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Any ideas how to change these chairs to look more French country?

I have just redone my kitchen to a more elegant French country look. My Mom gave me her oak kitchen table and chairs, however they look more American country. Any ideas how to transform them? My kitchen is light glazed maple cabinets with a back and gold granite top. Most of my accents have a go den yellow or gold.

  • Marie Therese Vidiani
    Marie Therese Vidiani France
    on Apr 27, 2015

    Bonjour je suis en France et voilà ce que j'ai fait. Maïté Vidiani

    quadrillage bleu et beige à la peinture acrylique et cire après
des rappels de couleurs sur les pied et le dossier. J'ai laissé un peu de bois brut ciré. J'en ai fait une en vert et une en bleu.

    quadrillage bleu et beige à la peinture acrylique et cire après des rappels de couleurs sur les pied et le dossier. J'ai laissé un peu de bois brut ciré. J'en ai fait une en vert et une en bleu.

  • Sue@CountryDesignHome
    Sue@CountryDesignHome Wakefield, MA
    on Apr 27, 2015

    Hi Jamie- these chairs are so cute! In order to "French Country" them, you would most likely want to paint and distress them. Perhaps a soft creamy yellow to co-ordinate with the rest of the room. However, if you really don't want to paint them, then I would add some toile cushions-it is available in many, many colors-that would give them a bit of a french look.

  • Anastasia Vintage
    Anastasia Vintage
    on Apr 27, 2015

    Honestly, I'd likely sell this set and buy something else with a more French Country feel. These oak pressed back chairs tend to sell well, and painting them can diminish their beauty and potential resale value. The idea of removable toile cushions is also an excellent one! :)

    DEBBIEofPA Jim Thorpe, PA
    on Apr 27, 2015

    I would also paint them in a white, pale yellow or pale blue and add a fabric padded seat in a coordinating print.

  • Judy Ferguson
    Judy Ferguson Mantachie, MS
    on Apr 27, 2015

    I would paint them an antique white and then use a paint pen to highlight all the design in the backs by going inside grooves with a contrasting color that matches your décor and then maybe a very light glaze, or if you use chalk paint a good waxing would be good!

    • Suzie hometalk
      Suzie hometalk Mineral Ridge, OH
      on Apr 28, 2015

      @Nancy Gramm right...we have the same chairs and I want to update them as well....they were from Oak Express...probably 59 or 69$ each! back in the late 90's

  • Kathy Meador Wells
    Kathy Meador Wells Harker Heights, TX
    on Apr 27, 2015

    Use wood putty to fill in the grooves of the design. Use chalk paint to paint them. You can make some floral seat covers, perhaps even using the same fabric for new curtains for windows. Look for inspiration in magazines.

    • JoAnn
      JoAnn Green Valley, AZ
      on Apr 28, 2015

      @Kathy Meador Wells I like the idea of filling in the design. It is a great idea, then you have more options. Since I am a more bold person, I would find a color to make them pop. Or maybe even paint each chair a different color...

  • Jill Drake
    Jill Drake United Kingdom
    on Apr 27, 2015

    I agree with the others, but when they get old and losing their thang, make a hole in the seat, the size of a large pot container, and feel it with multi compost and make your self a beautiful , fairy garden, or just a beautiful flower/ shubs, they look amazing, slightly hidden is also great, be is it wants you to find it and look at it......good luck

  • Susan
    Susan Conway, AR
    on Apr 27, 2015

    A friend of mine painted her press back chairs and the table a matte black, and it's beautiful. 7 kids later and it still looks great!

  • Simply Vintageous...by Suzan
    Simply Vintageous...by Suzan Canada
    on Apr 27, 2015

    Matte black and heavily distressed !!! With buffalo check cushions ! I painted the identical chairs for a friend once...........in black - and they still look gorgeous !

