How To Paint A Wooden Rocking Chair? Step-By-Step Guide

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
17 min read

Do you ever sit in your old rocking chair and ponder its potential future uses? It is crucial that you know how to paint a wooden rocking chair.

The wooden rocking chair can be painted with spray paint or a brush. Whatever path you take, know that you have our support.

A wooden rocking rocker on the porch adds to the season’s easygoing spirit. Absolutely, this is the best way to spend a midday nap. Whether it’s how to paint a wooden rocking chair or a simple question, we’ve got you covered.

5 Benefits of Painting The Wood Furniture

No 1  To protect wood.

Since the wood used in making solid wood furniture is so dense and tough, it is readily damaged by sharp things and loses its luster after prolonged usage if it is left exposed to the elements. The furniture can be properly safeguarded after painting.

How To Spray Paint A Rocking Chair

No 2  Control the moisture content of furniture and prevent wood deformation.

The stability of wood is significantly affected by its moisture level. Wood that has been painted over can be protected from quick deformation because the paint acts as a seal against moisture loss.

No 3  After painting the furniture hand feel is thinner and smoother, and it is easier to clean and maintain.

It is impossible to seal the pipes made of wood, thus dirt and grime often accumulate in these hard-to-reach areas. The catheter was refilled with fluid when the painting was completed, and any lingering paint or dust can be wiped away with minimal effort.

No 4  Make the furniture more fresh and shiny as it is used.

Leaving the logs out in the open air allows for corrosion and oxidation, which can cause the logs to change color, sometimes to the point where they are unrecognizable. Since the wood will never be exposed to air after being painted, it will retain its original natural color.

No 5  It is more beautiful.

Different pieces of the same wood will have different shades of brown. It’s like applying cosmetics to furniture; skilled painters can bring out the true color underneath.

Painting A Wooden Rocking Chair

It is inevitable that you will need to refinish and repaint your wooden rocking chair at some point, whether you use it outdoors or indoors. The problem is, it’s not clear how you’d go about painting a wooden rocking chair.

You should get the things you need to paint your chair ready in advance. Paint (spray or brush), sandpaper, primer, a clean rag, and whichever paint method you like. Once you’ve gotten everything in order and ready to go, proceed as follows:

Step #1. Clean the chair

Stains and carvings are more common in older wooden rocking chairs. They can be a bit of a headache to work around when painting.

Dish soap and vinegar in warm water might be used to alleviate this problem. Spray the solution onto the chair and wipe it dry with a dry cloth.

You may also use this solution to clean the chair by dipping a fresh towel into it. Sandpaper can be used to remove deeply embedded stains.

To get rid of dust, wipe it down again with a clean cloth or use a vacuum. After, make sure the seat is totally dry.

At this point, you should examine the chair to see if it requires maintenance. When there are broken pieces, they must be fixed before moving on.

Repairing certain components could be difficult. Problems of this magnitude need for the skill of a master carpenter.

Step #2. Sand the chair

After making sure there aren’t any problems with the chair, you can smooth up the wood with some sandpaper. To get a smooth finish on the chair, sandpaper should be used on every surface.

To make it more manageable, you can fold it in half. To ensure the chair’s smoothness, you can use both wet and dry sandpaper in rotation.

Step #3. Apply primer

A primer is optional when painting a wooden rocking chair. However, a flawless finish is highly recommended. By using a primer, you can keep your paint from deteriorating prematurely.

Primers are available in both aerosol and paint cans. The latter is easier to apply and also dries quickly.

Step #4. Paint

Let the paint dry first. Finish off with one more coat of paint.

What Kind Of Paint To Use On Wooden Chair

Decorating a wooden rocking chair is a fun way to spend free time. Undoubtedly, it gives your chair a fresh lease on life and makes it seem like brand new.

But you may find yourself juggling numerous paint options. Choose the best paint for your wooden chair from latex, oil, and acrylic. Additional choices include milk and chalky paint.

The primer you end up buying will also depend on the sort of paint you end up buying. Think about these things first so that you don’t have to stop working on the project because of distractions.

Is It Better To Brush Or Spray Paint Furniture

You understand now that painting is a simple task. Which method of painting do you plan to employ? In comparison, which is superior?

The short answer is that it is up to your personal taste and the style of the wooden rocking chair you plan to purchase. Paints used using brushes are both more affordable and safer than spray paint. A wide spectrum of hues is also available.

Brush paints make it simple to get any desired color scheme in the home. But the process of putting it into practice can be tedious.

How to Paint Your Outdoor Wooden Rocking Chairs : Easy DIY Makeover

It is recommended that you exercise caution in this process. A wooden rocking chair may be marred by the use of a paintbrush.

