How to Paint Chairs the Easiest Way

by DeeDee
8 Materials
6 Hours
Remember here when I painted my dining room table and I told you we were missing a chair? I searched and searched with no luck. Well, my Mama reminded me that our chairs from my childhood were pretty much just like mine? "Oh yeah", I said! Luckily My sweet Mama keeps everything and she still had two chairs that were usable. Score!
Here's one of our chairs and one of Mama's chairs.  Can you see the slight differences?  They are pretty close so I chose to use two of ours and two of Mama's so that there was somewhat of a uniform situation going on around the table.
So here's the finished table with our mis-matched chairs.  After the table makeover I wanted to get the chairs done ASAP!  For one, I didn't like that all the chairs didn't match and two, the chairs and table top were way off in color now and it seriously bugged me!
Mama's chairs and our chairs all needed a bit of sturdying up, so I got out my Gorilla Wood Glue and got to work!
The first thing I did was to clean each chair really well with Murphy's soap and warm water.  After I made sure they were dry, I got to work with first applying the primer.
After brushing the primer on the first chair, I was seriously wondering what I had gotten myself into.  There were so many nooks and crannies on these chairs and it took me what seemed like forever to do one chair.
But I pushed on and did the other three.  At this rate this project was going to take me days!  I'm about the most impatient person you'll ever meet and I wanted them done now! :)

About a week prior, I had asked my honey bun if I could used the paint sprayer to paint these chairs and he said it would be no problem, but I had never used the sprayer before and he was busy doing other things, so.........
We got out our sprayer and assembled it.  We (he) has already used this little guy so much to do so many things inside our home!  It was inexpensive and it works great!  Its the Graco Spraystation 3900 that we purchased at Lowe's several years ago.

Of course I used the same paint I used on the table base.  I chose, Olympic ONE.  It's a paint and primer all in one.  I got it from Lowe's and the color is Atrium White.  It's an interior flat paint.  I chose flat because I knew I was going to distress it and make it look old and worn and also the sealer I use has a slight satin finish to it.
My honey was sweet enough to stop what he was doing and create a spray station for me in our little tool shed and then demonstrate for me.
Next, I gave it a whirl!  It's way easier than I expected and now I'm hooked and want to paint all the things!  Just follow the directions that come with your machine as to how to operate the sprayer and get the best results for your project.  I did thin my paint ever so slightly with water to make it easier to spray on.  I set a timer for 15 minutes to let it dry, then I was able to move them back over to the patio for the next step.
The sprayer was so much faster than brushing on the paint and the end result was flawless!  I'm going to be using this prayer from now on!
Spray painted on the left and primer only on the right.  Huge difference!
Now for the distressing which will also match the table base. To see my method of applying the glaze, please visit our blog.
On the left is just plain old paint, which is lovely and you could leave it just like that, but I preferred to distress mine to match the table base.  The distressed chair is obviously on the right.
All distressed and ready for a sealer.  You do not want to skip the sealer step because normally chairs are used on the daily and will get lots of handling and torture, especially if you have kids!

I like the Valspar Clear Protector for faux finishes.  It seriously looks like glue and dries quickly and it last!
Like my "new" pantry screen door, I can't stop admiring my "new" table and chairs either!  I love them!  What color would you paint your dining room table and chairs?

If you visit our blog at the link below, you can see the names and pictures of all the products I used in this project. Thanks for looking! :)
Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Teresa Seeger-Gesser Teresa Seeger-Gesser on Aug 19, 2018

    Very cute. I was not to use any product with oils in it to clean the piece before painting it. I wipe mine down thoroughly with a rag dampened in rubbing alcohol. Have you heard this?

  • Chris Chris on Nov 03, 2019

    I want to do this to my maple dining room set. How long after you do the table does the stain have to cure before you can go back to your usual usage? I did my coffee table,(chalk paint on all but the top, did that in the stain), and I love it, but I'm a little apprehensive about the dining room. I love the look, and my maple set is ancient and needs an upgrade. If I like it I would like to do my china cabinet also. I have stuff forever, and since it is wood, I can change it.

    Trying to get up the nerve to dive in. I don't really like too much of the distressed look, but yours looks great!

  • Stephanie-Corey Johnson Stephanie-Corey Johnson on May 31, 2020

    So you didn't sand the chairs at all? I'm thinking about painting mine and this looks too easy! LOL

Join the conversation
4 of 40 comments
  • Johanne Palange Johanne Palange on Apr 11, 2020

    You did a really great job. Before your mentioned it, I had not even noticed that the chairs were slightly different. I live in an apartment and can only yearn to have a paint station.

    • DeeDee DeeDee on Apr 12, 2020

      Hi Johanne! Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate that! :)

  • Gay Gay on May 13, 2020

    Thank you, thank you. I have been debating about buying a sprayer and doing this myself. Is there a reason you didn’t stain the seats of the chairs

    to match the table? Was it too difficult, was there a problem, or just didn’t like the idea? I need your knowledge. Thanks again.

    • DeeDee DeeDee on May 14, 2020

      Hello Gay, You're welcome! I never considered staining the seats to match the table. I wanted the chairs and bottom of the table to match, so that's why they are solid. I would imagine it may be very difficult to stain around each of those tiny spindles of the chair back though! :)