Right now I am loving the French style of decorating for my home. Maybe it’s a phase, but I have been in it for quite a while. It’s classic and classy. For the past year I have been searching for different dining room chairs in that style. The real problem was I had perfectly fine dark wood chairs already, but ever since I fell in love with this particular style, the dark brown dining chairs I had just did not seem to work with that French style I wanted. My chairs in the photo below were purchased from a local Havertys with a dark expresso square table when we first moved into the house. I decided that I really only needed six chairs and started my hunt even more seriously at the beginning of 2017.
I searched on-line for six cute French style dining chairs in this rounded back style for quite some time, but was determined to find some used ones instead of spending a lot of money. The thrifty part of me could not spend $1200 for six new chairs from Amazon.com that I found. After all, I already had eight perfectly functional chairs to go with my round dining table I had found at a thrift store for only $10! (Another one of my fantastic finds.)
The chair pictured above from Restoration Hardware starts at $419 for one chair! I can tell you this “thrifty girl” can’t do that price. So the hunt was on!
I scoped Homegoods and TJ Maxx but they never had six of the same style chairs in the store – – AND they were still $129 each which was beyond my thrifty budget. I even diligently searched Craigslist every day for something similar that I could paint or fix and just wasn’t having any success finding French chairs.
Then one day early in 2017 I remembered it was 25% off day at my favorite thrift store and decided to take the 30 minute drive there. I wandered through the store looking inside and outside. After almost giving up and heading to the car, I decided to take one more look inside and there they were. Six chairs in the exact same style I was looking for! I couldn’t believe it. I noticed the price was $199 for the six chairs plus an ugly glass table that was just randomly paired with them. With the 25% discount, I decided this was too perfect. Score! These chairs were going home with me as they were the perfect style. I knew they had possibilities and were sturdy and in good condition. The glass table however was donated back to the store and left there.
Now we had to find a way to get these home since we figured not all of them would fit into our SUV that already had the side chair I also just found there (see photo below). It also had great “bones” and it was only $45 so I had to get it. I will probably do a makeover on this one eventually but now back to the dining chairs.
We planned to come back with two SUVs and pick it all up but then decided – – let’s just strap them to the top. Why not? That’s what that rack was put on the top for right? Here is the guy helping us load everything up. I had to get over feeling like “Sanford and Son” a long time ago with all the furniture I have lugged home on the top of my car over the years.
Although the style of the chairs were perfect, I had plans to change the color just a bit. I couldn’t be more excited about how they changed the style of my dining room and only cost me what almost one chair would have cost me. Here is how they looked when I got them in the door and put them around my table. It was instantly French and much lighter in the dining room! Some may say it was a lucky find, but I say I was blessed because they were so perfect.
I loved the new look but the color of the frame was a little too “light oak” for me and did not match the top of my faux-painted tabletop. Brushing on a basecoat of gray chalk paint was the first step. This just happened to be a color that I had used on some other furniture I had painted so I just used it as the base color to give it more of a gray tone. Lowes mixes any color you want in their version of chalk paint so you can do any color you like.
After it was dry, I then took some white latex paint I already had in the garage and “dry-brushed” it on to create an old worn look. I also painted the caning on the back to change the yellow to more of a white color (on left in photo). Next I sealed the wood parts with my Polycrylic sealer and a paintbrush.
I decided to leave the fabric on the seats for now because it was a nice light neutral color.
The chair on the left is before chalk painting and the one on right is after the process.
I sold the eight dark chairs on-line and actually the new chairs didn’t cost me anything in the end. I even had money left over after selling them. The perfectionist in me knows I will someday lighten the outside edge of the chair backs and legs even more to make them more white and cover even more of the gray but I love the chairs and the new lighter French look.
Another project done! It’s sea and sand time again.