Creating a French Look with Thrift Store Chairs

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.)

Restoration Hardware Chair $419 and up!

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!

Homegoods Chair $129

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.

Thrift Store – Good Bones!

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.

Tying down the hatch!
Had to put a couple on top of the car too!

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.

Just home from the thrift store

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.

Notice how much whiter the back is after painting over the yellow.

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.

Before and After

                                                     

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.

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Now I am jealous!! You are so fortunate to live where you have the potential to find such good pieces at thrift stores. THe chairs are perfect- you paint job is perfect!!

    1. Thanks for commenting Cheryll! I definitely feel that we have a transient population in south Florida and people seem to sell entire households before they move to other places. It was definitely one of those moments where I knew that God was directing me straight to them. So amazing!