Spray paint & Faucets: Friends or Foe?

Are you a home owner?  Are you a home owner with an older home, or a bathroom/kitchen in need of an update?  Here's an idea that won't break the bank, plus a few "Do's" and "Dont's" to help make your spray painting experience, a successful one. 

In summer 2015 I completed a job that entailed a simple solution to a nagging problem.  This job taught me MANY valuable things. In the end, the most important being the critical role communication plays in the development of good customer relationships, and friendships. (that's a post in and of itself!). Today, though, we're focusing on spray painting, potential problems, and solutions so that your next spray painting experience leaves you smiling, not crying! 


Master bathroom hardware.   The shape and style of the hardware was liked, however, the finish was not.  There was a mix of different finishes; shiny silvery-chrome, and matte nickel. There had to be a solution.  There always is.  In this scenario, there were two possible solutions:

1. Purchase new hardware  

2. Spray paint it.

In this particular case, the home-owner still liked the hardware, therefore, solution #2 made the best sense.   You can see the finished product at this link:  Bathroom Vanities: Vision + Paint = New master bathroom


Rust-o-leum primer + paint Universal spray paint in oil rubbed bronze.  

THE PROCESS:  (how about we start with the things I did well).....

1. Research!  Read about the process and necessary products for a job like this.  I read plenty of success stories and how-to's on spray painting all types of hardware in the house.  I was ready and confident to tackle the job. 

2. Clean the hardware. Always clean every inch of the pieces before even thinking about spraying them.  Use a lightly abrasive, but non-harmful sponge to get off thicker debris like hairspray, soap, lotion, etc.  Warm water with dish soap works great.  When clean, leave to dry. 

3.  Apply 2-3 layers of spray paint, allowing plenty of time to dry between coats (I waited a day between each coat)

3.  Protect all surrounding surfaces, and I mean ALL surrounding surfaces.  I used cheap plastic tablecloths from the Dollar store.  I taped them to the walls and surrounding areas using painter's tape.   Since I did not remove the faucets/handles, I carefully placed painters' tape around each of those.  

4.  Spray Paint:  Purchase a quality brand like Rust-o-leum.   I used Rust-o-leum Primer + paint all-in-one spray, and it worked great.  Desired color. Subtle texture. 

5. If any small specs of spray paint get on your porcelain, use a cotton ball with a bit of fingernail polish remover.  Works like a charm.  

5. Sealant:  After all layers are done, allows 2-3 days to dry before you apply a sealant spray.  I used Krylon polyurethane spray. Any quality/brand-name polyurethane or Polycrylic clear spray will accomplish the same goal. Make sure it's CLEAR spray.  I used a clear spray in a MATTE finish.  The sealant spray protects the spray paint from chipping, and normal every day use. Allow PLENTY of time to dry before using....3-4 days at least!  

Now I'll get to the "lessons learned" parts: (what I would do differently next time!): 

1.  Remove all faucets and handles.  What?  Yes.  ALL OF THEM.  Removing them will save you time in the end. You'll get faster, more complete coverage.  It also eliminates the need to cover every last surrounding inch of the room with sheets and tarps. 

2.  Remember, faucets move!  Coverage at every angle is needed!   Though I taped around the faucets meticulously, and covered all surrounding surfaces from here to Minnesota, I failed to consider that the faucets actually TURN.   Yes I did that.  Who knew?  Faucets turn?  

I sprayed those faucets like a champ, covering every feasible angle.  Not a speck on the surrounding surfaces or the porcelain..... BUT...... (and it's a big BUT!) areas on the faucet handles were missed, because I did not think to turn the faucet handles (which would mean the water would be running, while spraying those sections, right?  This would wreak havoc in the room with black water spraying in every direction).  

3. Good ventilation: Spraying outside is ideal, but not always possible.  Use a mask, and/or open windows when possible! 

The take home message:    

If you absolutely cannot remove your hardware, be sure to consider the fact that the faucets turn!  This became obvious when the home-owner went to turn on the faucets.  Oiy, Kate!  Since these particular faucets twisted as well, I was able to get coverage on every part of the faucet, by simple turning the handle, spraying, waiting to dry, then turning the handle again to spray more, and so on and so forth. 

