It’s been a while since I’ve shared one of my home decorating projects so I thought I’d give you a before and after look at my dining room chair makeover.  I’ve been holding on to these photos for ages! I picked up these Duncan Phyfe style mahogany harp back chairs on from a friendly Craigslist seller in New Jersey about a year and a half ago. I paid $80 for all 4 chairs…an awesome deal! They were nicked, dinged, and the upholstery…let’s not even talk about it. Beyond awful. These definitely needed some TLC.

I knew I wanted to paint them because I felt the mahogany was a bit too dark and heavy. Painting them would not only lighten them up but also allow me to camouflage the imperfections in the wood.

Now, I love a good DIY project but sometimes I just don’t have the time or patience so I’d rather just pay a professional to do the work that I don’t have the time for or don’t want to risk screwing up…so for this project, I did a partial DIY and re-finished the chair frames myself while I had new cushions professionally fabricated by my upholsterer. Above are the supplies I used to tackle the chair frame: A Ryobi hand sander with various sanding pads, fine grit sand paper for smoothing, Zinsser’s 123 primer, Benjamin Moore eggshell finish paint and various paint brushes.

The first step I took was to sand off the finish and smooth out the most noticeable imperfections. It took a lot of elbow grease and energy but after about an hour and a half I had all 4 chairs all prepped and ready to go. (Note: You’ll want to do this outdoors where it’s well ventilated and you wont have to worry about dust flying everywhere.)

Next I gave each chair a good coat of primer followed by two coats of paint. The color is called Boothbay Gray which has a slight blue tone.

After the paint dried my chair frames patiently awaited their new cushions…

And finally…the finished product! I chose a striped Suzanne Rheinstein for Lee Jofa fabric called Piedmont Stripe. The leaf green color looks great against the chairs’ blue gray frame. Below are a few more shots of the


  1. Don’t you just love craigslist? Beautiful transformation but I’m not with the sanding. The power of paint. It makes things look new again.

  2. Simply gorgeous! Seems like recovering the seat would’ve been the easy part instead of sending them off. Love it when a lady isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty:-) Lovely chandy, too!

  3. Pingback: How to Decorate Series {day 7}: Thrift Store Furniture Tips by Centsational Girl | Home Stories A to Z | Home Stories A to Z

  4. I have two of the exact chairs I will be selling if you need any more.