Jul 16 2014


I have been wanting to restore our dining room chairs for a while. They were a second generation hand-me-down from Brandon’s aunt who had used them for years. The chairs were in decent shape, pretty sturdy but the old finish was coming off. They always felt a little sticky. Gross! And honestly they were not too terrible to look at, they just didn’t fit us.

chair - before

(Please ignore the grass/weeds and terrible fence. Those are projects for another day.)

We had such great weather this spring so we decided to get outside and use the opportunity to get something accomplished.

I knew I wanted something colorful but wasn’t exactly sure of the details so I looked to Pinterest for some inspiration. Here are a few of my favorites:


canadian house and home_dining chairs

dining chair inspiration

Apparently I like blue chairs. Who knew?

Once I had more of an idea of what I wanted, it was time to get to work.

My Grandma loves to find and fix up old furniture as a hobby. She has turned that fun into a little business and does pretty well so I decided to ask her for some tips. She suggested using plain old rubbing alcohol to prep the chairs for painting. I wasn’t sure at first but it worked great! We gave the chairs a good rub down with the alcohol and it took off all of the sticky grease from years of meal times. There were some places on the chairs where the old finish was peeling off. The rubbing alcohol took the old stuff right off with just a little elbow grease.

The tools we used:

dining chair redo tools

Once we took the seat cushions off, we wiped the chairs down with the alcohol and then sanded everything lightly to rough up the old finish. Then it was time for the fun part! I don’t know the name of the blue paint that we chose, but I love it! (Does spray paint typically have a color name? I can never find it!) It was from Lowe’s and when all was said and done, it took about one can of paint per chair.

painted chair

Each chair needed two coats of paint. I’d like to say that we did it right and waited overnight between coats, but we all know I’m not that patient. We let the chairs dry for an hour or two between coats, making sure that the previous coat was no longer tacky to the touch.

With all of the nooks and crannies on the chairs, they needed to be turned all around to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

painted chairs

Once we got them painted, my lack of patience showed up again and I dragged the chairs back inside, ready to use them. Without the protective coat of poly, the paint began to chip off after just a few days of use by the boys. Touch-ups and a finishing coat were necessary.

painted chair close-up

Choosing a fabric for the seat cushion was a little bit harder than choosing the paint color. We went back and forth on several choices and took lots of samples home to stare at for a week before we finally picked this green print from Hobby Lobby.

chair fabric

Someone said the pattern made them think of Texas Tech. I can see that, but I still like it. ;) I wasn’t sure exactly how much fabric to get, so I just made the assumption of one yard per chair and added an extra yard just in case. Once we were finished, I actually had almost half of the fabric leftover. Ha! Still, that’s so much better than not having enough.

I had a great helper working with me to pull the old fabric and staples off. He always enjoys the destruction part of a project. :)

conner helps

conner plays

We used the old fabric size as a template to cut for the new covers.

seat cushion fabric

I pulled the fabric tight around the seat and gave Conner control of the staple gun. (yikes!) It took a few tries but we got the hang of it.


We worked around all of the straight edges, then tackled the corners. It took a little finagling but it turned out pretty nice.

seat cover

I’m so excited about the finished product!

dining chair after

Here’s the before and after, side by side:

dining chair before and after

We love them! They are so much more ‘us’. What do you think?


Linking up with:  Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Mostly Homemade Mom , All Things Thursday