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31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Spray or Brush? Choosing a type of paint

My friend Val (who blogs at Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids) asked me recently whether she should use spray paint or “brush paint” on her dining chairs.
Great question!

Here’s the simple answer:
I love spray paint for “spindly” things, or things that have a kazillion surfaces.  Like chairs.  And table legs.
I love brushing paint on flat surfaces.  Like dressers.  And bookshelves.

^Spray painted the base of this table.

If I try to brush paint a chair, I always, always, always miss one (or three) surfaces.  The backside of the cross support.  The underside of the top piece.  The inside of a leg.  You get the picture.
Plus, it drips.  And drips.  And drips again. And there are so many surfaces and corners that it seems impossible to catch all the drips.
I just really, really, really dislike “brush-painting” chairs.  Like this one.  As I was painting this, I was swearing and mumbling, “I hate painting chairs.  I hate painting chairs.  I hate painting chairs.”  I think you get the picture.

^Should have spray painted that chair.  And that blue table. But it was my favorite kind of brush paint, so I guess it’s okay.

I much prefer brush painting, and use that on everything flat. 
The only time I would consider spray painting a dresser or buffet is if it had really ornate carvings or details.  Then spray paint might be best.  But even then, I would probably do a combination.  Spray paint the ornate parts and then brush on the same (or contrasting) color on the flat parts.
Why don’t I spray paint flat surfaces?  I’ve found that it is really hard to get an even finish.  It seems like you can always see glossier spots with spray paint (especially with glossy spray paint!)

^BRUSH paint!

Notice that I have not mentioned rollers.  Rollers are only for walls and ceilings, in my opinion.  I know some people like to use those little rollers on cabinets and trim.  I do not.  I think the idea with the rollers is that you are avoiding brush strokes.  But instead of brush strokes, you often get roller marks.  I’d rather have brush strokes, because most of the things I paint are either already old, or made to look old.

^Brush paint, and nevermind the brushstrokes on this set!  They add character!

So there you have it.  Spray paint for multi-surface pieces.  Brush paint for flat surfaces.  Roller paint for walls and ceilings and nothing else.

^Spray paint the end table.  Brush paint the coffee table.

Next, since I already shared my favorite kind of furniture paint, I suppose you’ll want to know my favorite kind of spray paint.  Stay tuned!
This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

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i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up

Shared at: Home Stories A to Z Tutorials and Tips

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks for answering my question! I appreciate it! (And I love the new Pinterest photo plug-in)

  2. I really enjoy all of your ideas. Great blog!

  3. Nice. I have a kitchen table and chairs that are all "spindley" and have lots of crevices and grooves and I have been dreading painting it but now i am thinking i can just spray paint it. I plan to do white on the bottom and stain on top. What brand of spray paint do you recommend? And should I sand in between coats?