What Kind of Spray Paint Can Be Used on a Wooden Table?

An old, beaten up piece of furniture isn't necessarily destined for the dumpster just because its finish is worn. Many thrift-store junkies revel in taking these pieces and transforming them using spray paint. Two or three cans later, the piece in question looks like it just came out of a wood shop. A variety of paints can be used to refinish wooden tables, depending on the needs of the person doing the work.

Spray Paint 101

Spray paint is easy to apply to tables with lots of detail.

Spray paint get its spray capability from hydrofluorocarbons, which act as propellants. The paint itself is similar to the paint you buy in 1- or 5-gallon cans, but the delivery system is where spray paint shines. For small projects, such as refinishing a wooden table, spray paint can produce thin coats of paint that -- when applied correctly -- does not drip or collect on ornamental features.

Preparing the Surface

Before spray painting a wooden table, apply a primer. Primers also come in spray cans, making the job very simple. Water-based primers are easier to clean up than oil-based paints, but still provide the same sealant and adhesive properties. If you are using a dark color, a coat of similarly colored primer can make the painting process much faster. Most often a single coat of primer is all that is necessary.

Types of Spray Paint

There are two types of spray paint that can be used on wood. A general purpose enamel spray paint is the most common, often labeled as indoor/outdoor or multi-use. These paints come in a variety of finishes, from matte to high gloss. New developments in aerosol paint technology has enabled a latex paint to be successfully placed in a can. Currently, this environmentally friendly paint is only available from Krylon.


After going through all the trouble to spray paint your table, you want the finish to last. Tables get a lot of wear and tear, applying an additional sealant is warranted. Be careful when applying a polyurethane-based coating to a white or light-colored table, however, as these products tend to yellow over time. Polyacrylic is recommended for spray painted furniture because it does not yellow.

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