Spray Painting vs. Brush Painting Furniture: Which is Better?

By MWB-Team •  Updated: 06/17/23 • 

Painting your furniture is the best way to breathe new life into them and protect them from elements such as moisture, abrasive damage, and much more. There are different methods you can apply a finish to your furniture. The most common way is using a brush, but you can also spray paint them.

In this article, we’ll look at these two methods of applying a finish to furniture, their pros and cons, and when it is best to use any of these methods.

Spray Painting Furniture

Spray painting usually involves a paint sprayer, but there are some finishes that come in aerosol forms. You can use different paint sprayers to apply a finish, like HVLP and airless sprayers. Check out our best paint sprayers for furniture for more information on the different sprayers.

Spray Painting a Chair

Spray Painting a Chair

The major advantages of using a paint sprayer to apply a finish are the speed when working, better coverage, and a professional-looking finish. Spray painting is much faster, and you will cover a larger area or finish up more furniture within a shorter time. Although there is a little bit learning curve when spraying paint, when you get it right, you’ll achieve professional-looking results.

However, spray painting also has its own disadvantages. First, it can become messy because of overspray and the time needed to clean up after you’re finished. Spraying furniture also wastes more painting than brushing, so it will end up costing more to buy extra paint. Paint sprayers are also more costly than a brush, and there is a little bit of a learning curve before you can achieve better results.

Pros of Spray Painting Furniture

Cons of Spray Painting Furniture

Brush Painting Furniture

Using a brush to paint furniture is the most common method of applying a finish. It is cheaper and easy even for beginners to achieve good results with a brush. If you’re not ready to invest in a spray gun system or take on the learning curve, a brush is your perfect companion to applying finishes.

The major advantage of using a brush to paint furniture is that you get more control over the application process and the amount of paint you use. If you’re painting a detailed piece of furniture, using a brush can give you better results than spraying. You’ll also get more coverage with less paint than spraying because less paint is wasted.

Painting Furniture White

Painting Furniture White

Like everything, brushing also has its disadvantages. Let’s face it, applying a finish using a brush is back-breaking work, especially if you’re working on larger furniture and projects. It will take more time and involves a lot of labor to finish up larger pieces of furniture. Using a brush also adds the risk of brush marks in your final finish if you’re not careful.

Pros of Brush Painting Furniture

Cons of Brush Painting Furniture

Spray Painting vs. Brush Painting

Speed and Efficiency

Spraying a finish is a faster method of applying it to your furniture in less time. Once you adequately prepare for spraying a finish, it takes less time to finish the job. However, with brushing, you’ll need more time, which can be back-breaking, especially if you’re working on larger pieces of furniture.

Spray Painting a Chair

Spray Painting a Chair

Coverage and Control

To get better coverage when finishing up your furniture, use a paint sprayer. You only sometimes need a coat with a paint sprayer, and you’re good to go. However, with painting furniture, you might need several coats, but you get better control of the paint and greater precision.

Painting Furniture White

Painting Furniture White

Finishing Appearance

Working with a sprayer will guarantee the best results if you’re looking for a smoother and more professional-looking finish. However, working perfectly with a paint sprayer will need some level of expertise or a bit of a learning curve.

With a brush, you can also get a smoother finish. However, it might take some practice for amateur wood finishers to get perfect results with a brush. If you want to apply a distressed finish look, a brush is the better option and looks more natural than spraying.


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