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How to Hand Paint Kitchen Bar Stools

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Do you have outdated, wooden kitchen barstools? See how I used white chalk paint to give our scratched wooden stools a quick and easy makeover!

White bar stools in kitchen with brown cabinets.

See more furniture makeovers here!

I love a quick project that gives a lot of bang for your buck (and effort!). This barstool makeover was just that.

These barstools get quite a bit of use. The kids often sit at the bar for snacks, homework, and to help me prepare dinner.

The stools were really dark in an already dark kitchen AND the wood color of the stools was different than the cabinetry – I was ready to give them a facelift!


Brown wooden kitchen stools before painting with white chalk paint.

They weren’t bad, it was just brown overload.

If you are not familiar with how to paint furniture, this post is a great place to start!

I tend to make my own rules, but this will help you see that there is more than one way to accomplish a task and love the results.

The new painted bar stools work great alongside my painted kitchen table!

How to paint furniture with white chalk paint

First things first.

1. Clean furniture really well prior to painting

No matter the paint you choose, it is always important to take the time to clean your piece before diving into the painting process.

TSP is great to use on your furniture for a thorough cleaning prior to painting.

BUT….I did not have any when I decided on a whim to paint my kitchen stools. So, I simply used Dawn dish soap and warm water to clean my chairs.

Frankly, ours weren’t covered in major grease, stains, or any other yucky debris, so soap and water was enough.

Make sure they have the opportunity to dry prior to proceeding to the priming stage.

2. Tape off any portions you do NOT want paint

Use your favorite painter’s tape to ensure you do not get paint on the seat portion of your stool.

Adding painters tape to bar stools prior to painting.

This is a bit tedious and simply not fun. BUT, it is worth the extra 10 minutes of your time.

Just do it.

3. Prime furniture if using a light paint color

That’s right.

Even when using chalk paint, I think it is super helpful to prime the furniture first, before using the chalk paint.

Especially if using white paint!

In my opinion, white paint is one of the most challenging colors. It tends to need a little extra time and attention for good coverage. Because of that, I like to prime EVERYTHING if I use white paint.

Here is my favorite primer.

One coat of Stix Primer on wooden bar stool.

This stuff sticks to anything!

To prime the chairs, I simply brushed on a light layer of primer, going with the grain of wood.

Let it dry for a few hours if possible prior to moving to the chalk paint portion of the project.

RELATED: Painted Furniture Before and After Makeovers

4. Apply two coats of chalk paint

The rest of this project goes really quickly as chalk paint dries fast!

For these barstools, I mixed a stark white chalk paint with one that was a little creamy in color to get a perfect white for our space.

Amy Howard chalk paint in Linen and Kilz chalk style paint in white.

The exact paint used: 50% Kilz Chalk Style Paint in White and 50% Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint in Linen.

If you haven’t tried mixing chalk paints, you should give it a go. It’s a great way to customize a color.

I tend to do this to save a little money as well.

Kilz chalk paint is very reasonably priced, easy to find, and has gorgeous colors. Unfortunately it is not my favorite in terms of it’s finish.

But, paired with Amy Howard chalk paint, it works great. Amy Howard paint has a great finish, however is a bit on the expensive side, in my personal opinion.

Mixing the two gives me the best of both worlds…friendly on the budget, beautiful colors, and great finish.

One word of caution when mixing paints, be sure you use a ratio that is easy to duplicate. My go-to ratio is a simple 1:1 if possible.

One coat of white chalk paint going over primer.
Bar stool after first coat of white chalk paint.

If you need a little help keeping track of your paint projects, grab my Paint Tracking Printable!

5. Complete touch ups as needed

You will likely not need to do a full third coat due to using the primer. But know that with white paint, chances are good you will still need to do a few touch-ups prior to sealing your piece.

And finally…

6. Seal your stools / furniture with wax or polycrylic

I operate on a system of using what I have prior to buying more of something.

So, since I had Valspar Sealing Wax, I used it!

It is crazy fast to apply! Keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, I tend to make my own rules with my DIY projects.

To apply, I simply painted on the wax (I did two chairs at a time). Then after a few minutes, I wiped off the extra with a lint free cloth.

At the time I’m writing this, it’s been about three-four weeks since finishing the project and the finish is holding up perfectly.

7. Enjoy your new painted furniture!

Whether you decided to paint your bar stools, kitchen chairs, dining table, or end table, I hope you love it.

This little makeover really brightened up our kitchen.

Next, I’m hoping to convince my husband to let me paint the cabinets! What do you think? 😉

Hand painted white wooden bar stool.

Knowing simple ways to paint wood furniture can help you give outdated pieces in your home new life so you can enjoy them longer.

Kitchen with bar and 4 bar stools, kitchen table, brown cabinetry.

As I always say, I’m here to encourage us all to Love Our Real Life.

Very few of us (myself at the top of this list!) have a perfect home. But, my goal is to help inspire you to ‘love the one you’re with’!

For more tips on painting furniture:

Don’t forget to pin this to your favorite DIY Pinterest board for later!

Learn how to paint bar stools with this simple tutorial.

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  1. Doubt you’ll get your husband to agree to painting the cabinets, but good luck with that! Bar Stools look good, though!

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