If your house or apartment is in dire need of a facelift, one of the easiest ways to make small renovations that truly stand out is by painting your furniture. And trust us, it’s not as time-consuming (or as expensive!) as it sounds — especially if you opt for spray-painting your furniture instead.
Spray-painting gets the job done really fast, often in under 10 minutes. And compared to regular paint, it dries quickly, and you won’t be dealing with any telltale brushstroke marks. Sounds great, right?
But first, you need to master the art of spray-painting, which we’ll teach you to do below.
One tip before we set you loose, though: If you’re a little hesitant to flip furniture currently in your home, opt for buying used furniture at a thrift store or via an app or website where people are selling used goods — so you can give your skills a test run first.
Step 1: Shop
Stock up on all the supplies you need to ensure you can complete your job quickly without another trip to the store. You’ll need a mask, sandpaper, primer, spray paint and a sealer, depending on the project. Don’t be tempted to buy the cheap or generic brands of paint. Brand names like Krylon or Rust-Oleum may cost a buck or two more, but it will be worth it in the end.
Much like other paint, spray paint has several different finish options, from flat to high gloss. Be sure to select the finish to fit your needs. For furniture, the higher the gloss, the easier it will be to clean. If it is a high-use piece, avoid flat paint — satin or gloss finishes work best for most projects. If you have a large project on your hands, do yourself a favor and invest in a spray paint handle — it can save your finger from aches and pains and make for a quicker job. They’re only a few dollars at most hardware stores.
Step 2: Clean & prep
Be sure your furniture piece is clean and free of loose pieces or cracks. Tighten any loose screws and fix any structural issues so the piece is sturdy. For best results, sanding your furniture first is essential. Depending on the finish, you’ll likely need a medium- to high-grit sandpaper. Sand the piece thoroughly, paying specific attention to any inconsistencies in the original finish or any rough areas. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain.
If you’re painting over a piece of furniture with a smooth glossy finish — like most pieces made of particle board or MDF — you’ll need to get that finish off as best as you can. Once it is sanded, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove all the dust from the piece.
Step 3: Find a space
You should only spray-paint in a well-ventilated area and always wear a mask. Ideally you will be outdoors, so pick a day when the weather is neither too cold nor too hot, as that may affect dry times and create a bubbly finish.
In addition, avoid painting on a windy day. Not only will a lot of your paint blow off into the breeze, but you risk having particles of dust blow onto your wet project. Be sure to cover any surfaces that you don’t want to get paint on, even if you don’t think you’re close enough for it to matter. Spray paint can travel.
Next: Step 4: Prime
A version of this article was originally published in March 2012.