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Painted Rocking Chair: A DIY You Can Do!

Painted Rocking Chairs are one of the most practical ways to add some seating plus style to your covered porch! Today Im going to show you how to paint a wooden rocking chair.  Outdoor furniture can make us question everything we think we know about painting furniture.  How many coats of paint? How many coats of primer will I need to paint a rocking chair?  What paint color choices are best for a porch? Do I have to use a top coat when I paint outdoor furniture?  Should I use a brush or should I spray paint instead?  Im here to walk you through the entire process and Let you in on every trick to painting furniture that I know!  If you want more painting tips and guides I encourage you to check out My Ultimate Guide to Painting Furniture.

painted rocking chair pin

Sometime along the way my front porch was completely forgotten about! It became this interesting hodge podge of attempted styling and,.. well forgotten nonsense! Several years back I accumulated an old rocking chair from my beloved Papa. He’s genuinely one of my absolute favorite people and I treasure the things he gave me before he passed. So,. for a very long time one single rocking chair graced my front porch. Me and Jerry would joke that the porch looked like it belonged to a single person and as much as he sat in it I always picked that we needed to find another so he didn’t look like some “bachelor”! We couldn’t have that… Earlier this year we finally grabbed another and I had every intention of painting it and the old chair to make the mismatched set coordinate. Months later we are here! …in this sad place. We will just call this part one of my Front Porch Refresh!


Of course I had to first head over to Pinterest for painted rocking chair ideas to decide what color to paint.  Click here to follow my Front Porch Living Pinterest Board although this would even work if painting a rocking chair for a nursery.  I decided I wanted to keep them classic black and decorate around them with color.  So, here is what I would use to refinish my outdoor rocking chair: (My amazon affiliate links have been included for your convenience and I will earn a small commission if you chose to shop through them.  In addition this is a sponsored post which means I was compensated with product and/or monetarily for creating this article)

What do we need to paint rocking chairs?

Cleaner in a Spray Bottle

Scotch Brite Pads

Terry Wash Cloth

Shellac Spray

Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

Homeright Super Finish Max Paint Sprayer

Homeright Spray Shelter (Medium)

I knew the Homeright Super Finish Max and Shelter would come in SO handy for this! Now, to get started.

How do I prep the chair to paint?


First thing first is to clean! My choice of cleaner is usually just a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water with just a touch of dish soap added to it.  I keep that in my spray bottle listed above.  Using that and my Scotch Brite pad, I scrubbed down the whole chair and wiped it clean using my dampened terry wash cloth to remove any remaining residue left behind.


Now I let it dry completely.  (This is where many would want to lightly sand to remove any loose paint or to provide tooth to paint-this wasn’t a concern for my situation but if you do, be sure to wipe back down again and once again allow to completely dry.)

Priming my chair to paint.

After everything is dry its time to prime.  If you dislike painting spindles like I do you will want to opt for a sprayable product.  My go to especially working outdoors is shellac!  Its rather self leveling, dries crazy fast, and,.. its in a spray can.  This means I will make quick work of all those little narrow areas.  So, after I had the chair placed in my spray shelter, I put my respirator on and went to work!


How to paint my rocking chair.

While the shellac took a minute to dry I went ahead and loaded up my sprayer.  Like we just said, spraying makes all the spindles go soooo much more quickly than painting by hand with a brush.  Also, if I ever want to vamp them up with a special technique I can still do so with the base color already laid!  Thats how I moved along with the Coral Chippendale Chairs. After getting a flawless sprayed finish I took them to the next level by glazing and distressing! ..back to these rocking chairs tho.  For the paint I would choose to go with Benjamin Moore Advance.

Benjamin Moore advance-Paint-for-rocking-chairs

I love using this paint in the Homeright Super Finish Max.  I get a flawless finish every single time!   Plus there is no need to top coat unless I want extra protection for a high traffic area such as a dresser top.   The adjustable tips on my Super Finish Max make it so easy to get to the spraying!  I loaded my sprayer up with the Benjamin Moore Advance paint in my classic black and I was ready to go!

Painted-rocking-chairs-super finish max

Even more awesome is being able to plop my Homeright Medium sized Spray Shelter in my front yard!  Less carrying and lugging things around and over spray is contained! You should totally check out all the amazing products from Homeright at www.Homeright.Com


My first coat would be super light.  I like to just lightly dust my base coat on there.  Because Advance has such strong self leveling properties, it can definitely tend to sag if we spray it too heavily.  The first coat should just lightly introduce the color-not completely cover though.  Later in the day I sprayed the second coat.


Whalah! Now look at all the over spray!  Had I not use the spray shelter there is no telling where it would have landed.  Also, Benjamin Moore Advance dries best with airflow running over the surface (rather than directly on). So, the vent out the back of the shelter encourages this to happen!  I honestly can’t believe how lovely the finish came out!  As you can see I already had a jump on the makeover by spraying the small table.. Final finish on that is coming up soon.  For now, I will just enjoy my much more cohesive mismatched porch furniture.

black painted rocking chairs
Rocking chairs on Porch

We still have a bit to go to refresh this space BUT its nice to have just one little cohesive nook! I love how I was able to pull the chairs and even the table together.  At first glance they each seem to match, but each piece of the trio came from far different places.  Its also great to be able to pull Papas rocking chair in to the area.  

Front Porch Painted Chairs

Next I think its time to work on the porch floor.  The color variations and stains that won’t fade could use some creative touch to bring them to life!  Im thinking a stencil to really jazz them up!  What would you do to update your porch?

I’ll be sure to update you as soon as I get it done!  Its always amazing to me to see just how much impact (and instant gratification) paint can provide!  Until next time at That Sweet Tea Life!



Saturday 14th of March 2020

So, with that BM paint you don’t need to seal the chair after painting? I’m new to furniture painting and I am currently redoing my front porch chairs. Thanks

Thea Osborne

Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Nope no need to seal! Now, if they are exposed to elements, be sure to watch them, they may need some extra protection via a top coat.

Cynthia E Goad

Thursday 1st of August 2019

Thank you for this information. I have several rockers that need to be repainted. I am definitely using your tips!

Sabra W Green

Friday 7th of June 2019

Love love it