mid-century modern

1970s Counter Stools

1970s counter stools with white leather cushions

I am super excited to have these vintage stools at my kitchen counter. A friend gave me a pair of old 1970s stools during an ambitious house clean-out. I’m normally not a ’70s person, veering toward the more minimalist aesthetic of the 1960s. But I really like the design of these stools; they are comfortable while not too big, and fit perfectly in a spot that had previously held only one seat (which my kids jockey for every day).

Happily, I found refinishing these counter stools easier to accomplish than the vintage outdoor chair. I dropped off the seats and back rests at the upholsterer to have them recovered with white leather (dangerous, but great looking). The rest I did myself.

1970s stools before and after

First, I used a wire brush to remove any flakes and debris from the metal. I then used a wire bristle attachment on my power drill to remove more of the old paint. I finished sanding by hand using a coarse grit sandpaper to clean off any stubborn rust and paint, making sure to remove all of the old paint from the thin metal rods that attach to the back rests.

The feet on these stools were really beat up when I got them. The dull metal feet looked very sad, with specks of old paint and dirt crusted on them. I used a fine sandpaper to remove the paint and make the feet smooth and shiny.

I wiped the chairs with a damp rag to clean off the dust and allowed them to dry. Next, I covered the feet with painting tape and applied a coat of primer to the chairs. I then painted the stools with two coats of flat black and allowed to dry overnight.

Lastly, I reattached the cushions and back rests (which look sweet while they’re still white). I love my “new” stools!


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