My mom decided to take on the crazy project of completely redoing her kitchen (aka refinishing all the cabinets on her own), but I told her that I would help with the bar chairs! Yes, I know I did the easy part.
This bar chair project only took a few hours with the longest part being “the wait” for the paint to dry.
Here’s a before picture of the chairs (and technically a before of the kitchen. lol):
What You’ll Need For This Bar Chair Makeover
- Philips Screw Driver (My chair needed a Philips)
- Flat Head Screw Driver
- Staple Gun (I did not use an electric one, it was just a press & squeeze type)
- Fabric to Cover the Seats (I used a linen one I bought from JoAnns)
- Paint (I used a black color by Behr)
- Paint Sponge
- Wax / Sealer (I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural)
- 220 Grit Sand Paper
- Cloth or Paper Towels (to remove sanding dust)
- A cloth for the wax
- Drop Cloth or Newspaper
Step 1 – Remove the Seats from the Frames
I unfortunately did not take a picture of this, but I literally just flipped the chair over and used a Philips screwdriver to take out the screws and the seat came right off.
Step 2 – Lightly Sand
Once all the seats had been removed, it was time to sand the chairs. In order for the paint to adhere, you need to do a light sanding. I used 220 grit sand paper. I did the flat parts with an electric sander and the round parts by hand outside on the back patio. Then used a damp cloth to wipe the dust from the chair.
However, you could do the whole thing by hand because you essentially just need to remove “the shine”.
Step 3 – Paint
I placed the chair on newspaper to protect the floors. Then I stirred the paint so that I could begin painting the chair with my paint sponge. I used a black paint by Behr from the Home Depot. I started with the back side of the chair and painted my way around to the front.
Once I finished with the front, I waited about 5 mins and then started on my second coat.
Step 4 – Reupholster
While you wait for the paint to dry, it’s a good time to reupholster the seats. If your new fabric isn’t see through you can simply put the new fabric right on top to save time.
I measured out squares, making sure that the fabric would fold over. Then ironed them. Afterwards, I used a hand-held staple gun to adhere the fabric to the seat. I cut the excess fabric & discarded.
When it came to the corners, I just folded the fabric sort of how you would do with a paper fan and used a staple on each fold.
If the fabric is see through I would suggest using a pencil to trace where the fabric was sitting on the bottom of the seat. Then, use a flat head screwdriver to remove the fabric that was originally on the seat.
Place the new fabric flat on the floor, and lay the old piece of fabric on top. Use it as a guide to make a cut out with the new fabric. Once I have it properly cut, use a staple gun to adhere the new fabric to the seat. Watch for your pencil marks because you want to keep the fabric in roughly the same place.
Make sure that you make cutouts where the screws go.
Step 5 – Add Some Character (Optional)
After the paint was completely dry, I took the chairs outside to add some character to them. Simply use a small square of sand paper and scratch up the edges and places on the chair to make it look like it’s got some character! Use a cloth to wipe off the dust.
Step 6 – Seal Your Paint Job
You don’t want that hard work you did to go to waste! So it’s time to put a finishing coat to protect the paint from chips & scratches. I used a rag to buff on the wax and let the chairs dry.
Step 7 – Put Your Seat Back On
After the wax was completely dry, I reattached the seats back onto the chairs with the screw driver. And that’s it!
Bar Chair Final Result
Depending on how many chairs you have you may be able to complete this in a few hours or with the better part of a day. But it’s amazing what a difference a little elbow grease can make!