Wooden Captain's Chair Makeover

August 28, 2019

How To Paint A Wooden Chair The Easy Way

Earlier this year, I made a list. I believe it was spring when I sat down in front of the computer to lament over how once you start renovating one room, the rest of them look old.

My words took you on a virtual walk through my home as I chronicled everything I wanted to do to make the entire house look as fresh as the new bathroom.

I called it Tiny Redecorating.

And then promptly forgot all about it.

Yup. That Tiny Redecorating list of prospective to do's, joined an equally ambitious list from last October's piece when I updated my old Project Pile. A girl with a lot of big plans, huh?

Well, I guess it would seem that way, but in reality, the lists are filled with just a few things that I never seem to get done. Anyone else out there who can relate?

Surprisingly, this spring and summer bathroom project seemed to be just the kick in the pants I needed to take a big bite out of those big plans.

Including, working on that infamous wooden, living room chair. It's the chair I pulled from the trash over a decade ago. The one, many of you commented about, saying my rescue tale sounded like a Doris Day movie scene.


If only.

My goodness, after all those compliments, I was even more determined to keep it. I mean Doris Day for goodness sake.

While the plan had always been to reupholster it, once I finished lightening up the bathroom vanity with paint, the wheels starting turning. And before my husband could utter a word, I dragged it outside and started painting.

Now for all you wood lovers out there, I get it. I love wood, too and I kept the chair with its wood finish intact for a really, really long time.

But the truth is, it was bad. Very bad. Don't let that picture fool you. Everything looks better far away, in the dark or by a Christmas tree.

In reality, this chair was a mess. The old stain was thick, gloppy, had visible drip marks and always felt a teeny bit gummy. Did you read that? Gummy...Ew. It truly wasn't worth leaving in its current state.

And I, being the extremely lazy DIYer that I am, was not going to strip, sand and re-stain. Besides the fact that I didn't want to, my lungs could never handle that kind of torture, and more importantly, my husband hated this chair.

He's always thought I should've left it in the trash. So getting him to tackle a major redo on this sucker was never going to fly.

However. Once I started painting it, his DIY instincts kicked right in and he couldn't help himself. He was right there with his "helpful tips" and eventually he took over and finished it off. Fabulous.

But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

So as I said, the chair was old and brown and finished badly. It had a bit of shine to it and a real painter would've primed or sanded it, especially since I wasn't using chalk paint, but I didn't.

Wooden Captain's Chair

I just wiped down the dusty parts and removed the tacks that were holding the bottom fabric piece in place. That was not fun. It required tools and brute force in some places. And my brute was off working on his own DIY, but I managed.

Removing Staples From Furniture

Next, I grabbed my paint brush and got to work. Again, this was not fun. My paint by numbers kit was way more enjoyable.

Painting An Old Wooden Chair

This was small spaces and spindles. Lots of them. After two coats, I started asking about spray paint. Thank goodness my husband was game.

Spray paint was definitely the way to go. The chair was mostly covered, but the spray paint finished the job evenly, without brush marks or backbreaking, tedious strokes in the hot sun.

Painting Spindles On Wooden Chairs

He sprayed the chair and the ottoman. Oh yeah, did I mention there was an ottoman? Admittedly, that was easier to paint by hand, but the spray paint worked wonders, too.

Spray Painting A Wooden Chair

First he gave them each a light coat of Heritage white which we had leftover from spraying the hardware on the vanity and then he hit them with a clear polyurethane spray. It was leftover from sealing the wooden countertop.

I love it when we have the supplies we need on hand. And for free.

We did have to leave the pieces outside on the covered porch for two days or so until the smell dissipated. The latex paint from Benjamin Moore we used didn't smell at all. I swear these low/ no VOC paints are so good today...but spray paint and varnish? Nope. I just can't breathe around those scents.

Once it came inside, I got to work on the fabric. I was certain that the chair needed a total overhaul, so I grabbed a white pillow sham to test the waters...and I hated it.

It was so boring. There was just no spark. Suddenly, the old cushions looked fabulous. The fabric was in perfect condition, so I decided to leave the chair alone.

Covering Furniture With Pillow Shams

The white paint is slightly distressed, so it fits my bungalow living room well. The white is super bright and the fabric adds that cottage charm I adore so much. Maybe someday in the future I'll change it up, but for now, I'm good.

White Painted Wooden Chair

It's a nice contrast again all the other white cushions and dark wood in the room.

Wooden Ottoman

Even the ottoman looks fresh, tucked against the piano with my stenciled pillow resting on top.

Close up, in the light of day and nowhere near a Christmas tree.

Wow.

Mission accomplished.

How do you feel about painting wood?




38 comments:

  1. I paint wood it works for our French style. I also think it's our homes and it's about what you love and that's all that matters.

    Love the new look and the paint makes the fabric pop.

