A Beginner’s Guide to Spray Painting Metal Furniture

Metal furniture is increasingly popular, particularly if it’s vintage in style. The problem is that if it’s subject to a hard life, it picks up chips and scratches which can lead to corrosion, leaving it looking rather careworn.

Fortunately, unlike restoring wooden furniture which can require the services of an expert, giving your metal furniture a bit of a spruce up is something you can easily do at home.

Preparation is key

The secret to getting a good finish on metal furniture is to prepare the surface carefully. The first step is to get rid of any rust and peeling paint. Do this by rubbing the piece down with some medium grade sandpaper. If it’s an old piece, the original paint may contain lead, so wear a face mask to prevent you from breathing in particles.

When you’ve finished sanding, wipe the furniture down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust. If it’s come from a factory environment, it may be contaminated with oil or grease, so a wipe down with white spirit should remove this. If you’re looking to source industrial shelving in Ireland to use as industrial-style furniture, Rack Zone could help.


With the surface prepared, you’re ready to start painting. Spray paint can be hazardous, so make sure you follow safety rules. Work in a well-ventilated area – outdoors is good, but you need a still day. For small pieces, you can use a large cardboard box as a makeshift spray booth, otherwise, use cardboard or an old blanket or sheet to protect the work area from overspray.

If you’ve stripped off most of the original paint, you’ll need to use a primer first before applying a top coat. Do hidden areas like the underside first to get a feel for spraying evenly where the finish doesn’t matter too much. Follow the instructions on the can to get the right technique.

For the finishing coat, use a paint that’s specifically designed for metal – such as Hammerite – and spray a light even coat. You may need to add extra coats in order to get an even colour, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding re-coating.

Once you’re happy with the finish, leave the piece for at least 48 hours to make sure it’s fully dry before you use it.

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