before and after

before & after: personalized chairs + painted rug

by Kate Pruitt

You all know that I’m a huge fan of chairs, and I am a firm believer in customizing old chairs and making them your own. These refurbished flea market chairs by Sarah Immerfall are the perfect example of a great, personalized design. The mix of pattern and typography on these modest folding chairs looks fantastic. You can see more of Sarah’s flea market finds and how she fixes them up on her Tumblr site. Great work, Sarah! — Kate

Time: 3 hours

Cost: $50 ($20 per chair and $10 for paint)

Basic Steps:

1. I lightly sanded the wood to remove the old finish. This allows the paint to bond better to the wood. I only sanded the parts I planned on painting because I wanted to leave the antique look on the rest of the chair.
2. Then I used a dry cloth to wipe off the dust from sanding.
3. I used masking tape (about an inch wide) to tape off one of the chairs to create the zigzag effect on the seat. The rest of the paint was freehand.
Tip: My advice for people looking to do a similar project is to find flea markets in their area and use these basic steps to refinish a vintage wood piece. Also, always get the story or history of the item because it makes it that much more unique and can inspire the colors or theme in which you refinish it. — Sarah

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see more of Sarah’s painted chairs and Beth & Nick’s rug design after the jump!

Finding the perfect rug can be quite difficult, and the high cost of most attractive rugs sadly prevents a lot of switching up. Homeowners Beth and Nick have cleverly sidestepped this issue by creating a lovely ornate pattern on their old rug using a decorative stencil pattern. According to the couple, the process was extremely easy, and yet the results create such a huge difference! This is definitely an idea I’ll keep in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing, Beth and Nick!

Time: 1.5 hours

Cost: $35 (or free, if you have all the materials lying around)

Basic Steps:

1. Measure out increments on the rug.

2. Line up the stencil with newspaper around it.

3. Spray paint the rug in any color/brand, approximately 6″ from the surface. Be careful not to bump or move the stencil.

4. Remove stencil and start the next increment.

5. Make your way around the rug until complete!

SUPER easy! We were pleasantly surprised by how awesome it turned out. — Beth & Nick

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  • As a Buckeye, that Michigan chair made me throw up in my mouth a little. But the idea is cool.

    LOVE all these rug makeovers! I can NEVER seem to find a rug in a store that meets my taste and budget. Looks like I’ll have to take my inspiration from D*S and do it myself.

  • Go blue! This would be a great example to show my H that we can incorporate school pride without turning our place into a man den. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sorry, I can’t appreciate the destruction of the beautiful patina that was on the chairs for the sake of “personalizing”them.

  • I love the rug idea but I’m curious as to how it holds up over time. Wouldn’t the paint wear off as it is stepped on?

  • As a Buckeye, I have to agree with Patricia and Gillian… I’d prefer a Block O or Script Ohio myself :-)

    Both projects are very creative.

  • With all due respect, I really have to agree with Rod. Those chairs were so gorgeous and perfectly aged before! Honestly, I’m starting to feel like “put a zig-zag on it!” is like the new “put a bird on it”, when will it eeend ;n )

  • I wonder how paint on a rug feels, and how it looks up close. I see these tutorials all over the Web, but I don’t think I’ve come across an up-close shot. Anyone see tutorials on easy dyeing techniques?

  • I think the chairs are so gorgeous. The patina was not destroyed, this is a before and after segment… :) and the antique finish is still all over these beautiful chairs. I loooove them!

  • Love the chairs! What a stylish way to showcase a little school pride. …Not that I’m biased or anything (GO BLUE!)

  • @ Calli – As a Wisconsin Badger, I going to take this opportunity to point out that the script Ohio would be rather appropriate in this case seeing as how it was first done by the Michigan band as a gesture of sportsmanship that the Buckeyes then adopted as their own. Funny how one of the most well-known elements about OSU is something invented by the Wolverines.

    On Wisconsin!


  • @Kellen You are so right about the marching band!

    Go Blue!! Love the chairs! They would make great tailgating chairs at the Big House!

  • Love the chairs. The finish looks amazing and I am really impressed. They have a lot of character and I am jealous.

  • My reaction is harsh, but honest.

    I’d respect the chair idea IF it’d been done well. You’re tellin’ me they couldn’t spare 3 bucks for some painter’s tape?

    The result is just amateurish. I appreciate unique solutions for old stuff as much as the next guy… but if you’re going to do something, do it WELL!

    • brad

      you’re more than welcome to be honest about your opinion here. but i think the look they were going for wasn’t perfect-painter’s-tape-lines, if you know what i mean. so i think the idea of doing something “well” is pretty subjective here. i think it’s entirely possible that the look they wanted to achieve (a look i happen to really enjoy) was not supposed to be polished or perfect.


  • I appreciate all creativity (especially furniture upcycling) and can see that these chairs were done with care. However, if it were MY “before & after” . . . the before would be the after.

  • Anyone have any thoughts about how to make sure the stencil stays put while spray-painting? On a hard surface I’d use a temporary adhesive, but is there something like that that would work on a rug? I’m curious, too, about the paint’s staying power without a topcoat.

  • brad

    I think Grace is exactly right. Your delivery of your “harsh but honest” reaction wasn’t tasteful; this was a very well done piece. I’d say the best artists in the world would disagree with your very close minded view of ‘done well’ :) I love design*sponge and all their before and after submissions. The chairs turned out amazing

  • I agree with Jess. The “before” would be my “after”. The patina was beautiful. The paint –while certainly cheerier looking (which might be the point)–obliterated the chairs’ subtle character.

  • I LOVE the chairs, but I love all my fellow buckeyes more! I didn’t know we had such a great design presence. Go OSU! I really like the rug as well, but have also wondered if it is still soft. Even if it isn’t, I’m still impressed.

  • LOVE the chair idea…. But the one on the left definitely should have been a Spartan S instead :-)

    Go GREEN!

  • I love how she wrote “Hail to the Victors” on the chair. Such a pretty script. Plus, I like that the chairs weren’t completely painted – love that old wood peeking out.

    Oh yeah, Go Blue!

    PS @Kellen – Thanks for the history shout-out.

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