Furniture: Updating with Black Spray Paint

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Back in 2002, I was on the cutting edge of the black painted furniture craze, when after doing a kitchen renovation at my house in Georgia, I painted my kitchen chairs black (which I shared about 2 years ago here).  And I haven’t looked back since then.  There have been many more furniture transformations using black  paint since that day.   I think this trend actually started with Ballards Designs (at least to me) when I picked up their catalog and began seeing black furniture, a light bulb went off.  I can do that!

You’ve seen countless demonstrations of painting furniture black on the web, but here’s mine….again.  🙂  So, join me today for another black spray paint project.Picture 004

These 2  harp back chairs are yardsale finds (of course, they are!) and I’ve enjoyed them in their brown state for a few years now, but have lately been eyeing them with black on the brain.  So, I got busy and changed them.  First, you take off the seats by unscrewing those 4 screws.   I’ve changed the fabric on these a couple of times which is as easy as stapling and pulling fabric.

liquid sander

Outside they went and first I wiped them down with a liquid sander. This step just deglosses wood furniture and helps the paint to adhere better.   I do this instead of priming, which most wood pieces don’t require.  I hardly ever prime real wood, but I definitely prime anything that is fake or veneer.

I used Rustoleum Black Satin spray paint on these, but any brand will do.  I don’t like using flat or high gloss on furniture,  Satin is always my preference.

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After drying about 10 minutes, the chairs are ready for their spray paint debut.  Try to spray evenly with minimal drips.  If it does start to drip, keep a paper towel handy to blot it before it dries that way.  Not always easy to do if there is any wind outside.  I prefer to do 2 light coats, letting them dry in between.   Easy, easy! Picture 009

After  they are good and dry, I took the sander to the edges.  You want to distress in the areas that would most likely wear with age, like the rails, top and edge of the legs.   I didn’t go too heavy with it, since I prefer a light distressing.Picture 018

Like this, this looks good.

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One little step I like to do after sanding,  is getting out a can of stain.  This is what I had handy, Cherrywood gelstain.

gel stain to distress furniture

Grab a q-tip and swipe a little stain on that bare wood that you’ve just sanded down.  It will give it a nice deep brown tone and seal it up.  I just love the way this looks afterward.  Take a paper towel and wipe off the excess.

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And you’ll be left with some pretty distressing.

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The chairs are back in place and I’m happy with them.  They fit in better with the black console table they are hanging out with.

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Don’t you think?

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I’m likin’ the black a lot. Picture 014

Yardsale chairs rescued and saved.  You gotta love that!

So, do you have something that needs a can of black spray paint to renew and revive?

Added to:

Sarah’s Before and After Party

Kimba’s DIY Day

Susan’s Met Monday

Today’s Creative Blog

- Rhoda


  1. What is the paint color on the walls? Love it 🙂

  2. Dana McCurdy says


    I bought this exact chair at a yard sale also many years ago. Mine is still brown but, I have recovered the pad but now I think under your direction, I am going to paint her black today!!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. I have a set of 6 of those exact chairs and the drop leaf pedestal table they came with, they belonged to my husband’s grandmother. We stripped the high gloss varnish off the table 30 years ago and refinished it with tung oil but stripping and restaining and varnishing six chairs was too daunting so they are sitting in the attic. Now I know how to refinish them. Thank you!

  4. I love black too! Sheila

  5. When my sons left after finishing college, I painted their room a cranberry red. My mother had a beautiul bedroom suite, but it was badly scarred from years of storage. I painted that furniture black and with the cranberry walls and white woodwork, it is the most beautiful room in the house. Even the boys approved when they came for a visit. Like you, I love spray paint. Everything can look better with a fresh coat of paint.

  6. Julie Mignerey says

    Will liquid sander work on a large china hutch?

    • HI, Julie, yes it should work on any furniture at all. Just wipe it on and let it dry. Follow the directions for the one you have.

    • Do you recommend painting a large book case the same way? With spray paint?

    • HI, Jen, I usually don’t recommend spraying large flat surfaces, because you can often see the overlap spray marks. I’ve done a bookcase before (it’s under my DIY projects tab) using a foam roller and latex paint, so I’d recommend that way instead of spraying. Spray works great with chairs and smaller pieces.

  7. Do you have any recommendations for an old upright stained piano? Does liquid sander work on that too? Spray or roll on? I’m even considering painting it a darker vintage red with some distressing just to add color to my house. Suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi, Shauna, that’s a tough one. I’ve seen folks paint upright pianos in blogland. So I think you could maybe prime it and paint with whatever paint you want. I’m not an expert on pianos though, so look around and see what info you can find on painting them.

  8. Would liquid sander and spray paint work on painted outdoor rocking chairs?

    • Dorothy, I think it would be fine. I’ve used spray paint on a wooden outdoor swing and it held up great.

  9. I have a oak mirror that is octagon shape and would like to paint it but not sure how to do it. I did not want to get into a lot of steps. I bought some spray paint and was wondering if I could just spray and not have to sand.

  10. Thank you for sharing! I am anxious to use this technique on my dining room chairs! I am concerned about the wear and tear on the spray paint since my chairs will be used daily. Do you recommend spraying a coat of polyurethane or is that unnecessary?

    • HI, Bridget, spray paint is oil based and very durable. I never had problems with my chairs chipping at all, so I don’t think it would be necessary to add poly on top.

  11. Can you please tell me the paint color you have on those walls? It is so soft and beautiful! Wanting that look for my house.

  12. Hello!

    I am wondering how the black of the spray paint you’ve chosen compares to the finish of the black table you have it against. The table looks like it has the classic Pottery Barn, etc. black finish. Does it shine equally? Do you not use a protective spray coat or gloss when you’re done? Thank you!

    • Hi, Sashur, I always use Black Satin spray paint and it is a nice finish. It really does look very similar to the factory black finishes I’ve seen and I’ve been very happy with it. Satin has just a little shine, not much at all. Since spray paint is oil base paint, I don’t feel the need for a top coat.

  13. Nancy lucier says

    Hello. I have a set or pressed back chairs that were painted red. I want to paint them black, would like them slightly distressed but don’t want the red to show through. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much.

    • Hi, Nancy, it’s going to be hard to distress them and not have the red show through. You could do solid black, but if you sand them back, I think the red would peek through.

  14. Love the chairs! I’m about to do my dining room chairs black. Btw-sorry, what does the whole quote painted on your wall say?

  15. I still love black in 2018! Thanks for the tutorial

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