How to Refinish Bar Stools for a New Look

Do you have a couple of bar stools that just don't fit with the rest of your house? Don't give up on them without a fight.

Repaint the Bar Stools

Refinish old bar stools to update your decor.
Furniture can be painted and redesigned in endless ways. Bar stools are particularly flexible since the frames can be painted and the cushions reupholstered. Some new fabric and fresh paint can give you updated bar stools in one afternoon. .

Move bar stools outside and place them on a drop cloth. Spray paint tends to travel and is not recommended for use in confined areas.

Remove the cushions from your bar stools. If the cushions are screwed on, turn the bar stool over and unscrew the seat cushion from the frame. If your bar stool has an upholstered back as well as an upholstered seat, cover the chair completely using low-tack and plastic tape.

Thoroughly clean your bar stools to remove grease and grime that will interfere with primer and paint.

Sand lightly using fine grit sandpaper.

Apply spray primer appropriate for your type of bar stool. Wood and metal primers are available in spray form from both Krylon and Rustoleum. Apply two to three coats of primer until the original finish of the stools is no longer visible. Allow the primer to dry completely.

Apply spray paint in your chosen finish. Spray paint can mimic metal finishes as well as painted wood. Apply two to three coats of paint and allow each coat to dry completely.

Brush or spray on a polyurethane topcoat to protect the finish. Bar stools receive a lot of wear and tear. A topcoat will make the finish more durable.

Recondition the Seats

Change the fabric on the seat cushion. For removable cushions, simply replace with seat cushions you purchase, then skip steps 2 and 3.

Recover the seat pad you unscrewed from the stool. Place the seat pad face down on your new fabric. Cut the fabric to extend 6 inches beyond the seat pad's perimeter. Using a staple gun, pull the fabric tightly around the edge of the cushion and staple every 2 inches.

Cover fully upholstered seats with a new slip cover. A dining chair slipcover, available in any home goods store, will work with your bar stools. If you prefer a more tailored look, your stools must be reupholstered by a professional.

Things You Will Need

  • Spray primer
  • Spray paint
  • Polyurethane
  • Fabric, cushions or slip covers (depending on stool type)
  • Staple gun (optional)

About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.