Chairs for the Dining Table

We have lived in our "new" house for 18 months now, and we've just now made our dining room look like an actual dining room.  It has been the slowest room to transform, mostly because we didn't want to spend money (or time) on a room we didn't even use.  I took some pictures of it yesterday to finally show it on the blog, but first, let's talk chairs.

I fell in love with a table a few months after we moved in and after about a year of pining for it, Matt finally let me purchase it.  He did give me one condition, though: "There's no point in us buying the table if we wait another year to get chairs for it."  I promised that I would not only look for chairs immediately, but I would find chairs I could buy on the cheap.  While I would love some fancy cloth chairs for our table, they would be a silly purchase to make while we're in this toddler-with-sticky-hands phase of life.  Add them to the wish list for later.

SO.  Right after buying the table (in September, I think?), I began the hunt for chairs.  Our table sits one inch higher than a standard table (thanks a lot, China) so it was important that I found chairs with a high back so they didn't look dwarfed compared to the table.  I decided maybe Queen Anne-style chairs would work if I could find some to make over.

After lots of antique store and thrift store shopping and more than a few sets of too expensive chairs, I finally found a set of four chairs I could buy from the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Of course, I had to buy the table too, but the whole set cost me less than $100 which was a steal of a deal compared to the antique store prices.  Only problem was that four chairs were not enough!  

So I hunted around some more until I found another table and chair set - this time at a junk store - that was similar.  Once again, I had to buy the table but it was even cheaper than the first set so that was good.  This set only had three chairs though, so my chair count is stuck at seven.  Even though the two sets were not identical, they were a pretty close match.  In the pictures below, the one on the left is from the set of four and the one on the right is the set of three.  Love those vinyl covered seats!


As for the two tables, we donated them to our church's rummage sale in October since we had zero use for them and they were just taking up space.  

We got to work right away, taking off the seats and coating them in two layers of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.  Thank heavens for chalk paint because there was no part of me that wanted to have to sand those chairs!  

old white

This is when things stalled.  Well, sort of.  I knew I wanted to add a glaze to the chairs so my mom got to it one day and got three of them done.  Then I made her stop because I didn't like the way they were looking (not her fault, just didn't like the method we had chosen).  THAT's when things really stalled.

Fast forward about four months and we finally got around to finishing them.  So much for keeping that promise to Matt that I wouldn't drag my feet on getting chairs around the table!

We repainted all the chairs in Old White again (we had already added a clear wax to all of them and brown wax to three, so we had to paint them all again to get back to our blank slate).  Actually Mom did all of this step because she's such a rock star.  Then together, we spent an afternoon reglazing all seven of them.  I liked the method we used this time much better!

glazed chairs
glazed chairs

The next step was to recover the seats.  But, I wanted to alter them a little bit first.  Remember how I said our table sits an inch higher than a standard table?  Well, I wanted to raise the seats of our chairs an inch too so that it felt normal when we sat at the table.  (I know an inch doesn't sound like much but it was noticeably high when sitting in a normal chair.)  My solution was to cut another seat out of 1" thick plywood (technically 3/4" but whatevs) and add it to the bottom of the existing seats.  The two pics below show the new plywood piece screwed to the bottom of a seat (I did not remove the old fabric, figured it'd just be extra padding).  My cuts are really wavy but I knew they wouldn't show.

plywood seat
plywood seat

With the seats officially thicker, we could finish them off by wrapping them in a new layer of batting and the fabric I had purchased.  We pretty much wrapped them like a package, but the curved corners in the front were a little tricky to get smooth.

wrapping seat

Finally, we just had to reattach the seats to the chairs!

reattaching seats
reattaching seats

Here is one of the finished chairs sitting in our dining room (more pics of the whole room coming soon).  

finished chair

I'm really glad I hosted Henry's shower because it gave me the kick in the rear I needed to finally get these chairs finished (about five months after I bought them...).  And I'm super pleased with how they turned out!  Now we just have to have some friends over to enjoy a meal in our dining room so we can break them in!