Painting for Clients – River Ranch Chairs

Today I want to share a project I recently finished for River Ranch. Just to recap, River Ranch is a sweet cottage on the water in a beautiful part of old Florida. It’s a few hours from my home on the island so we’ve been taking the projects in chunks. The clients I’m working with have a primary residence with lots of horses and land so River Ranch is a retreat space they enjoy with family. We’re giving the entire house a budget friendly makeover using existing pieces of furniture from the previous homeowners, new treasures, thrifted finds from our favorite antique stores and charity shops.   With the exception of new flooring throughout, most of the changes have been cosmetic.

These chairs were a few of the pieces that were left from the previous owners.   They are the perfect height for framing the media cabinet or even the large picture window that frames the view of the water but they weren’t exactly the carefree coastal style the client wanted. Still…they were free…and let’s face it, you can’t beat free. Besides, if we could find a way to make them work we could use the money we would have been spending on chairs on a new rug from Ballard Designs.

My client asked if I could paint them in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White. Now, I’ve been painting pieces of furniture for private clients a few years. In fact, it was one of the reasons I decided to have a booth space. Then the booth business took off and painting for private clients took a bit of a back seat. When I speak to my friends in similar businesses they either love helping to make a client’s vision come to life though paint or they feel like it stifles their creativity too much. I can definitely relate to having both feelings, to be perfectly honest.

I hesitated to paint the chairs at first. These chairs have been sitting with plastic covers on them for almost 50 years. The colors my clients chose for River Ranch are various shades of blues, whites and vibrant greens. They love the fabric on the chairs – they just needed me to paint around the fabric. I finally agreed to paint them because they’re going to provide extra seating in the living room. But between me and you, I was super nervous about the whole thing. Can you imagine the pressure to not drop an ounce of paint on that fabric?


The client was sweet enough to tape the chairs off for me. Here’s how they looked the day I picked them up…


When I have to paint chairs that require this much detail I use a smaller brush. It takes a little bit longer but I feel like I have more control over the amount of paint on the brush. I use the 1-inch brush for the outside and the ½ inch brush for the inside/scroll work.


No matter what – make sure you use some sort of plastic drop cloth to protect the fabric from overspray or paint drips and secure in place with painter’s tape. You’ll also want to take extra care when taping so you don’t bleed through.

While this chair is really sturdy and made of wood, the finished had a bit of shine to it.

After working on the media cabinet there was NO WAY I was going to take any chances. I sanded all of the woodwork with 120-grit sandpaper.

Even after painting all these years, there is still a moment where I think…oh my word, I hope this turns out ok…this is after one coat.

I allowed two coats (and in some spots three) of Old White to dry completely before, I sanded with 220-grit sandpaper.

Next it was time to pull off the painter’s tape…

See what I mean about being very careful with the tape. You don’t want paint on the fabric but you don’t want this either…it’s a fine line.

Using fine tipped art brushes will help you get a cleaner edge when you’re touching up.


Then sealed with furniture paste wax and buffed with a lint free white cloth.

The chairs definitely look completely different. I know my clients are going to be happier with these than they were with the original chairs. The navy blue and white is a great complement to the vibrant green.

I’m delivering these chairs to my clients farm tomorrow so I’m excited to see what their reaction will be. I’m hoping they’ll leave the plastic covers off J You may already have a work order system in place if you’ve been painting for private clients for any length of time. If you’re new to painting for clients or just want to give your work order a refresh, Amy from Canary Street shared this awesome printable.


I hope you guys all have a great day! I’ll see you back here on Friday to share a bench project the River Ranch clients swore I could make happen. In the meantime, I’ll see you on Facebook, Pinterest and on Instagram.

Many blessings,


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  1. I totally see why you were worried about getting paint on that fabric! It would have made me nervous too. You did a beautiful job, though (as always). They look a million times better and I’m sure she’s going to love them!

    Also, thanks so much for linking to my custom work order! You’re the best :).

    1. ha ha so.much.pressure.Amy! I delivered these chairs a few weeks ago and the clients love them. I’m excited about the transformation too. The chairs were like an outdated vintage that now has a fresh feel which is fun. Thanks so much for always sharing your best with all of us. I could totally run your fan club. Sending you hugs, CoCo

    1. I know it, Michelle! I was a nervous Nellie the entire time I was painting these chairs ha ha. I’m so thankful they turned out as well as they did. The River Ranch clients are excited which is always fun. Sending you hugs for a happy weekend, CoCo

  2. Oh.My.Word! These chairs are gorgeous now! Love the complete transformation! The gorgeous green fabric looks totally brand new and fresh now. Can’t imagine the pressure of no paint drips…kudos to you! Your clients are very fortunate to have you in their corner!

    1. Hello, sweaty palms! I can’t even talk about how stressful it was not to drop any paint on these things. I delivered them a few weeks ago and they love them. It finally feels like River Ranch is coming together now too! Hugs, CoCo

  3. Coco the chairs look wonderful! You did a fantastic job and I’m sure the clients will love them. The Old White looks just gorgeous with the fabric. Have a lovely week, Hugs, Lisa

    1. I really appreciate it, Lisa, thank you so much! I’m totally with you Old White is like an old friend – always consistent 🙂 Hope your weekend is a fun one, hugs, CoCo

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