  • Superbee
    Superbee Thousand Oaks, CA
    on Apr 27, 2015

    I have these very chairs only a little darker shade. Had them for at least 30 years and was really tired of the darkness. I recently sanded, primed and painted them a creamy off-white and they are beautiful, if I do say so myself. I did not distress them but I think doing so would give the look you want - French country chic?...Good luck with your project! :)

  • Stephanie @ Casa Watkins Living
    Stephanie @ Casa Watkins Living Baltimore, MD
    on Apr 28, 2015

    Hmmm, I have seen these chairs plenty of times. You can breath new life into them by lightly sanding (though not absolutely necessary if you use chalk paint) and painting them white or another light color like ivory or light gray. To get the country look, it will have to come through with your fabric choices. Distressing the chairs, which I always like, will give it a vintage/shabby chic look. Would love to see what you end up doing.

  • Rebecca Shelor
    Rebecca Shelor Dunedin, FL
    on Apr 28, 2015

    @Jami Finnerty definitely chalk paint and distressing. Easy peezy!

  • Pamela Slivkoff Bennett
    Pamela Slivkoff Bennett Whittier, CA
    on Apr 28, 2015

    HI! I Just painted my chairs 2 weeks ago! They came out wonderful. If it were me wanting a 'French' feel, I would paint the chairs a nice cream/white. I like the chalk paint because the wax that you use after the chalk paint works really well to seal. However,before sealing, I would 'distress' various parts/sections of the chairs with sand paper. Then I would purchase one of the 'MANY' stencils at a craft store. I would stencil the backs, and the seats. Again, maybe 'distressing' very small sections of the senciled areas. Then seal with the chalk wax. Anyway, that's my idea! Good luck! ~Pamela~

    • Jami Finnerty
      Jami Finnerty Oviedo, FL
      on Apr 28, 2015

      Do you have a photo of your chairs to share? I really like the idea of stenciling.

  • Pamela Slivkoff Bennett
    Pamela Slivkoff Bennett Whittier, CA
    on Apr 28, 2015

    I didn't stencil mine. My chairs are just painted with Valspar Paint. I was going to distress them, but I liked the way they came out and decided to leave tham painted plain. Stenciling was just an idea for you. I've seen a lot of "French" ideas using stencils on Pinterest as well as here on hometalk. I'm not even sure if I've seen stenciling on chairs in Pinterest of here. It was just my vision as to how I would do it if wanting a "French" feel. Check out Pinterest! Put in key words stencil, French, redo, refurbish and see what comes up! I'm guessing you'll see a ton of ideas!

  • Julie Moyna
    Julie Moyna Santa Clarita, CA
    on Aug 27, 2015

    I am not sure about french but I'm loving how this turned out. Someone used white latex and left it roadside. I used Lavender Blue milk paint in antique green and love how she turned out. I also used white and dark wax.

    My roadside find

    My roadside find

  • Diena Cameron
    Diena Cameron North Bend, OR
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Hi Jami Finnerty, i just realized this is an old post, so sorry for my lateness ! lol. You probably have already done your chairs but just in case you haven't, here goes. Paint your chairs a beautiful cream color in chalk paint, distress slightly then seal with a light wax. Since the paint will slightly cover up the design on the backs, i would either trace the design with a gold paint pen to highlight and to go with your gold decor or if you don't like that design, find a stencil that you do love and stencil over the original design with a gold paint pen. It will help hide the old design and i would slightly sand the whole design area again and then seal again, you could also maybe highlight the different sections on the legs with the paint pen also. I think it would be beautiful and when i think of French Country, i don't think of black or dark and heavy pieces of furniture. To me, it's all light and with an airy feeling ( if that makes sense to you) , i just looked at a french furniture magazine a few months ago and every piece of furniture was cream or white or pale blue with delicate designs on the material as in drapes, sofa covering or chair covers, pillows or bed linens. So good luck, if you are funished with your project, can you post on hometalk ?? Everyone had lots of great suggestions. Can't wait to see what way you went with them. .)

  • Barb
    Barb Niagara Falls, NY
    on Jul 7, 2017

    I would d them in black and added black and white stripe fabric custion, please post your finished project for us to see 😏

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