Distressed Porch Chair

Decorating your front porch doesn’t just help add a little value to your home and make the entrance to your abode delightful, it can help serve useful purposes as well! One design trend that I absolutely love is the distressed wooden chair. It’s such an interesting element to add that can serve many purposes, from being a conversation piece to acting as a real chair to be sat on to acting as a table to hold packages or plants.

What you’ll need

  • Wooden Chair
  • Sandpaper
  • Outdoor paint and paint brushes, or stain and cloth rags

What you’ll need to do

Sand the wood until you notice the gloss going away or, if it’s stained/painted, you can see through to the natural grain. You want the new paint (or stain) to stick with ease and it won’t be able to do so if any of the varnish is left. Keep in mind that any stain or paint that is still on the surface could change the color of the stain you’re using.
If you’re planning on painting some of your chair and staining other parts of it, stain first and then paint as you can always cover the stain mishaps with paint later.

Once the wood is sanded, start painting or staining away at your chair. If you don’t want any brush strokes on your chair, I recommend using spray paint instead. It will give a cleaner coat, but will require more layers. Depending on the size and number of chairs you’re working with you could need multiple cans of paint.

If you’re using a gel-based stain, I recommend using a cloth to apply it. Otherwise use a brush to apply water-based stains. Ultimately, it’s up to you and what you feel most comfortable with. If you’re unsure of how your stain is going to take on the wood you’re working with, try a test spot on the bottom of the chair where no one will see. Make sure that you wipe the stain off of the wood after you apply it. Remember: this isn’t like paint so once you apply it will need to be wiped off. The sooner you wipe, the lighter the stain application will be. Better to build up to it than to have to live with a color you didn’t want. Make sure you read the label of your stain to get the best method of application. They know what they’re talking about, after all!

Take your sandpaper and rough up the edges and seat of the chair. Have fun and be random with your sanding as natural texturing wouldn’t be even all over.

If you want to preserve the styling of your chair, I recommend using a sealant of some kind to lock everything in place. Since I want my chair to weather over time as well, I’ll be stopping after the sanding.

Then, place on your porch and admire your hard work!

I didn’t have a very big budget available for this project and wanted to try to get a used chair from a thrift store or yard sale. After weeks of patiently searching, I finally hit my lucky day and found this beaut at my local Goodwill! I got the paint from Hobby Lobby, and the paint brushes and sandpaper from Home Depot. In total, I spent about $15 on this project which would have cost me double to triple if I had purchased it premade. 

This particular chair was still in great condition. The stain was still completely in tact, the chair legs were even. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you why this lone ranger was even at the store to begin with. With a project start like this you have a few options: leave as is and let time take its toll, paint over the varnish and distress the paint thereafter, or sand it down to remove the varnish and try painting the wood a different color. I chose to sand down as much varnish as I could and painted over it. I really wanted the chair to be as matte as possible and to avoid needing to use a primer. With this method and this chair, I was able to get a little bit of the wood grain and the brush strokes to show, which is what I really wanted.

It took me 2 days and 2 coats of paint to complete this project! I was so pleased with how quickly I was able to create something fun for my bare front porch. The chair has come in handy numerous times, from holding groceries while I unlock my door to hiding packages. One other thing that I love about this chair is that it’s small enough to fit in any porch situation I might have in the future, even an apartment! I’ve had a few tiny front porches in the past that this would have been great to have.

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