Secondly, while spray paint is a GREAT solution to a nagging problem (clashing finishes or colors), and could save you thousands (yes really!) it does require time and patience.   Putting in the time for preparation, execution, and dry time, will get you results!  

In closing, my assessment is that when these tips and tricks are implemented, spray paint and faucets are indeed FRIENDS, not FOE!!! 

Good luck and happy spraying! 


See related posts on painting tips and tricks: 

Week #3: Just paint it

Week #3 of Home decorating projects "Get Them Done" starts now!  In weeks one we learned how to accessorize that giant empty wall using things we already have.  I also shared a super simple way to hang your wall (without even measuring!). See that post HERE

Week #1 came to a close with a customer story and reveal of her new gallery wall.....You can see that full post HERE

Then in week #2, (Old Furniture, New Purpose) I shared ways you can use your old furniture and totally freshen it up by making simple changes, like I did with this dresser...

From this: 

To this....

And now for week #3.....


Have you ever started painting a room and never finished?  Ever dreaded starting?  I'll admit that I have left patches of unfinished wall sit for a year (or more!) before finally tackling them....

That patch even made it to my photo shoot last year.......ug! Totally forgot about it....thankfully it isn't too notice-able! 

It was a big celebration around here when it was completed.... 

We're only human.  We all need encouragement, and that's why I created this home project series. (I also love interior design, and helping you find ways to make your home one you love). 

How about a little inspiration to help jump start our wall painting endeavors...

Wall is Ultra White (Behr) & Hale Navy (Benjamin Moore)

Wall is Ultra White (Behr) & Hale Navy (Benjamin Moore)

Hot Pink by Behr

Hot Pink by Behr

Wall on left:  Smooth Stone (Sherwin Williams). Wall on right: Ultra White (Behr) & Hale Navy (Benjamin Moore).  Since our area doesn't have a Ben Moore, I had the paint color matched to Hale Navy at Sherwin Williams.    

Wall on left:  Smooth Stone (Sherwin Williams). Wall on right: Ultra White (Behr) & Hale Navy (Benjamin Moore).  Since our area doesn't have a Ben Moore, I had the paint color matched to Hale Navy at Sherwin Williams. 


Just Paint it! 

Painting  our walls can be fun, too.  Though it's not all fun and games while you're taping off all that trim, breaking a sweat to reach that far corner, or running out of paint mid-project, I think we can all agree that the result in the end makes us happy.  And that's what your home should do for you!

My hope is that the home projects I share help cultivate your relationship with your home.  Like a plant, you have to care for it, and love it.  Then it becomes beautiful; something YOU created and something to be proud of!

Here's to getting those wall painting projects DONE! 

Week four's topic (the final week of this series) is yet to be determined....any ideas you have are welcome!!!  







How to achieve a distressed finish on painted furniture

Hi! The Nienhuis clan has returned from vacation and we are feeling refreshed for Spring.  But Spring cannot and will not be taken over by the cold! Spring is here and It's time to think about sprucing up our furniture.  Your home refresh this spring doesn't necessarily mean purchasing new items though.  Using today's painting tips, you'd be surprised to see the potential in your twenty-eight year old dresser, or "hand-me-down" end tables!  Today's post is a follow-up to my recent blog post titled, "13 Must-have staples for your next painting project".    In that post, I provided a list of must-have supplies for your furniture painting projects.  If a painting project is in your future and you missed that post, no problem. Just click HERE

In today's post, you'll learn how to achieve a distressed finish on your piece of furniture.  Not all of us love the distressed look though.  You might prefer a glossy, shiny finish on your furniture. If that sounds like you, I have another step-by-step guide for you at this link:  www.novodecorco.com/blogposts/glossy

If you love the distressed style of furniture, then read on for this simple "how-to" guide:  

Painting and distressing furniture is my favorite method of painting.  It's fun to "let go" with the paint brush, and see the awesomeness unfold as a piece of furniture is painted and strategically sanded.  The distressed method allows a little "crazy" with your paint brush, and that is why I love using this method!  There are many tricks to distressing furniture, but in today's post, I'm providing you with some basic tips to get you off to a great start! 


