There are many options when it comes to painting an old wooden chair. You can paint your wooden chair to make it an ornament, to bring an accent to the room, or to fulfill a strictly utilitarian function. After preparing the surface of the chair, apply a motif or solid color in the paint of your choice. The nice thing about painting a wooden chair is that if you don't like the result, you can always start over and paint it again.
Method 1 of 2: Prepare the seat surface
Step 1. Wash the seat
Use a cloth dipped in soap and water to remove cobwebs, dirt or dust from your wooden chair. If there is a layer of grease, use a grease remover and then rinse with water. Allow the chair to air dry completely.
Step 2. Sand the chair to get a smooth painting surface, if necessary
If your chair is covered in crumbling paint, use coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the larger pieces, then work with progressively finer grit until you get the finish you want. Sand off minor scratches and pits as they will show when you paint the seat.
Step 3. Fill any holes with wood putty
If the blemishes are too deep to remove with sanding alone, apply wood putty to the stains and allow to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Afterwards, sand off the excess putty until the surface is smooth.
Step 4. Dust the seat
Use a tack cloth or a slightly damp cotton cloth to remove the sanding dust. Allow the chair to air dry before continuing.
Method 2 of 2: Painting the seat
Step 1. Choose a color or color palette for your chair
Use a solid color or a combination of contrasting or complementary colors.
For a quirky look, paint the seat in one colour, the backrest in another and the legs in another. For subtle accents, paint the entire chair a solid color and then add accents, such as stripes or dots, with one or two other colors
Step 2. Set the chair on a piece of tarpaulin to protect the surface underneath from paint splashes and drips
Step 3. Apply primer
Stir the paint well before applying it. Use a brush that is easy to hold and small enough to fit between all parts of the chair. It is usually easiest to turn the chair upside down and paint the legs first. When you're done, put the chair back on its feet and paint the rest.
Step 4. Allow to dry and apply additional coats as needed
Use spray paint for quick results. Make sure to shake the cans well before applying the paint. Apply several light coats rather than one thick coat to minimize dripping
Step 5. Apply the chosen paint
Apply several light coats rather than one thick coat to minimize dripping.
Step 6. Coat the freshly painted wooden chair with a protective clear coat
Depending on the desired finish, use a matte, satin or glossy lacquer. A spray finish is easy to apply, but a brush finish still gives you better control for an even application. If you plan to apply decorative stickers to the freshly painted chair, apply them before applying the protective clear coat. Allow the clear coat to dry according to the manufacturer's directions, applying as many coats as desired.