Spray paints, on the other hand, can give a chair a polished, lacquered appearance and a professional finish. Furthermore, it takes less time to apply and dry.

It’s great for a wooden rocking chair because it can be applied without streaks. Brush strokes are not an issue at all.

Spray paints should be applied carefully and gradually, with a final coat serving as a sealant. If you want to be extra cautious about hygiene, you can use newspaper and face masks.

The Best Type of Paint for Furniture

Latex Paint

The widespread availability of latex paint makes it a popular choice for painting furniture. Latex paint comes in a wide range of colors, sheens, and sheen levels, and may be purchased in quantities as small as a pint or as large as a gallon at any home improvement store. For interior painting, it’s best to choose a recipe with low or no volatile organic compound emissions. It’s not the best choice for frequently used furniture because it dries quickly but takes a long time to cure and preserves a relatively “soft” surface.

Among the many benefits of latex paint for furniture is its versatility in color. You can pick a color from the available paint chips, or have the paint counter create a unique hue just for you. You can pick the perfect paint color for your room and your vision thanks to the wide variety of options available. There is a wide selection of latex paint sheens to choose from. For your next endeavor, pick from flat (matte), satin, semi-gloss, or glossy.

In the absence of resins, latex paint takes on a flat, almost velvety texture since it does not reflect much light. This finish is not recommended for a project that will be subjected to frequent bumping, touching, or washing because of how fragile it is. Consider using chalky paint for a more long-lasting matte finish.

Painting with a satin finish absorbs and scatters very little light (eggshell is a closely related finish). If you want the look of matte paint on your furniture but need something more lasting, satin paint might be the way to go. If you go with a washable version, maintenance is a breeze.

With its high reflectivity and ability to withstand repeated washings and heavy use, semi-gloss paint is a top contender for the title of best paint finish for furniture. This semi-gloss paint is better suited for furniture that will be used frequently due to its higher resin concentration. Its glossy appearance is very popular.

High-gloss: A glossy paint finish adds the most drama and durability to your pieces, but it requires the most preparation. High-gloss paints can resist heavy use and frequent cleaning because of their reflective qualities and high resin content. Be wary, though, because a shiny surface will highlight flaws. If you choose to use this paint on furniture, you must ensure that it is well prepared and that any flaws have been fixed.

Latex paint can easily chip or peel if overworked. In contrast to oil-based paint, which soaks into porous surfaces, latex paint adheres to the outside layer of furniture. Because of this, this paint layer is readily scratched. Sanding the surface and using a primer will improve the final product, but you should expect to do some touch-up work later.

This material is ideal for occasional chairs and other furniture that won’t get used frequently, particularly when cost is a primary concern.


  • A wide variety of colors are readily available.
  • Use just mild soap and water to clean.
  • Multiple surface treatments are offered.


  • Cannot withstand regular use
  • True, however not all varieties can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Chalky Paint

Chalky paint has become more popular as a method for revitalizing older pieces of furniture or giving newer ones an antique appearance. This type of water-based paint is often made with latex as the foundation, but it dries to a much thicker and more buildable consistency.

If you’re looking for chalky paint, look for it in specialty stores, though it’s slowly making its way into the mainstream. A few brave souls have even tried their hands at manufacturing their own chalky paint, but for the best and most consistent results, it’s best to just buy a commercial mix. Though it’s more costly than regular latex paint, this one is a crowd pleaser thanks to its sophisticated appearance and luxurious feel.

There is typically more of a “learning curve” associated with applying chalky paint on furniture than with more traditional types of paint. It dries quickly, which is helpful, but it also means that brush strokes will be visible if you go back over an area after it has already started drying to make any necessary adjustments. If you want the best results, you’ll either need to put in some practice time or be willing to compromise on the final product’s aesthetic. Even the learning process can be fun and gratifying because chalk painting furniture has grown so popular. Customers seeking a “vintage” or “shabby chic” aesthetic sometimes choose chalky paint because it can be sanded or damaged to provide a timeworn appearance.

It is ideal for giving antique furniture a new lease on life or giving everyday pieces a luxurious matte finish.


  • Strong adhesion to many different materials
  • Quick drying time
  • Silky smoothness


  • Possible brush stokes
  • The finish can easily be scratched or marked.
  • It’s not cheap, and there aren’t many color options.

Milk Paint

Milk paint may be the best choice if you want to paint your furniture naturally but prefer something with a thinner texture than chalky paint but still lots of personality. Milk protein and an activator, such as lime or Borax, create this non-toxic paint. To alter the shade of a paint, different colorants can be mixed in.

