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How to Spray Paint Bathroom Fixtures

This easy DIY tutorial on how to spray paint bathroom fixtures is the perfect way to upgrade your shower hardware without worrying about annoying plumbing issues.

Sometimes I take spontaneity in marriage a little too far. When Robert comes home from work every day, he never knows what he’s about to walk into.

One day I might greet him at the door grinning ear to ear, excited to show him our newly painted bathroom cabinets.

And then every now and then, he might find me falling to pieces on the floor, borderline sobbing as I try to rescue myself from some fiasco I’ve created. (Dear dining room chairs, I may never strip varnish again for as long as I live.)

How to Spray Paint Shower Fixtures (without the plumbing work) | Bless'er House

Nowadays, no matter what spontaneous whim I surprise him with, he’s ready to jump up and down in celebration too or willing to drive to the nearest grocery store for a comforting pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream.

Thankfully, this time around, it was the jumping-up-and-down-grinning-ear-to-ear kind.

Our hallway bathroom makeover is officially finished and you’ll be seeing the full reveal this week!

UPDATE: See the bathroom makeover reveal here!

But the finishing touch was spray painting the shower fixtures. They turned out beautifully! And I didn’t have to bust out the plumbing tools to do it. (Like I’d actually now how to do that. Baha!)

Turns out, I wouldn’t have been able to remove the faucets without hiring a professional plumber anyway because this particular shower has no access panel, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that myself.

How to Spray Paint Faucets and Shower Fixtures

Supplies 

Total cost:  Approximately $35 for nonreusable materials

I did plenty of research beforehand for how to go about spray painting our fixtures to make them durable and after reading up on this tutorial from eHow and this durability post from DIY ShowOff, I thought I’d give it a go.

Here’s what we were working with before:

chrome faucet before spray painting

There was nothing wrong with them at all, but since we installed our pretty bronze faucet, the chrome had to go. And I was not about to spend a couple hundred dollars for a simple color change.

chrome bathroom fixtures before spray painting

The Steps

We didn’t use this shower for at least 48 hours to be sure there would be no moisture to cause any problems.

1. I taped off all of the fixtures first (and it’s not easy taping in a circle). I realized I probably should have sanded the fixtures first, but I got a little eager here.

painter's tape to spray paint faucet

painter's tape to spray paint a shower head

2. I gave all of the chrome a thorough sanding with the coarse grit paper and wiped away any residual dust.

sanding chrome finish to spray paint shower fixtures

3. Then, I turned our bathroom into a total crime scene / quarantine zone.

plastic drop cloth for spray painting shower fixtures

taped drop cloth to spray paint shower fixtures

4. I learned my lesson from spray painting our shower door in our primary bathroom and was extra careful this time around to make sure every piece of plastic drop cloth was completely taped down.

(This is the part where Robert came home and walked in with that sly “what are you up to” look in his eye. Truly, he loves this stuff as much as I do.)

taping to spray paint bathroom fixtures

5. I gave the fixtures two light coats of the automobile primer after all of the sanding, taping, and dropclothing (totally a word).

spray paint grip

6. I made sure to keep the spray can about a foot away from the fixtures and kept my hand moving in a sweeping motion to avoid any splotches or drips.

I like to err on the side of caution with several light coats as opposed to one or two heavy coats to keep the finish even and smooth.

spray painted shower fixtures

7. About an hour later, once the primer was dry, I gave everything three light coats of the oil rubbed bronze spray paint, followed by two coats of the high gloss lacquer.

The whole project required a lot of waiting time as each coat dried, but it was worth it.

spray painted bathroom fixtures

8. Before peeling up ANY tape, I scored all of the edges with a razor blade. (Another hard lesson from painting our shower doors. Live and learn.)

razor blade to score painter's tape after spray painting bathroom fixtures

9. After the tape was scored away from the fixtures, I peeled it up very slowly so none of the paint would come with it. I’m so happy with how it all turned out!

spray painted faucet

10. After the paint has cured for a full 24 hours, give the whole tub a scrub down to get rid of any of that spray paint dust.

how to spray paint shower fixtures

I changed out the shower curtain rod to match too. I’m sure I’ll follow up down the road to show how these fixtures are holding up one day.

UPDATE: It has been SIX years since I spray painted these shower fixtures! We moved out of this house a year and a half later, and the finish looked just as perfect as the day I painted them. The new homeowners have reported to me that they’re still holding up very well. As long as you don’t scrub the painted surface with anything abrasive, they should last for a while!

spray painted shower fixtures

UPDATE UPDATE: We loved how these spray painted fixtures turned out so well that we used this method again on shower fixtures and a tub faucet in this budget-friendly DIY bathroom makeover a couple of years later. 

spray paint faucets budget-friendly bathroom makeover with spray painted bathroom fixtures

And uh…ahem. Do you see a little glimpse of those rustic shelves there? Eep! I promise I’ll stop teasing y’all.