When using the distressed painting method on furniture, I always use chalk paint.  I happen to use a "home-made" chalk paint.  To learn how to make chalk paint, click on my blog post titled:  Chalk Paint: how to make your own There are also store-bought chalk paint options. Several reasons I am biased toward home-made chalk paint:  1.  Reasonable price2.  Easy to make  3.  Great results

Furniture Preparation

There is little preparation involved with a piece before using the distressed method.  Be sure your piece is clean and that any damage is repaired before you start painting. Cleaning the piece should take no more than 10 minutes and can be as simple as using an old (dry) T-shirt. And this next part is possibly the best part.......are you ready for it?   Sanding your piece before painting is not required when using chalk paint! Another great thing about using this method!    

Brushing Technique

When applying chalk paint, quick and light brush strokes work best.  Because the consistency of chalk paint is a bit thicker than regular paint, brush strokes should not be overlapped.  Coverage of your piece does not have to be (nor do you want it to be) complete and perfect when using this technique. Seeing the natural wood peek through your paint is what makes this method awesome.  You can always go back later and add a little more paint, once your first application is dry. Additionally, If your paint coverage is too thick in some areas, then simply sand those areas to remove some of the heavier paint.   Your goal is to achieve uniform coverage on the entire piece.  Uniform coverage does not mean complete/solid coverage over your piece.  It means a consistent paint brush stroke appearance on the piece.  Remember, you can always add more paint to areas that appear "bare", or you can go back and sand areas that appear too heavy with paint.   Paint brushes with shorter, stiffer bristles work best when using this method.  

Drying Time & Sanding

Chalk paint dries quickly!  Make sure your piece is completely dry before sanding.  Dry time for a chalk painted piece is as little as 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on its size.  Allow more time for drying in humid conditions.  If you like the look of your piece with just a single layer of paint, and a single sanding, then you can move on to the protective topcoat step. (see below) If you aren't satisfied with your piece, consider applying a second coat of paint, and then sanding a little more.   I typically apply light sanding to the entire piece, then I sand the areas I want to appear "distressed".  The whole point of using this method is that the piece should appear worn and weathered.  Sanding is recommended in areas that would naturally wear.  Examples include corners, edges of tables or chairs, and around legs of pieces.   Apply the sand paper lightly and be careful not to sand off the original wood finish underneath. The goal is to sand just enough so that the original wood finish peeks through the paint.   Use fine grit sand paper.  I usually use a 200 or 250 grit paper for distressing.  

The Final Step:  Topcoat

All painted pieces require a protective finish that prevents chips, stains, smudges, and fingerprints.  Topcoat is your final layer, after your painting is complete and you are happy with the paint coverage.  There are so many types of topcoats out there that it can get overwhelming trying to determine which type to use.  Here is a look at two pieces that were painted using the same distressed method described in today's post, but have different topcoats:

In the above example, there is a slight shine to the piece, even with a "matte" finish topcoat that was used on the piece. Topcoats labeled "gloss" or "satin" finish will give a shinier finish to your piece.   In the photo below, the light blue color is protected with a wax finish.  The surface appearance using wax is a bit less shiny than when using polyurethane finish.  

In the above example, there is a slight shine to the piece, even with a "matte" finish topcoat that was used on the piece. Topcoats labeled "gloss" or "satin" finish will give a shinier finish to your piece.   In the photo below, the light blue color is protected with a wax finish.  The surface appearance using wax is a bit less shiny than when using polyurethane finish.  

Below are the two topcoats I used on these pieces. The first is Johnson Paste Wax.  This is wax topcoat that is applied using a lint-free cloth.  Old T-shirts work great for applying this wax.  To use, apply a thin and even layer of wax in smaller, circular motions, or, in the direction of the wood grain.  Then let dry (you'll know it is ready to be buffed when the surface appears hazy). Finally, buff the surface using a clean, dry piece of T-shirt.  Buffing in the direction of the wood grain seems to yield the best results.  There is no need to apply a second layer of wax. The surface will be slightly shiny after buffing. 

The second topcoat is Soft-Touch Polyurethane by Varathane. (matte finish, crystal clear).  This is a water-based product (which makes it even greater, because of its easy soap and water clean-up).  It is applied using a brush (as if you are painting) with brushstrokes applied in the direction of the wood grain.   A second coat can be applied after a two hour drying time.  There is no need to sand between layers.  This topcoat is not recommended for outdoor surfaces.  If your piece is meant for the outdoors, purchase a topcoat designed for outdoor use. 

