Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chair Chaos

Have you ever tried painting a dining room set?  If you haven't and are thinking about, beware that you may go insane before you finish.  If you have, then will you please do mine next time?

After painting my little end table I was feeling pumped about refurbishing more of the furniture in the house.  I figured I should just go for the gusto and start working on the largest project that I had awaiting paint...the dining room table set.

Mary had donated it to Chris when he moved after having it as their set for a number of years.  She told me that the table originally had white legs.  When she got bored of the white she changed them to black and sanded and refinished the top.  I'm guessing the chairs were bought black as they didn't seem to have been altered at all when I first took them apart.  Since I'm crazy and am on an everything bright and cheery kick, I decided to paint the chairs the same color as the side table I shared with you guys awhile back.  Eventually I will be painting the table back to white, but that will be another post when it's finished.

So far I have completely finished 4 chairs.  It's taken me quite a few hours almost every day since the beginning of the month.

Here is the lengthy process I get to go through for each one.

Starting point

Wear and tear scratches

The chairs are still in quite good shape as you can see, I was just really jonesin' for a new fresh look.

Next step was taking them all apart...which I originally thought was the hard part.

In pieces

Then it was time for sanding.  If only Chris had been home to take a picture of me in my dust mask.  Pretty sight I tell ya.

You can see how dark they originally were stained

Scratch free!

After sanding I set it up in the garage and applied three coats of varnish, then four coats of polyurethane.  SEVEN coats.

After that was started, it was time to start priming those chair legs!  I didn't capture a prime picture, but keep in your head that I did two coats.

Once those had dried (I usually waited until the next day), I did two coats of my color.  I also have a finished seat in this picture as I had two chairs or more going at one time at different stages.

Ready for building

And the next part is when I wanted to give up and tell Chris we were buying a new dining set.  Putting these things back together was the most frustrating thing EVER.  I was sweating and speaking a slight amount of profanity as I wrestled with those chairs out in the 85 degree garage.  I have five completely reassembled now and cannot wait until that last one is done and I never have to think about it again.

Here it is put back together.

Success after 45 minutes

As you can see I didn't paint the bars on the lower half of the chair because I learned after the first one they don't want to go in their home after they have been doused by four layers of paint.  The first chair I had to sand the edges off and repaint once it was put back together.

Next step was priming and painting those bars.

And if you thought I was finished after that, think again.  I realized while putting them together that the paint chipped off a little too easy.  Since I was being lazy originally, I didn't sand all the chair pieces, which I should have done and was now paying the price.  I looked online for tips and opted to slap a few coats of poly to try and protect it from the scratches.  Not ideal, but it was too late.

Here is the finished product six coats + seven seat coats later.


Oh what joy I felt bringing that beauty into the dining room.  It totally looks out of place right now as that dining room has nothing in it.  Can't wait until I can get the table and hutch done, and throw some stuff on the walls!

Here is a side by side comparison so you can see how much they changed.

Most likely the first and only time I will ever do this.  Seriously.  Really happy with the way they turned out but SO MUCH WORK!


  1. Looks great friend! Looks like it sure took a lot of work! Whoa!

  2. Wow! I love the new look! And you're right, the chairs were purchased in black. They weren't the original chairs that went with the table.

    Be happy you did all that work as new Pottery Barn chairs are at least $300 EACH! You're saving $1800!

    What's the name of the new chair color? I love them....and I'm kind of obsessed with the fun names they come up with for paint.

  3. The dining table and chairs could soon be as "well loved" as the pie safe that will have been through five color changes in 18 years; Suze Orman would be proud! You are indeed your father's daughter. Is Chris ever nervous about coming home after work ..."What was she up to today?" ? Mom

    1. Honestly, if I didn't say anything, he probably wouldn't have noticed the chairs we a different color. ;)

  4. Karen,

    Steve is quite often nervous when he comes home from work to see what I've "done" while he's been gone. I once bought a car while he was in Asia! Not quite sure how I did that.....

  5. I cannot believe you friend. This is simply amazing. I have so much respect for you and your patience! I would have spent the $1800 and felt it was worth it. LOL! Good for you!