Chair Restyling

3 Oct

by Lauren

On my return drive from Chicago to Michigan, I stopped at an antique mall in Indiana and happened upon these awesome chairs.  The wood carving detail is intricate and the structures were in perfect condition.  The only caveat was that the fabric is for grandmas & the wood was too dark for the style of my living room.  But with a little handy work, that is easily resolved. My end goal was to turn these chairs into a feminine, antique-French finish, with a toile fabric design.     Enter: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Annie Sloan chalk paint makes accomplishing a French antique-y look relatively simple.  Applying the paint is easy and does not require any sanding – you can  paint directly on the chairs.


What you need: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, brushes, a clear wax, and a gilding wax (if desired), a paint pan.  I opted for the “cream” color but it honestly took me a long while to decide which color to select.  Initially, I was drawn to the white, but that was “too white.”   The cream looked a tad yellow at first, but note: it lightens up as it dries.

I mixed the paint with a little bit of water to ease its application.  I applied the paint in two thick coats to adequately cover the dark wood.   Make sure you brush away any “glops” of paint.


The paint dries quickly – in just minutes!

You can paint in any direction – I like the effect of having competing brush strokes – it makes it look less “manufactured.”


Once the paint dries, apply a “clear wax” finish to protect the paint job from water marks and regular wear and tear.  Use a special wax brush, and clean it with lye soap after use (quickly).


I took an additional step and used a gold “gilding wax” to accent the feminine, antique look – I applied it heavily on the wood carvings to emphasize the design, and then painted the rest of the wood with light strokes to make it look gilded and a bit cracked.

This is not a final photo – I actually accented the contours of the chair with the gold even more, to make them “pop” – but you can get the idea here.  My next step is to reupholster the seat and the backs with a beige toile fabric I purchased from a fabric store.  I am not re-doing the nailhead trim (it’s pricey!) so I am opting for a double coil trim as an alternative.  Final photos to follow!

This type of refurbishing is great on any older wood pieces you want to restyle.  I have an old, black dresser in my house that I am going to paint over – you can even apply the paint to the hardware on your pieces to disguise them (great if the hardware is cheap!).


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