Spray Painting Furniture

Is spray painting furniture possible?? Can it turn out good and be durable? Yep! You can! Today I’m sharing how to spray paint furniture, and what you can expect. Using spray paint for furniture is a game changer and makes it so easy to update old or outdated pieces.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly and beautifully you can transform furniture with just a few cans of spray paint. So let’s see how spray painting your furniture goes!

9 drawer oak wood dresser before spray painting

Using spray paint is a convenient and affordable way to give new life to your existing furniture. It’s perfect for those who are on a budget or don’t have access to traditional painting equipment.

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Plus, with the wide variety of colors and finishes available, you can easily customize your furniture to fit your personal style. Whether you want a bold and vibrant piece or a subtle and elegant one, spray painting can help you create the look you desire.

Another awesome thing about spray paint for furniture is how easy it is to use. You may need a few practice rounds to get the hang of it, but once you do, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and smoothly the paint goes on.

Alright, here’s the dresser we’re working on today. Read along for tips and tricks on spraying with success!

scroll down to see the after photos

Supplies Used for Spray Painting Furniture

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Clean Dresser

First, we cleaned all of the dust, oils, and grime off of the dresser with some Krud Kutter and a damp rag.

clean furniture with krud kutter before painting

We clean every piece before we paint so the paint will stick to the furniture better. Learn more on how to clean furniture before painting here.

Hide Wood Grain

And then we filled the wood grain. If your furniture doesn’t have deep wood grain, like this oak does, then you can skip this step.

oak wood grain closeup before filling and painting

How to Prevent Wood Grain From Showing Through Paint

I mixed some water into some spackling to thin it out, and then this time I tried to roll it on with a foam roller. Usually, I brush it on, brushing against the grain so the spackling gets into the wood grain. (Learn more about how to hide wood grain when painting furniture here.)

I think the brush works better overall. But the roller was faster. Learn about the best rollers for painting furniture here.

rolling thinned out spackling onto oak dresser drawers

Why Fill Wood Grain Before Painting Furniture?

We’re basically just looking to fill in the deep wood grain. Since we’re spraying the paint on, the paint won’t get into the deep wood grain, and you’ll be left with black spots wherever the wood grain is.

closeup of primed dresser with oak wood grain showing
The black dots and lines are where I didn’t get the wood grain all the way filled before painting.

When you brush or roll paint on, it pushes the paint into the wood grain. But when you spray paint, the spray paint just sits on top and doesn’t get into the wood grain.

After everything was covered with spackling, I let it dry a while. And then my husband sanded the spackling down while I took the kids to swim lessons.

sanding spackling with surfprep 3x4 electric sander and foam sanding pad

He used 220 grit sandpaper and a fine grit foam pad on the curves. Learn more about sandpaper for furniture painting here. Then he cleaned off all of the dust with our shop vac.

vacuuming dust from sanding off of dresser

Check out all of the white lines. That’s all the deep oak wood grain that we filled in!

How to Protect from Overspray

Then we hung a plastic sheet from the wall and laid some plastic on the floor. And put the dresser up on some 5-gallon buckets. I probably should have put more plastic on things in our garage because the overspray settled on a lot of things.

And then I put the drawers back in the dresser, and I taped off the drawers so the spray paint wouldn’t get inside the drawers or on the side of the drawers.

wrapping dresser drawers with pre-taped plastic to prevent spray paint from getting inside drawers

I like to use pre-taped plastic to protect the drawers. Then I wiped the dresser off with a tack cloth to get any remaining dust off of the surface.

Learn more about how to prevent overspray when painting furniture here. And if you happen to have overspray, here’s how to get spray paint off wood to help you fix it.

Prime Dresser

And then I sprayed a light coat of 123 Zinsser primer all over the dresser.

spraying zinsser 123 primer onto dresser

I held the can of spray paint probably what, 10 inches away, and then I worked quickly so it sprayed only a thin coat of primer.

What Spray Paint Primer is Best for Wood Furniture?

