Thursday, September 19, 2013

A girl and her patio, a makeover story

Don’t you just love a good makeover story??

I know I do. The ugly duckling turned swan story is an aged one. It has been told time and time again.


That is what we have here today, a story of transformation from rough around the edges to shiny, bright and beautiful!
But what do Eliza Doolittle, Laney Boggs and Gracie Lou Freebush not have in common with the ugly duckling in this story?
They aren’t furniture.
That is right.  This is your standard girl sees chairs on the side of the road, said girl then manages to cram all six chairs into her tiny hatchback while wearing a suit and heels in the rain type of story. 

A tale as old as time, if you will.
I found six of these beauts on the side of the road one rainy, morning in May. This is not Spain, and the rain does not stay mainly on the plain. (Cheers to whoever got that lame joke.)
I decided to use these chairs in our backyard patio space.  So actually, this is a story about the makeover of an entire space....not just 6 free, lovely brown chairs. 
Moving on, I wanted to pair the chairs with this table....
The full makeover story of this table can be read here. 
I bought the outdoor rug at Wal-Mart for $25 at the beginning of the summer. I figured I would just roll with the whole southwestern, hacienda vibe of the rug for the entire outdoor space.
This is what that area looked like on the realtor listing when we bought the house.

And here it is right after we moved in, at my first little dinner party, before I had done anything to the table or chairs.

(Let me preface the run-down of this makeover story by saying that I do things, for my own home, the easy way.  I cut corners and I don’t stress out over things being perfect.  For example, I didn’t bother to sand or prime theses chairs before painting them.  They were free.  They are old and beat-up and would continue to get beat up outside.  They don’t need to be the most perfect things on Earth. NOBODY will notice one way or another.  That being said, when I do things for the homes of others, I am much more particular.)
Ok, I decided to go with this bright orange color for the chairs.
(Just realized, that is my bra, inside my purse, underneath the can, on top of my leg...awesome picture.  I am so good at picture taking.)
I then sprayed each chair with two coats.  Each chair took about a can and a half, total.  it probably would have taken less if I had primed them, but I then would have had to pay for the primer and I just didn’t feel like messing with it.
The above picture was after the first coat. I didn’t bother taking the chair seats off because I knew I would be recovering those. 
After the second coat dried, I then painted the chairs with a coat of this stuff I got a Home Depot...

This is the same stuff I used to coat the outdoor table and the beer pong table.  It is water and weather resistant and has a great gloss finish.
That being said, it is somewhat pricey and can ruin fabric and paintbrushes. But a little bit goes a long way and the finish is worth the price and the mess.

See how the table and chair shine?

Once I was done painting the chairs, I turned my attention to the seats. I had decided to just paint the existing fabric with this tutorial, and then add a coat of the Minwax for durability against the elements. I had no idea if it would work or not but I didn’t really feel like paying for a bunch of expensive outdoor fabric.  I figured it was worth a shot to see if they would last a while with just painted seats.
On a whim, however,I decided to go and see what Joann’s had to offer in the outdoor fabric department before I gave the fabric painting tutorial a go.  I unscrewed one of the chair seats and took it with me for measuring purposes.  Luckily, because I waited so long in the summer to get around to the seats, the outdoor fabric at Joanne’s had gone on super clearance and I got enough fabric to cover all six chairs for $20!
Totally worth it.
I made a few little boards like this.....
To help me compare all the different fabrics with the rug.  I went with the fabric you see above.
The Fella unscrewed the rest of the seats for me.  We then measured six sections of the fabric out evenly to make sure we cut the fabric to correctly cover each chair.
My mother then helped me recover the chairs.  I did not take any pictures of this, which was so stupid of me, but it was soooooooooooooooooooooo simple.  All you need is a staple gun.  We just stretched the new fabric over the old fabric, tucking in the corners like you would while wrapping a present.  We then stapled the fabric down, underneath the seat.
There is a pretty good tutorial, here.  If these chairs were going to be used inside my home, I probably would have done all of the steps in this tutorial mentions.  However, because the chairs are being used outdoors and were not a big (any) investment, I didn’t go to all the trouble.
And voila!


I love the way they turned out.  Seriously easy, cheap and fun. (Please excuse all the leaves laying around, my mother would kill me if she knew I didn't sweep before showing y'all this.  Sorry Mama.)

Here is the area as a whole.
I don’t keep all six chairs out all of the time. I only bust those out when we have guests. Also, I left the other two chairs brown, just for fun.  I did cover those in the Minswax as well though.
The light fixture was given to me by an Aunt who bought a great midcentury to renovate. It is a swag light that just plugs in and has a little switch on the cord. I wound the chain and cord across and down the pergola to an outlet.  It took about five minutes.  It may or may not stay long term, but for now, I love it over this table.

So cute.
Down to the nitty, is the cost breakdown:
Table = $5 at a garage sale
Hand sander for table make-over = already had
Outdoor Rug = $25 at Wal-Mart
6 chairs = free
Spray paint = about $16 for 6 cans
Fabric = about $20 here
Light fixture = free
Minswax = already had (but I think it was like $35 at Home Depot)
Staple gun and staples = already had
Table top accessories = already had this stuff around the house and these change weekly
Total for this project = about $60 for a complete outdoor space make-over
I hope this will inspire you to look at objects that may not necessarily strike your fancy, in a whole new light.  Before you go out and buy new look and see what do you have lying around the house, or find on the side of the road, that can be transformed with a coat of paint.  There is something so special about seeing the potential in a discarded item and being the one to bring that potential out for the world to see. You feel a sense of connection to it, to your home and to your surroundings.  
Create the home you want,


  1. Woah what a great bargain deal and makeover . I am in love with this rug & stufffff!

  2. Wow, it turned out so well! I love outdoor dining spaces. I love how it's not too matchy but it all flows together color wise. Nice job :).