Before & After: Painted Dining Chairs

While perusing Craigslist earlier this year, I came across these handsome retro chairs. The set of four was sturdy and chic, but the chippy varnish was a mess. Our painted pine floor looks lovely, I thought, so why not paint these pine chairs too?

To kick things off, I gave the chairs a complete sanding with 100-grit paper. Fortunately, the finish was thin and flaky and came off quite quickly. To remove hardier finishes, I recommend using evil burning ooze, or paint stripper as it’s commonly called. Wear gloves and a mask because the stuff is highly toxic and highly evil.

After I wiped the wooden chairs clean with a damp rag, they were all prepped for primer. Remember, different paint colors demand different tones of primer: the “atrium white” seats, frames and legs were all primed in white, the darker “raspberry truffle” and “royal blue” backrests in gray. With primer applied, the waiting game officially began. After a few hours, I applied the semi-gloss topcoat using an inch and a half wide brush with easy-to-wash synthetic bristles. I painted with long, steady strokes always in the direction of the wood grain. Hours and countless NPR podcasts later, I was happy to be done. Painting chairs is a tedious task, and even Ira Glass was getting on my nerves.

Images: Johnny Williams