mid century furniture

How To Use Aerosol Spray Paint To Makeover Retro Furniture by Tash South

Lately, at any particular one point I seem to have a can of aerosol spray paint in my hand. But no, I don't have delusions of being the next Banksy. I've been testing out various brands and colours to makeover some vintage drawers I bought. Spray paint is a great invention, it can be used on a myriad of finishes - plastic, metal, wood, fabric, thelist goes on and on. And it's so quick to use, dries fast and if you don't like the colour you've chosen, you can just re-spray it.

I purchased the drawers at a local treasure trove of a shop, suitably called Aladdin's. I stop by every now an then, any more than that and I'd probably end up buying way too many pieces! Aladdin's is probably exactly as you are imagining it right now – it's a long narrow shop, filled absolutely to the brim with pieces from all eras. Every little gap is crammed with furniture, pianos, chandeliers, mirrors and curiosities, there aren't many shops like it left in London.

After much rummaging, I spotted the white chest of drawers - underneath another chest of drawers - of course. It was fab and retro and needed a bit of a makeover - just what I was looking for. I bought it on the spot for £60, as Aladdin's stock changes all the time, when you see something you like, you have to buy it before someone else snaps it up.

The new arrival - looking a bit too shabby-chic for my liking. Or even just too shabby!

The Makeover

I love the idea of using older pieces and giving them a sleek, modern makeover so that they sit well in a more urban interior, and I think mid century pieces work particularly well for this, but there are no rules! So try other pieces as well.

The drawers have the rounded edges and the angled feet, typical of many '50s pieces and it still has the original drawer handles, but it was not looking its best. It had obviously been painted many, many times over the years and needed a thorough sanding to achieve a smooth base for the paint to adhere to - I started off with a rough paper (P80) and then finished it with a smoother grade (P120). Inspired by pins I'd been pinning on my Color Like Crazy board on Pinterest, I decided on a bright yellow aerosol paint.

A great yellow sideboard I spotted on Pinterest. Image:  Better Homes and Gardens ,  Pinterest

A great yellow sideboard I spotted on Pinterest. Image: Better Homes and Gardens, Pinterest

My Aerosol paint of choice was Kobra Yellow 08, I sprayed on two coats - leaving to dry completely between coats and I used an entire can of paint for each coat.

I found the best technique is to hold the nozzle down firmly and work quickly and to try and not change direction too many times. Check out the video I made below which (hopefully!) shows the technique. That little fly on the top right of the frame was fine by the way - it got away!

I'm a total spray paint convert! It's so quick to do and the drying time between coats is short if you keep the coats thin. You can then layer on as many coats as you need for complete coverage. It took me 10-15 minutes per coat to do these drawers, but you have to leave it to dry completely between coats for the best finish.

I'm really happy with the results, usually I would have just painted it the traditional way, but the spray paint just gives that sleeker finish I wanted.

I've used these drawers for a few months now since spray painting and the finish is holding up well, although just one more coat of paint would be perfect, as I do find that with constant wiping down that some areas could do with more coverage - a job for the spring I think!

If you've got a piece that needs a new lease of life, try this for a fun new addition to your décor! Be bold with your colour choice and don't forget your gloves and mask!

The finished product - and I even have the same rug as the Pinterest picture! But everyone has this Ikea rug right?

The finished product - and I even have the same rug as the Pinterest picture! But everyone has this Ikea rug right?

Enjoy this post?

Why not sign up with your email address below to receive more makeover tips and inspiration, straight to your inbox.