YES, You Can Spray Paint That!

July 06, 2023

What can you spray paint? Just about anything! 

Yes, you can (almost always) use spray paint on that item you're wondering about. :) 

Transformations with this paint are great DIY projects for anyone who wants a quick and easy makeover. And the available spray paint color options are it's not hard to find the perfect tone for your project. 

If you're new to these painting projects, be sure to check out my post with tons of spray painting tips

Bottom line is you'll want to prep your item well (either a good cleaning or a light sanding) and use numerous light coats of paint instead of fewer heavy ones. This will ensure the smoothest finish.

Always use these aerosol paints in a well-ventilated area! 

I've gathered a long list of the types of items that can be spray painted, and my review of how each one holds up over time. 

1. Metal surfaces

I mentioned this one first because it's the easiest to paint (in my opinion) and holds up incredibly well over time. Also, I rarely use a spray primer on metal surfaces because it's just not needed as much. 

Years ago I shared tutorial on how I spray painted our kitchen cabinet hardware and we have been pleasantly surprised at how well it's held up: 

white cabinets black hardware

There are about six doors/drawers we use the most where the handles get the most wear and tear, so those are the only ones that I've had to repaint in all these years. (See pics in that post linked above.)

Overall I've been thrilled with how these have held up, and I highly recommend this DIY if you'd like to save money and update your cabinet hardware. 

Spray painting metal light fixtures is one of my favorite ways to update a space! I've sprayed so many fixtures over the years and it's such an easy and quick way to change them up. 

This 80's light fixture was a dark, dirty brass and needed an update. I shared how I easily taped of ALL of those lines: 
bookcases in dining room
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As much as I've grown to love a true brass decor, there are still some items (like that light) that just look dated and washed out with that metal tone. The black spray paint gave that fixture new life!

I love these cute LED bookcase lights from IKEA. They offer great ambient lighting in my IKEA closet makeover, but I didn't love the color. A coat of brass spray paint transformed them: 
sweater storage in closet

I tested a bunch of paints to find the best brass/gold spray paint -- the winner is my favorite brass tone for just about any project!

I've even used spray paint to change up my favorite battery-operated light fixtures
blue white striped wallpaper

But the best transformation I've ever done with spray paint was actually an outdoor project. 

Our coach lights at our old house were so worn and washed out...until I added a few coats of oil rubbed bronze paint
spray painted garage lights

You really have to see the before to appreciate them! These still looked great YEARS later. I've also painted outdoor planters that have held up wonderfully.

Light fixtures are a great beginner project if you're new to spray painting because they're up and out of the way, so the finish doesn't have to be perfect. ;) 

And they are rarely touched, so the painted finish will stay beautiful for a long time!

One project that surprised me was our spray painted floor vents. I've done this to our floor registers and wall vents at both houses and they held up way better than expected!: 
dark floors with white trim

These will get some scratches over time, but it's minimal. I think because floor vents are out of the way and people rarely step on them. The majority of scratches are from vacuums. 

Painting your floor registers seems like a little thing, but they really look SO much better in a richer color, or one that matches your flooring. 

And of course, metal decor like candle sticks or other decorative objects are fair game as well. These are more great items to spray since most decor won't be handled a lot. 

One of my absolute favorite spray paint makeovers was my metal Goodwill fork and spoon that used to hang above our pantry: 
bay window with lights

They were black and I painted them silver, as utensils should be. ;) 

The only true fail I've had spray painting metal objects is when I painted our shiny brass door knobs. You can read all about my process and the result at that link. 

2. Wood objects

Spray painting home decor made of wood can sometimes take a little more prep work, but it's still an easy update that makes a huge difference!

I found this bathroom caddy years ago and turned it into a rolling craft caddy with a little spray paint and wheels: 
rolling craft caddy

I absolutely LOVED that project! It was perfect when our son was little because we could roll it around anywhere and keep the supplies corralled. 

