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How to Transform French Garden Chairs with Paint

Have you ever wished for something you really needed (O.K., just really wanted) for your home or outside spaces?  I’ve had three things on my wish list for months. French garden chairs were high on my list. I finally found them, but I had to transform French garden chairs with paint, but that was O.K. They were mine.

I don’t mean a Mercedes sitting in the driveway or a Monet on the wall.  Just that certain something that you know would be just perfect in a room or on the patio. Something that would add panache or practicality.

The ones I finally found needed some TLC and I gave it to them when I took some time to transform French garden chairs with paint.

Update French Garden Chairs 

I looked at flea markets, garage sales, online, in catalogs, but to no avail. Either I found what I wanted, but the price was way more than I wanted to pay (that is usually the case) or it was too new and a million other people could order the same thing.No, I wanted the vintage, great price, I can re-do better kind of thing.  The three things on my wish list, the things I dream about were:

French garden chairs, sort of like these:

But those are a little too new, a little too perfect.  I wanted something more like this:

Vintage French garden chair
Vintage french garden chair

The second thing I wished for was a bar cart for our dining room:

bar cart 3
bar cart

All had glass and/or mirrored shelves, the right metal finish, wheels, and good size and shape.  But the prices?  $499 and up. Way more than I wanted to spend.  But they did go in my inspiration file.

And finally, a just-right size and shape little table to go between our Bergère chairs, like these:

Side table
Side table

Well, early on the day before 4th of July, my friend Susie and I met at the parking lot flea market sale at one of our favorite antique malls, City View.  Not many vend0rs were set up and I anticipated a bust shopping trip.  But lo and behold, the vintage, re-purpose and re-love angels were hovering overhead and I found not 1, not 2, but all 3 of the items I had been dreaming about. Great condition, great prices (I didn’t even have to haggle.), and they were mine.

French garden chairs transformation

So here is dream #1:  French garden chairs.  12 of these babies were stacked, and I picked the two that were in the best condition, which means they fold up easily and are sturdy.  French garden chairs may look a bit flimsy, but they are actually very steady and comfortable.

You’ll notice that they have a different number of slats on the seat and the back.  Good, they for sure didn’t come from a catalogue.  A few screws were loose, but a quick turn of a screwdriver and they were tight. A couple of exposed screw tops were missing, but they just made the chairs more appealing to me.  Here is the best part:  $12 apiece.  I had to keep from jumping up and down.  (Not a good idea if you want to haggle over the price, which in this case, I did not.)

French garden chairs transformation

The green paint didn’t fit my vision. I knew I would paint them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint  since  I had already painted my mosaic patio table in Greek Blue and Old White.  Greek Blue is a perfect match for my Sunbrella Resort Air Blue cushions (You can read about that here.)  But I decided to try something a little different.  I had about 1/2 sample jar of Provence which is one of the prettiest colors anywhere, so I decided to try it. And, of course, it’s very French.

French garden chairs transformation

I used two coats, the first full strength and the second applied with a wet brush and wiped down with a rag.

French garden chairs transformation
French garden chairs transformation

One of the great things about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that it dries so quickly.  I could paint one coat on one of the chairs and by the time I was finished painting the second one, I could paint the second coat.

Next I added a wash of Old White to give the chairs the “I found these chairs on a trip through the French countryside in an old, neglected jardin and shipped them home”  look.

French garden chairs transformation
French garden chairs transformation
French garden chairs transformation

These chairs are one of my very favorite possessions.  I actually painted these on the morning of our 4th of July Party (you can see the party and recipes here).  They were outside on the patio by the time our guests arrived.

French garden chairs transformation

I wish you could come sit outside with me and sip a glass of sweet iced tea or a margarita sitting on my French garden chairs.  Let me know if you are in the neighborhood.  Later I’ll share the transformations of my two other wish list items.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment. I was really lucky to find these and I’ve been kicking myself that I didn’t buy 4. If you find some French garden chairs, my advice is to buy them, store them somewhere until you have the patio. If you buy them, it will come!