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See how we transformed these boring rocking chairs with this great tutorial on how to paint outdoor wood furniture with chalk paint. [post contains affiliate links, which means we make a small commission, at NO additional cost to you, if a purchase is made. thanks for supporting north country nest!]

Happy Memorial Day! The sun is shining here in Minnesota and it is an absolutely beautiful day. A day that makes you think about sitting on the porch in the sunshine.

When you think country front porch, what comes to mind?

If you are anything like us, rocking chairs are at the top of the list. I picture us twenty years from now, sitting on our weathered old rocking chairs, sipping on a cold drink, talking about that one time we remodeled our entire house.

So, a few weeks ago during Isanti County Garage Sale Days, we happened to stumble upon two matching rocking chairs that were in great condition and only $30 a piece!


We weren’t too fond of the color, but I figured I could sand them down and restain them the dark walnut color that I also used for the patio bar stool side tables.

rocking chairs post sand

Using the power sander and 60 grit paper, I started sanding the base of the chair and quickly realized I was going to have quite the challenge getting in between the spaces on the seat and back. I was able to get all the finish off the main sides, but the little crannies I had to do by hand. And the spaces that were too small for my hands I just left alone.

rocking chair post sand

I applied two thick coats of Miniwax Dark Walnut and was sorely disappointed with the results. Even though it looked like I got everything (all the old finish) off the main sides, the stain wasn’t sticking to a large portion of the main surfaces and the old finish color was showing through.

rocking chair post stain

I realized there was no way I was going to be able to get in those small areas with sandpaper and even if I could, it would take way too much time to sand it all down again. So we went to the backup – paint.

I had already picked out the fabric for the seat cushions and pillows, so I had to keep those colors in mind when picking the paint. I also knew Brett wanted something dark, so I decided on Rust-Oleum’s chalked paint in Cocoa Bean.

I lightly sanded both the stained and finished chair before applying the paint. Thanks to my bestie Trina who just happened to be down for a visit, we got the first coat on in no time!

The chair with the dark walnut stain turned out really cool. Since the paint doesn’t go on too thick, some of the stain shows through and adds great character to the chair. The other chair that had not been sanded down and still had the old finish needed a second coat. And between you and me, it could probably do with a third coat in some areas as a touch-up.

After the paint dried, I added an outdoor top coat that’s oil based and best for U.V. and weather protection.

rocking chairs paint comparison

Pre- top coat, the paint color had a little purple tint to it and was very matte. Post-top coat, the chairs are a nice rich, dark brown and since the top coat has a glossy finish, the chairs are nice and shiny.

side tables with plants

After putting on two coats of the top coat, I reassembled the chairs and added wood glue to the handles and feet. Those babies aren’t going anywhere!

Next up is the seat covers and outdoor pillows. I’ll have a post on those soon!

rocking chairs on front porch

If you need us, we’ll be rocking the night away on our front porch with a nice cold drink 🙂

All our best,




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wooden rocking chairs painted


  1. Treenski

    Those turned out great!! I love that I got to help while I was there! It helped me with ideas for my shelf too! 🙂

    • Kelly

      Thank you for the help!! I can’t wait to see your shelf when it’s done ????


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