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How to Paint Wood Chairs

If you have outdated chairs in your home you don’t have to replace them! I am going to show you how to paint wood chairs and breath a bit of new life into them for many more years to come.

A three photo slide of the chairs before, during and after I painted them.

When my husband and I got married his parents gave us this kitchen table so we went to our local Meijer and bought these wood chairs.

They were great chairs, super sturdy, but they had that 80’s orange wood tone that has not stood the test of time. I feel like there are a lot of people who can relate to this.

Great chairs just need a little makeover!

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What you will need:

How to Paint Chairs

 After a while, these chairs started showing some serious wear and tear. And of course, that color…yuck!

I decided on a black color for the chairs after I refinished my dining table a light gray. I put board and batten on the walls and it’s white so I felt like if I painted them white it would be too much white.

The before on my kitchen chairs, they are all beat up.

Sand the Chairs

The first thing you need to do is sand, using the same technique as I used on the refinished antique chairs.  These chairs didn’t need to be sanded down as much as the antique ones did because we are painting them. 

I will admit though, I went to town and probably sanded way more than I needed to.  I am a complete perfectionist and it’s something I am working on!  Haha, 😣

Starting with 80 grit sandpaper give everything a good sanding, then move on to 120 grit and finish up with 220 grit for a smooth finish.

The kitchen chair sanded down.

Paint the Chairs

After sanding, clean really well to get all the dust off.  Put down plastic or a tarp and turn the chairs over.  Paint the bottom and the legs then turn the chair over and finish the top.  Most likely you will need two coats of paint for good coverage.

The kitchen chair with one coat of black paint.

After 1 coat.

All the chairs with one coat of black paint.
A chair after two coats of black paint.

After 2 coats

If you want a distressed look you can take a sanding block to the edges of the chair as much as you want.  If you go too far no worries, just add a little paint! 

Poly the Chairs

Once the paint is done apply polycrylic in the same manner.  Polycrylic is a water-based sealer which is what you should use after painting with water-based paint.

The finished painted chair in my dining room.
The finished painted chair in my dining room.
The finished painted chair in my dining room.
A view of all the painted chairs in my dining room.

I think they look great!!!  And I think they go really nicely with the gray stained table.

UPDATE: It’s been several years since I painted these chairs and I am happy to report that they have held up amazingly! I think the key to their durability has been the poly I applied over the paint.

Related Wood Furniture Posts:

how to paint wood chairs pin for Pinterest.
How to Paint Wood Chairs

How to Paint Wood Chairs

Yield: Painted Chiars
Active Time: 5 hours
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $50

Learn how to paint wood chairs for an instant update!



  1. Sand the chairs
  2. Clean off all the sawdust
  3. Flip the chairs over and paint the legs and base around the legs
  4. Turn the chairs upright and paint everything else
  5. Allow 24 hours dry time then add another coat of paint
  6. Allow another 24 hours of dry time
  7. Apply polycrylic
  8. Allow 24 hours of dry time
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8, 2 more times

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As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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Monday 21st of February 2022

These chairs turned out so cute! I love the color. I am working on updating our kitchen here in Broad Ripple and would love to paint our chairs. We are having our kitchen cabinets refinished next week so maybe after that! Thanks so much for sharing!!!


Monday 25th of October 2021

Hi there! Currently planning on painting similar chairs black as well- (we got them in the glorious 80’s orange from fb with the hopes to refinish them!) I’m thrilled to hear your chairs have held up after so many years since most tutorials like this fail to mention the time test, and black paint can be known for chipping!

I’m Wondering what kind/brand of black paint you used? As well as brush types and brand of polycrylic?

Thanks so much, Gaby M.


Saturday 17th of September 2022

@Gaby, did you ever get an answer to your question about the paint color/brand? I just came across this and would love to also know this as I am painting 4 of the same chairs black. Thank you~ sophia

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