How to Spray Paint Wooden Furniture

Wooden furniture is a perfect surface to paint. The porous nature of the wood absorbs the paint and results in a smooth finish that is resistant to chipping and scratches. Regular brush painting is the most cost-effective way to paint wood furniture. But the biggest problem with brush painting is that most homeowners apply the paint too thickly and end up with a drip marks and a painted layer that is tacky. The tacky surface is prone to dings until the paint cures, which could be days. Spray paint applies the paint in a thin, even layer with no brush strokes to worry about. Spray paint comes in a wide range of colours and finishes.

Move the furniture outside onto a tarp. Choose an area of your yard or driveway that will be protected from dust. Spray paint has a tendency to drift. Cover anything nearby that you don’t want painted.

Clean the furniture completely with an ammonia-based cleaner. Any grease or oils, including wood furniture cleaners, will interfere with the primer’s ability to adhere to the furniture.

Sand the furniture lightly with medium-grit sandpaper. Create a rough texture on the surface of the wood. This will allow the primer to stick to the furniture. Wipe off all sanding dust with a damp rag.

Spray primer onto the furniture. Hold the primer can 8 inches from the surface of the furniture and spray in a steady back and forth motion. Cover the entire surface with a light coat of primer. Allow the first coat to dry for 30 minutes. Apply a second coat of primer.

Spray paint the furniture with your choice of colour and finish. Apply the paint the same way that you applied the primer. Coat the furniture with three to four thin coats of paint. Let the paint dry for four hours.

Spray a coating of polyurethane onto the furniture to protect the painted finish. Choose matt polyurethane for the most natural appearance. High gloss polyurethane will give the furniture more sheen. Apply one light coat of topcoat.


Holding the spray can too close to the furniture or applying too much paint in one spot will result in drip marks. Allow the paint to dry completely. Sand the drip with fine-grit sandpaper to remove the drip mark. Touch up the paint by giving it a quick blast with the spray paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Ammonia-based cleaner
  • Sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Spray primer
  • Spray paint
  • Spray polyurethane
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.