Painted Barstools

One of my favorite parts of our kitchen is the island. Now that I have one, I cannot imagine a future kitchen without one (or at least a peninsula of some sort). For the first year that we lived in our house, we found ourselves standing around the island a lot—island seating wasn’t high on our “fixer upper” priority list. During year two, it was time to take some action.

We knew we wanted barstools without a back. We loved the saddle stools at Pottery Barn but weren’t as in love with the hefty price tag. After looking around, we only found stools in colors that weren’t our top choices. It became clear that we should just paint some stools ourselves.

painted barstools

What you need:

Unfinished Wood Barstools—we scored two online for $50

Fine Sandpaper



Foam brush

Protective Top Coat

Plastic Covering and Painter’s Tape- only needed if you are doing a two-toned stool

Stain/Stain Rag- only needed if you are doing a two-toned stool


Step 1:

As your stools are unfinished, they should be pretty smooth and free of splintering wood. Give your stools a super light and casual sanding—just in case. We wanted a two-toned stool—wood stain on the seat and paint on the legs. Because of this, I used painter’s tape to cover up the saddle seat with part of a plastic drop cloth. Make sure it’s covered all the way so no primer gets through!

Barstool, unfinished Step 2:

Prime your stools (or, like in my case just prime the legs). For the first time ever, I used a spray primer. The spray primer went on great—very easy to use. Follow the directions on your primer can to ensure correct application. Let dry completely.

Step 3:

While my seat was still wrapped up, I painted the legs of my stool. I applied two coats of paint using a small foam brush. Let dry completely.

primed barstools

You can see the one stool has been painted, while the other one is primed and ready for some color. Pardon the mess!

Step 4:

With the stool legs completely painted and dry, I removed the plastic covering from the saddle seat. I wanted to stain the top of the seat a color that would closest match our hardwood floors. Minwax’s Natural color did the job. Follow the direction on the stain can for the correct application procedure. I did two coats of stain.

Step 5:

Apply your finish/top coat. Again, we went with a spray for this step and used two coats. Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area—it can get a bit stinky! Let dry completely.

painted barstools 2

We’re happy to finally have somewhere to sit!

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