Using Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint To Update Chair Legs

Spray paint. Again. Who’s surprised?

I’m nothing if not completely predictable when it comes to spraying my troubles away. I mentioned wanting to ORB (that’s “oil-rubbed-bronze” for those not privy to ridiculous decorating abbreviations) the legs of this old chair in our living room for a while. They’re clashy and red in real life…

… as opposed to the nice dark ORB legs that we addded to Karl The Sectional:

They also didn’t exactly “groove” with the gray-washed beams overhead and the deeper more brown-based wood tones in the console table that we made for behind the sofa (seen fully accessorized here). We plan to refinish the floors someday too – probably in the same hues as the console table – so don’t let those orangey-red floor undertones throw you.

Anyway, back to those legs and my ORB aspirations. First I picked up a can of Rustoeum Universal Metallic spray paint in “Oil Rubbed Bronze” (the same stuff we used to deeply bronze Karl’s legs here). Update: Here’s an affiliate link to this exact spray paint on Amazon for anyone who can’t find it in stores.  

It took me about fifteen minutes to tape two big black garbage bags around the plushy seat part, poking holes for the legs and using painters tape to ensure that no spray could get through to the upholstery. I also made sure spray paint would get all the way to the top of the wood legs so none of that orange color would remain (like four evil rings that taunted me up near the seat).

After 15 minutes spent bagging and taping, it only took about five to spray those hot little legs of his (no sanding was necessary since the legs weren’t sealed or glossy, just dry & chalky = ready for paint). Gotta love prep time that takes three times longer than the actual job. And yes it is resting upside down on a recycling bin. I’m like MacGuyver MacGruber. “Quick hand me that recycling receptacle, some metallic spray paint, and two garbage bags! Hurry Chloe, we’re running out of time!” (somehow this turned into my Jack Bauer impression).

Oh and when it comes to spray painting tips, here ya go:

  • Skip the bad/cheap/terrible $2 stuff in favor of the quality $7+ options (I like Rustoleum’s trigger spray nozzle because it goes on thin and even – and doesn’t get all over your fingers).
  • Always keep the can moving. Seriously. If you’re a-sprayin’ your arm better be a-swayin’.
  • It’s best to keep the nozzle about 8-10″ away from whatever it is that you’re spray painting.
  • You really want a mist, not a heavy wet coating.
  • Three thin and even coats are better than one thick and drippy one.
  • Spray paint has yet to go no-VOC, so apply it outside with a mask, and let it fully cure as long as the can recommends outside whenever you can (usually 24 hours, we try to double that just to be even safer).
  • You can “seal” any spray paint (to limit off-gassing once you bring it inside) by applying two thin coats of Safecoat Acrylacq, which is low-VOC and non-toxic.

Ah, so much better now:

To save your poor weary fingers from scrolling to the top, here’s that before again:

Now those gams blend (with a little subtle gleam thanks to the quiet metallic finish). Which is nice, because although I did call those legs of his hot, they’re not exactly what we’re hoping everyone who enters the room will focus on (kinda like how I hope others will politely overlook my blindingly white mom legs). I’d much rather leave the scene stealing to those purty silver lamps (mixed metals = yes please), or the curtains, or The Karl. Or The Bean. Pretty much anything not chair-leg related.

Eventually we’d love to trade this chair for something a bit more special (think thrift store upholstered armchair or slipper chair with turned legs or castors), but for now a $7 spray paint upgrade did the trick. Well, technically $3.50 since I still have half the can to use on something else – and you know I will. Beware all other objects in the house. I will pull this car over and ORB you.

Psst- I got listy over on BabyCenter today (so many fun summer activities for C, so little time).

Pssst- Who watched Design Star last night? Did anyone else catch when Cathy said “camel tone” and it sounded like something else, or was that just me? Any non camel related thoughts about the cast in general?


    • says

      Nope, they weren’t sealed or glossy (like Karl’s legs) so I knew the dry and chalky texture would take really well to a few thin and even coats of spray paint. Hope it helps!


  1. gina says

    could you mean macgyver? ;-)

    struggling with my own bearing wall removal…Can’t wait until you guys tackle that

  2. says

    The red-hued legs didn’t bother me, but that looks great! Gotta love a simple fix!

    I think that’s the same spray paint we’re about to use on the lamp post in our front yard. Because, you know, after a year with an ORB light, the black (peeling) post is starting to bother me.

  3. Penny says

    Hello from a fellow Richmonder! It’s been so hot and muggy here lately (no suprise for a central VA summer)–what’s your “cut-off” temperature-wise for painting outside? Or does it matter too much with spray paint? Lots of projects to do and paint–perhaps I’m using the heat as an excuse NOT to do them???

    • says

      I always apply suuuper thin coats of spray paint, so they seem to almost instantaneously dry, even on those hot days. I wouldn’t spray outside on a day like yesterday though- that was torture! Maybe 85 degrees and under (I aim for the morning or later in the afternoon) is my deal?


    • Reenie says

      Oh gosh….I live in Kansas ~ and our temps have been in the 100’s. I just spray painted picture frames and I think it was 108 that day ~ and it worked fine….and it sure dries a lot faster ;)

      My friends call me the Spray Paint Queen ~ nothing is safe around me =)

  4. says

    It never fails to amaze me how big of a difference a little spray paint can make! I love it! And I haven’t watched Design Star yet but I can’t wait to!

  5. Chris says

    Ha, yes….I totally misheard “Camel Tone” and giggled about it. I’ll save judgement on the cast until I see a few more episodes, but I’m kinda blahhh about there being too many decorators/stylists and not enough makers of things. And how about that DayGlo room? Eeesh.

    • Kristen says

      Yea, I wasn’t a huge fan and it didn’t get me that excited for this season… We’ll see how it goes.

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