Distressed Duck Egg Dining Chairs Makeover

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Remember that post the other week when I poured my brains out to share the ideas I had floating around for our breakfast area? And remember how I polled y’all on Facebook and Instagram with paint brush in hand as I struggled to swipe on that first drop of paint onto our kitchen chairs? I kid you not, even after all of that, I still stood in our kitchen for an embarrassingly frequent number of times just staring at those blasted manufactured “weathered” wood chairs teetering on the question, “to paint or not to paint?”

Until you know what I did? Flipped a coin to make my decision. I wish I was making this up. I literally left this decision to chance because I could not for the life of me land on my choice on my own. But I’m so glad it landed on tails (what I assigned to “paint” in the coin flip).

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I mean, hello? What was I so afraid of?

I knocked out painting three chairs before remembering that I should take a before shot, so here they were before. They were great the way they were, but I wanted some contrast from the table. (Super matchy furniture makes me antsy for some reason.)

And, yes, I tested chance even more by not using a dropcloth. Just paper plates under the legs.

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These chairs take a beating regularly. Cute little toddlers can make the biggest messes, and this chair still had remnants of Olivia’s oatmeal from breakfast. Lovely.

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I realized that I’ve never really written a post with a basic step-by-step for painting with chalk paint, so why not today? There are tons of chalk paint tutorials out there, but if you’re a newbie to it and you’re afraid to take that first step, I promise you have nothing to be afraid of. So consider this my beginner’s guide I guess.

I gave them a quick wipe down of soapy water, wiped again with a damp rag, let dry, and they were ready to be beautified. (Do you spy my little helper hiding under our table there?)

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I happened to have nearly an entire quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg leftover from my coffee table makeover. It is my absolute favorite color for injecting a little life and interest into an otherwise neutral room. Great for all of us color-fearing gals.

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I use a 1.5″ angled Purdy’s brush. This thing has seen its share of projects for sure.

I work straight from the can and just place the top on between dipping my brush so I don’t waste any.

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And paint away!

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Side note:  It’s moments like these when I wonder why I ever decorated with anything but this color. I like this shade so much that it was the main color in our wedding.

Exhibit A-  (I love these beautiful ladies to the moon and back.)

(c) Brandywine Photography and Cassie Leigh Photography

If you wear the color all the time, are drawn to it like a magnet when you go shopping, and put it on your own bridesmaids, decorate with it for goodness sake! No idea why it took me 3 years to figure that out.

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If you’ve never painted with chalk paint before, don’t freak when you see this (above). Streaks are normal.

This paint dries lightning fast, and was already dry in some places before I even finished the rest of the chair. After an hour, I used 100 grit sandpaper to distress.

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I concentrated on all of the edges where natural wear and tear would occur. Then roughed it up all over to have the weathered wood underneath show through.

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Well hello, pretty distressed duck eggy weathered woody finish.

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Once I was done having way too much fun with the 100 grit, I went back over it with a 220 grit to blend away the scratches. Then wiped everthing down with a damp cloth to remove dust.

When I first attempted painting furniture a year ago, I had bought a can of Minwax Clear Paste Finishing Wax, and it has been used on so many pieces. I still have a lot leftover. I like to use an old sock and wear it like a mitten to apply the wax.

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This stuff makes the painted piece silky smooth, and I won’t have to worry so much about Olivia’s messes discoloring the paint as it protects the chairs.

It took no time at all to rub on the wax and buff it.

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And since I chose the distressed finish, Olivia can distress them even further and it won’t bother me a bit.

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Do you see a sneaky peek of our breakfast nook changes already? Those curtains are getting a hem job tomorrow, and then it’ll be finished!

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What do you think? Are you as obsessed with this color as I am? Or had a total “duh” moment in your decorating? Or maybe had to flip a coin to make a decision? Sometimes the hardest part of making over furniture is the deciding part.

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  1. I’ve never used chalk paint but have seriously been wanting to do some ! I have a bathroom vanity in a cheap darkish wood (not real sure of the type ), but wanted to know if there is a soft green color in the chalk paint as my colors for the
    bath are pink and green ? (Rosy pink and moss and lighter greens )

    1. Hi Peggy! The duck egg is more of a robin’s egg blue color with just a hint of green in it. There’s one by Annie Sloan called Versailles that’s more of a green. There’s one called Lily Pond by Fusion Mineral Paint that’s a really pretty green too.