    I'm with you with smells. I don't have a lung issue which I can only imagine. My allergies go wi lb d with certain odors. When my husband stains it sits in the garage for a week.

    I'm on project overload. Started too much at once. Almost finished and one more build for my husband until after the holidays.

    Enjoy your hard work

    Cindy

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    1. Thanks so much, Cindy and I'm with you...it's your house, so paint away if that's your passion. I pick and choose, but when I can paint, it's a fun project!

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  2. They turned out great! I am a big fan of painting wood, unless it is a valuable antique.

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  3. I am a big fan of painting things white!!! I know shocker!!! I love your re love of the chair with white it makes the fabric look really nice. Have a great Wednesday.
    xoxo
    Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris! I love the chair now. It's amazing what a difference that one piece of furniture has made in the whole room. So far I Iove the fabric, but I could see myself adding a white slipcover in the near future! This may become an addiction!! xoxo

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  4. Give me a can of spray paint anytime!!! Good job on your chair!

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    1. Thanks so much, Bobbie!! Spray paint is king!

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  5. The chair painted white looks so nice with the red fabric cushions. The ottoman looks great too and I love the stenciled pillow.

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    1. Thank you, Julie! It was a long time coming that's for sure!

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  6. What an amazing make over! I am all for painting wood on most things - not antiques of course, but on something like that chair, it was a winning solution.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mari! I agree, I have certain pieces that I would never paint, but this chair certainly needed a makeover.

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  7. I love it!! It turned out to be so pretty! I'm all about painting wood when it needs painting or a room needs lightening. The hubster says he has never met a piece of wood that a woman didn't want to cover in paint! :-) I proved him wrong and left our entertainment center the dark wood color...LOL Great job! Love and hugs!

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    1. Haha! You two make me laugh! I have a few pieces I adore au natural, too. This one was icky and needed help for sure. Much better now...and I only had to do half the work! Even better.

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  8. Adorable chair! And I agree that paint just adds that oomph that you need sometimes. I had to chuckle when you said hubby hung around giving suggestions, and then ended up finishing it. Haha! Sounds like mine.

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    1. So funny, Florence! I think it's a guy thing...but worked out well for me! 😉

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  9. What’s a beautiful chair! Love the fabric

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  10. I love it! I really should do this to my old country rocking chair. My husband bought it for me when I was pregnant.....a very long time ago. Except I do need to replace the cushions as well.

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    1. Oh Jenny, it sounds like a perfect piece for a paint job. I am so happy with my results...and even though it doesn't need it, I may give the cushions a makeover, too. Just because!

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  11. Hi Kim. I could just sit and stare at that Christmas scene all day long. And I will have to take your word for it that the chair doesn't look as good in real life, because it looks pretty special to me..However, I do like it white too and it is a good thing to make yourself happy. Good job. Thanks for your visit and I did get my paint by number canvas and it looks pretty much like yours as to size and so forth. I took it to Ben Franklins and for $12 they stretched it onto a board. It was kind of imposing as I have never gotten one that big or in that way before. Soon as I get it back I will start the journey!..Happy Day to you..xxoJudy

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    1. Oh Judy! I can't wait to see it and wow, I didn't know you could have a them stretched and for such a reasonable price. I will have to keep that in mind. I just received my new painting, too. I can't wait to crack it open. Maybe this weekend...xoxox

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  12. Looks great! Isn't it amazing what a coat of white paint can do??? But the chicken pillow stole my heart:)

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    1. Paint is magical, Cheri!! And thank you!!

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  13. Your story telling keeps me coming back!
    Your redecorating skills, too!
    The combination of both is a winner.
    (the large pictures are a bonus)
    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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    1. Christine, you are so sweet. I love seeing your name in the comments. You always leave me smiling! Thank you. ❤️

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  14. Great job! Your chair turned out beautiful. Love the new fabric! The ottoman turned out so pretty too, and love the stenciled pillow!

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    1. Thank you, Linda! I love that pillow...it's several years old now and still my all time favorite.

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  15. Good job!
    It looks great.

    All the best Jan

    PS Happy September wishes

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    1. Thank you so much, Jan!! Happy September to you, too!

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  16. Loved the behind the scenes story and your chair looks lovely now Kim. She lived life to the fullest with her drippy, goopy varnish job, now it's time for her to shine.

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    1. What a perfect way to put it, Michelle! Thank you!!

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  17. I love to paint wood, but people often protest! {grin} I like that you kept it simple and reused the cushions! They already work with your home, and they are in great shape!

    Another DIY victory!

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    1. Thanks Deanna! I love painted furniture. I wish I were better at it.

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  18. Another great job done Kim! I love it! I have no idea how to paint any furniture. I feel intimidated by the whole thing. It's quite expensive around here to have someone do it for you. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. It's expensive here, too, Angela. I just wing it. Thank goodness I didn't mess it up too terribly!! Thanks for your kind words. It's always a pleasure to see your name in the comments!

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