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Part 2: Dining Room Chair Makeover

Furniture makeover using DIY chalk paint

This furniture makeover is a long time in coming. Several weeks ago I showed you how I changed the color of the rush seats. That effort took some time but the real delay arose trying to work through the prep and painting of all 6 chairs.

To see Part 1 of the Chair Makeover:

Part 1:  How I Changed the Color of the Rush Seats on the Chairs

decorating-with-white

The room is finally the way I have always wanted it.  Decorating, especially DIY decorating, takes time when you have a hundred other things to do on a daily basis. If you are in the midst of a DIY project and it is taking you a long time or you lose interest, know you are not alone. This room took me 6 years to get to this point.

BEFORE
No sew chair back cover

We only use the dining room 2 times a year so it has not been a priority. Lately when I looked into the room and saw the driftwood top and white table legs that I had made over two years ago, the orange-hued chairs started to bother me, since in my head I knew I wanted them to coordinate.  I have white slipcovers for the chair backs and have made floral and striped back runners to help hide the orange wood, but I knew it was time to get them painted white.

Making over one piece of furniture is exciting and can be done rather quickly, but when you have to make over 6 of the same item… it becomes a production line and I sometimes lose interest.

Dining-room-chairs-before-painting

I had to put my mind to the task. To make it doable, I set up all the chairs in my family room to paint. It was very hot and humid here last week so I knew I couldn’t paint them outdoors or in my garage (too hot). Instead, I laid out drop cloths in my family room and turned on the TV to entertain me as I painted. It took two days and about 6 hours each day to finish 6 chairs.

AFTER

painted-furniture-in-dining-rooms

I have been doing a happy dance the past few days when I pass by one of the doorways to the dining room :-)  All white and a job I had been putting off, finally checked off my to-do list.

I like to keep the room color-scheme free so when we do entertain here the holiday colors, table setting, food and the people around the table set the color scheme.

dining-room-chair-makeover-using-diy-chalk-paint

I even took the time to wash the slipcovers I made for the chairs many years ago. I like the fact that I can change the look of the chairs in an instant with these covers.

Dining-Room-Chalk-painted-chairs_

Everything in this room is a hand-me down or a thrift store find except the new rug and the linen drapes.

I enjoy decorating by using what I have. I like new, but find the challenge of taking something that isn’t quite my style and making it so… very rewarding.  The chandelier is a good example of this. You can read about its budget transformation here. 

affordable-8-x-10-jute-rug-

I have never had a large rug in the room before and always wanted to add one. I did a search online and found this 8 x 10 jute rug at Overstock.com. It was a bargain at $132.99 and exactly what I wanted.

Decorating-with-white-in-a-dining-room

The rug helped the room come together.

How to Make Over Dining Room Chairs

Dining-Room-Chalk-painted-chair-tutorial

To learn how I changed the seat color on the chairs see this post: How I Changed the Color of Rush Seat Chairs 

supplies needed:

  • latex paint and Calcium Carbonate Powder to make DIY Chalk paint
  • 60-grit and 120-grit sandpaper
  • hand sanding block
  • 1″ angled Purdy paint brush
  • small tip paint brush for painting detailed areas
  • soft wax or paste wax
  • rag
  • old t-shirt for buffing

Tips-on-how-to-paint-furniture

1. I inserted a screw into the bottom of each chair leg so it would be raised off the floor for easy painting. (If I had not done this, the paint brush would touch the floor and as the leg dried it would stick to the drop cloth.) 

Furniture-painting-tips-on-how-to-mask-areas-you-don't-want-painted

2. I made a paper mask template using scraps of paper and foam board I had laying around to protect the chair seats as I painted them. I only needed one and moved it from chair to chair as I painted.

How-to-sand-furniture-before-painting

3. I used 60-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface on the chair to provide “tooth” so the paint would adhere better. A quick going-over to scratch the surface is all that is needed.

How to paint with DIY chalk paint

4. I used leftover white paint from my kitchen cabinets to make DIY chalk paint.  The color is Pure White from Sherwin Williams.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe using Calcium Carbonate Powder

You can find all the recipes I have used for making chalk paint here. 

I needed 3 light coats to cover the orange-toned wood. I used very light coats and let each one dry before adding the next coat. I used a small tipped paint brush to get into the tight area right under the rush seats.

Furniture-makeover-sanding-and-distressing-tips

This step is optional if you want an aged, distressed look.  Chalk paint looks good un-distressed, too.

5. Once the paint was dry, I went over the edges of the chairs with 120-grit sandpaper to distress the edges. I tried to hit all the areas where the chair would normally see wear. Once I liked how much distressing there was on each chair, I applied the wax.

