I think my dining room is a good representation of my decorating technique. Slowly, but surely, it has evolved from being an empty room, to a room with only a Craigslist table, to a room with a table and a thrifted, made-over buffet. Then finally came some actual ordered-from-a-catalog chairs to go along with a couple coordinating chairs from a discount store. And now I have added yet another couple of layers with some re-finished yard sale chairs and hand-sewn pillows.

And God bless those of you who have stuck with me to witness this process in painfully-slow real time.

But, I honestly love it this way. And I’ve learned that I actually prefer to have a room that slowly takes on its personality from each of the unique pieces that gradually come together from different places as they getdiscovered, each lending its own imperfect contribution, rather than a room that is perfectly ready-made from the factory.

And so here is the story of the most recent yard sale chairs…

I found these last fall at a yard sale for $5 each and wasn’t sure what to do with them at the time, so I stuck them in my basement storage room and there they sat for several months until I came across them again and thought, “These are exactly what I’ve been looking for for extra seating in the dining room!”

And the makeover began. Since my regular dining chairs have basically the same wood finish (they are the Madeleine Chair from Restoration Hardware in Burnt Oak), I decided to try to get that similar look with paint.

So, I roughed up the finish a little bit, although they were already pretty dulled from natural aging. I skipped the priming because I wasn’t concerned with having great paint coverage on these chairs, and wanted the wood stain to show through slightly.

I used my favorite Sherwin Williams sample quarts, like I do on many of my small projects. This is a great gray/green/putty color called Anonymous.

I gave each chair one good coat, making sure not to get over-generous with the paint, but letting the wood grain show through in a few areas.

I was also very careful to apply the paint in the direction of the wood grain, as pictured:

See how much better it looks than when it’s applied in different directions?

Once the gray was dry, I took a stiff-bristled brush and added a few touches of Shoji White.

I just wanted to barely highlight the wood grain, so I didn’t use much paint at all. Barely dipping the brush into the paint, I then brushed most of it off onto some newspaper before lightly brushing over the gray, letting it catch on the raised textures of the wood.

It was that simple. And I’m thrilled with how they turned out. They’re not an exact match to the RH chairs, but they’re close cousins and that works for me.

It just so happens that no two of the RH chairs are an exact match either. Hmmm…

So I have 3 styles of chairs in the same finish family, and they’re getting along just fine.

If you missed the how-to for the pillows, you can find that here.

And I’m sharing these chairs with a few of these friends. Check them out!