How To Spray Paint Furniture For A Beautiful Ombre Look In A Few Easy Steps

Ombre in shades both muted and bright is a hot trend in design, covering everything from ombre accent walls and textiles to large pieces of furniture. Lauren Quigley of Lauren Quigley Creations showed off a great tutorial on how to DIY an ombre finish on a vintage buffet using a neon selection of ColorShot spray paints that evoke a saturated sunset effect, ranging from a deep purple to a bright yellow. The key to her success? A mix of color, coat consistency, and determination. Quigley created a completely unique, upcycled piece of furniture with several cans of spray paint applied carefully to blend shades perfectly. 

While Quigley used many shades, you can repeat this technique with as few as two. The contrast between shades can be subtle or dramatic, shocking or subdued. Even better, spray paint, while it requires some tips to get consistent results, is often an inexpensive way to get immediate impact without the brushwork and blending by hand that traditional painting often requires. It's a perfect finish for larger pieces like bureaus and tables as well as smaller furniture like chairs or stools. You can also use it on accent pieces like vases and lamps. 

Creating an ombre effect with spray paint

Begin with preparing the surface of your furniture for paint by removing the hardware and thoroughly cleaning it with soap and water. Depending on the original finish of the piece, you may also need to sand the surface to allow the primer to adhere better. Use as many coats of primer as needed to get even coverage, allowing each coat to dry between applications. When finished, allow the piece to dry overnight. 

After you have selected the colors, there are a couple of options for creating a perfect ombre. Lauren Quigley began her project with the darkest color on the bottom of her buffet, working upward from purple into various shades of pink, orange, and finally yellow along the top. Another option is to start with the lightest color all over, and then layer each color going from lightest to darkest. This approach takes a bit more paint to get right, especially the lightest shade, but it sometimes can be easier to blend with the lighter base coat underneath. You may want to test each approach on another surface to see what works best for you. Whichever way you work, you will want to make sure each color is still slightly wet to get a good blend with the overlapping color, but not so wet it drips into other layers. 

Getting the best results

Brooke Larson of Start at Home advises that "when creating the ombre look with spray paint, less is more." You want each coat to be slightly transparent, and you can get a lighter and more even coat by standing slightly farther back. Add each coat of new color evenly around the furniture piece to keep consistent lines of color transition on all sides. Also, while Lauren Quigley reinforces the importance of consistency and large strokes of paint with each spray, Larson recommends short sprays that use less paint. Standing too close or creating too intense a spray can lead to unevenness, splatters, and drips.

Quigley completed her project with two coats over three days, getting the colors in place on the first coat and smoothing any rough spots and imperfections with additional coats the next day. When finished with your color, apply a coat of polyurethane or sealer to prevent scratches and wear on the surface of your piece, particularly if you are painting a surface that will get a lot of use or seating arms that will be touched by hands. Let the final coat dry completely, and enjoy your custom ombre furniture.