Because it contains no toxic chemicals or extra fumes, milk paint is a popular choice for refinishing furniture in an eco-friendly manner. Indeed, homemade paint has been used for many years for painting furniture, houses, and other objects before commercial paint was readily available. In spite of its versatility, the final product’s saturation level can be hit-or-miss depending on the surface it’s applied on. Milk paint is water-based, so it’s best to apply a bonder for more reliable results (and less chipping). Even on flat surfaces like glass or plastic, this is crucial.

Milk paint stands out from the crowd in a number of ways, one of which is that it is often sold in powder form. Only dilute the paint with water to the desired consistency, and save the remainder for touch-ups or future projects. It has a similar effect as chalky paint but at a far lower price. To protect the finish, a final layer of wax or oil may be required.

Useful for creating the look of aged, weathered, or distressed wood furniture. For an aged look, just sand the edges and corners of a piece finished with milk paint, or leave it as is for a smooth, matte appearance.


  • Non-hazardous powder formulation
  • Rapidly dries
  • Works well on a wide variety of surfaces


  • Consistent saturation is difficult to obtain.
  • Cracking or chipping is possible if not sealed.
  • Sometimes you’ll need a bonder.

Acrylic Paint

A second water-based option for furniture painting, acrylic paint is very similar to latex paint. Acrylic polymer with color particles suspended in it provides a burst of intense color and a silky feel. Since it can be used on so many different surfaces, it’s a great option for painting furniture of all kinds; however, the typically smaller containers it comes in make it more suitable for use on smaller items, such as console tables, picture frames, and decorative accents.

Acrylic paint is user-friendly since it is self-leveling and spreads out evenly. However, a primer is recommended if improved paint adhesion is desired. Since acrylic paint dries quickly, multiple coats can be applied in a short amount of time, but the paint needs time to cure before use. Since it is water-based, cleanup is simple too. All you need is soap and water. Acrylic paint, while more flexible than other water-based paints in its resistance to chipping and cracking, is still best reserved for items that will see only light to moderate wear.

Useful if you need to give a small piece of furniture or an accent piece a fresh coat of paint quickly and cheaply.


  • Simple to use; automatically adjusts to uneven surfaces.
  • Completely stain-proof and wear-resistant coating
  • Deep hues


  • Would benefit from a crash course on the basics.
  • Usually packaged in discrete units for sale
  • Very slow healing time

Oil Paint

Furniture painted with oil-based paint, often known as alkyd paint, stands the test of time. Although oil-based paints last longer, they are more expensive, take longer to dry, and emit harmful quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) unless properly ventilated.

If you want a durable finish that isn’t readily damaged, oil painting furniture is an option to consider. You should also have mineral spirits or turpentine on hand to use as paint thinner and for cleanup, as well as a brush with natural bristles. Oil paint is superior to other types of paint for furniture because it saturates porous surfaces and is self-leveling, making it easier to apply. It takes up to 24 hours for each layer to dry, although it cures more faster than water-based paints.

If you want to paint over an existing finish but aren’t sure how it will hold up, oil-based paint is an option. This paint can be put successfully over either water-based or oil-based paint, whereas water-based paints will have a hard time adhering to a surface that has already been painted with oil paint.

The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by oil paint during and after the painting process do, however, necessitate ventilation and raise certain concerns. Several states have outright prohibited the distribution of oil-based paint. Since oil-based paint for furniture isn’t commonly stocked in big-box hardware stores, this makes it more difficult to find.

You should use this type of paint on any piece of furniture that gets a lot of usage and requires a lasting finish, but be aware that it takes a long time to cure and emits fumes.


  • Long-lasting sheen
  • Automatic adjustment formula
  • Works well on a wide variety of surfaces


  • Extremely high concentrations of volatile organic compounds
  • Slow coat-to-coat drying times
  • Limited availability outside of the state of (insert state here)

Two-tone grey and white painted wooden rocking chair – Urban Makers

Application Tips

  • As important as it is to select the proper paint for your furniture refurbishment job, it is to employ the proper technique when painting the pieces. Brushes made of natural bristle can be used with oil-based paint, whereas synthetic bristle brushes can be used with water-based paint. Other options include rags, rollers, and sponges for more specialized tasks.
  • It’s true that the stroke and final look you get will change depending on the type of applicator you use. Brushes are great for covering large areas quickly, although their bristles can often be visible (especially with water-based paint). A roller may be less precise, but it provides uniform application. You can achieve a one-of-a-kind textured look by applying it with a cloth or sponge.


Knowing how to paint a wooden rocking chair is a talent that may be put to use in many settings. And it’s not hard to pick up either!

It’s not uncommon for a home’s porch or terrace to draw the most attention. The color you choose to paint your wooden rocking chairs is a matter of personal taste.

It is possible to personalize a wooden rocking chair, and doing so can help you save money. Prior to beginning this project, think about where you’ll be working, the style you like, and how much money you have available.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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