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Easy DIY Dining Room Chair Make-Over

A family can be hard on furniture, especially pieces that get a lot of use—like the chairs around your dining room table.  Such was the case with my daughter and son-in-law’s dining chairs.  They were in rough shape and desperately needed to be replaced.  

We found six good quality chairs at an estate sale for $150. Other than being a little dirty, they were basically like new.  My guess is they were from a formal dining room and rarely used. 

The finish on the chairs, however, was not to our taste and neither was the fabric on the seats.  So, I painted them and changed out the fabric. 

 Here’s how I did it:

After unscrewing the seats from underneath and removing them, I wiped down the wood with a damp cloth and then got to painting.  I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White. The Findery in Waco is the only place locally that sells this brand.   At about $42 a quart, it isn’t cheap but it goes a very long way.  I had lots left over after doing all six chairs. 

 Depending on the look you’re after, two coats might do it.  I wanted none of the original finish to show through, so I did three coats.  With a sanding block, I lightly distressed the paint once it was completely dry.  You could skip this step, but I always do a little distressing to highlight the details and allow for any distressing that will occur through normal wear and tear to look intentional.

 Chalk paint must be sealed.  I use General Finishes topcoat in flat and do at least two coats.   It provides a velvety finish with just a touch of sheen and is very durable.

For the seats, I pulled off the old fabric and used it as pattern to cut the new fabric.  Then I wrapped the new fabric around the seats and stapled it into place.  It’s easier if you start with a staple in the middle of each side and then work in the fullness by making some small pleats as needed. 


 Once the seats are screwed back down, your project is complete.

 If your dining chairs have seen better days, take a look at garage sales, online buy/sell sites, or estate sales. With some elbow grease and a little time, you can transform someone else's castoffs into something special for your family. 

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Categories:  Holiday Fun

About the Author

Jill Pinkham Nelson

Jill Pinkham Nelson

Jill is a Waco mom to two, grandmother (Jilly) to one, a retired teacher, and decorator. She'll paint anything that doesn’t move, has logged more hours at her sewing machine than she can remember, and loves to create beautiful rooms for herself and others. She was a do-it-yourselfer before DIY was cool, and she likes the challenge of working within a budget and making every dollar count. She is the author of the blog JustPlainJilly.com that offers even more decorating tips and other pearls of wisdom. 

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