Robert and I are having a celebratory booty shaking, Ben & Jerry-eating dance party about it over here. And I pinky promise a break from the home improvement surprises for a while…meaning like a week.

Have you ever spray painted bathroom fixtures before? Or surprised your spouse with an amazing home improvement project? …Or one gone wrong? Whoops.

signoff

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do spray painted faucets last?

After using this method, the bathroom fixtures have lasted for six years and are still going strong! Just don’t clean the painted surface with anything abrasive. Hard water could possibly affect its durability.

What’s the best brass spray paint to use?

Lately Krylon Short Cuts spray paint in Gold Leaf has been my favorite to look the closest to real modern brushed brass.

Can I spray paint bathroom hardware?

Of course! You don’t need a method nearly as intense as painting faucets. Just spray knobs, pulls, and light fixtures with spray primer, let dry, and spray 2-3 light coats of the color of your choice.

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189 Comments

  1. Hi Lauren – I love the results and looking to do this as well to 2 baths. Wondering how it has held up?

  2. Wow, great job! I just refreshed 3 Casablanca fans by painting Rustoleum Titanium Silver over the original polished brass parts. What a huge improvement for only a $7.00 can of spray paint and a few hours work!

    My final refresh project is the polished brass in the master bath: jacuzzi tub fixtures & jets and the steam shower frame. Since I can’t remove the fixtures or jets in the jacuzzi tub without taking out tiles, painting over the polished brass might be the best option.

    Are you available for hire?

    1. That’s great! Spray paint is magic. I’m convinced. 😉 I’ve never seen it done on jacuzzi jets, but it’s worth a shot I guess. I’m not sure if the constant moving water streams around them would cause corrosion or not. I’ll be available for hire when the rest of our house is done… which who knows when that will be. Haha

  3. Thanks Lauren! I have an old under whirlpool tub with brass jets. I have replaced all of them with new polished chrome, but they no longer make the jets 🙁 I have looked everywhere and it kills we to look at the project with beautiful chrome faucet, etc and these standout brass jets. I am SO tempted to try to spray them a polished chrome paint. Your thoughts? I feel put off my the realtor warning of flaking as I am putting my house on the market. Your drain has been immersed in water without an issue? What particular paint would you recommend for polished chrome look?

    1. Ah that’s tricky! I’d think it’s worth a shot. I don’t know if the constantly moving water streams would cause corrosion or not, but if you use the sanding/primer/laquer steps, it should be much more durable than spray paint alone.

  4. You made it look very easy, and I tried doing it this way. My experience was it was whole lot of work and not as pretty, but it got the job done. Thanks for guiding the way (and the supplies list helped a lot).

    1. I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out so well for you! Two things that are key for me is the spray can grip to get an even coat and a razor blade to cut away the painter’s tape to prevent peeling. Sometimes that can be tricky.

    1. It’s holding up beautifully! No problems at all so far. I might have to do a durability post when we hit the 1 year mark.

    1. I wanted to avoid as much plumbing work as possible and didn’t trust my abilities in that avenue of home improvement. But I knew how to wield a mean can of spray paint and tape up plastic drop cloth, so that was my answer. 🙂

  5. It looks like maybe your fixtures are the kind where that little knob on top of the water spigot pulls up. I’m curious how you handled that! Did you have to pull it up and spray paint that part too? Or what about the temperature control level? If you move that around, do you see some of the old finish hidden underneath?

    1. Oh so the little wand thing to pull up to change it from a bath to a shower, I had to ball up some painter’s tape and push it up into the water spout to push it up. Then, I was able to paint that little piece. For the underside of the temperature control lever, the spray paint can did a good job of getting under there. I had to spray it from the sides and angle it just right.

      1. I had the same question and glad you answered. Just to add it it: Did you have any problems with the handle sticking or the pull tab from not working after painting. That is my only concern that I will paint them stuck! Haha. Just curious what you did to prevent that. Thanks!

        1. That is a totally valid concern, Jenn! Haha! No, I didn’t have any issues with ours sticking. Maybe that would vary, depending on what faucet you had. But ours was no problem.

  6. So I spray painted my guest bath fixtures today, I did sand but I didn’t prime or put a lacquer on! EkK, do you think if I lightly sanded I could do your steps? Or could I just seal mine as is? And what exactly does the laquer do? Thanks in advance 🙂 I’m a newbie I just bought my home 🙂

    1. If they’re already painted, I don’t think there’s really much else you can do other than spraying a lacquer on top. The lacquer is just a protective top coat. Sort of like how when you paint your fingernails, you put a clear top coat on to prevent your nail color from chipping? Same thing with bath fixtures. 🙂 You might still be okay without the sanding/primer. Just don’t go too scrub-crazy when you’re cleaning.