My candlestick turned side table is another favorite wood spray paint transformation:
candlestick side table

Have you ever priced out those little tables? They're only big enough for a drink or a book, but are SO expensive! This Goodwill find made this table around $10 total. 

And another blast from the past -- using a cheese dome/platter to create a decorative cloche
cheese dome turned cloche

The great thing about spray painting decor is that you can easily redo it over the years with your changing style. And reusing something you already have is so worthwhile!

3. Plastic items

Spray paint holds up well on a lot of plastic pieces, but it depends on how you use them. 

I do NOT recommend spray painting kid's toys that may go into little mouths, but I've seen people spray faded outdoor toys (like slides and ride ons) with great success! 

I've noticed a trend when it comes to the plastic I've sprayed over the years -- it's almost exclusively holiday decor. I spray painted a TON of the ornaments on our Christmas tree last year!

It turned out so beautiful, I plan to redo this look this season:
warm colors Christmas tree

Painting seasonal decor is such an inexpensive way to change up your decor year to year. 

I've painted more plastic pumpkins than I can count!: 
blue green Thanksgiving table
See more of this Thanksgiving tablescape here!

I've also used spray paint to change up cheap Halloween decor from the dollar store -- a new metallic finish will elevate the look of almost anything! 

4. Ceramic decor

As far as I can remember, I've only spray painted ceramics twice. One was a success and one was a fail -- I think it comes down to how much you handle the item. 

YEARS ago I did a quick kitchen art project using small ceramic plates and faux fruit:
black plate faux fruit art

Those held up great and I never had an issue with the finish, even after cleaning them. 

My paint fail was a beautifully shaped pitcher that looked SO good with the new white spray paint on the ceramic
spray painted white pitcher

I was so excited at how well it turned out, but the results were fleeting. It started flaking pretty quickly, even with good prep and layers of primer. 

Who knows? If it's an item you don't have an attachment to, go ahead and try it! I have a couple vases I may try it on again. 

5. Spray painting furniture

I've lost track of how many pieces of furniture I've painted over the years! I've done some by hand with a roller and brush, some with a paint sprayer and quite a few with cans of spray paint. 

The latter is definitely the easiest painting project, but I highly recommend using one of these spray paint can handles! They take the pressure off your fingers and allow for a much more comfortable process, as these usually take longer than the smaller projects I've talked about so far. 

A few years back I wanted to break up all of the light wood in our dining room, so I spray painted our light wood chairs black: 
dark blue wall dining room
Find the buffet lamps here and the mirror is from IKEA!

And I'm so glad I did! They are used daily and have held up wonderfully. I haven't needed to touch them up at all, and any slight imperfections just look like it's meant to be that way. 

I didn't write about that process, but shared how to spray paint dining chairs for a past project. 

This bamboo table was a mess when I found it at a Habitat store -- but a few tweaks and some black spray paint brought it back to life!
black bamboo DIY bar cart

Using spray paint instead of latex is especially nice with furniture like this one that has crooks and crevices. No need to get into all of those detailed areas with a brush. 

I sprayed our Rast dressers from IKEA as well -- we used them as night stands. Spray paint makes quick work of these easy furniture makeovers!:
light gray Rast nightstands

When picking out your paint sheen, keep in mind the look you want. 

High-gloss and semi-gloss are the shiniest of the spray paints, and are more reflective. Matte or satin have a lower sheen and are less shiny. 

I think I covered all of the types of surfaces! 😁 I hope you find this to be a helpful guide when it comes to spray painting different objects around your home. 

Let me know if I forgot something! 

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  1. Another great blog post! Thank you! One question: Would you use liquid sandpaper to prep wood furniture before spray painting? I’ll definitely be buying the spray can handle from your link. I remember the finger pain!

  2. Loving all these tips to unleash the power of spray paint! We're sharing this post with our readers in our weekly round up. xoxo Anne


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