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Frugal bar stool transformation #upcycle #diy #frugalliving

Cleverly Frugal: Simple Update For Bar Stools

When we purchased our home, the former owners left us 2 bar stools. We were very grateful but they looked generic and we wanted to update them. Our kitchen cabinets are white and we have dark hardwood floors so it was also important to select an update that would make the stools more modern, but would also match our current theme.

I like clean and classic furniture looks, but I try not to overdo with too many traditional pieces. I like traditional, but with a modern finish. When I spoke with my husband about updating the bar stools I shared with him that I wanted to do an expresso and white, but he stated that our home might start to look to “matchy-matchy” with the dark wood, so I purchased a walnut 1 coat stain. Then he sanded the stools and stained the seat with the one coat stain. The stain had more red undertones than I expected.

Our first update attempt was unsuccessful.

The finished look was not impressive; in fact, I hated it. I could tell that even after several coats the stain wasn’t going to satisfy the look I was going for, so I consulted my daughter. At six, she has a design sense that I respect, so I told her about my plans and asked her how she thought it would turn out. Thankfully, she thought my idea was fabulous, so I asked her to help me with the frugal transformation I had in mind and she did.

Here’s the first coat of the one step walnut stain that didn’t turn out well. The stain was frugal and inexpensive, but the outcome was disappointing.

Frugal bar stool transformation #upcycle #diy #frugalliving

On the other hand, if a project doesn’t go well at first, don’t give up. It turns out that my daughter was right, the Expresso seats are a winner! I am very satisfied with their finished look.

Frugal bar stool transformation #upcycle #diy #frugalliving

How we transformed our stools:

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  • Step 1. We selected and purchased the Expresso Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit for the top of the seat. (Thankfully, I already had the kit from a previous frugal project).
  • Step 2 . We used the kit’s de-glossor first. This helped rub some of the previous glossy stain off so that the bond coat would adhere to the wood. (We did all the painting and drying outside to make sure we had good ventilation.)
  • Step 3 . Next we used the bond coat (we painted it twice). Then after it dried we brushed the glaze onto the top.
  • Step 4 . Lastly, after the glaze dried we added the top coat.
  • Step 5 . On the legs at the bottom we used Sherwin Williams’ semigloss.

The best part, is that my daughter and I completed this project in just 1 day.

Reader Response: Have you recently made any frugal updates to old furniture that pleased you? If so, what did you redo?

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  • Stopping by from Home Matters Link Party. I love giving pieces a fresh look. The stools look fabulous. I never used the kit before. Nice project to do as a team

    • Thanks for visiting Thifty to Nifty. The kit is so simple to use, the best part is that you don’t have to do any formal sanding, the de-glossor and scrubber take care of that. I really liked your latest post about your Craigslist buffet.

  • Kemkem

    Nice! I liked the after look as well. I am not a big DYI person but l have over time treated and stained many pieces of furniture. I even took on my deck much to my husband’s disbelief..and it turned out wonderfully :-). Glad you did it.

  • Ayanna

    Cute! I love doing DIY projects, but lately have not had the time. I love the fact that there is a kit to help guide you along.

  • You did a great job redoing these bar stools. I have a ton of ideas for my home but my time is lacking.

  • They look really good, I love that your daughter is your consultant. Kids are honest and they will let us know if they don’t like something. Great job.

  • I really love what you did! I love DIY projects, but lately, I haven’t had the time.

  • I love projects like this! I did simple things like this for my deck furniture.

  • Donald Barnett

    My wife would like project like this. She is always doing something around the house.

  • carlana

    Sweet! I enjoy giving old pieces new life. The after photos are gorgeous.

  • Eva

    I love it! We have espresso chairs and dining table. It is just a classy finish. Great job!

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