Learn how to give ordinary white oak bar stools a stylish, budget-friendly, farmhouse makeover with only paint and stain.
Have some of those basic bar stools hiding in your storage room? Well bring them out of hiding because today you are going to discover the most budget friendly way to transform them with some farmhouse style.
I’m always amazed what a little paint and stain can do. It can completely change the mood of a room or turn a lackluster piece into a conversation piece.
One of my favorite things to do is take an existing piece of furniture and give it new life.
We had a set of oak bar stools for years that were just begging for a makeover.
You can see in the picture below that the bar stools weren’t terrible, but there wasn’t anything special about them.
Though the picture doesn’t show it well, they had also ambered over time so they had the unsightly “yellowed” appearance.
They also didn’t go with the existing decor in the house, especially since we did our budget kitchen remodel.
The great thing about this project is that the cost was $0.
I had all of the materials left over from previous projects.
However, this is a low cost option even if you don’t have the materials. I have seen these original bar stools many times at local yard sales for next to nothing.
Materials needed to transform these ordinary bar stools into farmhouse show stoppers
sand paper (medium grit and fine grit)
lint free dust cloth (or paper towels if you don’t care about a few particles here and there)
wood conditioner (optional)
grey wood stain (I used Varathane in Weathered Grey)
clear finish (I used Zinsser shellac)
white paint (I suggest purchasing a white paint sample for $3 if you don’t already have some on hand).
The steps to create farmhouse bar stools with paint and stain
- First, sand down the existing finish on the bar stools with medium grit sand paper. All of the topcoat and stain will need to be removed from the seat, down to the bare wood. Stain won’t penetrate an existing finish. Don’t worry about removing all of the finish off of the legs. The surface just needs to be roughed up a bit to give the primer something to stick to.
- Next, wipe it down with a dust free cloth to remove all of the sanding dust.
Stain and apply top coat to the bar stool seat
- Apply the grey stain to the seat of the bar stools and let is absorb for a few minutes then wipe off the excess with a lint free cotton cloth or paper towel. If you want the stain to penetrate evenly into the wood you can either use a wood conditioner to open the grain or wet the wood down slightly with a damp cloth. I wanted the grain of the oak to show through so I chose to not condition the wood for a more textured look.
- Allow the stain to dry completely. Repeat until you have the desired color. Allow to dry completely.
- Next, apply the top coat of choice to the seat. This area is going to receive a lot of wear so a durable finish is a must. I used 4 coats of shellac, sanding with fine grit sand paper after the 3rd and 4th coats for a smooth finish.
Paint and prime the bar stool bases
- First, add a thin coat of primer to the base of the bar stools. Allow to dry.
- Then, give a light sand to smooth out the primer.
- Next, paint the base with white paint and allow to dry completely.
- Sand again with medium grit sand paper to remove some of the paint and create a weathered look. I wanted to see the wood grain so I was a bit heavy handed on this step.
- Finally, finish the base off by sanding with fine grit sand paper to create a smooth finish.
Aren’t these beautiful! I love the way they turned out and now they go perfectly with the kitchen and existing decor.
Don’t forget to check out some of my other Farmhouse Projects.