  2. Lauren, I love the chairs! And the soft blue. I’m inspired to get my can of duck egg back out, even tho my husband doesn’t like blue so well.
    Impressed that you are using & liking Minwax, rather than Annie Sloan wax, which I know is tons more expensive. Glad to know Minwax works just as well. I think I’ll give mine another try.

    1. Thanks, Florence! It’s my favorite shade of blue that I use EVERYWHERE. And yes, I love Minwax! You have to be careful using it on white and gray sometimes as it can take on a yellow effect. For those, I stick to the Annie Sloan brand. But Minwax can still do the job. 🙂

  3. These chairs look great! I am a newbie for chalk painting and will be painting a mirror. I am soo nervous about it because it’s for my daughter’s bedroom. A tall arched mirror with many panes. Just waiting for it to arrive. Thanks for this tutorial. Will be using country chic paint in simplicity as seen on Pinterest. What’s the saying, the anticipation is way worse than the actual event!

    1. Oh you’ll do great, Cindy! Chalk paint is so awesome for anyone just starting out. Hope it turns out well!

  4. Love your eating area!! I wondered where you got your table. Do you shop consignment shops and antique shops? Love the clocks. Are those old or new?

    1. Thanks, Debbie! our table was actually one of the few pieces we bought in a brick and mortar store. This one was from Ashley Furniture. I collected the clocks for a few years though. They’re mostly from Target and At Home.

  5. Hi Lauren! This post has inspired me to update our dining table and chairs. I knew they needed something since they’re really dark and our floors are pretty dark. A rug would help add contrast but the space unfortunately is’t large enough to put a rug (the correct size) under the table. Did you refinish the table at some point or did you purchase it in that wonderful color?

    1. Yay! So glad it could inspire you, Rebecca! We actually bought the table already like that from Ashley Furniture a couple of years ago, so no, it’s not refinished.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I get mine at a local antique shop. I know sometimes you can order it from eBay, but I feel like that’s sometimes a risk.

  6. Hoping to embark on a project like this soon. May I ask where your chairs are from? I’ve seen these on line before (blogs or pictures) and really like them. Thanks!

  7. So, this might me a dumb question….. but do the streaks that show in that one photo show up when it all dries? It seems that people always distress their chalk painted pieces and I am wondering if that is because it is never a smooth, even coat. Can you have a smooth, totally painted piece with chalk paint or does chalk paint always need distressing? Thanks for any advice…. I love that Duck Egg color — it is beautiful and so are your chairs!

    1. So sorry, Kat. I should have clarified in the post. No, the streaks are only there as the piece is drying. The paint dries very smooth. And you don’t have to distress it if you don’t want to. Just skip the sanding step, wax it, and you’re done. 🙂

      1. Thanks:) I’m sure it was clear to most people…..I’m new to chalk paint, so needed it spelled out. It’s me, not you;)

  8. I have some gorgeous antique pieces, a wardrobe and queen sleigh bed brought over from Germany by my great great grandparents and an original Victor Victrola also from my great great grandparents. I can’t bring myself to paint heirloom pieces! However, I do have an old China cabinet that I’ve been dying to use chalk paint on but where do you find the dark wax? Also, do you have heirloom pieces that you just can’t paint or an I the only one?

    1. I can totally understand that, Lysha! If the wood is a beautiful finish and in great condition, I’d leave it alone too. I’m a sucker for pretty woodgrain. And there are some pieces that I agree should definitely not be painted. That said, for my personal taste, I wouldn’t want every single piece I own to be dark wood because then I’d feel like I’m living in a cave with all of that dark going on. It’s tricky to find that balance. I haven’t been blessed with any heirloom pieces yet though. For the dark wax, I picked mine up at an antique shop in my city that carries Annie Sloan products. She has her full list of retailers here: http://www.anniesloan.com/ (on the left bottom of the sidebar) I’ve used Briwax before too and picked it up at Ace Hardware. It’s good, but I like the Annie Sloan brand better.

