Doing it myself…

Here’s a glimpse of my latest DIY project – my dining table, which is incredibly nice and sturdy, but a rather old, battered and stained pine, was in dire need of a makeover. Here it is with Stanley the toolbox on it…


Also one of my chairs broke a while ago, leaving me with only 2, which is awkward if I want to have more than one person over for dinner at a time…

Also a lack of desks at work has left me working from home a lot recently, and my old chairs were extremely hard and uncomfortable, and left me with a stiff back and sore arse after a whole day of sitting on it!

I scoured the internet, but couldn’t find many chairs I liked the look of, and the ones I did were all £60 – £100 per chair (which is rather extortionate for a set of 4!). I knew I wanted a padded seat, and a decent back support for working purposes, but nothing seemed to go very well with my old pine table, or match my new sage green wall (most of you will know I have recently redecorated, and it is imperative that my new chairs match the room, otherwise I would once again be sent down the rabbit-hole vortex of shopping….)

Anyhow, it occurred to me that I could paint my old table and spruce it up a bit, and if I bought some cheap/old/second-hand chairs I could paint them a matching colour and then it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t quite go together, and then I could have the comfort and support I need without throwing the whole room into a retail vortex again….

As luck would have it, a new Emmaus shop has literally just opened in my local shopping centre, with LOADS of cheap furniture on offer. The first time I spotted a set of 4 chairs that matched my needs, I was too slow and they had been snapped up before I got back to the store to buy them later the same day (our local shop is so popular that they will literally only put stuff on hold for you for an hour!), however a few weeks later another set turned up that was exactly what I was looking for – and a total bargain at £5 per chair, or £20 for all four, so naturally I snapped them up!

They are fairly sturdy IKEA chairs, a little wobbly at first but after I tightened up all of the screws with my trusty Alan key, they were as good as new (well three of them are, one still wobbles a tiny bit….)

Here’s my old, hard, uncomfortable chair on the left, and my new (well second hand but new to me) chair on the right. All the wrong colours but much more comfy!


Here’s the old table and new chairs, completely mis-matched and waiting for their makeover…


I’ve spent a few hours gleefully trawling the internet for fabrics to re-upholster them with, and went out and carefully selecting an Annie Sloan chalk paint that would go nicely with my sage green wall (Paris Grey in case you are wondering).

First off I removed the chair pads, ready for painting…


And with some help from my lovely lodger got the table outside into the sunshine (he even lent me a cloth to protect my garden/concrete flagstones from the paint)


I’ve never used Annie Sloan paint before, and I am now an instant convert! It’s a chalk paint that goes straight on, and requires no sanding beforehand – even over varnish! It also only needed one coat (although I touched up a couple of spots here and there that I missed the first time around. You can water it down if you want more of a whitewash style finish, which I initially considered as I wanted the wood grain to show through, but after testing some patches on the underneath of the table, I decided to just paint it on thick without any watering down.

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It was quick and easy to use, although you do then need to wax them down after painting, and that was a bit fiddly. However overall I think they look great, and I’m very pleased with the colour and the finish.

The wax takes a few days to properly soak into the paint and cure, but it gave me time to upholster the seat covers anyway.

Here you can see how nicely the Paris Grey goes with my sage green wall!

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I had a little trouble getting the seat pads back on again, and had to bust out Phil the Drill to help…



I’m so pleased – don’t they look gorgeous?


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So, I am dead chuffed with myself for transforming my cheap second-hand chairs and ratty old pine table into something so beautiful, and I truly love them, although I ended up spending significantly more on the paint, wax and fabric than I did on the chairs themselves, I think it was worth it!

3 thoughts on “Doing it myself…

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