Too Good To Throw Away
The county "sanitary landfill" here has a place (a large three-sided covered shed) for items you consider "Too Good To Throw Away" and it has everything from old children's books to desks and lamps and old old record players - name it. Things get picked up pretty quickly and so many people are interested in these items that the county has had to limit time spent at the shed to 20 minutes!
If you county or city or town doesn't do this then you should nag, nag, nag until they do. Send letters to the editor and to the selectmen, town council or what ever you elect where you live.
I've been looking for one-off chairs to put in bedrooms and everytime I get one fixed up someone in the family "has to" have it and I have to start looking all over.
Since these are bedroom chairs and not subject to hard every day kitchen kind of use, I clean them up with soap and water and test the finish with alcohol (if the finish comes off or shines up it is laquer or shellac, if nothing it is probably varnish) then I decide if I can leave the finish as is. If I decide to change the finish I sand the chair all over to rough up whatever is left of the old finish and then paint it with an interior (usually flat) wall paint of good quality.
After that dries I either sponge paint on another slightly darker shade of interior (usually flat) wall paint and then let it dry. I check for rough spots with a very fine sandpaper or piece of brown paper bag.
Then finally two coats of water polycrylic.
If I paint the chair black I use the flat black acrylic paint that you can buy from any craft store and the apply two coats of water polycrylic (or is that polyacrylic? I can't spell for beans!)
They need to set for a week or more to harden completely.