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February 22, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

New Life for Old Furniture

We have two recent projects to share that brought some much needed new life to a set of chairs and a dresser. These projects also brought some much needed color to the many shades of brown we had going on in our living and dining rooms!

We’ll start with the chairs.  We inherited a set of chairs from a family friend, and immediately saw the potential in them. While they had scuff marks galore, paint stains, and a few other indescribable sticky substances, we liked the mission-style backs and were very excited to have chairs with cushions. Even if those cushions are in desperate need of recovering! Without further ado, here is what we started with:



The first step for our chair makeovers was to clean them up real good. Nancy found a great blog (that maybe she will be so kind to post, because I can’t find it!) that described how to paint furniture beautifully without having to sand it at all. Score! So we used TSP (trisodium phosphate, available at any cleaning or hardware store) and scrubbed to our hearts content. Lucky for us, we found an old paint sprayer lurking around the property and it worked wonderfully. So we spray-primed the chairs after cleaning, then spray-painted coat #1, let the chairs dry overnight, and spray-painted coat #2.


We painted the chairs (and the dresser) a charcoal grey to give the front rooms of our house a little contrast. The color turned out to have more blue tones than we originally thought, but we really like how everything turned out! Once the chairs had dried, we chose a fabric from Nancy’s stash. I think the fabric we chose brought out the blue tones in the paint, but it has blues, greens, and reds, so we thought it would be a good base to match anything to.

We popped the seats off the chairs and removed the hundreds of staples holding the fabric together. This took quite a bit more time than we anticipated, so we recruited a few extra hands to help with the process! I don’t think Apsen helped much, but she sure is cute 🙂



With the chair seats recovered, we reassembled the chairs and brought them back into the house. And look how beautiful they are!!!




And here’s some before and after photos, just for the perspective:


The dresser is a piece of furniture that we’ve had for quite a few years, but have never really been enamored with. It’s very well built, but it was always hard for us to see past the gold… but now that we have room to paint, we decided that this also needed new life! The dresser actually belonged to my great grandma, so it has seen a lot of life and we were very excited to make it seem like new again.



Painting the dresser involved the same process as painting the chairs. We had to bust out the steel wool between coats 1 and 2 for the top of the dresser, to make sure we got a nice smooth finish. We thought about buying new hardware for the dresser, but that didn’t really work out. Because the dresser is quite old, buying draw pulls that would fit this dresser was going to be absurdly expensive. So we went with our backup plan and painted those suckers! And they do look much, much better.




We decided to move the dresser out of the guest room and into the dining room. It’s the perfect place to store napkins, placemats, candles; all those fun things that don’t really have a home unless you have storage in the dining room. And now we do!



So here are some more lovely before and after photos:


Happy Friday all!


Leave a Comment
  1. michaelstpaulporter / Mar 2 2013 10:34 am

    Especially love the dresser transformation!

  2. Cindy Perry / Feb 22 2013 6:46 pm

    Great job!!!! Love the grey! Keep the news coming, so much fun XO

    Sent via Cindy’s IPad

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