Upcycle a Chair from Fair to Fantastic with Silver, Gold & Famous Quotes

When you come across a great piece that is solid and sturdy but needs a vibrant new look, consider this suggestion.  Turn to silver and gold spray paints—and matching paint pens—for a truly one-of-a-kind transformation.   A wonderful chair was gifted to me by a friend, Carolyn Woods.  It had been her late, beloved Mother’s, and she wanted to ensure it would be appreciated by its next owner—and it certainly is, especially given its new, chic look.   

The design was inspired by Jimmie Martin, an interior designer I follow on Instagram (@Jimmiemartin).  You will love to follow him online, too, to see how gives items an urban, funky feel.

Follow these super simple yet impactful steps to give any well-loved piece a special update, too.

`1. Find your good & great options at Goodwill

You can easily transform any room in your place with furniture pieces and decorative items found at Goodwill. 

While the chair featured here was a gift, you are likely to find something similar to give this gold and silver upcycle.  If your space could use a new chair, look for one with solid wooden parts and interesting lines.  This design would look amazing on end tables, small side cabinets, wide-framed mirrors, and flat-based lamps. 

Carolyn’s Mom’s chair had nice arms and legs; its seat, back, and arm pads were covered in leather, making for a super surface to embellish.  Cloth fabric would have been challenging, so look for items with flat, solid surfaces, too, for this funky transformation.

2. Protect parts with painter’s tape, plastic, paper

  • Determine what parts you want to keep paint-free, then carefully cover them with painter’s tape. 
  • Given the style of this chair, this was the hardest, most time-consuming step. 
  • Once all the edges were covered with the tape, a plastic bag and sheets of paper were secured on top of the seat and back parts.  
  • While this step requires some effort, the payoff is big!

3. Give it some gold, spray on some silver

  • Place your to-be-painted piece on a drop cloth outside, if possible.  Add a light layer of gold on the wood parts that are not protected from paint.  Spray the paint on gently to avoid drips and runs. 
  • Let it dry, and add another light layer.  

While the solid gold looked really good, silver was sprayed on, too, to add more visual interest and shine.  A home run, for sure!

Expert Tip:

Based on the piece to be painted, you may need to tilt it or place it on its side to get all parts and surfaces covered well.   As I often say, dance around your item as you add spray paint, looking at it from a variety of angles. 

4.  Consider “spritzing” on more style

The original leather covering was a neutral beige color, which looked nice with the gold and silver tones.  However, the seat had some dark smudges/stains, which couldn’t be removed despite my best efforts.  And I am glad! Why?  A white spray paint was used to mask those marks while adding more style and pop.  Only a section of the seat got a light spritz of white paint; to ensure it looked cohesive, part of the chair’s back (on both sides) got a touch, too, as did one of the arm pads. 

This also gave it a more hip look, too. 

5. Inscribe some inspiration

To call attention away from any imperfections in your piece and to make it a truly functional work of art, consider using paint pens to add messages, words and/or other images like peace signs or hearts.  I

Inspiring quotes from Maya Angelou, Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr., Princess Diana and The Beatles were carefully written using pens.  The flat leather surface now shimmered with not only the metal tones but also the meaningful phrases.

6. Position with pride

The timeless design of this chair, now with its funky and fabulous new look, will look at home in any space.  Position it by your sofa and your coffee table to create a space for folks to chat.  Set it in a dark corner with a floor lamp for a sparkling reading space.  Add it to your office to make all who visit feel like they have VIP seating. 

Thanks to Carolyn Woods for gifting me the chair, thanks to Jimmie Martin for his design inspiration, and thanks to Finding Your Good for the chance to show off items in a sparkling new light!

Similar Reads:


Tim Kime

Artist, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, and connector. He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates, offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating, and motivational speaking. He is also the Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops. These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, and part goal setting.