Spray Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding

Did you know you can spray paint wood furniture without sanding it? There are so many incredible options for refinishing furniture.

hero image for how to spray paint wood without sanding.

Jamie here!! Ever wondered if you could spray paint wood furniture without sanding? Good news – you can! Here’s a great DIY project to tackle over the weekend that can turn your Goodwill duds into handsome pieces of furniture.

I have been looking for a desk for my son’s room for a while without much luck. He has just this one little nook where I can put one, and so it needed to be slim but also tall and able to hold books (since I was putting this where the bookshelf used to be).

desk makeover before and after picture


Where Can I Find Refinishing Furniture Ideas

When I looked for tall desks with bookshelves I about gave up –  MERCY, they cost an arm and a leg!  So I hit up Pinterest looking for ideas. After I bought a couple of sets of bookshelves and a solid piece of wood and paint and put it all together (fingers crossed it would be sturdy) – I’d still be looking at $70 – $90.

Find Great Furniture Deals at Thrift Stores

I headed to do some thrift store shopping and get some ideas – and on my very. First. stop. I got lucky. I found this monstrously ugly computer desk at Habitat for Humanity Home Store for $30, and it just had “project” written all over it.

bookcase in garage to be painted


PLUS – it OPENS y’all! (And more importantly, closes.) How nice to be able to close the door on a messy desk…. it’s my favorite way to clean. 😉

Steps to Spray Painting Furniture Without Sanding

After taking all the drawers out, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was a piece of Thomasville furniture – which is some good stuff! And – I don’t even know how I missed this while helping the Habitat worker heft it into my van – there’s a built-in light in the desk part!

I wasn’t sure if you could spray paint wood furniture without sanding it, but I picked up a couple of flat black spray paint cans that have primer in them and hoped for the best.

As it turns out, not only can you spray paint wood without sanding – you can also spray paint pressed wood/particle board (which some parts of this desk were) and even that papery cardboard panel on the back. All of it, you guys. Just spray paint ALL of it. Then let it dry and do it again.

IMPORTANT: You’ll want to spray-paint a light/medium coat twice (or even three times) and let it dry between each coat. The excited part of your brain will insist that you can coat it heavily one time and be done. IGNORE IT!! If you spray everything soaking wet the first round, you’ll watch while the paint drips everywhere and ruins your finish completely.


pottery barn black spray painted desk without sanding


I had some drawer pulls that I also picked up at Habitat for 2/$1, and I had my wonderful husband install those for me to class it up a little. I think that’s what REALLY made the difference. I wanted to put one in the middle of the desk cubby, but he pointed out that the screw would get in the way of writing on the desk.

The only thing I would do differently is spray on a clear coat at the end. There have been some times opening and shutting the desk I got a smudge of black paint on my finger, and while it’s not the end of the world, a clear coat would’ve taken care of that problem.

While some spots on it aren’t as beautiful as a Pottery Barn finish – for instance, the places where stickers and scotch tape were stuck on for decades – I’m delighted that this desk will serve us well for many years and looks nice enough to be proud of. 🙂

NOTE: If your piece is heavily varnished, I’ll pray for you. I once painted my heavily varnished kitchen cabinets after sanding them and then using about 5 coats of primer/paint – and that darn orange varnish STILL bled through. It was a nightmare – in that case, sand the HECK out it before you ever begin!


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