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How-To: Update a Chair The dining room chairs, battered relics from an old restaurant, got a facelift with new paint, seat bases, and fabric. Here's how the homeowner pulled it off. For chair frames: 1. Using pliers and a hammer, carefully remove nails and all seat material. 2. Lightly sand the surface of the chair and wipe clean. 3. Apply primer; let dry. Apply at least two coats of durable semigloss or furniture-grade paint (available at specialty paint retailers); let dry between coats.