Got these chairs at an auction. Very inexpensive, kind of grungy and smelly, but interesting.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, but I figured inspiration would come so I began by detaching the wood backs and the cushions. The cushions were covered in vinyl which I'd usually just wipe off, but these smelled as if they'd been in a basement for years. It was apparent I needed new everything, so I basically ripped off all the old batting till I got to the bare wood board underneath. Next step was sanding and wiping down the metal frames. This step is really important. I wanted to get any grime or rust off before spraying the metal.
My husband had a can of truck bed coating on our back steps (literally). I figured since he didn't put it away, it was fair game to use. Now I hate spray painting. Let me reiterate. HATE. I never buy enough cans, forcing multiple trips to the store. Wastes my time and money, and it never seems to looks as good as when I hand paint with a brush. BUT, truck bed coating is a horse of another color, if you know what I mean. This stuff is thick and textured, and goes on right the first time. I only had to touch up a few tricky areas on the back sides of my chair. I don't feel like the texture would look particularly good on an end table, but for metal chairs it worked perfect.
Next step: new batting. I bought a box of fill a while ago at Walmart. Nothing special. I just pulled a clump out, smoothed it into the shape of the board, and stapled my fabric right over it.
I conveniently (sarcasm) ran out of staples after I popped my four main staples in. So this step will have to wait another day.
Next up: the wooden backs. I thought about paint, and then my genius husband said something about staining them a darker color. I didn't have any stain at my house, and since this is all about using what you got, I grabbed some regular black latex paint.
The trick is to soak your brush with water first, and then only dip your brush in the paint about a millimeter deep.
If the black is too dark, you just add more water to your brush. The water evaporates and you're left with the look of a dark stain, without having to use stain. Easy peezey lemon squeezey.