Antique Highchair makeover – Pretty and Bright!

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This antique highchair makeover will make you smile! See how it went from dark and old to a bright and cheerful highchair perfect for any kiddo.

The story of this highchair makeover starts when I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch. I was a little early and decided to make a quick stop at the thrift store across the street (I mean any opportunity right?!). As I drove up to the store, something caught my eye – there on the curb display – between the dining chairs and nightstands, was this beautiful highchair! ( of course, this is waaaaaay before I ever thought I would have a blog, so don’t have a great picture of it).

Antique highchair makeover - before - Little Free Monkeys


The antique highchair rescue

My heart raced as I tried to find a parking spot and tried to use the force of my mind to ward off anyone from looking at it… As I got to the high chair, I scanned it for any problems, it was very sturdy, just the footrest was broken and someone has tried to add metal braces to support it. I had not performed any furniture surgeries until then, but I decided it was definitely something that could be fixed or was worth trying.

The price was little higher than what I was hoping for. I picked up the tag and went looking for the manager, hoping and praying that she would reduce the price… wouldn’t hurt asking right?! I mentally braced myself to give up the chair if she didn’t come in below a certain number. She said she couldn’t do anything about it since it hadn’t been on the floor for too long (Sigh!). Saddened, I walked back to front of the store to put the tag back when it caught my eye – the sign that said – Tuesday special – 50% off furniture! Guess what – it was Tuesday!!! HIGH FIVE!!

And so, we left the store together, the pretty highchair and I! In case you remember, of course, I was then late for my lunch date but when I told her what I just snagged, she totally understood!

The antique highchair makeover

Back home, it was time for a highchair makeover! I had to fix the foot rest first. I took off the old braces which were hardly holding up because the screws were too lose (you can see the footrest and removed braces in the picture above). It needed a sturdier joint. After some research on the interweb, I decided to use a dowel to create a new joint. This is what I did (sorry, no step by step pictures since its pre blogging days) –

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  • I filled up the old joints with wood putty (picture below) and let it dry.
  • Next, I drilled a hole big enough for a 1/4″ dowel through the leg and the foot rest.
  • I coated the dowel with wood glue and inserted it in.
  • When it was completely dry, I cut off the dowel as close as possible to the footrest and sanded it smooth.
  • To add more strength, I added 1/2″ metal corner braces on both sides under the footrest.

Antique high chair makeover - Little Free Monkeys

Now that the hard part was over, it was time to for my favorite part – Paint!

I remembered seeing this beautiful yellow highchair at Young House Love and remember how yellow totally made the chair happy! I also wanted to preserve the antique nature of the high chair and highlight the pretty designs.

I picked “toasted pecan” from valspar and used I heart naptimes’ chalk paint recipe which used plaster of paris.

Before starting to paint, I gave the chair  a rough sand followed by some petroleum jelly on areas of the chair that I wanted to distress. After 3 coats of the homemade chalk paint, a light sanding revealed the beautiful distressing. However, the chair looked too flat and the beautiful design needed to be highlighted. It needed to be glazed!

I didn’t want to spend a ton on buying glaze for a small project like this. Enter Martha Stewart’s tintable glaze. I simply mixed in black craft paint to create a dark glaze. I glazed the entire chair to give it the most beautiful antique finish! Finally, I sealed the chair with wax.

The chair turned out so pretty and bright! It makes me happy every time I see it… The furniture surgery has worked too! It is holding up! Here is the pretty pretty happy chair (with a shot of the before)!

yellow high chair before and after

And just because I am so in love with it – here is one more shot!

Antique Highchair makeover -Little Free Monkeys


Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this high chair makeover, please share with your friends! I love you for it!

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Antique High Chair Makeover - Little Free Monkeys

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Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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  1. You were so lucky you got 50% off! That’s awesome! I love that you painted it yellow, it’s gorgeous and super happy and you can still see the character and that’s lovely! Thanks so much for linking up at Sweet Inspiration #2 Anika!!! Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thanks Katrin! It was a dream come true to get that chair!!

  2. Very pretty outcome! What some color and love can do! I just pinned it.Thanks for partying with us on Thursdays! Hope to see you this coming Thursday again!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Denise!

  3. What a colorful and fresh makeover! Thanks for sharing at You’re Gonna Love it. Pinning!

    1. Thank you Kim!

  4. A great transformation. I love your creativity. Thank you for sharing at DI&DI.

    1. Thank you Linda!

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