I’ve been on a mad hunt for the last few months for the perfect dining room chairs. I was torn between buying something ready-to-go from a home furnishing store and finding a used hidden treasure. I found a few chair candidates at various stores but there were two main problems- 1) each chair was over $100 each and 2) I really wanted to customize the chairs with a fun print but there just weren’t any stores that provided this option in a cost-effective manner. So thus began my weeks-long search on CraigsList, scouring for the perfect chair.
I sifted through hundreds of listings, many at 2 am to Chris’ dismay. I had a very specific chair in mind- wooden back, interesting design (no plain ole ladder backs for me), and a really awful fabric seat that was dying to be recovered. It turned out to be quite the challenge to find 4 matching chairs that fit these criteria. But, one late night after quite a few elbow nudges from Chris (indicating I should give up), I finally found them. The design was just what I was looking for. The wood was an outdated stain, which helped ease my worry about painting over the wood. And the fabric seats were as awful as I had dreamed (it makes the “before” pictures that much better). I excitedly shook Chris awake to tell him of my big accomplishment. After only receiving a muttered response and not much else, I decided that was my go ahead. The next afternoon, Chris and I were on our way to buy the chairs.
I was a little nervous about the purchase because I could tell Chris thought these chairs were the definition of hideous. I reassured him (and myself) over and over again that they had potential. He just had to wait and he’d see.
I found an awesome geometric print from Joann’s Fabric that would instantly modernize the chairs and settled on a light gray color for painting the chair, which complements our dark gray dining room.
We spent our Saturday painting the chairs, to which I learned never paint against the grain of the wood if you want a clean look (oops, live and learn I guess). While the chairs dried, we took to recovering the seats. Chris perfected folding corners and I worked on conquering my fear of staple guns (a fear that stemmed from Final Destination 3… not a joke).
Less than a day later (much of which was thanks to the extreme Dallas summer heat which sped up the paint drying process), we were done! They turned out great and are my new home obsession. I’m officially addicted to finding chairs on CraigsList to refurbish, whether Chris likes it or not.
I’m really happy with these chairs for two reasons: 1) we finally have something in the dining room, and 2) I don’t have to listen to Julie complain about needing something in the dining room.
I also get to sleep at night. I kid you not, I was waking up in the middle of the night to find Julie wide awake next to me, scouring the internet for… chairs. I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure that’s not normal on any level. Oh, and then she’d complain about being tired all the time… nooooo, really?
So last week I got a call at work from Julie that went something like this:
Julie: “Don’t forget, we’re going to look at those chairs tonight.”
Me: “Wait… what chairs?”
Julie: “I told you. The chairs I found on CraigsList!”
Me: “You never told me about any chairs on Craigslist.”
Julie: “Yes I did! Remember? Last night… When you were asleep.”
As if my opinion mattered, we went over to look at some chairs. I could see that Julie loved them and saw potential, but for some reason all I could think of when I looked at those chairs was the Bundy house. So after biting my tongue and forking over my emergency gas money, we were on our way home with a new project, as if we really needed another one.
First and foremost, we had to paint them because they were hideous. Julie picked out a light gray color, we sanded the sheen off, and we started painting. It was about 105* out, so by the time you finished your second brush stroke, your first one was dry. This meant that any drips or uneven spots were almost impossible to fix in time, so getting things to look good was quite the task. I realized the next day that Julie didn’t know you had to paint with the grain… I swear, sometimes I want to sign her up for Cub Scouts.
Not only were they in desperate need of a paint job, but even I can admit that they needed to be recovered. If it matches your grandparents sunroom furniture, it’s probably not a bad idea to invest in a little fabric. Julie has an irrational fear of staple guns, so the recovering was left to me… or so I thought, as Julie quickly discovered the satisfying “CLANK” that comes with stapling. At this point my job was to fold the fabric over the corners while Julie yelled “hurry, I want to staple!” Disconcerting, to say the least.
This whole experience taught me that I should hide my extra cash from my wife and save up for a paint sprayer. Fortunately, though, I had the foresight to install a dimmer in the dining room, so with the proper lighting these chairs really look great. And for the first time since we moved in, we finished a project in one sitting without going to Home Depot.
Fabric: Joann Fabric, on sale for $12.00/yard, 2 yards needed
Chairs: CraigsList find, $125 for all four chairs
Paint: Home Depot, Behr, Burnished Clay, $14 for a quart
Total Project Cost: $163 which about equals one chair from Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn. Beat that!