Just before buying our house in 2016, I bumped into an Etsy seller, called Nature Inspired Crafts, that made the most beautiful furniture, and promptly fell in love with all of their dining tables. It was an extra nice surprise that they are here in TN too! (Kent, the owner and designer was incredibly helpful and very easy to work with. Fantastic customer service.) So when we moved in, I started saving for a small table for the breakfast room, and was able to buy it last summer. The table is made from reclaimed wood, and inset with stunning iridescent tiles in deep purple and blue, that shimmer with hints of olive green, magenta and gold. Only problem? The fantastic artist who made it, doesn't make chairs to go with it. What's a crafty girl to do, besides make them her own damn self?!?!
Originally I was going to stain whatever chairs I found a solid brown, in the same stain that Kent used, but while looking around for the chairs, I bumped into some on Target's website, that had the back and legs painted in a vibrant color, with the seat in a brown stain. Clearly the internet was telling me I needed to add some color to the chairs, to stand up to the beautiful color in the tiles. I searched for unfinished chairs, and finally found some that I liked the shape of, from made by International Concepts for sale on Amazon for $130. They come in pieces, which was actually perfect for me, as I could stain them all individually before assembling them.
I began searching for colorful stain, and discovered a company called Unicorn SPiT that makes incredibly bright gel stains. I admit that this took me a bit of trial and error to get right. I wanted to be able to see the woodgrain through the stain, and according to their website you can dilute the stain which is VERY thick and goes on like tempera paint. I diluted it to about 80% stain and 20% water, and used a brush to apply it. Sadly, I didn't like the results. It was a greyed out purple, and was very streaky. So I sanded it all back down, and bought another bottle of the stain. (All of their colors are available on Amazon, and a few of their colors available at Home Depot.) This time I kept the stain undiluted and used a rag to apply it. It took 2-3 coats to get good solid coverage, and it dried a bright poster paint purple that was kinda terrible, and had me worried. (My husband was eying them dubiously at this point.) After everything was dry and assembled (and sanded and buffed with steel wool several times between coats), I started in on the polyurethane coat. They got 3 coats of an oil based finish, with a day between coats to dry. This took the bright (kinda awful) purple into a deep rich tone that I love. Seriously, I keep going into the kitchen, and just stand there staring at my sparkling new chairs.
After finishing the chairs, I had a bit of the stain left over, and wanted an excuse to use it. Enter the boring little step stool that lived in the corner of that room. My husband bought it for me back when we were dating, when he started to get sick of me asking him to reach things for me in the tall cupboards. About 12 years ago? The poor thing is used constantly, and had gotten a bit dirty and stained, so I scrubbed it down with soap and water. Then I sanded it with my new sander and set to work re-staining it.
I wanted it a bit rustic looking, so I sanded a little heavier in some areas, and a bit lighter in others. It got two coats of Purple Hill Majesty on the body, and 2 coats of Dark Brown on the steps, then 3 coats of oil based finish. Now it's in the kitchen ready to be of help again, and no longer ashamed of it's shabby appearance compared to the new cool furniture in the room.