*Important:  Once you've applied topcoat, you should not paint over the surface with paint!  That is why it is important to be completely satisfied with the appearance of your painted piece BEFORE you apply topcoat! 

The Result

Distressed furniture is beautiful and can be great in any room, any home, and with any style. Having a mix of furniture styles in a room is what makes any room great.  Out with the matching sets and in with eclectic mixes of side tables, coffee tables, and accent pieces with character.  One way to achieve character in your old dresser or accent table is to try the distressed painting method.   It's time to see the potential in your tired furniture! Get my supply list HERE and start with a small piece.   Then, share your result at www.facebook.com/novodecorco

Antique head board/foot board in its original dark finish above....painted and distressed with chalk paint to achieve a new look below......

Antique head board/foot board in its original dark finish above....painted and distressed with chalk paint to achieve a new look below......

Jump outside that box and take a look at your furniture.  What can you start with?  

If painting is not on your radar, I'd love to help you!  Click below to reach me!  I provide complimentary home consultation to view and assess your piece of furniture! 







How to achieve a glossy finish on your painted furniture

Snow on March 23.  Depressing.  But try not to let the snow get you down because today's post might be just what you need to get started on this spring project.....painting a piece of furniture.  If you've considered giving a piece of your furniture a face-lift but the task sounds daunting, you have found the right post!  Here is a step-by-step guide for painting a piece of furniture...."glossy style".  Not only do you get a materials list (see link below) to take all your guesswork out of the paint supply shopping experience, but you also get a step-by-step guide teaching you how to tackle your piece!    So go ahead and pick a paint color, and you're off....  

If you haven't seen the full supply list I posted recently, just click this title:   "13 Must-have staples for your Next painting project".       Once you have the supplies you need,  then you are ready for step #1 below!  Each and every step serves an important purpose, so I wouldn't recommend skipping any of them.  Let's get started....

1.  Sand your piece.  This allows the primer and paint to adhere well to the surface.  Some primers will say you don't have to sand before you prime, but it can't hurt to sand lightly before you apply anything to your piece.  Personally, I haven't seen a difference in the final outcome, whether I sand before priming or not.  So, you choose!  (this process should take no more than 10 minutes!)

2.  Wipe off dust and the particles from sanding

3.  Apply Primer (use brush or roller). The photo below shows a piece with the first layer of primer on it.  I used a brush to apply the primer, since it's a smaller piece.  The first layer of primer never looks good, so don't freak out by that!  Additional sanding and priming make all the difference in the world! 

4.  Sand & wipe off particles

5.  Apply second coat of primer. Below is an example of a piece with two layers of primer.  See the difference between the 1st coat above, and 2nd coat?  Much better! 

6.  Sand, and wipe off particles (again!)

7.  Begin your first coat of paint.  I have seen the best results using a "flat" finish paint.  And, I personally prefer how flat paint, paints.  (that one I can't really explain).  So why a flat paint when I want a shiny finish?  Don't I need a high gloss finish?  My answer........the glossy part comes later.  Warning: the first layer won't look that great. There will be streaks and uneven coverage.  That is why you need more coats of paint! 

8.  Let your first paint layer dry for at 3-5 hours.  In fact, I'd probably wait even longer.  If you are not in a time crunch to get that glossy piece of furniture done (I know you're excited but be patient!), than why not wait a whole 24 hours to apply your second coat!?  This is particularly a good idea if the environment is warm, hot or humid.  Longer dry time is needed for these conditions.

9.  Sand and wipe particles (again!)  

10.  Apply second coat of paint, let dry completely. the photo below is the same piece above, with first coat of primer.  In this picture below, the piece is covered in 2 layers of primer, and 2 layers of paint.  Since it was white, it needed an additional coat of paint. 

11.  Sand and wipe clean if you will be applying another coat of paint to your piece.  The next step is where the glossy finish comes in.....

