Can I get a Hallelujah and an amen!? After 3 months, I finally have chairs for the dining room table. I never thought finding dining chairs for this kitchen table would be so hard. I use to read Young House Love, back when they were blogging daily about their fixer-upper projects. They went through a similar dilemma and struggled to find dining chairs to fit their table/room/style. I thought they were completely bonkers. All I could think was “How hard can it be to settle on dining chairs!?” I’ve been in the same position these last couple of months.
A couple of months ago I posted about my finished dining table re-do, here. During the process I thought I had purchased the perfect set of chairs to go with the table, but when they arrived, they were all wrong. The gray color did not match the picture on the website and the color of the cushion fabric didn’t meet my expectations either. So for the last couple of month’s I’ve been chair less. Which is okay, because what single person sits and eats dinner at their kitchen table anyways? What bothers me the most is that it’s been an unfinished project with loose ends that can’t be tied up and crossed off my to-do list.
In late July/early August I purchased another set of chairs. They were a dark rich walnut finish, solid wood, sturdy, and cottagey. They were a tad pricey and on back order on Wayfair. So I looked all over the internet for them, to see if anyone else had them. I found them on a website called beyonestore.com. The website had them for $100 less a pair, which made them really affordable. The website even had a ‘name your price tool’ called “Pricewaiter.” I put in a lower bid for 4 chairs and it was accepted! After a couple of days, I STILL hadn’t received any shipping information. So I called and was greeted with bad news. The chairs were discontinued and they were going to refund my money. Strike 2 on my chair search.
After another month with no chairs, I felt like I needed to bite the bullet and purchase something. I was looking at buying some unfinished chairs and staining them. The chairs are solid wood and can be painted or stained. After looking at several different styles, I finally settled on this “X Back” chair. It had a “cottagey” feel, which is what I was going for. I thought if I stained it dark walnut (the same color I stained the table top) the chairs would look cohesive with the table without being to “matchy matchy.” Staining something is a lot easier than painting……usually. Here’s a picture of the chairs before I started to stain them.
After assembling the chairs, except for the seat, I put a coat of the dark walnut on each chair. I noticed that there were big flaws where the wood glue wasn’t cleaned up and it was only noticeable after staining the chairs. There were also random spots on each chair were the stain wasn’t absorbed. The spots looked like they were completely missed. No matter what I did spots looked like the raw unfinished wood. Here’s a picture of the spots:
I figured out it that these spots were wood filler and that they were never going to change color. I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the chairs if I left them stained with these wicked spots. The only option left was to paint the chairs, which is not what I wanted to do.
I didn’t want to go through the whole process of priming the stained chairs and painting them with latex paint. The quickest solution was to use chalk paint. But with chalk paint, I was limited to a small palette of colors. I narrowed down the options within the Annie Sloan color wheel to white and gray. In the end I went with the gray (surprise, surprise). I felt that the white was going to be too much of a contrast, and would standout too much.
When I started painting the chairs, the gray paint seemed too light. I contemplated upholstering the seat with some foam and fabric. I also thought about putting a light coat of stain on top of the paint to darken it up. In the end I decided against both of those options. Instead, I hoped the polyurethane sealing the paint would darken it slightly.
It took three coats of paint on each chair. I decided to leave the seat stained, to flow with the table. I also used a satin finish polyurethane to seal the chairs (the same one on the table top, here). I usually seal chalk paint pieces with the Annie Sloan clear wax. But this time, I was in a rush and I had plenty of poly left over from the table and decided to use it, instead. Here’s a picture of a finished chair.
Overall I think the chairs look good and compliment the table. They aren’t exactly what I pictured in my head, nor what I was looking for, but they work. I am glad that I can cross this project off my list completely now. There are still some accessories I want to get for the room, like a big mirror for the wall. Eventually it would be nice to find to upholstered chairs for each end, so that you can sit six at the table. BUT for now, I’m moving on from dining chairs and ready to tackle some other projects.
Here’s a picture of the room before changing the table out earlier this year.
Here’s a picture of the room after changing the table and chairs.