor Laura. :)

  19. Kate,
    I am so glad you brought up the point about the uneven sheen. I have been spray painting for years, and that has always been the biggest issue-especially with higher gloss paints. Nobody seemed to ever say that it happened to them, so I thought it was just user error. I have also used Polycrylic to remedy the situation. I am glad it is not only me that had this happen! Thanks for all the informative articles.

  20. Wow Kate – as always, just stunning transformations! Thanks to you I was encouraged to give new life to brown/black Ikea pieces that were just not fitting in with my decor. Some primer, sanding, and paint brought my bookcases and chairs back to life in white. Room feels brighter, lighter, and much more in line with my aesthetic. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  21. Just ordered 10 of those pulls through the link you provided… They are dreamy!!! I’m converting an old secretary/ hutch into a sleek bar, and this hardware is perfect! I’m going to paint it black (will try out the Critter sprayer that Jenny at LGN recommended), and am going to use covered foam board for the back of shelves, so I can change it out. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. Everything looks fantastic, including the shots you took!

  22. Hi Kate,
    I am using Krylon’s short cuts Gold Leaf spray on a piece of furniture. Did you put a protective finish over your gold spray paint? I am hesitating due to a fear of losing the perfect color/shine of the paint’s original finish. Thanks,


    • Nope no protective coat over the Krylon Gold Leaf, I love that finish too, use it all the time!

  23. Looks gorgeous… I’m doing my first spray furniture spray paint job this weekend… KING OF NERVOUS! I love your hardware. I’m looking for something urban with an antique feel. How did you decide on your hardware? Do you recommend the site that you purchased from?

    Taylor @ http://www.trendycheapo.com

  24. I am absolutely in love with those two chests you made over! I am curious though, how many cans of spray paint did you use for each one? Thanks

    • 1 can of primer 2 cans of paint for the console, 2 cans of primer and 2 cans of paint for the chests!

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