Bond with your home by making it beautiful

For the last year I’ve been using mismatched folding chairs for my home-office conference table. I decided to step up my game. But when I entered the chair market I was shocked by how expensive things are. And if you want any sort of customization ie. color, forget it.

$200 will get you a generic uncomfortable chair that a big man, like myself, sits upon and feels like it’s already breaking. I needed four chairs that would make my room happy, tie in with the colors of my logo, and hold up under some serious weight.

This is what I did.

Finding chairs that work well enough

First I shopped around on craigslist with no luck. Then I visited the nearby Pottery Barn Outlet store. I found some low-back and sturdy kitchen table chairs for $90 a piece. But they were the wrong color–still  more than I was hoping to spend, but not so expensive that I felt guilty painting them.

Painting chairs

Here is my process:

  1. Matching and purchasing paint:
    First I checked out the spray paint isle. Mmmm...not enough orange

    Mmmm…a little too much red.

    Ah, there we go! --trying to match my chair color with the orange in my logo

    Ah, there we go! –I’m trying to get as close to the orange in my logo as possible

  2. I lightly sanded all surfaces of the chair IMG_0011
  3. Wiped it down with a damp rag.
  4. Setup the sprayer.

    This is a cheap paint sprayer I bought from Harbor Freight (the Mcdonalds of hardware stores)

    This type of paint sprayer requires an air compressor. A paint brush works too.

  5. Started with the least visible surface (a secret to DIY)
    A DIY secret is to practice getting the hang of things in places that don't matter

    It’s nice to practice on places that don’t matter.

  6. Finished painting all the chairs.
  7. Immediately rinsed tools in water.
  8. Let them dry over night and did a second coat the following day on high traffic areas
  9. Done. Happy office!
    happy office

Items I used:

  • Drop cloth
  • Sand paper (180 plus grit)
  • Paint: Latex, Semi gloss with primer added (Adding primer is particularly important when painting over an existing color.)
  • Spray gun, or paint brush.
  • Bucket of water


Building Community

When Polly saw me out there sanding like mad it inspired her to join in. She pulled out an old funky chest-of-drawers and began her own beautifying project.

Family project!

Family projects!

These kinds of projects make me feel more connected to my home.

If you’re new to these kinds of projects, painting furniture is a great place to start. And if you’re worried about making mistakes fear not–it’s just paint! Besides, it’s the imperfections of our handy work that gives us a deeper sense of ownership—part of me is now part of this “thing” and we have a shared memory.

Participating in the design of your own living space is a powerful way to make it come alive. Christopher Alexander’s talks in depth about this in his book “A Pattern Language,” which I highly recommend.

I hope you take the plunge into your own house projects this year. Happy DIYing!

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