I typically prime with something that has shellac in it, because shellac blocks bleed-through stains from coming through the paint. Check out the best primers to stop tannin bleed here.

But this 123 primer in the spray can is an oil-based primer, and oil-based products will block bleedthrough too. And it’s cheaper than the BIN shellac primer.

Both Zinsser 123 and Bin shellac primer are also great for helping the paint stick, and they both help with coverage. Learn more about the best primers for painting furniture here.

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Fill Wood Grain Again

After the primer was dry, I could clearly see that I didn’t fill all of the wood grain in enough.. see all of those dark lines and specks in that photo just a few above here?

That’s the wood grain that didn’t get filled all of the way. If I hadn’t filled it before, I would have had those dark lines going everywhere. So I filled the wood grain in with more thinned-out spackling, and let it dry. When it was dry.. check this out.

closeup of brown stains coming through paint after filling wood grain again

Brown Stains Coming Through Paint

See all of the orange spots? That’s what bleedthrough is!

You can see it where I put water-based spackling into the deep wood grain. The water-based product brought out the tannin bleedthrough and brought out stains. Anytime you use water-based products on wood, you’re likely to get bleed-through stains.

Now that I’ve brought out the bleedthrough, I have to block it with more oil-based or shellac-based product. Learn more about how to prevent and stop stains from coming through paint here.

Prime Dresser Again

So, I sanded the spackling down, cleaned it off, and then sprayed another coat of primer to make sure I wouldn’t have bleed-through issues with the paint.

I also opened the drawers a bit so I could spray the tops and sides of the drawer fronts with primer. All of the priming used about 2.5 cans of primer.

An hour later, the primer felt dry, and it looked like the primer blocked the stains, but the surface felt a little gritty. So I sanded the primer to smooth it out. But, since I used oil-based primer, the primer wasn’t really dry. And it gummed up the sandpaper. 

closeup of sandpaper gummed up after sanding oil based primer

That’s a major downside of oil-based primer… it takes a long time to really dry. Shellac-based primers dry very quickly, and you can sand them soon after without the sandpaper gumming up.

I just did the best I could, and then I cleaned all the dust again.

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Spray Paint Dresser

Alright, now for the spray paint. I used Behr spray paint because it was one of the best spray paints in my little spray paint comparison test. Check out our in-depth Behr Spray Paint review in this blog post to learn more.

See our spray paint comparison and finding the best spray paint for wooden furniture here. Check out this post to see what other colors Behr paint and primer spray paint comes in.

behr paint and primer spray paint in toasty gray

Tips on How to Spray Paint Furniture

  • I shook the can really well, and then sprayed a thin coat of paint all over.
  • I held the can probably 10 inches away, and went back and forth decently quickly.
spray painting furniture with behr paint and primer spray paint
  • I didn’t want to get drips, because this paint says that you need to recoat within an hour, or wait for like 24 hours. An hour isn’t long enough for it to dry to the point that I could sand it… this is an oil-based paint.
  • I ended up spraying 3 coats, waiting maybe 30-40 minutes for it to dry between coats.
  • Each coat took maybe 10 minutes to spray, so I was painting and then taking a break, painting, taking a break, etc. for a couple of hours.

Oh, and it only took about 2.5 cans of spray paint to paint all 3 coats. Here’s how to use spray paint and how to spray paint wood for more detailed guides on using spray paint.

Want to know if you can apply spray paint on your IKEA furniture, learn about it on our can I spray paint IKEA furniture? post. For particle board furniture, here’s can you spray paint particle board and for laminate furniture, check out our can you spray paint laminate furniture post.

For more dresser makeovers using spray paint, here’s our list of spray paint dresser ideas!

Add Legs to Painted Dresser

Alright, real quick, the next day, I tried to attach some cool legs to the bottom of the dresser. I had to attach some wood blocks, and I thought it would work…

adding legs to a dresser

But when we moved the dresser into our house, and we had to tip the dresser on its side, the screws fell out of the particle board area. Since it’s particle board, they just weren’t very secure.