12.  Apply your top-coat.  If you've made it this far, congrats! It can be a time consuming process that requires patience, but the result is amazing!  Use a clean, dry paint brush for this. Light layers yield a nicer result than heavy, thick layers.  You will be doing more than a single layer with topcoat, so do not worry about perfect coverage on your first layer, however, DO take care to cover the whole surface on that first coat, and to watch your brush strokes when applying ALL layers of your topcoat.  You don't want to overlap strokes onto freshly painted strokes because this will create bumps and roughness.   Read the label for dry-time recommendations for your specific product before applying additional layers of top-coat. There are numerous top-coats available. For information on that you can click this link: www.minwax.com/how-to-finish-wood/guide-to-clear-finishes/   

In the photos below I used a "Clear Satin" finish, two layers.  

Other tips and considerations:

  • Depending on what color paint you choose, your piece may require more than 2 coats of paint.  Similar to when painting walls, the darker the color, the more coats are needed.  Lighter colors can also require additional coats.  Sanding between paint layers helps provide a smooth finish.  I typically do not sand after the final coat of paint.  If I'm happy with the result after the final coat has been applied, than I leave it be.  No more sanding.  If you are not happy with the appearance of the final coat of paint on your piece due to rough spots, streaks/uneven coverage, or paint bristles stuck (I hate when that happens!), then you are better off sanding again, and then re-applying another coat.  
  • Once you've completed at least 2-3 coats of paint to your piece, examine your piece carefully for streaking or lighter areas.  If you see this, it means you need another coat, or two. When you are satisfied with your painted piece, and it is completely dry, then you are ready to apply top-coat.  
  • I typically wait at least 24 hours before applying top-coat to a painted piece
  • Always ensure good lighting when you paint and apply topcoat!  You want to be able to see your brush strokes as you paint. This gets tricky when using topcoat, because the topcoat is clear, making it more difficult to see.  Good lighting can prevent you from painting over freshly painted brush strokes already completed, whether you are using paint or topcoat.  (I've done this before, and the result isn't pretty! One-hundred percent of the time this warrants another layer of sanding, and you guessed it.....another layer of paint!  

And that is one way to achieve a glossy finish on your next piece of furniture!  The duration for a project like this totally depends on the size of the piece and the complexity of the painting plan.  Solid color pieces won't take as long as pieces with many colors and intricacies.   I've spent as much as 45 hours on a piece using this method, so patience, planning, and strategy are key.   

I hope you found this helpful!  As always, I'd LOVE to see any projects you tackle!  You can post them at www.facebook.com/novodecorco.    And remember, as a resource in painted furniture, I'm here to answer your questions and offer suggestions! 

Glossy finish not your thing?   I've got you covered.  Coming soon........How to achieve a distressed finish on your painted furniture





13 Must-have staples for your next painting project

Hi!  Painting projects can be time consuming but believe it or not, there are some tricks to trimming the time (and frustration) while doing them!  Two of the most important things I've learned about painting furniture is ensuring ample prep time, and having the right supplies on hand.  There is nothing more frustrating then starting a project, only to find out you have to make a Menard's run right in the middle of it!   That's why I created this post....to eliminate (or reduce!) that frustration, and provide a guide for the next painting project you want to tackle.   

When it comes to painting furniture, there are different supplies for different types of projects. The list below provides you with the basic necessities for painting a piece of furniture.   I will be posting a detailed "how-to" on the actual process of painting a piece, but first, let's start with this supply list to get you off on the right foot: 


Even before gathering your supplies, make sure you have a work space that is well-ventilated. You should also consider wearing a mask/respirator for added protection from paint fumes/odors (especially when sanding). A room with windows, garage, or workshop is ideal for painting projects. 

1. Tarp (old sheet or blanket to protect your floor)

2.  Wood filler and edger:  This is necessary for filling any dents or chips in the surface of your piece. Once dry then you can sand these areas flat/smooth.  

3. Sand paper/sand block.  There are many types of sandpaper and knowing which type is right for your project is important.  See a sandpaper guide HERE.  You will want to sand your piece before you prime, after each layer of primer, and after each layer of paint.  A sand block makes sanding easier.  Just wrap the block with your sand paper and sand away!  With all that sanding, you'll need a clean surface for painting.  Scroll down to #3....

