An Outdated Rocking Chair Gets a Timeless New Finish

Black rocking chair arm

I had this rocking chair in my booth earlier this year but needed room for other items, so I brought it home and stashed it in my guest room. I brought it out to retake some photos and will take it back to the booth soon.

I love rocking chairs of all sorts! But I especially like this one because it's comfortable to sit in (even without a cushion) and the runners on the bottom are not particularly long which gives it a smaller footprint.

The original finish was a walnut stain with an American eagle design on the top of the chair.

Outdated rocking chair

American Eagle motif on rocking chair
Close up of original American Eagle motif.
The original stained finish was wearing away and the top layer was chipping. I sanded the areas to get a smooth surface before painting.

Damaged finish on rocking chair

The label underneath the seat reads, "Wayside Inn". The style of the label is reminiscent of the 1950s or 1960s, so I estimate the chair dates back to that time period. I looked online for the Wayside Inn, but wasn't able to pinpoint the origin of the chair.

Wayside Inn label underneath rocking chair seat
Wayside Inn


I gave the chair a timeless finish in black. There is light distressing throughout to accentuate its age.
Rocking chair painted in a timeless finish

Light distressing applied to rocking chair seat

Graphite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on rocking chair

Rocking chair leg and runner

As I mentioned previously, the chair is comfortable without a cushion, but I wanted to show how pretty the finish is against a red pillow. I think I might put the chair next to my fireplace until I have room for it in the booth.

Black rocking chair with red pillow

I think this project is a good example of how you can update furniture that is a bit worn and give it a timeless and classic finish.

Rocking chair before and after

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DIY create a classic look with Chalk Paint


  1. Wow, what a difference black paint made on this rocking chair. Would work with any decor! Inspired me to rethink the one I have waiting in the workshop. Pinned

    1. Thanks so much Marie. I have a few rocking chairs in my stash which will get a variety of finishes, but I think the classic black is my favorite.

    2. I am interested in possibly using this idea to refinish a chair I have. I would like to know how you got the gold tones on the chair?

    3. There was some gold on the original finish that was revealed when I sanded back the paint. However, if your piece doesn't have gold, an alternative is to use Rub-n-Buf to add touches of gold. There are a variety of colors but either Antique Gold or European Gold looks nice. You can buy it by the tube on Amazon, Hobby Lobby, etc. It's easy to apply after your paint is sealed. If you apply too much then you can wipe some away with soft clear wax. If you haven't used it before then I recommend trying it on a test board first. The following link is a project I used the product on.
      Best of luck with your project!


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