How Can I Modernize Pressback Chairs?

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Q: I have a set of four antique pressback chairs, similar to the one pictured. They are in pretty decent shape, but they really don't match my personal style. My style is more on the eclectic-minimalist side.

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I have an expandable table that I'm considering revamping with a darker stained top and white legs (possibly with minor distressing). I've considered painting the chairs, but I don't know if I can bring myself to do that. Would making some sort of upholstered back and seat be a possibility? What other options are at my disposal?

I'm not completely against painting them if someone can make me feel more at ease about it! I just hate the brown on brown look. I have hardwood floors, white walls, and one long accent wall made entirely of stone. The kitchen is on a floor that's almost entirely below ground level, so it's not the brightest room. I want something that will brighten it up a bit. Colors in the nearby living room include mint green, yellow, gold, and beige. Open to any suggestions!!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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