Vintage Steno Chair Update: Transform Vinyl with Paint

A few years ago, we were at an outdoor antique market in Aberfoyle, Ontario looking at these funky metal lamps wondering if we could find space for them. As the story goes, they were originally from a psychiatric hospital. What we loved about them were the curvy lines and retro look.

Unfortunately we didn’t have space for them in our small house. But as we turned to leave, we spied a vintage steno chair that was also metal and sporting curvy lines! And I had the perfect place for it too: my future craft studio! So we bought it and stored it away until the basement was finished.

Condition

There were no tears: the beige vinyl floral-patterned seat and back was in great shape. No wear or tear is pretty rare for a retro piecel!  Although we don’t have natural light in our hallway, the vinyl was pretty drab (and busy) no matter what the lighting conditions! The metal looked like it had already been re-painted.

Once my studio was complete, I had to do something about the ugly vinyl. At first, I thought about reupholstering it. I’ve reupholstered a few chairs in my day, so it wouldn’t be beyond my skillset, but it seemed a shame to rip apart something in such great condition.

I even thought about respraying the metal a different colour. However, for some reason, I really loved the rich forest green paint. It reminds me of a European sports car with its curvy lines, like this one I found on Pinterest:

The green paint was definitely going to stay!

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

Flexible Paint

Instead of re-upholstering, I decided to try something new with the vinyl upholstery: paint it!

The paint has to be a product that will stand up to the challenge. Because of all the use the seat and back will get, it needs to flex; a standard paint would just crack. I researched and found a local paint shop that carries specialty paint made for vinyl. We bought a spray can of SEM Color Coat in a colour called ‘super white’.

Hubs removed the vinyl seat and back and sprayed a few thin coats of the paint. After letting it dry, we put it back together again.

Here’s a closeup look of the before and after of the vinyl:

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

Small Change, Big Impact

Sometimes you don’t have to go whole-hog on every project. A small change can make a big difference. With the busy pattern neutralized, you can really notice those beautiful curvy lines now!

Off-white paint really complements both the chair and other elements in my craft studio.

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

My desk area gets a lot of use; it’s where I plan the projects for Birdz of a Feather and film some of our YouTube videos so it’s great to have a chair that’s both stylish and functional! While the chair lends a vintage feel to my craft studio, it also happens to work well with my upcycled VW desk (which you can see a peek of below). The desk was inspired by Hubs’ vintage VW, which he painstakingly restored.

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

Why go to all the work of reupholstering if there’s a quick fix? Floral beige upholstery is not our thing, so we neutralized the pattern with a flexible paint coating made especially for vinyl. Birdz of a Feather | Vintage Steno Chair Update | Steno Chair | Retro Chair | Painted Furniture | Painted Chairs | Retro Steno Chair | Office Chair | Painted Vintage Office Chair | Upcyled Chair #paintedfurniture #paintedchairs #officechair #paint #diy #upcycledchair #upcycling

If you missed my niece’s oak chair upcycle, check it out here.

To see what we recently picked up at the Aberfoyle Antique Market, check out this post.

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Paint Chip Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

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9 thoughts on “Vintage Steno Chair Update: Transform Vinyl with Paint

    • Thanks Alys! There’s a big show coming up on Saturday so looks like it’s time to score another find. I wonder what we’ll bring home this time 🙂

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