How to Paint Wooden Chairs (The Easy Way!)

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If you’re here, you’re researching how to paint wooden chairs the easy AND right way. After a couple of chair makeovers, I can say with certainty that this is the absolute best method for painting chairs that I’ve come upon.

I recently found a BEAUTIFUL set of wooden chairs on Marketplace for just $30. The natural wood was beautiful, but I knew I’d need to paint them to get the sleeker look/pop of modern that I wanted.

how to paint chairs

I have used good old spray paint on chairs in the past, and while that works, it can be difficult to get an even coat. You’re also limited in color selection. So this time around, I took to the internet to find the best way to paint chairs and found that the best success was being had with a paint sprayer. We’ve needed one of these so many times in the past but have never invested in one. This was the perfect opportunity, and I could not be MORE PLEASED with the final product. The result is so smooth, sleek, and professional looking.

how to paint chairs

Supplies Needed:

  • Paint SprayerThis one is highly rated and beloved. Worked wonders!!!
  • Drop Cloths (I buy the cheap plastic ones from Home Depot)
  • Sander, Deglosser, or Sandpaper (this gives the paint something to stick to)
  • 100 Grit Sandpaper Discs (if using an electric sander)
  • Paint – We used Behr Premium Plus Paint & Primer in semi-gloss and had it color matched to Tricorn Black.
  • Protective Top Coat (I used Minwax Polycrylic in Satin)
  • Measuring cup filled with water (I used 1/2 cup)
  • Extension Cord if you will be working a good bit away from an outlet and need more length.
  • Face Mask (I made the mistake of not wearing one. DON’T make this mistake)
  • And obviously, paint can opener & paint stick
paint sprayer

How to Paint Wooden Chairs:

how to paint chairs
how to paint chairs
  1. Lay your drop cloths.
    Important to note, make sure your floor drop cloths are pulled as tight as possible. You want to avoid bunching around your chair legs (I learned this the hard way!) I’d even take it one step further and put some scrap wood or cardboard underneath to completely prevent this from happening.
    Also, give yourself a wide area to work with. I did this in our basement, so I put one large drop cloth along the wall and another two on the floor.
  2. Give the chairs a sanding with sander, sandpaper, or deglosser.
    I made sure to run our palm sander or a piece of sandpaper (to get inbetween chair rails) over every area of the chair, especially the seat. This is the part where you really want to pay attention and do a thorough job. Take it from me, I have hurried sanding on chairs in the past and it results in painting peeling fast. Alternatively, you could use deglosser to avoid having to sand. I have not personally done this, but I have seen others have success with it.
  3. Clean the chairs.
    I made sure to wipe them all down really well to remove any remaining dust.
  4. Set up your paint sprayer according to manufacturer’s instructions.
    If you use the same paint and/or sprayer we used, you’ll most likely need to water down your paint. I filled the sprayer reservoir up about 3/4 of the way and then added 1/2 cup of water to get the right consistency. That worked for me, but I suggest adding the water a little at a time until you get the right consistency! I also set it up to spray horizontally to provide the most coverage (directions for this should be in your sprayer instructions).
  5. Keep a steady arm while painting and make sure to wear your mask!
    Make sure to move your whole arm instead of bending at the elbow. This helps give a more even spray. Also, I was able to paint all 4 chairs with one full reservoir with the sprayer. It was literally just enough!
  6. Once fully dry, seal with a protective clear coat of your choice. I used satin polycrilic.
  7. Let chairs dry for no less than 24 hours before using.
    Longer if you have the time to wait!

    It’s important to note that while the paint might look bumpy after application, it will spread out and dry smooth. You can see what I mean in the photo below.
paint sprayer painting chairs

With the paint we used and great coverage of this sprayer, I only needed to give each chair one coat. Set-up, paint, and clean-up included, I was done in less than 2 hours!

The coverage is so smooth and even. I could not be happier! These are old chairs and have deep wood grain, so that’s what’s pictured in the photo below. The paint itself is so smooth to the touch and the sprayer gave such beautiful, even coverage.

If you are wanting to paint wooden chairs the right (and easy!) way, this is it!

Until next time,

paint sprayer painting chairs
how to paint chairs

Our table was a FREE Marketplace find. You can see how we re-finished it here!

See more of our home projects here:

The Best Dark Green Paint Colors

Painting Our Kitchen Countertops

Home Projects Under $100

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