Curbside Chairs get a Makeover

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Driving home from my local Home Depot one day, I spied this set of 5 beautiful dining chairs just sitting on the side of the road with a big sign…take me home, free!

I didn’t happen to need dining chairs so I just drove on by.  A block later, I turn around, but those chairs were really nice, and they’re free!  The best kind of price.  I drive by again without stopping, because, once again, I really really don’t need more chairs.

I turn around again, after all, that would be the way home.  Ok, seriously, I’m driving a sedan, not an SUV, or a minivan, 5 chairs will just not fit. I keep driving.

I get another block…will you be kicking yourself tomorrow if you let this great set of dining chairs go?  Why yes, yes I would.  Turn around again.

Alright, I’m gonna do it.  Just to let you know, 5 chairs really don’t fit into a sedan, but I made it happen.  Two sticking out of the trunk, 2 in the backseat and one in the passenger seat.


Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

You know what my husband says when I get home…”we really don’t need more chairs.”

Well I know that, but they were free!…and they actually were in great shape.  Somebody had taken care of these chairs over the years.  There were a couple of breaks that had been mended really well, a couple of the seats had been rebuilt and they were still really sturdy…oh, and did I mention, free!?

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

The chairs have sat in my garage for several months but I finally got them out to give them their makeover.  I know a lot of people will not like that I painted over beautiful wood with paint, but my dining room needed the white chairs. When we replaced our light gray wall to wall carpeting with hardwood flooring in the dining room several years ago, our dining room suddenly looked like a cave. The dark wood of the chairs, table and floor made the room feel really dark.  A jute area rug brought a little lightness back but it was still really dark. I know I could paint the walls a brighter color but I still liked the color on the walls and it was in great shape.

Nobody ever told me that when I decided to upgrade to hardwood floors I would have to change all my furniture too. Be warned.

Back to the makeover…definitely needed more padding on these chairs. Using the existing seat traced the outline onto a 1 inch piece of foam and cut with scissors. I hear, an electric carving knife is the way to go for cutting foam, but not having one, scissors will do just fine.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Trim off the corners of the foam to give it a softer finished edge.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Cut a piece of batting a couple inches  larger on all sides than you’re chair seat.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Use a couple of staples to hold the batting in place.  Don’t have to do a thorough job just yet, since the staples from the material will hold everything down.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Last step for the chair seat is to cut a piece of fabric the same as you cut the batting, a couple of inches larger than the chair seat on all sides.

Make sure that if you have a pattern, it’s lined up on the seat, and you’re ready to start stapling.  Work from the center of the seat out, alternating sides and pulling tight as you go.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

For the chairs, I wanted a chippy paint finish.

Sanded down the chairs to give the paint something to adhere to.

Wherever I wanted the chipped paint look, applied  dollop of vaseline…mostly just to the edges and where it might look like the paint got chipped away naturally.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Chairs were given a couple of coats of white spray paint.  If you’re using the vaseline chippy method, spray paint is the way to go or the vaseline will get caught up in your brush.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Once the paint was dry,  rub off the excess paint.  You’ll be able to see where you applied the vaseline since it sticks out a bit.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover


Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Notice Grandma’s Sled Shelf in the above right hand corner?

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

Remember my terra cotta pipe and junk candle holders?  They’re making a reappearance in the pallet wood box I created for my son’s wedding centerpieces.

Curbside Find - Dining Room Chairs Makeover

The end chair is temporarily in the living room as an extra side chair until I can find one I like. Actually, I kind of like this one.

Shared at Handmade Hangout Party, Friday Furniture Fix, Friday Favorites,

Before and After Party, Frugal Friday, The Painted Drawer,

Metamorphosis Monday, Trash 2 Treasure, Be Inspired Tuesday,

Wow us Wednesdays, Vintage Inspiration Party, Think and Make Thursday,

Creativity Unleashed, Link Party Palooza, Funky Junk Party Junk,

Finding Silver Pennies, Inspire me Tuesday, Dream Create Inspire,

That DIY Party, Thursdays Favorite Things

I was featured at

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  • Heather says:

    Beautiful transformation…I’d say this is a complete improvement. Thanks for the tips on spray paint & vaseline. Your dining room is gorgeous!

  • MJ says:

    Great job. You sound like me: should I or should I not……..but when you “do” you do it well and pretty.