DIY-Tip

There are two schools of thought on when to wax…before or after distressing. I like to wax after distressing because it gives the piece a more polished look. If you want a more rustic look, wax before distressing.

 

How-to-wax-over-chalk-paint

6. I used Miss Mustard Seeds Furniture Wax in clear to protect the paint. I bought this at a recent workshop I went to. You can use any soft paste wax to protect the finish or even water-based polyurethane. Fiddes and Sons or Johnson’s paste wax are the two waxes I use most.

how-to-wax-and-distress-chalk-painted-furniture

7. I applied a thin layer with a soft cloth (old-t-shirts work well) and rubbed it all over the surface.  I used a clean cloth to buff the wax to bring up the shine and have found this fleece painting mitt (in photo above) is a very good buffing cloth. It makes buffing fast and easy especially around the legs on the chairs.

I let the chairs cure for a few days before using them.

How-to-distress-furniture-with-sandpaper

The dining room set was a hand-me-down from my mom and dad. They are no longer living, but I know they would like what I have done with the set.  The turquoise sideboard in my family room was also part of the set.

Furniture makeover using DIY chalk paint

Dining room chair makeover before and after.

Driftwood-finish-on-dining-room-table

All cohesive now :-)

Chalk-painted-dining-room-chairs

If you would like to know more about all the makeovers I have done with the hand-me-downs and thrift store finds in this room,just follow the links below to posts on each one:

Chalk Painted and Weathered Driftwood Finish Table

Budget Brass Chandelier

Turquoise Corner Cabinet

Painted and Book-Lined Hutch

Industrial Pipe and Doorknob Curtain Rods

Chair Back Slipcovers

Sewn Chair Back Runners

No-Sew Chair Back Runner

Dining Room furniture makeover on a very small budget. See how to transform hand-me-downs and flea market finds to pieces that are just your style. Tutorials and DIY tips

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38 Comments

  1. How did you tone down the rush seats? I’ve read your process twice and don’t see it. Did you chalk paint it and wipe it off? Did you wax or polycoat the rush ? Has it worn off after use?

  2. I absolutely love how these turned out.. I’m about to redo a wicker backed chair that has wood finishes on the arm as well as a fabric cushion.. I’m wondering how you colored the wicker? Did you paint it or just sand it?

  3. Hi Diane! Thank you for all the wonderful posts through the years. I have been using your chalk paint recipe on many items to rave reviews. However, I’m considering putting it in my new paint sprayer to paint my kitchen cabinets…would you counsel me to to do it or not? Thank you again for ALL the posts, you make me look good to all my friends ha! Valarie

    1. Hi Valerie – I have never used a sprayer with DIY chalk paint, but have been told that you can use ready-made chalk paint in a sprayer or for the DIY type, if you use Calcium Carbonate Powder by itself. Don’t add Plaster of Paris to the mix as this can gunk the sprayer up. Depending on your sprayer, you may have to play around with the water/powder mix to get the right consistency to go through the sprayer. It needs to be well mixed, no powder granules in the mix. I would read the sprayer’s directions to see how much thinning needs to be done to the paint. You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood first to figure out the right ratio, then proceed on your cabinets. Once you are finished spraying, make sure to place the sprayer, nozzle tips and parts in a bucket of hot sudsy water to make sure the paint does not dry in any part.

      Thanks for reading my blog, it makes my day to hear that you have taken on many of my projects with success. :-)

  4. Diane,

    I love your website. It’s very inspiring. Just a quick question on the dining chairs remake – why did you make chalk paint to paint the chairs instead of just using the latex paint? I am planning on redoing a coat rack bench which is in my entryway. I’d like to paint the entire piece white except the actual bench part, which I plan on staining with the driftwood stain. I already have the Sherwin Williams Pure White latex paint. I’m just wondering if I can use that alone or should I use your chalk paint recipe? (Also, which sheen of paint did you use?) Thanks so much for your input!

  5. I love this look!! I have the same exact chairs and hoping to do something just like this. For the seat of the chair did you just sand them?

  6. LOVE this post. SO excited to try this this weekend as I am trying to revamp my kitchen eating area. Thank you so much for the help, tips, and inspiration. Cant wait for the next post!!

  7. Absolutely beautiful and you’ve made it look so easy too. Can i also ask- what camera did you use? The shots alone are breathtaking not to mention the chairs!

  8. Your dining room is beautiful!!! I think you will have to use it more now that you have it the way you want it; it would be a shame to not use it!