  7. Had a client do this to sell her home 3 years ago. It peels off. She even used car primer before spraying. The buyer called the seller a few Months after complaining. Do not spray paint your fixtures. I am a REALTOR and trust me you are not adding tangible value. If anything you are devaluing your properties by doing this to your fixtures, door knobs hinges, etc. Chrome is back in style!

    1. Bummer! We actually painted our shower door over 8 months ago and it’s still holding up really well. I’ve known a couple other people who used the same process I did and theirs didn’t chip even after 3-4 years. Maybe it was a different paint she used or she didn’t sand/shellac or they were scrubbed heavily? We would have changed the fixtures in here anyway if the spray paint didn’t work, so if it ever becomes a problem, we’ll get the real deal. I’ll have to do a follow-up post maybe in a year to check in with how it’s doing.

    2. 1. When someone does a project like this for a house they still live in, it’s not really your business as a REALTOR. Maybe she’s planning to change out the fixtures if she decides to sell the house later. You don’t know. But for now, it’s about loving the home you live in, not about pleasing hypothetical people who might buy your home one day maybe.

      2. How did the buyer even get the seller’s information? I don’t have ANY information for my previous owner. It’d be nice to contact her because she stupidly didn’t change her address and I’m getting mail for her 2 years later (including traffic citations and jury summons!). My realtor was unable to help me.

      1. We have all the information for our seller, and the one before that. The buyers from our two properties have our information. My parents are in contact with the people who bought their house… and my brother called the people he bought his house from right after they moved in. Your Realtor would be able to contact the seller’s Realtor, but you would have information of their address and likely their phone number in the bill of sale and maybe the contract from when you bought the property. My experiences cover Connecticut, New York, Wisconsin, and Illinois, so your state may have different rules.

  8. Yes! I spray painted our tarnished gold shower door. It was one of the most tedious DIY projects and to this day, the smell of spray paint reminds me of it. I’m glad I did it because it looks way better but never want to do it again. The prep work is such a pain! Looking forward to seeing more of those shelves!

  9. You are so inspiring!!! I did spray the CHEAPO aluminum tp holder and it looks great. I did our huge 34?36″ towel bar which my hubby changed out the rod for a durable metal piece so it had to be sprayed. Oh I just cringe. I should make it match. We put all new door handles in throughout the house. Maybe I’m a bit inspired???!!!! I love whatever you do!!:)

    1. Aw thank you, Gwen! Spray paint is amazing stuff. The one teeny thing that bugs me in our house is our doorknobs are brushed nickel amidst all of the oil rubbed bronze lighting and fixtures. Just ignore it and maybe it’ll go away. Haha 😉

  10. It doesn’t look like you have a window in the bathroom. How long did it take to get the spray paint smell out of the room?

    1. Yeah that was rough. Thank goodness for respirator masks. I kept the door wide open the entire time, kept the bathroom fan on, and opened windows throughout our house. The smell was completely gone in a day though.

      1. Hi Nancy! We moved out of this house nearly 4 years ago, but it was still holding up perfectly when we moved, and it’s still holding up great according to the new homeowners as well.

  11. This turned out so great Lauren! I’m so glad you tackled this and gave such a great tutorial. I’m about to do this to my bath as part of the One Room Challenge. I have that EXACT same builder grade faucet set up. But I have two to do…tub and shower. Let the spray painting begin!

        1. As long as you don’t scrub with anything abrasive, it should be fine. We didn’t experience any issues with peeling.

  12. I haven’t tried spray painting bathtub fixtures before, but I did spray paint some of our door knobs when we first moved in. Ours are all mismatched brass and gold ones. They haven’t held up very well to the constant use, so I might take them off and redo them using this method! I just can’t make myself spend a small fortune replacing them all, but would love for them to at least look unified. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  13. I wish I could spray paint my entire mustard yellow tub/tub enclosure and floor to ceiling tiles! Your fixtures came out awesome!

    1. Ohhh yeah that’s tricky. I’ve heard good things about Bath Fitter lately. But I know that’s definitely not as cheap as spray paint. :-/

    2. We lived with an ugly rose colored tub for 10 years. Then when we got ready to move our realtor recommended that we change the color. We were like “You can do that?”. It cost use $150. Some company she knew of did tub resurfacing. They change it to white and you would have never guessed that it used to be pink. It was a big garden tub too. If only we would have known we would have changed it out when we moved in because we always hated that tub. Instead we lived with it because we thought it would be too costly to replace.

          1. Hi!! I must have skipped over this because we are in Charlotte NC. However, I googled “tub resurfacing in houston texas” and several popped up. All of the ones I glanced at have five star ratings. I am not able to recommend one over the other as I am not from the area. I hope you find one that works for you. 🙂

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