Facebook Marketplace Dining Chairs Makeover!

by Alana
5 Materials
4 Days

So with our apartment, our kitchen is definitely big enough to fit a smaller scale table (probably more like a bistro table!). But because the kitchen is open and big enough, we didn't want to take up space with a table in there! So we opted for an island cart. We did, however, have a blank wall in the corner of our living room! (This wall is shared with the kitchen!) We decided to get a smaller scale table to fit there and we found one on Amazon! It's by Nathan James and the sides fold up (and down), so if you're having guests, you'll have enough room! It worked for us for that very reason!

The chairs were the next thing on the list. I was considering metal chairs, as they would go with my modern farmhouse/boho vibe of our apartment. However, as I browsed the internet through and through, I found that I was really loving chairs with spindles! I looked on Amazon, Target, and any other online store I could possibly think of to find such chairs! Now these places did in fact have this style of chair, but THEY WERE SO EXPENSIVE! I needed either four or six chairs, depending on what price I could get them for! The chairs that I looked at though, it was well over $100 just for a set of two! So that just wasn't going to work for me! We dealt with no chairs for a couple months and used the table as a console table. If we were entertaining guests, we had to borrow folding chairs from family members!

While on Facebook Marketplace (which I peruse every now and then! - highly recommend you do that too! icon ), I spotted these Ethan Allen chairs! They were the EXACT style I had been looking at! And there were six of them! (two of which are "captain's chairs" with arm rests). Only thing was, they were the complete wrong color I had envisioned. It was actually a red, probably cherry stain and that just was not what I was going for. They were also pretty beat up - the stain was chipped and cracked in almost every inch of the chairs.

With the quarantine taking place the last few months, I took advantage of the time and made this a quarantine project! I also had never redid any furniture in my entire life! So I did a lot of researching!

P.S. I paid $50 in total for all six chairs! I happened to look under the chairs to get the style number, as I was curious to know how much they actually cost. HOLY MOLY. These are the "Ethan Allen Berkshire Chairs." They cost over $400 EACH! You read that right, EACH! I still cannot get over it! icon

The Chairs Before

They were originally a pretty, cherry stain, but really beat up! They were chipped and scratched and the top backs of the chairs had a gross film on them. Most likely from people handling them by pulling them out from the table.

The Tools You'll Need

  1. I purchased this set of sanding blocks on Amazon! I wasn't sure initially, what grit I would need to really sand these babies down. The grit I used the most was the 120 grit, but I did go back and forth between the 120, 180 and 220. It really just depended on the area of the chair that I was focusing on. Some areas were smoother than others, whereas some needed a little more smoothing.
  2. I also purchased these sanding sheets. I again mainly used the 120 grit. I used these for the areas in between each spindle as well as the chair legs and connecting pieces on the bottom of the chair.
  3. This brush was recommended for painting chairs with spindles on a blog I was reading about painting chairs, and now I'm recommending it! It's a little fatter than it looks, but it definitely came in handy when painting the spindles and the areas in between each spindle.
  4. This is the paint I ended up using to paint the chairs - Rust-Oleum Flat Black paint. The reason I used this paint was really because it's what I had on hand! I initially was going to use chalk paint to paint these chairs and I purchased Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint in Charcoal, thinking it would darken the more coats I added. It didn't darken to almost black like I had hoped, so I decided to use this paint since I already had it! You can use whichever paint finish/color you choose!
  5. I purchased this matte clear top coat to use with the chalk paint I first purchased. I didn't end up using that paint, but I decided to use this top coat anyway! It went on really nicely and gave the chairs the perfect matte finish! The top coat is important because people will be sitting on the chairs. You want to make sure they have a smooth finish and that the paint is protected from any chipping or scratching.
The Chairs Sanded

This took a lot of elbow grease! It took me two days to sand these puppies down. I sanded them down to complete smoothness! Once I was done sanding them all down with the 120 grit sandpaper and sanding block, I then wiped them down with a damp rag to get rid of all the sanding dust.

The Chairs After

I applied two coats of the paint. Mainly because I wanted to be sure I got every single nook, cranny, and area! This took me another two days, as this was a little tedious! I did go in with a small paint brush, along with the one I suggested above, just to be sure I covered every area of each spindle.

The Chairs After

Because the Rust-Oleum Flat Black paint is oil-based, the chairs dried with a slight shiny finish. However, I wanted that matte finish! the Rust-Oleum Chalk Matte Clear top coat went on super thin and made the chairs perfectly matte. It dried pretty quick too! You don't need to use this exact top coat. You can use any of your choosing as long as it can be used on furniture!

My Finished Dining Area

Although it took a lot of time, patience and elbow grease, they turned out exactly how I wanted them and what I envisioned! Again, to purchase this Ethan Allen style chair, in black, is well over $100 each chair. For under $100, between the cost of the chairs and supplies, I got the exact look for way under what they're worth!

Suggested materials:
  • Sanding Blocks (I recommend 120 and/or 180)   (Amazon)
  • Sanding Sheets (I recommend 120 and/or 180)   (Amazon)
  • Rust-Oleum Flat Black Paint   (Home Depot)
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Christina Warrington Christina Warrington on Mar 04, 2021

    I have 6 of those chairs also given to me that I want to paint. I saw your after sanding photo. My question is, you didn’t sand all the finish off. Just enough to remove the chirping,& to smooth out the surface? Want to be sure the paint adheres. I know I don’t have the energy to sand & remove all the stain. They look marvelous & thank you!

Join the conversation