A friend is making over a dining set. She’s already stained the table, but the chairs are not taking the stain in the same way the table did, so she is thinking about painting them. However, she’s looking for a bit advice before she cracks open a paint can.
I was going to include potential paint colours in this post, but chose not to, because:
- I don’t have enough swatch varieties on hand to give a wide array of choices.
- Online colours are so subject to screen resolution (some that look pure white online look very blue or yellow in hand), that it’s hard to recommend one in that way.
- It really depends on the other elements in the room - the stain colour of the table, wall colour, potential fabrics, amount of sunlight, even the colour of your dishes… it’s really something that’s better to do in person.
So I think I’ll save that conversation for some one-on-one consultation. Until then, I’ll share my thoughts and some great inspiration photos of painted dining chairs!
YOU COULD PAINT THEM…
…WHITE (or off-white)
Compatible design styles: country, modern, beach cottage, traditional… pretty much anything.
Why white? White is your safest, easiest, most flexible option. It can blend in amongst pale colours, or pop against bright colours. The chairs can be easily reused if you change up your dining room design in the future. It is classic, pretty, and smart-looking. White chairs would lighten a room, and can be dressed up with any other colours you like.
Compatible design styles: country, rustic, traditional, eclectic, contemporary
Why black? I love the look of black dining chairs! I’ve been tempted to paint my own windsor-style chairs before, but have resisted since our dining room is windowless. But black looks so sculptural on the thin silouhette of a chair, it can anchor a room visually, it looks rich and sophisticated, and black can still be neutral enough to work with a lot of different colour schemes.
Compatible design styles: country, cottage, traditional, Swedish traditional or country,
Why grey? Another great neutral option, grey is a bit more interesting than white, but not as bold as black. It can definitely give a Swedish Gustavian vibe, if you like that, depending on the finish and fabric pairings. Grey is elegant and subtle, and is the neutral of choice these days.
…ANY COLOUR YOU WANT
Compatible design styles: country, eclectic, cottage, modern
Why colour? If you want your chairs to pop, paint them a great colour! It’s a reasonably cheap and easy way to add colour to a room since they are changeable (it’s just paint!). You could carry through an existing accent colour from a chosen textile (table linens, area rug, or drapes) or kitchen/dining accessory (like a colourful Kitchenaid mixer, or a great piece of art). Or you could have a largely neutral room and let the chairs show off. I would recommend this if you love the line of your chairs. If you’re not in love with the shape, you might want to tone them down instead.
(Photographer Donna Griffith)
If you like a beach cottage look (like I do) stick to light sea glass colours (pale green, pale blue or turquoise) or nautical colours (red, or navy blue).
If you like a farmhouse feel, a sunny yellow, apple red, or a kelly green would be charming! Or try muted, greyed-down colours with a more “historical” feel. You may also want to consider some “aging” paint techniques like scuffing up the paint, or adding a crackle finish.
If you’re modern you can’t go wrong with a bright orange or apple green in a mostly white room.
And if you’re eclectic you could really use any colour you like… maybe even multiple colours!
So in conclusion, some things to consider:
- What’s your overriding design style?
- Do you want to paint the walls a vivid colour? Or the chairs? Or perhaps another statement piece (like a buffet or china cabinet)? In most cases I wouldn’t do all of them in colour - let one stand out.
- How much do you love the shape of your chairs? Do you want them to blend in or stand out?
Readers… anything to add? Any experience painting dining chairs?
(P.S. Sorry, many of my pictures of dining chairs are from the “way back when” file, and I don’t have sources for all of them. If you know the source please let me know!)