Long overdue rocking chair redo (plus a color wheel lesson)

Long ago in a land far, far away … OK, maybe only a few years ago and a few hundred miles away in South Carolina, we bought this used beauty from a quaint, country furniture store:

Wooden-rocking-chair-beforeWe hauled it with us through many moves. (We’ve moved eight times in 13 years!) But in all those years the rocking chair never got the makeover it needed.

This summer, I noticed it sitting patiently on our front porch, looking all shabby next to the refinished Adirondack chairs, and I decided it was time.

I started by power-washing and sanding off all the old finish.


Note: Power-washing is a great way to remove old finish from furniture. “Butt” beware: You’ll need to use a finish sander to smooth out the roughness created by the washer (unless you like splinters in your tush).

After I removed the old finish and thoroughly sanded the chair, I used a 2-inch brush to apply new stain: Zar Deck & Siding semi-transparent stain in Rustic to be exact (purchased from Ace Hardware). I applied one good coat all over and this is the final result:

Rocker-finishedThe stain was easy to use and very forgiving. Drip marks were easily blended (unlike traditional wood stains). One word of caution, though: Due to its semi-transparency (i.e. its deep, paint-like pigment), this stain does not lighten when wiped off. And I suspect it is also difficult to darken with additional stain. So what you see after you brush it on is what you get. Period. It does darken a bit as it dries, though. So don’t freak out – like I did 😉 – when the color seems ultra-bright at first.

Rocker-finished-2I chose a red/orange color because it works well with our forest green siding. Why? Because these two tertiary colors are basically opposite on the color wheel and they complement each other. Tertiary colors are created by combining a primary color and a secondary color (in this case, the red/orange of the chair and the blue/green of the siding).

Color Wheel

If you’ve ever wondered how to choose complementary colors for a decorating scheme, check out this helpful blog post on the art of color.


Finished-rocker-&-porchDo you think I made the right color choice?

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11 Responses

  1. sarah says:

    It looks fabulous and the color compliment is perfect! Great job!

  2. Norma Jean says:

    The chair looks lovely and the color is perfect!

  3. anita roth says:

    It looks so good and inviting. Could sit on it and knit .

  4. Susan says:

    It looks amazing! Colour choice is perfect.

  5. Lisa says:

    Yes you did a great job ! I Love the color and the rocking chair !

  6. Pam P says:

    Can I “borrow” you for a few days? I have a few unfinished-long-over-do projects I could use your inspiration and can-do spirit on. Love this rocker like everything else you do.
    P.S. I pinned your living room on Pinterest and it’s one of the most liked and pinned pins on my board!!!
    Blessings, Pam

  7. Love it, Susan! Thanks for the link to the color wheel post, too. I’m refinishing some tray tables now and I have several colors picked, but this was a great tool to think about the final shades that I want to select.

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