I am so excited to bring you my first Den and Sky DIY project! This DIY mismatched dining chair project really helped update our dining room and bring together our random thrifted finds.
DIY-ing your home decor is a fun way to save money and add your own personality to your home. My stepdad is a contractor so growing up, my parents did many of our home renovations on their own. I was often recruited to help out with simple tasks like painting. I like to thinkthat my love for DIY began this way. Fortunately my husband shares this enthusiasm and is happy to accompany me to thrift shops, antique stores, and the hardware store.
Read to find out how I made over our dining room chairs with some basic tools and a can of paint!
Step 1: Collect materials
Affiliate links ahead!
For painting you will need:
- Dining chairs of your choice
- Drop Cloth
- Sanding papers and sponge
- Paint of choice (I used Behr “Broadway”)
- Primer (may be optional; check if your paint comes with primer first. I clearly did not).
For reupholstering you will need:
- Staple gun
- Staples (I used 3/8″)
- Upholstery fabric of choice (1 yard was enough for my needs; use a handy chart like this one to determine how much to get)
- Staple remover (or a flat-head screwdriver, in my case)
* Many hardware stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot, have a military discount! Make sure to ask if you’re military affiliated.
* I got the fabric from this project at Joann Fabrics. They constantly have sales and coupons so don’t buy full price! I went during a 40% off sale and used our military discount on top of that.
Step 2: Sand and prime (if needed)
Before sanding, wipe down your furniture with a wet cloth, especially if it’s secondhand/thrifted.
Two of the chairs we got had these weird random holes drilled in them… easily fixed with wood filler!
Sanding is arguably the most important step here. You’ll want to use a coarse grit (I believe the one I used was P50) so that the paint and varnish gets stripped off. I would say you don’t have to sand it down to bare wood, but you do want it so that you are left with a rough surface for the paint to adhere to.
As you can see, I didn’t sand everything down perfectly, especially in the nooks and crannies of the chairs. I personally like the distressed look of paint wearing away in certain places over time. If you want to be more thorough and strip everything away, you’ll have to get into those little cracks by hand and apply a lot of elbow grease.
Wipe down your chairs again with a clean wet cloth to get all the sawdust and paint particles off.
If your paint doesn’t come with primer mixed in, then remember to prime your chairs first! It will help the paint adhere and last longer. I primed 2 chairs before my hubby kindly pointed out that the paint I got already came with primer… whoops!
Step 3: Paint!
Here’s the fun part – where you really start to see your furniture come to life! I chose a soft black for my chairs to go with the black in our dining room table’s legs. I went with a semi-gloss finish since we use our chairs multiple times a day. A glossier paint will withstand wear and tear better than a flat paint will.
I generally do two coats and wait to see whether an additional coat of paint is needed. For this project, I went back a third time just to go over certain areas that were not quite opaque.
Remember to stir your paint frequently and to clear off any drips with your paintbrush!
Step 4: Sand (again!)
After your paint dries completely, get a fine grit sander (between 180 and 320) and go over any rough or uneven areas.
Optional: if you really love the distressed look, get your coarse grit sandpaper and go over areas that would naturally wear over time. I chose not to do this for this project, but we’ve done it for other pieces.
Step 5: Reupholster (if needed)
Two of our chairs needed reupholstering – we couldn’t leave that old, dirty fabric on our newly painted chairs. I unscrewed the chair pad from the wood frame and began taking out the staples using a flat-head screwdriver.
…Until I saw how many staples whoever did the previous job used. It was killing me just to get through that first layer, so I took the lazy way out and cut off the old fabric with a blade. I won’t judge you if you do this too.
Try to preserve as much of the old fabric as you can so that you can use it as a template for cutting your new fabric. I cut a few inches around the template so that it could go around the old staples.
I reapplied the interfacing to hide the edges, and then screwed the chair pad back onto the frame.
Much better! We love the modernized look of our chairs now. Although they’re still mismatched, they’re held together by the same color scheme.
Breaking it Down: Expenses
Any fellow DIY-ers? I want to hear from you!
What’s the latest DIY project you’ve been working on? Would you attempt a DIY mismatched dining chair project? Let me know in the comments!
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