DIY Chair Makeover Tips

by Editor on January 11, 2014

AFTER!A house, an apartment, a dorm. It doesn’t matter where you live, there is always one piece of furniture that you love very much and it’s so hard to let it go. Sometimes this piece is a family heirloom; sometimes it is simply a piece that you saw at the store and completely fell in love with. Unless the piece is broken beyond repair, we should always look into giving such piece a makeover. Today my focus will be on chairs, more specifically on wood chairs like these. Everybody has a favorite chair in the house; a chair that no matter how much you try to keep new, it is always the first one to show signs of being worn out due to the excessive use.  Instead of sending your favorite chair to the landfill, let’s focus on giving it a makeover. Below are two things you can do to your chair:

[Paint]

Have you considered painting a wood chair in a funky color to add some drama to the room? If your chair is made of wood, metal, or a combination both you can easily change its look by painting it. Well using a fine sand paper, a paint brush, a primer and paint you can give your favorite chair a completely makeover! Start your project by removing any attached cushion. Then start sanding down the chair to remove the current finish and prep the surface for a new finish. Clean up the dust from sanding and, using a brush, apply a coat of primer throughout the chair. Let it dry and then using an extra fine sand paper, go over the chair to remove any imperfections left by the primer. Clean up the dust again and apply the first coat of paint. Let it dry and repeat the process of sanding, cleaning and painting one more time. For more durability, apply two coats of clear polyurethane in a satin or glossy finish to the chair, also repeating the in between process of sanding and cleaning up the dust. This way your old chair will have a nice and smooth new look. [Hint: When selecting the clear coat, keep in mind higher the sheen, higher the visible imperfections will be].

[Stain]

How many times you decided to give your room a makeover and then you realize some of your favorite pieces don’t fit in the new space because their finish is different? Well, if your chair is made of wood, you no longer have such a problem as you can stain your current wood chair to match your new décor. Staining is a great way to bring pieces that have been worn out by the time back to new. You can change the color and finish completely or you can simply keep them the same.  Whenever you decide to stain, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands. Start your staining process by using a fine sand paper, to remove the current finish and prep the surface for a new finish. Clean up the dust from sanding and, using a staining brush or rag, apply the first coat of stain throughout the wood. Let it dry and then using an extra fine sand paper, go over the chair to remove any imperfections left by the first coat of stain. Repeat the process as many times as needed until to achieve the right color. Don’t be afraid of mixing up two or three color stains in order to achieve a new color! I have done it before and it works like magic, especially if your stain doesn’t come with a polyurethane finish included.  To finish it off, and also to add more durability to the piece, apply two coats of clear polyurethane in a satin or glossy finish to the chair, also repeating the in between process of sanding and cleaning up the dust. If your chair comes with a cushion, make sure the stain is completely dry before putting it back. Otherwise you can damage your work as well as some of the fuzz from the cushion will be more likely to get stuck to the stain.

About The Author

VK Sustainable Concepts’ Principal Andrea Vollf, LEED AP ID+C, is a registered interior designer and sustainability professional with over fifteen years of experience in the interior design and marketing industries. Ms. Vollf is an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter, with in‐depth knowledge of all aspects of Sustainability – Social, Environmental and Economic. Connect with Andrea on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

photo by: Justin Snow

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