Working with particle board can be a bit tricky and there are do’s and don’ts you must follow. Learn more on how to paint particle board furniture here.

If you notice any damages, it’s also very important to address this as soon as possible to prevent further issues. Check out our guide on how to repair damaged particle board furniture to learn more.

And I just didn’t have it in me to figure out another way to get the legs attached better, so I removed them and decided this makeover just wasn’t going to have them.

I’ll use them on another makeover that’s better suited for them. But you can check out this post if you do want to see how we added legs to this dresser!

Watch the makeover video here:

And here’s what it looks like now!

Check out more spray painted furniture ideas here. Here are some of the best DIY 9 drawer dressers for more inspiration.

closeup of spray painted wood dresser
dresser spray painted with behr toasty gray paint and primer spray paint

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

top view of spray painted dresser

Results of Spray Paint

What do you think of the new look? Alright, overall, the actual spray painting wasn’t bad at all. Filling the wood grain was annoying, but that doesn’t need to happen with every piece of furniture.

Check out my comparison between Krylon VS Rustoleum spray paint to learn more about these 2 popular spray paint brands.

Spray Paint Uneven Sheen

I’m personally a little annoyed that the sheen isn’t consistent. We used a gloss paint and shook the paint really well while we painted. But some areas are very glossy and others barely have any sheen. I’m sure I missed something, but I’m not sure what.

closeup of the spray painted uneven sheen

Spray Paint Durability

As far as durability, it’s very durable. 3 days after painting the last coat, I scratched at it, and it didn’t scratch off at all. There’s basically no texture. So that’s a huge plus!

scratching at the spray painted dresser to test for durability

If you just want to paint 1 piece of furniture and want to do it fairly quickly, spray painting furniture is a great option.

Can you use spray paint indoors?

Sure, you can totally use spray paint indoors! Just make sure to open some windows or turn on a fan for ventilation. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck in a room full of fumes.

But if the weather’s nice, I’d recommend spraying outside for even better ventilation. Plus, it’ll probably save you from having to clean up any accidental spray paint messes in your house.

Using Spray Paint vs Using Paint Sprayer

Using spray paint for furniture can be a quick and efficient option, especially for smaller pieces. It requires less equipment and setup time compared to using a paint sprayer. Also, with the variety of colors in spray paints, you can easily pick the right shade for your project.

When dealing with bigger projects or intricate furniture, opting for a paint sprayer might be a smarter move. It offers greater control and precision during application, resulting in a smoother finish.

Additionally, paint sprayers can cover larger surfaces faster than spray paint, making it more time-effective for bigger projects.

Using a paint sprayer on furniture does require more preparation and cleanup time due to the equipment involved. It may also require some practice and technique to get your desired results. Spray painting, on the other hand, is relatively easier for beginners to use effectively.

Ultimately, choosing between spray paint and a paint sprayer will depend on the size and complexity of your project, as well as personal preference and experience with each method.

Each method has its pros and cons, so weigh everything up before deciding on the best option for your furniture makeover.

scroll up if you missed the after photos

Spray Painting Furniture

Dresser spray painted with Behr spray paint.

Here are the steps for spray painting furniture with a durable finish and good results.


  1. Start by cleaning all of the dust, oils, and grime off of the dresser with some Krud Kutter and a damp rag.
  2. Fill in wood grain by mixing some water into some spackling to thin it out, and then brush or roll it on. Let it dry awhile and then sand the spackling down. Then clean off all of the dust. If your furniture doesn’t have deep wood grain, then you can skip this step.
  3. Spray a light coat of primer all over the furniture. Once the primer is dry, sand the furniture to smooth out the surface.
  4. Spray paint the furniture with 3 coats, waiting 30-40 mins to dry between coats. Shake the can really well, and then spray a thin coat of paint all over.

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9 drawer oak wood dresser before spray painted


  1. What is the GREEN color on the upright dresser you have in this post. I really like it.Jacki

    1. I believe that is fireworks from Country Chic Paint. You can search my site for “green” to find the makeover for it.

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