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How to Paint Furniture: Farmhouse Style Chair

Updated: Sep. 02, 2021

Create farmhouse-style painted furniture with layers of colorful paint and paint removal. Read on to find out how to get the look.

farmhouse-style chair
This chair looks lived in and loved with layers of patina and gray-toned white paint. Find materials and steps for this simple furniture painting process below.

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Tools & Materials

  • Course-grit sandpaper
  • Medium-size paintbrush
  • Damp rag
  • Paint (two colors, 1 quart of each)
  • Foam
  • Fabric
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Painting Steps

Prep the chair

remove seat of secondhand chair

If the chair seat is covered, such as the one shown here, remove the seat first. Then sand the chair to rough up the existing finish, so the new layer of paint adheres. Wipe off the dust.

sand the chair to rough the surface

wipe off the dust after sanding

Paint layer one

paint layer one on chair

Apply your first colorful layer of paint. I chose the color patina to help convey an antique look. This layer does not need to be even or smooth, as it will be covered with another layer of paint later on. Allow the paint to dry completely.

paint patina color onto secondhand chair

add first layer of paint to chair

Paint layer two

paint second layer on chair and remove some to reveal aged lookFamily Handyman

Apply your next color of paint in an even, smooth layer. (Before this layer had time to dry, I went over it again with another layer for better coverage of the darker patina color beneath.)

Allow the top coat to dry for approximately 10 minutes; then take a damp rag and rub off the outer color of paint in areas that would naturally wear over time. For example, the edges of the seat and legs, the outermost points around spindles, etc. This should reveal some of the colorful patina paint underneath.

Once you are satisfied with the look of your furniture piece, allow the top layers of paint to dry completely.

Toss the old upholstery

remove old upholstery

To add new upholstery to the seat, first remove the old layers of fabric and padding. Remove any upholstery nails or staples that stick out from the wood seat.

remove old upholstery tacks

New padding and fabric

add new padding to chair seat

cut new piece of foam to fit seat

Use the seat base as a template for cutting out new padding (I used foam for this chair) and new fabric. Remember to cut the fabric with plenty of excess to wrap around the new padding and to attach it to the underside of the seat.

cut new fabric to fit seat

Place the fabric front-side down on your work surface, add the foam piece on top and then the seat base on top of the foam. Starting with the center of each side, stretch the fabric tightly around the foam and secure it to the underside of the seat base with staples. Continue to add a few staples along the sides of the seat.

cut corners of fabric for seat

For the corners, pull the fabric tightly from each side and staple it along the diagonal line that meets at the corner (see the video). Cut off excess fabric from each side right along the staples, leaving a flap of fabric at the corner. Fold in the edges of the flap and staple it securely to the seat base.

staple new fabric to seat

Finishing touches

secure the seat back onto the chair

Once seat is upholstered, secure it to the chair and the project is complete!