Thursday, December 1, 2011

painted dining room chairs


from Circa Antiques on One Kings Lane

I spotted these chairs recently and loved them. They have such a wonderful light look. Or do I love them because the white/gray Swedish look is so popular right now? I love changing my decor up a little. So, I'm thinking: should I paint my dining room chairs...?

three of my six dining room chairs

See? They're so similar! Mine are antiques.
Should I do it?  

(of course, if I did do it, I'd have to have a new dining room table...and maybe re-paint my dining room....and....and...and...)

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

NOOO....you can NEVER get the beautiful wood grain back. I think your white seat covers keep it fresh!!

thebeneblog.com said...

I say go for it, paint them a pale gray and glaze over them with a slightly darker gray. You won't be sorry...and bottom line in years to come if the dark stain is the old new rage have them stripped and stained...I don't think you will be sorry, they will still look like antiques but antiques of today..that coming from a decorative artist and designer who paints everything in sight! Go for it.

HRH The Duchess of State said...

Dahhhling I am of the thinking that those things we collect in the course of our live's are rarely as appreciated & loved as much by someone else when we are gone..so absolutely paint them! If you have enjoyed them this way for a long time, why not enjoy them a different way for a bit longer?

Acquired Objects said...

Your dining room chairs are nearly a perfect match. I would paint them only if the "antique" value isn't high or you aren't worried about the value. I know what you mean about it leading to one thing after another I'm going through that with my dining room too.

Anonymous said...

only b/c you asked, and feeling flattered that you did, no. your chairs are classic and beautiful, i feel the painted look is transient. the chairs are strong, painting them would render them anemic. love your blog.

Sherry said...

I like yours just the way they are. I wouldn't do anything to them.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Hmmm. I dunno if I would paint antiques. Paticularly if they are worth anything. Sell 'em and get the ones you want. Or wait a couple of years...the white washed look will be over. So cyclical.

Emma Kate said...

I'd get them valued first! Could always sell them and start again? x

terrybrowder@saylesranch.com said...

YES! Paint them. If they are too valuable to paint, then sell them and buy painted ones that you want and like. Life is too short to be living someone else's life and living by someone else's rules. Paint the chairs...

"All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it". This is a quote from the new movie, "We Bought A Zoo", and it is my new motto to live by.

Razmataz said...

Don't paint them is my advice. I would get them stripped to bare wood and would lightly oil them. You will then get the Scandi look you love with the bare simple chairs and not have devalued them by painting them. Less is more.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

OOOOOH! Those chairs are gorgeous... But so are yours.....I"m getting an anxiety attack...........I can see why this decision would drive you nuts.... But maybe just get a fabric with the same flavor and redo the seats??????Maryanne xo

Tricia Rose said...

Yes, paint them - though I like the canniness of getting them valued first!

La Dolfina said...

Yes, because life is short!

charmaine said...

I am all about painting furniture but I love your chairs just the way they are!
Charmaine

Miranda said...

I think that the chairs' value is secondary (and a far second, at that) to what YOU actually want.

I think they would look lovely painted (esp. using the 'dry brush' technique, so that some of the dark wood grain shows through).

Please let us know what you decide!

lisaelwelldesign said...

Love the chairs. I am a big fan of striping them and leaving as is or a wax. Painting looks great until it chips. Stiping them is very Circa Antiques!

Michelle ~ Make Life Pretty said...

I don't know...if they are heirlooms, then maybe I'd just switch up the fabrics. If they don't have sentimental value, though, I'd go for the paint!

Annie Atkin Rasmussen said...

Nooooooooooooooooo.

pretty pink tulips said...

Oh, that's a toughy. I would weigh out their inherent value vs the value of having them in a color you like. They are classic as they are.

Let us know what you decide!!
Good luck!!! xo Elizabeth

liza said...

Noooooooooo! Definitely appraise them before you do anything. I really love your chairs.

annie said...

wow...I just read all your comments...they are not making it easy, are they? I'm going to have to go with La Dolfina who said it best...Yes, because life is short!

annie

My Beautiful World said...

Oh that’s a hard question I think I might have to wait and see what you decide. I love your perfect gray though what an amazing inspirational blog you have so glad I found you.
I'm now following you in hope that we can keep in touch, if you find a spare minute come and visit me one day and follow if you like, nice to find new friends. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Always Wendy

The Zhush said...

team paint!
btw, can we discuss the gorgeous built in hutch in the background? love.

Pat's Addition said...

Define antique....pricey? Family? Paint chips, you don't notice flaws with wood.

Anonymous said...

I saw enjoy the warm wood... gives a bit of contrast and wood truly warms any room. The "look" that we all love right now may pass, but your beautiful wood will remain - I agree that the covers keep them fresh and lighten them a bit. I used your blog recently to freshen my dining room - I have lots of rich, dark woods (chairs, table, sideboard #1). I painted sideboard #2 Repose Gray (compliments of you!), the walls BM Pale Smoke, added an old crystal chandelier for lightness and added RL linen super soft brown/neutral cream custom linen panels for curtains. The rich tones of the dark woods are lovely with the Pale Smoke and give you that dreamy feel we all love.... trust me...keep your pretty chairs!