    Appreciate the tip about vaseline and paint. Wish I’d seen this before doing the chalk paint thing on my rescued DR chairs.
    ‘ Day late and a dollar short’ here more often than not!!!!

    Also, when i get rid of my old DR carpet, I’ll know to paint the walls a light color and keep the window coverings light.

    But I really need to know how you keep your DR so neat!!! Or is that just for photos? I always wonder, since my DR is the place for so much activity and never looks so perfect…….sigh.

    • Joan says:

      Actually the dining room and living room are the neatest rooms in the house. The kitchen gets the worst because even though I have a workshop, I like to paint in the kitchen because it has better light. So now I’m painting, cooking, mail drop zone and school drop zone. If anybody comes to the house, I can always lead them straight to the dining room 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Lovely! I love a good bargain (ie free!) I have a question about the vaseline method and spray paint, I have a wooden blanket chest with a drawer that I am going to paint – this will be my first project painting a piece of furniture! I think I will keep the top stained, but after sanding etc make it darker and maybe highlight some of the trim detail with that stain, too. But for the main body, I’d like it to look a bit chippy/imperfect, too. Would you suggest this method for the body after I would cover the stain areas? Or, just use a brush and sand off gently after it’s dry etc?
    Thanks and I love your chairs!

  • Joan, you would have been kicking yourself for days had you not made the decision to finally turn around and throw those beauties into your sedan. They were calling your name because they knew you, of anyone, would value and bring them back to their glory. Beautiful!

  • Catherine says:

    Seriously– you HESITATED???
    They must have really been meant for you to keep going back and forth!
    O M G !!!

  • Suzan says:

    I would have carried the 5 of them on my back if I’d had to LOL – they BEAUTIFUL and your makeover is sheer perfection !
    I keep a very similar chair in my den – I actually find them quite comfortable to sit on !
    Great score !

  • kim says:

    My goodness, they are gorgeous.
    I bet you are so happy you went back for them!

  • gail says:

    Your chairs look fantastic Joan! Love FREE chairs!

    super job!

  • Cheryl says:

    These are beautiful, I love love love them! Great job! I am the same way with chairs and The Mister always says the same thing yours does, lol.

  • Paige says:

    Oh my Lord this is amazing! I love the chairs and the technique! Like I always say: rule#1: never pass up something free on the side of the road! Great job!

  • Oh I saw these on Hometalk today – even COMMENTED – and didn’t realize it was you!! Duh. 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up your awesome projects to Trash 2 Treasure. I always LOVE what you do!

  • Joyce Cooke says:

    Love the whole room. Please tell me the name of the gray color you used on the walls. Never thought I would say I liked gray.

    • Joan says:

      Hi Joyce, I wasn’t ignoring your question, I needed to get some paint swatches from the Hardware Store. The brand I used isn’t made anymore. If it helps you come to terms with your dislike of gray, the color is closer to a dark taupe. Behr’s color Shiitake is really close. Hope that helps.

  • Such beauties! Love that fabric on the chair cushions.

  • Nancy says:

    I’m so glad you got those chairs! They are wonderful…..
    I thought I was the only one who does “drive-bys” and then goes and picks them up!
    Great job.

  • […] The most viewed link was from Scavenger Chic.  What a great space! […]

  • Suzanne says:

    Featuring tonight on The Painted Drawer Link Party and thanks for sharing! Lucky duck!

  • Carrie says:

    These chair renovations are incredible. Refinishing chairs can take a lot of work! You did a marvelous job on them! Thank you for linking up to Friday’s Furniture Fix! I hope you’ll join us again this week… Carrie, Thirty Eighth Street

  • Great, great job! I have never tried the Vaseline trick. I work at a vintage furniture company “repurposing” old items so this is right up my alley. I usually use chalkpaint but I love how you essentially achieved the same look with spray paint. Awesome job.

  • Maria says:

    What luck!

  • What a beautiful set! I’m so glad you took them home! I love the way they turned out. Thank you for sharing at Dream. Create. Inspire Link! I’m pinning your project! I hope we’ll see you there again this week!


  • Your chairs turned out beautiful! I laughed out loud reading your story about driving past them about 5 times, trying to convince yourself out of picking them up. I know that internal voice far too well!! It’s a great thing that you stopped, because they are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing with us at Dream. Create. Inspire. Link.

  • Michele says:

    Great makeover. I LOVE that chair with the curvy arms. I think it looks great in your living room!

  • Trish says:

    Woah!!! Those chairs are gorgeous.

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