Painting Kitchen Chairs: Ideas and Options

Give your kitchen chairs a new look with a fresh coat of paint.
Neutral Traditional Kitchen With Bright Blue Chairs

Neutral Traditional Kitchen With Bright Blue Chairs

The warm color palette of this traditional kitchen is enhanced by bright blue chairs, a blue accent wall, and metallic pendant lamps. A yellow tile wall with brown stripes ties in the two-tone wall of the adjoining dining room.

The warm color palette of this traditional kitchen is enhanced by bright blue chairs, a blue accent wall, and metallic pendant lamps. A yellow tile wall with brown stripes ties in the two-tone wall of the adjoining dining room.

By: Gina Hannah

Applying different ideas and options for painting kitchen chairs can be an easy and affordable way to give them a fresh look. Whether your chairs are made of wood, metal, plastic or a mix of materials, they can be painted with the right preparation and supplies.

6 Stunning Ugly-Chair Makeovers

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Mid-Century Armchair

With help from an upholsterer, we tossed the dated striped velvet and got rid of the tufting to give this club chair a smooth back. For the new fabric, we picked a loopy gray-and-white cotton—a fun contrast to the chair’s square shape. Fabric: Brushstrokes cotton upholstery fabric in gray/ivory, $30 per yard, westelm.com

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Skirted Swivel Chair

It’s not just the citron starburst fabric that turned this chair around: Check out the new T-shaped back cushion and the tailored skirt that begins right below the seat cushion. They both add up to an unrecognizable “after”! Fabric: Jonathan Adler for Kravet Super Nova linen fabric in spring, $69.50 per yard, insidefabric.com

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Two-Toned Occasional Chair

Our old seat cushion was pancake-thin, so we had a new 2 1/2-inch-thick cushion made from foam wrapped in batting. Two complementary coral fabrics and painted snowy white legs look modern. Now the chair is proud as a peacock! Chair fabric: Feathers cotton fabric in bittersweet/slub, $12 per yard, premierprintsinc.com; Cushion fabric: Fynn cotton fabric in bittersweet, $11 per yard, premierprintsinc.com; Paint: Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Graphic Desk Chair

For this wheeled number, the ripped vinyl was ripped off and replaced with a bold-patterned cotton. The upholsterer fluffed it up with extra batting, and we polished the chrome base with a soft, damp cloth. Now it’s ready to roll. Fabric: HGTV HOME Turtle Shell cotton home decor fabric in lapis, $35 per yard, joann.com

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Striped Dining Chair

We hardly wanted to sit on the original, let alone dine on it! For a delicious new look, we painted the frame high-gloss black, then upholstered the seat and the back in candy-striped fabric with a double welt around both. Fabric: Sandia 72 cotton fabric, $68 per yard, lestoilesdusoleilnyc.com; Paint: Tricorn Black by Sherwin-Williams

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Zigzag Wing Chair

Ditching the pleated skirt took 50 years off this old wingback! After covering it in zippy blue-and-white fabric, the upholsterer added bright yellow piping and painted the legs to match. Fabric: Bali cotton fabric in navy, $38 per yard, lacefielddesigns.com; Welt fabric: Kravet 27990-40 acrylic outdoor upholstery fabric, $70 per yard, decoratorsbest.com; Paint: Solar Energy by Behr

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

If your chairs are made of wood, you have many options for painting. Consider whether you want your chairs to blend in with the rest of your kitchen's decor or give the room a color pop. You can paint them in a solid color, or paint the legs or base one color and the seat another shade. Use the chair as your canvas and incorporate a unique pattern or design. You can choose a shabby chic or distressed look, or let the beauty of the wood grain show through a stain or color wash.

Whether your chairs already have paint or a stain on them or you're working with bare wood, you'll need to prime the wood first. If the paint is chipped or the wood is damaged, you'll need to repair those areas to provide a smooth surface for the paint.

If you want to sparay paint metal chairs, you'll need to prepare them first by giving them a good washing to remove any oily residue that has accumulated. Next, rough up the metal so that the paint will adhere to the surface. If your chairs are assembled with screws, take the pieces apart if possible and remove the cushions so the spray paint will cover all of the nooks and crannies. Spray with a primer first, even if the paint you'll be using has primer. This will keep you from having to use several cans of paint. Expect to apply at least two coats, letting the paint dry completely between treatments.

If you want to freshen up plastic chairs, you can paint them, too. Clean the chairs first, then use a fine-grit sand paper to rough up the glossy surface. After wiping away the grit, use an enamel spray paint that has been formulated for use on plastic. Apply two to three thin coats of the paint, allowing about an hour to dry in between each coat; be sure to follow the instructions on the can.

You can also paint vinyl or fabric seats. For vinyl, you can use a kit with the same type of products used by automobile seat restoration professionals, or choose spray paint that is designed to adhere to vinyl. Be sure to clean the seats thoroughly before painting, following the instructions on the products you have purchased.

To paint a fabric seat, you can use either a spray paint made for fabric or brush-on paints designed for that purpose. Again, let your creativity guide you to create a unique design.

Faux Painting

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