As a stay at home mom, I look at my home as part of my business. I want it to be a nice place for my kids to grow and learn. I won’t lie, I enjoy decorating it and take immense pride in its appearance. On the other side of that is the fact that as a stay at home mom my family only has one income so remodeling isn’t always an option. Sometimes though, you just need a change, and I have to tell you that small changes can make a huge impact and won’t hurt your budget.  My example, I refinished our kitchen chairs. Before they were red. I liked the red, but four bright red chairs was just too much. I was looking for something more chic, slightly sophisticated.

Here is what I did. First thing was to prep the chairs. They are made of wood, oak to be exact. So I sanded the heck out of them. I used a very coarse sand paper, 50 grit I believe. The smaller the number, the more coarse it is. I used that sand paper to remove all three layers of red paint, plus two layers of primer under that. Once all the old finish was gone I went back over the entire chair with a fine grit sand paper, 220 this time. The fine sand paper smoothed everything out and made the surface perfect for painting.

Now that the hard part is done (seriously, sanding the old finish off is the worst part!) I primed the chairs with a basic primer. To keep brush strokes at bay I used very thin coats and always painted with the grain of the wood. After the first layer of primer was dry I used more 220 sand paper to smooth out any brush strokes or drips that might have occurred. I repeated that entire process twice. After the third coat of primer and light sanding I used Rustoleum’s professional white spray paint. It’s about $5 a can. Each can was able to cover two chairs. And the paint is supposed to be able to handle commercial applications. When spray painting, stay at least six inches away from the chairs. Use short strokes and don’t be afraid. In between coats take a good look to make sure there are no drips. If there are you’ll need to sand again. Honestly, it doesn’t hurt to sand in between coats anyway. My chairs each had two coats of spray paint.

Then I got crazy and hand painted a paisley design on the seat. I like to live on the edge. Briefly I considered making or buying a stencil, but I sort of enjoyed the thought of the charm of hand painted details. Once they are dry you will want to put some protection on them. You can use a spray polyurethane, or my all time favorite for furniture- Minwax Finishing Wax. The wax takes an extra oomph of effort, but I think the finished product is worth it. And voila, you have completely changed the look of your kitchen chairs for roughly $20-$30 depending on what supplies you already have on hand.

-Stephanie Wright

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