    1. Hi Tiffany – Thanks. You are right. Now that I have gotten the room the way I want, I may just say to Ed, hey lets eat in the dining room tonight instead of the kitchen. XO

  9. As they say home is where the heart is and to keep your heart at your home you have to make your home look lovable and beautiful
    I am sure you have done plenty to make it look amazing but you can always have a look at this if you like this website is jabongworld.com and they have very amazing collection of home decor. Ranging from table turners to bedding sets to bedding covers etc.

    Let me know if you find it as beautiful as I found it :) cheers :D

  10. Hi Diane, I love most of your tranformations and pin many but I have to say havng spent 11 days in 2007 making a Shaker style Ladderback chair by hand without electricity, I felt sad that these had been painted, as I thought just having done the seat was lovely. I did think an option was to have lime waxed the timber of the chairs to give that lovely ‘soft’ hazy white look, but having said that I dont know how expensive or what condition they were in. I also love the table top and wonder if you have done a post about that lovely finish which looks limed. Again your work inpsires so many of us :)

  11. Diane – thanks so much for the wonderful instructions for painting the chairs. I am just about to embark on the same project and was a little hesitant about doing so. Now that I’ve seen your makeover, I can’t wait to get started. I will be trying the calcium carbonate recipe for the first time so I’m hoping that it works out OK. I have learned a lot from your blog – thank you for the clear and concise instructions!

  12. Congrats on finishing! Looks great! We’ve been working on our landscaping for what seems forever…and we too, are just about done. It’s a good feeling when the vision turns out the way you wanted it to, isn’t it? ;)

  13. Diane, I love white things and this set is really pretty, but what I like the best about those chairs is your distressing. Not too much and not too little. Really looking good!

  14. Love the finished look! The white with the turquoise is very pretty! thanks for the tip on a screw at the leg bottom. I usually use paint cans and it get bothersome. And love the tip about the buffing cloth!
    thanks!

  15. I love Everything about this room! It is so beautiful. I’ve tried chalk paint once and it didn’t turn out so well. I think I’m going to follow your recipe and give it another try.

    Have a great day
    Deb

  16. I absolutely love your style! And how honest you are about how long DIYs can sometimes take! We have just bought a house that needs complete renovation and in 4 months we have done one room, because it’s hard to keep at it every single weekend. Doesn’t help that we are both 100% DIY, and I’m the same as you with wanting to find bargains and then tailor them to my taste, so every bit of furniture needs ‘doing’ in addition to the room usually. About to finish the first one this weekend and I cannot wait!

  17. So fresh looking.
    Just beautiful.
    Are you going to run out of projects?
    You’re like the battery bunny, always creating and doing.
    Is there any more to do at your house?
    Xxxx
    Marsha

  18. I have been reading many of your previous furniture makeover posts and am amazed at what paint can do to make it WOW pieces. Thanks so much for your very detailed instructions which make the task seem do-able for a real paiiting novice like me. Love the “new” chairs.

  19. Diane, it looks fantastic, thank you for the instructions (as always)!
    I am now having an issue with mixing the calcium carbonate with my latex – it is leaving small clumps! I have not had this happen in the past. I am even using an electric mixer, and blend, blend, blend! Do you have any idea what may be wrong? Thank you!

  20. Another grand makeover! You have such good taste! I am currently trying to paint a small sideboard in my basement with DIY chalk paint – the plaster of paris recipe… I was really feeling like I finally got the chalk paint method down when I let all dry for a couple of days and then discovered that my paint I was using had solidified in the can! I added some more water, and some more paint, but still had great lumps of plaster in it. What should I have done differently? – and thanks…

  21. Thank you once again Diane for all the decorating and diy advice you give. Whenever I’m going to start any diy I always check with you first…you rock!

  22. Wow! You did a beautiful job! I love it! Wish I could come over and plop down and have a cold drink! This is very motivating! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I am ready to paint my dinning room chairs white and have a question… how hard is chalk paint to remove — if by chance I want to restore them back to their natural state some day….

  23. What a great transformation. You always make your DIY’s look so easy with your in-depth tutorials. I have 2 rush & maple chairs that were handed down thru my husband family. It is nice to know that when I’m ready for a change I can always pull up this post for my how to. Your dinning room looks fantastic and so stylish. Vikki in VA

  24. Diane! You did an absolutely beautiful job! Your parents would be so proud. I love the whole look of the dining room., the jute rug, the flowers, the sea grass and white wicker trays. your choice of colors, the chandelier – they all complete that beach cottage vibe that I love. Coastal Living decorators have nothing on you! I am impressed that you can paint in the house without making a mess. It’s very hot and humid here were I live in Baltimore too which has been stopping me from completing a single chair. Think I”ll try your method.