What Color To Paint Rocking Chairs?

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols

Rocking chairs are usually family heirlooms. Relatives pass them down from one generation to the next. Then, we get to enjoy them on the front porch for years. But can you paint an old rocking chair? And if so, what color do you choose?

The best color for an old wooden rocking chair depends on your taste. But the location of your furniture matters as well. For example, outdoor rocking chairs should match your exterior paint. However, you can choose other pigments for indoor furniture. So, gather some paint samples and test the colors before adding lacquer to antique wood.

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What Can I Do with an Old Rocking Chair?

Don’t throw away that old rocking chair yet. It might still have several years of life leftover. You can redo the surface to refresh the look. Or disassemble the parts to make something unique. Either way, try not to get rid of family heirlooms and antiques. They could be worth a lot of money. And someone in your family might appreciate keeping them intact instead.

Old rocking chairs usually feature durable materials and robust hardware. So, you can use the stuff for repairs and spare parts. Also, old wood can make great picture frames, tabletops, and home decor. But you might need some power tools and carpentry supplies to finish projects. Bring a sander, circular saw, and planer to your workshop for the best results.

How Do You Modernize an Old Rocking Chair?

You can modernize old rocking chairs in several ways. However, consider the material’s age and composition first. Older wood might not withstand your tampering. Plus, some wood types will crack or break when you remove screws and nails. So, you have to be careful when renovating an antique rocking chair. And it wouldn’t hurt to choose the highest-quality paints you can find.

Modern chairs usually feature neutral colors or vivid pigments and not much in between. They also have clean lines and updated aesthetics. Thus, try to replace the outdated details with new ones. Then, compare your work to inspirational home design images for trendy ideas. Or hire a licensed carpenter to finish the job based on a customized design.

TIP: Find two or three attractive designs before refinishing your rocking chair or hiring someone to do it.

Can You Paint an Old Wooden Rocking Chair?

Are your ideas not modern enough? Feel free to paint your old wooden rocking chairs instead. A fresh coat of high-quality lacquer can revive tired materials. And you’ll enhance the look of your home with refurbished furniture. But try to use the highest-quality colors to stop the topcoat from chipping and peeling. Then cover the surface with durable polyurethane to keep it protected.

Painting old wood can be tricky. So, pay attention to the grain, knots, and imperfections. It’s much easier to redo paint-grade wood because the surface is already smooth. But stain-grade wood may require extra steps and some primer. Be sure to read the labels for more information. Or ask someone at your local hardware store for help.

What Color Should You Paint a Rocking Chair?

Choose the best paints with the most refined finish to modernize your rocking chairs. And pick colors that accentuate your home decor. But think about where you’ll put the furniture first. That’s because your pigments should match the surroundings. Plus, you can’t buy specific colors for exterior projects. So, you must determine the best shades before shopping. Then pick up some swatches to compare your options.

Usually, people paint old wooden rocking chairs neutral colors. Shades like white, beige, and grey are always popular. However, homeowners frequently cover the surface with pastels or neon paints. Vibrant hues give the furniture a brand-new look and turn it into an exciting work of art. You can even add some hand-painted details or stencils to customize the design.

A glossy wood stain might also look good on rocking chairs. But here are some paint color ideas just in case:

  • Sky Blue
  • Fire Engine Red
  • Cotton Candy Pink
  • Canary Yellow
  • Emerald Green
  • Bright Orange

Look at your local paint store for designer inspiration. Or consider mixing colors to create an exclusive color. And always apply a generous layer of primer before painting. That way, your work looks better and lasts longer.

Do You Have to Sand an Old Rocking Chair Before Painting?

Sanding old wood before painting is a good idea. The reason is that faded paint and polyurethane can prevent your color from sticking to the surface. But sanding helps lift paint flakes and remove built-up dirt. And when you sand old wood, you also help restore it to its former glory. The sandpaper smooths the surface and enhances the natural grain.

Be careful about the sandpaper you use. Rough sheets can peel back too many layers of wood. And you can damage antique materials if you scrub too hard. So, determine the type of wood you have. Then use sanding supplies that protect the material’s integrity.

How Do You Paint an Old Rocking Chair without Sanding?

You can prepare the surface of old wooden furniture without using sandpaper. But don’t skip this step because you’ll ruin the finish if you do. So, here are three alternative ways to remove old paint from wood:

#1. Bonding Primers

Bonding primers help lift faded color from the surface of your wood. However, you must select a heavy-duty formula when refinishing antiques. That’s because the lacquer has had time to soak into the surface.

#2. Liquid Sander

Liquid sander and de-glosser can strip the wood within minutes. But you have to let the liquid soak into the surface, or it can’t remove old paint. And that can be a problem with high-value materials.

#3. Mineral Paints

Mineral paints look and perform like chalk paint. So, you don’t have to prep or prime before you apply color. However, you must wax chalk paint, or it will fade quickly. And mineral-based pigments are no different.

For more tips and tricks on striping old wood before painting, ask a painter. And if your painter does a lousy job, DIY the project using the information provided here.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on a Rocking Chair?

You can use regular latex paint to cover old rocking chairs. However, you still have to prep the surface before you begin. Start by sanding away dirt and debris. Then wash the surface with water before applying primer. After that, you can pick any latex color you prefer, and it should stick for years.

Can You Use Chalk Paint on a Rocking Chair?

Chalk paint works on old wooden furniture. And it’s perfect for hiding imperfections in the wood. The mineral pigments help reflect light and conceal wood grain defects. However, you must add wax after painting with chalk lacquers. Otherwise, the finish will look terrible. Then you’ll have to strip the wood and start again.

Rocking chairs also endure lots of heavy traffic. So, your guests can’t sit for long or wear rugged clothes because they could scratch the surface. Latex paints are more durable, which is ideal for cozy furniture. But always weigh the pros and cons before deciding.

Do You Use Special Paint for Outdoor Furniture?

Your outdoor furniture requires durable, fade-resistant, and moisture-wicking paints. That means you have to redo old wooden rocking chairs with exterior lacquer if you keep them outside. Meanwhile, remember that patio chairs must endure the weather. So, do touch-ups as often as you can either way. And try to use the same products each time.

Related Questions

Can You Spray Paint a Rocking Chair?

You can spray-paint any surface. So, use an HVLP paint sprayer to save some time and control the color distribution. Old wood and rocking chairs are easy to refinish. However, you might have to disassemble the furniture to reach hidden spots. And putting it back together can be a challenge. So, hire a professional or learn how to paint antiques correctly. You can ask the people at your local paint store for more information.

What Happens If You Don’t Sand Before Painting?

You’ll end up with an ugly, uneven finish if you forget to sand old wood before painting. The surface likely has dirt and oil you can’t see. So, your color will appear patchy and unprofessional on top of a rough surface. And the faded or peeling paint on the top will prevent new pigments from sticking. Plus, you might make the lacquer too thick for your material.

Do You Need Painting or Staining Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Rock Out with a Fresh Coat of Color

Enhance your favorite rocking chair with a new layer of paint. But be sure to choose colors that look good in your house. Pick neutrals if your design scheme is simple. Or pick vibrant pigments to add some exciting details. Then use the best products to help your work last for a long time.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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