4. Tack cloth (used to wipe down the surface after sanding).  This is a cloth with a sticky/tacky texture. Holding this stuff makes me crazy due to its texture, but it works great for wiping the surface clean of dust and other particles. I recommend having 2-3 of these on hand.   

5. Painter's tape (great for protecting surfaces you don't want painted)

6. Screw driver (s) (for removing any hardware on the piece, or removing doors and other pieces).  Believe it or not, this is a time saver in the long run.  Removing all hardware eliminates you from having to tape around, and paint around, all the hardware!  Plus, no matter how much tape you put on to cover the hardware, paint always manages to creep in there.  Remove the hardware. 

7. Paint brushes (there are many types of brushes out there; long bristled, short bristled, long handled, short handled, stiff bristles, varying brush widths. The list goes on!  It can be overwhelming choosing a brush.  Since I've painted a little (lol), I've learned what I like and don't like.  I would suggest practicing with a couple different types before you begin your project.  Purdy is a popular brand that has served me well!  

8.  Paint rollers (Paint rollers are nice for applying primer to a piece (the layer necessary before you apply your paint color).  Rollers work best on surfaces that are flat, and can help cut down on time.   Rollers come in different widths.   I prefer narrower rollers for furniture. The roller in the photo below is 4 inches wide.   Rollers also work great for applying primer to chair/table legs (legs without grooves or curves). 

9.  Stir Stick (the paint store will give you one with your paint purchase).  Ask them for two; one for your primer, and one for your paint.   In the picture below, you'll see some sticks have dried up paint on them.  I'll admit that I get lazy sometimes and re-use them.  If the paint's dry, they can be re-used!  Just make sure there aren't any loose fragments or pieces on the used stick, because they'll end up in your paint!  Always stir before you paint, and periodically while you're painting to prevent the paint from thickening up.  (see #10)

10. Primer (water based, or oil based).  I prefer an oil based primer because of how it paints and sands, but, water-based primer is more "user-friendly" in terms of easy soap and water clean-up. Either type of primer will do the job, which is ultimately to provide a surface that your paint will adhere to, prevent chipping and provide overall durability of your piece.  There are some basic guidelines to consider when choosing which type of primer is best for your project. Zinsser is a popular brand.  By the looks of the picture below, I guess I've used some primer a little!  For a look at different primers and more information on them,  see this primer buying guide from Lowe's HERE

11. Paint:   Paint can be acrylic/latex (water-based), or oil-based paint.  There are also many varieties of finishes, or sheen. The paint store should have samples to help you determine what sheen you want.  If you don't know what type of finish you need, just ask your local paint store personnel. Sheens/finishes can be dull (matte finish), up to high gloss (very shiny).  Your painting project (and your preference) determines what type of finish is best.   

12.  Water  (for thinning out your paint as needed). Paint can become thicker as it sits.  That is why you want your stir stick handy.  Adding a little water can also help thin out your paint, making it easier to work with. 

13. Protective top-coat (water or oil based).  Topcoat is necessary to protect the paint on your piece (prevent chipping, prevent fingerprints and marks).  Like paint, there are a zillion types of topcoats with a million types of finishes, or sheen.  The term "finish" means how shiny (or not shiny) a surface is.  Examples of finish types are high-gloss, satin, and matte.  Home-improvement stores have people who are paint-knowledgeable and ready to help you with your topcoat selection.  You can also view this "Guide to Clear Finishes" by clicking HERE

I think someone could have used a tutorial on proper closing of top-coat cans!   This was in my early painting days.  Yeesh! 

I think someone could have used a tutorial on proper closing of top-coat cans!   This was in my early painting days.  Yeesh! 


Whether it is a small chair, or a large armoir, the supplies on this list serve an important purpose.  Knowing what you're looking for at the store, and having these supplies readily available will help make your project more enjoyable, and less frustrating!  

But not all painting projects are created equal.  Stay tuned for upcoming posts on HOW to paint a piece of furniture to achieve two very different looks:  1. Non-distressed, high-gloss finish and 2.  Distressed, matte finish (my specialty!)  Here's a look at two pieces of painted furniture using these two very different methods:


#2 DISTRESSED, MATTE FINISH (not as shiny)

Stock up on these staple supplies for your next project and....


paint on!