My First Time: Upcycling a Chair

I hate throwing things out. I’m not sure if I inherited these hoarding tenancies from my mom of if it’s just due to the fact that I get attached to items pretty quickly, but I detest having to get rid of things. Especially when they’re still usable. Every month, when people in my building come and go, they like to leave unwanted items in the stairwell for other building tenants to take if they’d like. A couple of weeks ago, I found a lonely, white chair sitting in the stairwell, all by itself. It looked a little worse for wear, but was still totally usable. So, with my hoarding ways and my love for a good DIY, I decided to upcycle it to the best of my abilities!

If you’re looking to upcycle an old chair yourself, here’s what you need:


  • a sanding sponge or sand paper (I prefer a sanding sponge because I find it easier to hold)
  • paint (you can get a small can from the hardware store for less than $30)
  • paint brushes (I like using sponge brushes because they don’t leave streaks or brush marks)
  • and of course, your handy dandy used chair

Paint Details:

  1. Find a colour that’s right for you. I decided to go with the colour Lotus Petal because I felt like it spoke to me. Seriously – if my soul or my aura were to have a colour, it would be Lotus Petal.
  2. Find a person who’s educated about paint and ask as many questions as you can. When I was at the hardware store picking out my perfect colour, I was lucky enough to run into a lady that was renovating her bathroom and knew a whole lot about what kind of paint I would need. Since the chair was already white, I didn’t necessarily need a primer. However, if I wanted the paint to end up true to colour, my best option would be a paint with a built-in primer. She also helped me pick out the size of the paint can I would need and helped me choose the finish. Seriously, bless her.
  3. Make sure you have paint sticks laying around to mix the paint when you get home! I forgot to grab one, but luckily I had some Popsicle sticks laying around.

DIY steps:

  1. Step up your painting station. You’re going to want to find a place that’s well-ventilated (since no one wants to be trapped in a room full of paint fumes and that’s probably not good for you anyway). I chose my balcony, since I had lots of space out there and it was a cool morning. You should also prep your floor to many sure you don’t get paint anywhere. Feel free to lay down some newspaper — I just taped a garbage bag to the floor and called it my station.
  2. Sand down your chair. My chair had been painted before, so it had lots of chips in the paint to work around. It’s also great to sand down your furniture before you paint it to make sure you’re painting on even surfaces. This step took me a while since I wanted to make it perfect – but if you’re into refurbished furniture and like the worn-down look — feel free to lightly sand your chair! Brush off any dust or shavings with a damp cloth when you’re done.
  3. Mix your paint as well as you can. Paint can settle pretty quickly (even if you just get it mixed at the hardware store and open it up right after. Always remember to mix, mix and mix some more!
  4. Get to the fun part — painting! Lightly splash your paint onto the surface of your chair. The more intricate the chair design, the more nooks and crannies you’ll need to get into, so after your first coat dries, feel free to flip your chair upside down and get a closer look at the places you might have missed.
  5. Do a second coat. Always do a second coat. Trust me, even if you like the light wash of colour, it’ll look even better with a second coat.
  6. Let your chair dry overnight! Most people skip this step, but like I mentioned before, paint fumes probably aren’t the best for you.

I’m so happy with how this simple DIY turned out and it totally matches the rest of my home office. If you’re looking to upcycle any of your old furniture soon, I totally recommended adding a new coat of paint to update your life staples!

With love,




  1. This is such a fun upcycle and such an effective one too! The pastel pink shade you’ve opted for looks really gentle and pretty – love it!

    ps. love the concept of your blog, trying ‘first time things’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.