Metal and Wood Dining Chair – A few weeks ago I blogged about our “new” dining room table along with a bunch of plans we had for the space. Well, this week we accomplished one of those goals! I ordered some new dining room chairs & they arrived at our door step of course I did the biggest happy dance in the snow before I brought them in.
Sorry neighbors who had to see that! I ordered the chairs from Scout & Nimble after searching for the perfect chair for a very long time. Seriously don’t you get so overwhelmed when there are TOO MANY options. I had to cut myself off some nights from looking because I would my brain would hurt.
No, you are not the only one who struggles with this. Too many options is not always a good thing. The goal for the dining chairs was to get 4 metal or wood chairs & two upholstered chairs. We ended up finding the perfect metal and wood dining chairs from Scout & Nimble & we are still on the search for the perfect upholstered chairs for the ends of the table.
These are the Elio dining chairs in gunmetal & wood. Seriously I’m so in love with these dining chairs. I love the mix of metal & wood & how unique the metal finish is. It’s the perfect mixture of slate & bronze. I was leaning towards black in this space to add that pop of bold color along with the light fixture, but these chairs were calling my name.
I’m excited to see them paired with the upholstered chairs we end up picking out as well. So far we are happy with our choice & again, I love the low maintenance of these chairs like our last metal chairs we had.
Have you ever eyed an old set of 1950s-era metal lawn chairs and thought, with just a little TLC, those would look extremely cool in my backyard? You’re probably right, says refinishing expert Teri Masaschi, author of Foolproof Wood Finishing: For Those Who Love to Build & Hate to Finish.
The real question with metal pieces is: Do you actually want to make them look good as new? And if the answer is yes, how much time and effort will it take to restore those pieces to their former glory?
Leaving Well Enough Alone
The first thing you want to consider with metal furniture, Teri says, is whether you even want to remove rust and other signs of wear. “The industrial look is really hot right now,” she says. “If you have a piece like an old metal workbench from a factory where they manufactured parts, and the metal has taken a beating and there’s an old rusty, dirty patina with hardly any paint left, well, people are putting those in their kitchens now. You don’t want to touch that, because it will hurt the value of it. The most you’ll want to do is wash it with soap and water.”
This may be especially true for old metal lighting with clamps, candlesticks, and brass and iron beds, so look at them through a contemporary lens before you decide to refinish. If you can’t incorporate them into your own look, you might want to sell them instead. Check out vintage stores on sites such as Etsy.com to get a feel for what people are buying; good keywords to use are “vintage,” “rustic,” “rusty chic” and “industrial.”
Working Up a Sweat
Some metal furniture, on the other hand, needs improving. Your decor may not call for a shabby touch, and some pieces — such as lawn chairs — will come into too much contact with bare skin to make leaving rusty edges practical or safe. But know that you’re in for some sweat (and maybe tears). Assuming you want to paint them, you’ll have to get rid of all of the rust first. “You need to get down to new, clean metal,” Teri says.
For a candlestick, that might not be a big deal, but for a neglected set of four lawn chairs, rust removal could take you several weekends to complete. You’ll need a wire brush for the first round, and then a sander with 60- to 80-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. “It’s a tremendous amount of work,” Teri says. “But some people love that.”
Design blogger Andrea Clem, of Oasis Accents, tackled her grandmother’s rusty old lawn chair as a DIY project. Image 1 shows the chair after Andrea sanded it down to clean metal. “I thought my arms were going to fall off,” she says. Andrea used a wire brush and a cordless drill with wire attachments for rust removal. She applied a rust preventive primer and several coats of light green paint to make the chair good as new.
Calling in the Big Guns
If you can’t face the prospect of that much elbow grease, you’ll need to take your piece to be professionally sandblasted. (Sandblasters are usually listed as such in the phone book, but sometimes an auto body shop is a good resource as well.) A set of four lawn chairs, depending on the condition they’re in, will run you at least a few hundred dollars.
After your surface is rust-free, what remains is simple: painting. Spray paint works as well as anything else, Teri says, but be sure to use a primer specifically for old rusty metal or previously painted surfaces. (And for lawn chairs, use paint marked “indoor/outdoor.”)
Follow the instructions on the can closely, paying special attention to the window of time it recommends between coats. Plan to use a couple of coats of primer — with scuffing in between to give the paint a surface to adhere to — and a couple of coats of color. It’s a time investment, to be sure, but the payoff depends on how much you love the piece.
“The sad thing is, those retro lawn chairs that you love, they’re reproducing them now in China and you can just buy them outright,” Teri says. “But they’re not as good as the old ones. The metal is not typically as heavy a gauge and they’re not as sturdy and rugged.” You can expect to pay about $100 per chair for a reproduction. You can also find refurbished or good-condition pieces on eBay and Craigslist for a bit less.
If your motivation is making something durable with your own personal touch — not to mention preserving an heirloom or recycling something that would otherwise end up in a landfill — refinishing a metal piece yourself can certainly be worth it. But considering the cost of sandblasting and paint and the time involved, if the look is all that matters to you, you might be better off going with a stylish reproduction or refurb instead.
Metal and Wood Dining Chair Design Ideas
What do you think of our new dining chairs? The dining room is making progress & I’m so happy with this big step to it being “finished”. I decided to keep our pillows from H&M on the chairs just because they are so cozy & I happy to like the look, but we will see if they stay. Up next we still have to replace the rug & add some upholstered chairs among other things, but I’m pretty content right now.