Victoria said...

Don't do it, Donna. When this Swedish-style trend passes -- and it will -- your chairs will still be classic. Try the idea on a single chair or a pair, perhaps, that are not antique. Then if you want a change, you have not irrevocably ruined a beautiful set of antique chairs.
Best...Victoria

SHERRY HART said...

You know what.....natural wood is in...natural wood goes out....I am thinking paint....but only because sometimes in a DR if everything is dark wood it starts to feel heavy. Why not get 2 different painted host and hostess chairs to lighten it up? Se how I can change my mind in 3 sentences????? Wishy Washy...that's me.

Anonymous said...

No, no, no! Your chairs are simply gorgeous and much more elegant that the painted ones above. Why not put the gray into new seat covers?

mb said...

I didn't read through all of your comments, so sorry if U repeat an idea.
Nope, you can't paint them. Ideas? How about a great looking tie on slipcover that would cover the backs of your chairs. Maybe a semi transparent white linen, or a tonal pattern that parts are semi transparent? Or... shake up the rafters with a tie on slip over, very neatly detailed in a graphic design that knocks your socks off. It would serve as a great reprieve to "old and boring"
Think snappy. But don't sell or paint your chairs... what goes around, comes around.

mb from big D.

mb said...

OK, got another idea to make your chairs more fresh? ( I actually like them as is)
How about getting a great flat tape that rocks your world and have it boxed out on the seat of your current slipcovers. Depending on what you find, they can give your chairs an updated look. The tape can be solid, or a wonderful pattern.

mb from big D.

mb said...

Not sure how the "I" in my first sentence in my first post became an "U"?

mb

house of earnest said...

rough one... I say, look at the other things in your home. If the new painted look is in line with your total style then go with it. If they would be a departure from your classic style and the only thing that is the painted Belgian look would be those chairs... I'd stay with the wood.

Roberta said...

yes, yes, yes. paint them.

Jennings and Gates said...

I wouldn't. But you have to follow your own heart. Just don't do it to follow a trend.

24 Corners said...

I can see how the chairs would be beautiful painted, but I think they are so beautiful now and have such an elegant grace about them as is that I wouldn't touch them with a paintbrush. The rich, warm wood is so pretty...and would stand our beautifully amongst other pale, chalky grays in the background. Maybe you could find another set so that you could swap the chairs out every now and then when the mood strikes..just a thought.
xo J~

Susan said...

I would not paint them. They are lovely as they are. They are unusual AND classic--not a bad combination.

WhiteWhispers2u said...

I so like the white look with dark wood so I don't think I would paint them myself.Best of Luck! ~Cheers & Blessings Kim

Splendid Sass said...

Your chairs are beautiful. If you do paint them, put a heavy coat of varnish on before you paint so that you can easily strip them later.Hope that all is well with you.
Teresa
xoxo

Bring Pretty Back said...

ABSOLUTELY paint them! I am sure there is a monetary value to them as is... but... they aren't YOU.
If you will love them painted - PAINT THEM!
If you will walk in that room and smile because you will love them painted - paint them!
It is YOUR home.
Have a pretty day!
Kristin

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

I'm agreeing with go with what you love...yes, the paint can absolutely be a passing thing...on the other hand dark painted antique chairs are not worth a lot right now because no one is buying them. Since they are really nice I would probably opt for slip covering them...backs included and possibly let some of the wood show..with tabs similar to some that Joni has done. Then you can always go back when the trend fades.

mimi said...

I have the same dilemna- as well as the same style chairs-as well as loving the Swedish look! Oh, what to do, what to do??

Charlotta Ward said...

I know that dilemma. I am tossing up the same thing, but with an old antique table..

On one hand the chairs will loose their monetary value if you paint them. An antique is always more valuable in its original state.
BUT!
These chairs are probably going to stay with you for life and I think that a Gustavian grey is just as timeless as the dark stain.
You won't grow tired of the gray, and the colour can be teamed with all kinds of woods.

I'd go with a slightly more 'grey' tint than the ones from Circa Antiques, and perhaps also add a slightly darker shade in the carved detail to give depth.

Best of luck!

Hugs
xx Charlotta

My Notting Hill said...

I agree with Emma Kate. Have them valued and then you'll know if your'e ok w/painting them. I think the shape would look gorgeous painted. They remind of the ones I featured in the From the Stack series that you commented on. I'l leave your table dark though - I think the contrast would be pretty. Michele

Karena said...

Donna I might see what they are worth, is that important to you? If not paint them. If so then you can keep them as they are or sell them. They are a great design!

Please Come and enter in My 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways. There are so many exciting & special Gifts! You will love them!

Tis the Season!

xoxo

Karena
Art by Karena

Splendid Willow said...

No!!!

They are not Swedish! They are not supposed to be painted! (:

Pair them with a light table! Yes, really! And work with light slipcovers!

(Besided it is going to cost you a skyscraper to have them professionally stripped and painted).