  9. Do you always use chalk paint for distressing. I love the color and think I’m going to try this on my granddaughter bedroom furniture

    1. Not at all! Chalk paint and milk paint are just a lot easier to distress, but I’ve even distressed pieces using spray paint. The trick is to rub Vaseline on the places where you don’t want the paint to stick and where distressing would naturally occur. Spray paint after rubbing on the Vaseline and once the spray paint is dry, rub the piece with a cloth. The Vaseline will come off with it and you’ll have the layer of paint or wood underneath peeking through where you had put the Vaseline. No sanding required. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Cristina! I love it a lot too. And I still have half a quart left. Hmm… onto something else. 😉

  10. That’s the beauty of home decor I guess, Alison. Different tastes for everyone. It saddens me that I couldn’t live up to what you like. Sorry to disappoint you. I just feel like the blue/neutral is more of who I am and my personality. And sticking to what I feel is my style matters to me more than anything when it comes to that.

  11. I was reading your post and you made a comment about your little helper under the table.I thought oh there will be a cute pic of Olivia(which is also my daughters name, though we call herLivi alot) and scrolled down to see the picture and had to laugh when I saw the dog instead. Love the chairs!! After reading your last post when you changed the curtains I thought your dining set would look so cute if she pained her chairs. Well great minds think alike. I’m sure you’ll find something else to use the last of your paint on. I think you have tied the two rooms together beautifully, without being obvious.

    1. Haha Yeah Lola is our first born and is so funny and playful with our Olivia. (We call her Livi Bug.) Thanks so much for the love, Relle! I’m so happy with how it flows together now too.

  12. Love, love, love them! I am a blue girl from way back but for reason I have switched to black (the pottery barn look) over the last few years. My duh moment is realizing I love blue waaaay more! Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I think we all have our “duh” moments, decorating or not. 😉 Gotta just roll with it. I really like the black Pottery Barn look too though. So classic. That’s a tough one.

  13. Love how they turned out! I have tried two projects with AS chalk paint, and I am still getting used to the wax step. I think on the dresser I painted I used way too much, and on the old window I didn’t use enough. Guess I’ll just have to start painting more! 🙂 Never knew you could use the Minwax brand over AS. Guess I’ll have to try that next time.

    1. Thanks, Shelby! Gee darn…it’s such a punishment to have to paint more, isn’t it? 😉 Haha The more I paint, the more I get hooked on it. I actually haven’t even used AS clear wax yet since I still had the Minwax for the past year. I’ve only used the AS dark wax. But you can mix all kinds of brands really. Annie Sloan, Miss Mustard Seed, Maison Blanche, Minwax, Briwax, any of it. 🙂

  14. Love this! You made the right decision with painting! I’m about to paint 8 raw wood farmhouse chairs with A LOT of spindles. Trying to decide if I should just rent a sprayer…

    1. Thanks, Tara! And wow that’s a lot of chairs. It took about an hour per chair with mine. Hope yours turn out well!

  15. They look great! And by the way… After seeing your upholstered chair I’ve decided I HAVE to do the same thing. I found some cane backs at a store for $50/each and think they would be perfect. Can’t wait to share them with you! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jill! And oh my gosh those upholstered chairs took lots of patience, but it was SO worth it. I’d love to see yours when you finish them!

  16. Hey Lauren,
    I LOVE how your kitchen chairs turned out!! I have to say, I am not one to generally paint furniture, and if I do, I haven’t really been “into” the distressed look, but you have definitely changed my mind with this makeover…..they turned out wonderful!! I love that you left the seat the stained wood – the contrast is beautiful! Thanks for sharing…..
    Blessings to you,

    1. Yay! Glad I could convince you. 🙂 I started not to distress these but then realized if I didn’t, my 2 year-old would. Might as well make it look intentional. Haha Thanks for your sweet comment, Lanita. You’re always a little ray of sunshine in my day.

  17. Looks great, and yes much better than the red accents you had before. Can’t wait to see the whole room!!

    And thanks so much for the how to… I just realized I was omitting last step!

    1. Thanks, Mary! I used to omit that last step too, but it helps so much to protect from destructive kids. 😉

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