Desk Chair Makeover

Friends, if you see me this week, just expect that I’ll be covered in paint! As many of you know, we are hard at work getting a bedroom ready for “Scout,” the 10 year old boy we are adopting from China this fall. Not gonna lie, adoption is expensive, so we are doing our best to create an awesome room on a pretty tiny budget. Fortunately, we already had a bed and mattress in our guest room, and we were blessed to be given three free pieces of furniture: a desk, a chair, and a dresser!

A few months ago, our friends grabbed a corner desk for us that someone had abandoned by the side of their driveway, and I had a blast giving it a makeover with a few coats of paint and a variety of alphabet stencils. {You can check out this post for a full tutorial!} But a desk isn’t much good without a chair! I mentioned to my mom that I needed to find a small wooden chair somewhere, and she remembered that she and my dad had one that just might work! They hadn’t used it for years, so they were happy to donate it for their new grandson’s room.

This is how it looked before…the chair itself wasn’t bad, but oh, that fabric on the seat! Hello, 1970! I’m sure it was very fashionable then, but you can see that there’s no way it would work as is with the desk, right?

Here’s what I used to transform it into a piece perfect for a little boy’s room.


*some of the following are affiliate links

FolkArt Outdoor Paint: Cotton
Mod Podge Furniture Satin
FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Wide Brush
Mod Podge Brush 4″
Fabric Glue

The first decision I had to make was what color to paint the wooden frame. Rather than using the same Zinc grey I used on the desk, I decided to go with white to match the alphabet letters.  That way the two pieces would still look like a cohesive set, but the white would brighten things up.

I removed the seat by taking out the four screws holding it in place and set it aside. Then, I gave the chair a coat of white paint. If the piece you are painting has a very glossy varnish on it, you’ll want to apply a coat of primer first or sand the piece to strip the gloss off. I ended up giving my chair three coats of white paint, allowing it to completely dry in between coats. Then, I applied a coat of Mod Podge Furniture to seal it. You can use Gloss, Satin, or Matte, depending on what kind of finish you want your piece to have.

To re-cover the seat, I simply wrapped a new piece of fabric tightly around and secured it in the back with fabric glue. You can also use industrial staples. Then, I reattached it to the chair using the original four screws. For a full step-by-step tutorial on re-covering a chair like this, check out this post where I shared a full how-to for my kitchen chairs.

I can’t believe how different a piece of furniture can look with just a little bit of paint and fabric! Can you even believe this is the same chair?

Now, it coordinates perfectly with the stenciled corner desk and has just the bright, cheerful feel we want for Scout’s room.

These weren’t the only pieces I painted; my parents also donated a small dresser they weren’t using, and I gave it a bright new look with FolkArt Outdoor Fresh Foliage paint! This piece needed to be primed first due to a heavy gloss varnish, then it took three coats of green and one coat of Mod Podge Furniture Satin. Scout’s favorite color is green, and this shade looks great with the fun soccer bedding we ordered!

I can’t wait to show you the rest of the room…stay tuned for more updates and a full room reveal coming soon! In the meantime, is there a piece of furniture in your house that could have a whole new life with a little bit of paint and sealer? What could you do to give it a modern makeover? Show us your favorite furniture projects in the One Artsy Mama & Friends Facebook Group; see you there!

Happy creating!

Desk Chair Makeover: Furniture Upcycle

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