Hugs to you. I have not forgotten you but this is the busiest time of the year for my little store. Shipping reindeer to the left and the right... Funny actually. (:

Mon

Splendid Willow said...

Donna, your own post is your inspiration!!!

Remember this one! (:

http://www.aperfectgray.com/2011/11/stunning.html

-- Mon

Renae Moore said...

This is so timely for me too. I have had the same scenario going back and forth in my mind for months. I like Razmataz's idea of stripping them to the bare wood and oiling them...then when the trend passes, they could be stained again. Mine are antique too but Mona is right...they don't go for much these days. Was at Scott's Antiques here in ATL in Aug and was surprised at how many some of the vendors had and nothing was moving. I painted a sideboard, but that will be it I am fairly certain.
I will look forward to seeing what you decide!

Beauty Follower said...

I like the color of the chairs in the first pict a lot!

brock street said...

so torn, so torn. now you are going to have to follow your heart on this one. honestly, whatever route you take..you cannot go wrong.
it will completely change the feeling of your space and sometimes, change is good.

Isabel said...

o god, please don't...

skippysays said...

I'd be wary about painting them...but I can see why you're tempted!
www.saysskippy.blogspot.com

pve design said...

We have a set of antique chairs and I want to paint them a fun high gloss white or a beautiful black and my husband says "not over my dead body!"

I guess an appraisal is in order and then sell them if they are worth something and buy the white chairs.
WE ladies love to get direction and then go our own way, right. Love to hear what you do.....

I love them dark and I like those white....but I love the dark. They look so handsome.

pve

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I would paint them either. I don't usually have a problem with painting things depending the value of the wood though. I'm really loving the photo you posted on Nov 23, very warm and timeless. Is it just me but the more I keep seeing grey and white I'm getting bored with it?
kathy

penelopebianchi said...

BALDERDASH!!!

pve has the right idea!
I AM THE OLDEST OF YOU!
I think.

This is the truth. I have a friend who inherited signed "Jacob" (18th century French chairs) from her mother-in-law. Very high-ranking San Francisco "Grande-dame" The mother-in-law bought them at auction (can you imagine..in the teens or twenties......and treasured them and their amazing finish!...?? )I traced them before the internet!


I arrived at her house one day; and the handy-man was sanding off the paint. (with sandpaper....also sanding off the details of the carving!!) It is a wonder I am still alive!

(google "signed by Jacob" before you read another word, Hope you come back).

Now this is important!!!
( He was an eighteenth century furniture craftsman who made furniture for the royalty. These chairs (at the time......were worth 250,000 apiece in their original condition...(which I was watching being destroyed!!!) I damn near died right there.....and I tried to stop it!
So that is the question!

Do NOT PAINT PERIOD ANTIQUE CHAIRS! NOT!!!

The short answer to this question; (a very good one; and I hope a lot of people are reading this who have inherited antiques.....and do not know the value of them)

Very common nowadays!

Take one chair to an antique dealer who is trustworthy and knowledgeable......and ask him! (or her. Do nothing until you do this

They could be 1930's repros.......paint immediately! (Men have an aversion to painting "wood" Thirties repros will thank you so very much! sister Parish started it.....and it is a wonderful movement. None of those "Grand Rapids " stuff is made out of even "half -decent wood.." Junk! The lines are good because they did copy good antiques......paint them as fast as you can! If your husband opposes.......paint them when he is at the office! If he has a brain......he will say.....wow.....that looks so much better.....or best yet...not notice!

If they are the real thing....(period antiques from the 18th century.......do not paint! Don't like brown?

send them to auction...(Have them appraised first!)
You may be sitting on a gold mine. I had a client who didn't like her "uncomfortable" dining room chairs.....I suspected they might be "period".......250,000 at auction 15 years ago.....set of 12! We spent every dime on decorating her house! And there was not one complaint from her husband! Imagine?? "A gold mine, I called it!"

....and go to Restoration Hardware!

You will be able to furnish your entire house with what you sell them for if they are "period antiques!" And maybe send your children to college also!

I find many young people are inheriting furniture they have no knowledge of......

Educate yourselves if you think they may be "period" (means made at the time of the "style"

not "Grand Rapids reproductions.....) so funny. In Grand Rapids...Michigan they thought they "knew better" than the real antiques they were "copying" Yes, you guessed it! They didn't know better......they knew worse! And virtually every copy that came out of "Grand Rapids" was way, way, way worse in every way! It is fascinating!

Jo @ Let's Face the Music said...

Once you played the "antique" card I'd have to say no. Paint some other element and love your chairs as they are. Penelope Biachi (above) says it all. Jo @ Let's Face the Music

balsamfir said...

Listen to Penelope if you are still on the fence. Even if the chairs turn out not to be valuable right now but are older than Victorian, appreciate their wrinkles and the fact that they have survived and been loved in their own skin. Part of the charm of Gustavian paint is it's weathered age. Just because your chairs may not be Swedish, doesn't mean they don't have the weathered charm of age. If you can't love them as is, find someone who will. Ten years from now, everyone will be stripping their white back to authentic "natural" wood and wishing they had old fine aged patina on their furniture.