I'd like your opinion on my chair makeover

bac717August 9, 2012

I am in the process of making over these chairs to use in my DR. I'm losing the more formal Queen Anne and going for a more casual style. I found these chairs at a consignment shop for $10 each, but don't like the finials. In my opinion, they are too tall. I'm trying to decide whether or not the chairs look OK with no finial or if they need something shorter. The current finials are 3 1/2" tall. I'm considering trying to cut them down, using only the top 1 1/2". So, what's your opinion? Shorter finials or no finials.

Also, should mention that I plan to paint the chairs black and recover the seats.

Thanks for your help!

chair with 3 1/2" tall finials

chair with no finials

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lindac

Oh good heaven.....did you really saw the finial off that chair??
It looks strange, awkward, out of balance. The person who designed those chairs knew what they were doing and had an eye for symmetry and design....The chairs are not improved by sawing off the finial.
I suggest you buy some chairs more in line with what you are thinking.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:15AM
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beachlily z9a

I have to disagree with Linda. I like the new look. Less fussy. But have to admit ... antiques aren't my thing and Linda knows a lot about them.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Javachik

without

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:22AM
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lolauren

If those chairs are solid and $10, make them work for you. I think it's fine (but I think the top now looks sharp/flat... if that is the case, that would look a little unfinished.)

If you paint them and recover the seat, I don't think the majority of people in your home would notice anything being off. (People on this site are a different species... :) )

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:27AM
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bac717

No! I did not saw the finial off! I was able to remove it with the dowel still attached. I guess when you say, Linda, that it looks "strange, awkward, out of balance" that you think it does need a finial.

These chairs are definitely not antiques. I would guess they are about 15-20 years old.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:29AM
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bac717

I just googled wheat back chairs and looked at images. I see that all the chairs have some type of finial. I also found a picture from an old GW thread from a few years ago. It shows black wheat back chairs with a wood table, which is exactly the look I'm going for.

Here is a link that might be useful: black wheat back chairs with wood table

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:38AM
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gail618

I like it better without the finial. It looks perfect now!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:38AM
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61tinkerbell

I think it looks just fine without the finals.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Olychick

If you like them without the finial and they aren't valuable, I'd try to remove the finial just above the little round piece on the bottom of it, which would mean sawing them at the thinnest part of the finial and sanding smooth, but leaving the top rounded. Or maybe you could find a plainer finial that would fit.

Either way, they are pretty chairs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood finials

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:49AM
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bac717

Thanks, olychick, for the link to the wood finial site. I took a quick look and found a few smaller finials that might work and they cost only $5 for a bag of 25! I think I still need to do a little more measuring to see if they would be a possibility.

So far, tho, of the 4 people who have expressed an opinion on with or without, all 4 say the chairs look fine without! I'm still undedided, but anxious to move forward on this project.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 12:15PM
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bronwynsmom

I think you can compromise, and add a simple ball finial to replace the urn-shaped one. Simpler, and so more compatible with a more contemporary scheme, but not out of character with the chair. (These are metal, but you get the idea...)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:08PM
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DLM2000

Bet I know where you got those!!!! Will be great painted/recovered and look wonderful with a wood table - love the one in your link.

They aren't antique, there is nothing *precious* about them and to my eye the existing finials are out of balance and way too foo foo and spindly for the chair. I was going to suggest the same finial type as bronwynsmom did - they do need something for a finished look. Isn't there some woodworker store out in Arlington Heights area? Even Lowe's or HD may have some finials to look at.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:37PM
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ghostlyvision

I too think a smaller finial will look best, that's going to be a gorgeous set once you're finished with it. :)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:13PM
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bac717

OK, now I have 3 votes for a small finial. I'll do some looking around on line and maybe locally to see what I can find. Anyone else have a strong opinion on yes or no for the finials?

Deb, I'm going to email you.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 3:22PM
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kaijutokusatsu

I vote no finials.The sides still stick up but not nearly as tall as the sleeve catcher finials you started out with.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:00PM
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gracie01

I have kitchen chairs that I painted black and they have finials very similar to yours. They do not look formal at all. Why not paint one first with the finials on, then decide.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:02PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I believe the chairs will look much better with some type of finial. The flat look without a finial is not pleasing to the eye, IMO.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:07PM
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LuAnn_in_PA

If YOU don't like the finials, leave them off!
I would.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 6:17PM
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les917

Much better without those delicate finials that were wrong for the chair. I think the top of the chair without the finials balances the tops of the front legs of the chair.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:57AM
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saypoint

I like the chair with the finials. The black chairs you linked have a small rounded finial, while yours are flat at the top, giving them an unfinished look. If you had a traditional space, definitely with. If more contemporary, the suggestion to replace the finials with some that are simpler is a good idea. I'd save the old ones anyway, in case you change your mind or want to sell the chairs at some time in the future. It would be nice the have the option of putting them back on.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 6:51AM
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kswl2

Without the finials they look like kitchen chairs. If your intention is to use them in the dining room, keep that decorative element.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 7:05AM
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sheesh

Without the finials (and plugged holes, I assume), I think it will look like a finial was damaged or lost and you decided to make the best of it by removing all of them. I think you need something there.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:42AM
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aktillery9

I did the same thing with my chairs. Got rid of the finials and liked them much better.

Here is a photo

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:27PM
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bac717

If anyone is keeping score, it's just about tied between finials and no finials. Thank you everyone who has responded. I'm still not sure what I want to do. I think if I could find a smaller finial to bring home and try on the chair, I could make my decision. I need to get out there and start looking. So far, I've only looked on line where I've found a few smaller finials for a very low price, but will have to pay double the cost of the finials in shipping!

les, you make a good point about the top of the chair back and the front legs balancing each other.

kswl, you make a good point, too, that without the finials they do look a little more like a kitchen chair and I do plan to use them in my 'new' casual DR.

But then, in your picture, aktillery, you show your chairs without finials and they look great! Is that your DR and are your chairs painted black?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Olychick

Go to your hardware store or big box store and see if you can find wood cabinet knobs that might work. Since you are painting them anyway, the wood type won't matter and you might find just the right size. You might have to play with the method of attaching - smaller dowel or ??

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:35PM
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cloudy_christine

What Olychick said in her earlier post: keep the domed bottom part of the finials.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:59PM
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aktillery9

Yes my dining and the chairs are dark stained wood.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:18PM
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arcy_gw

I love the second chair. If any final is "needed" I would look for a small round to match the center brace under the chair. I would never paint them. What is the point of good wood if you only paint it out? You may as well have pine then IMHO.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:17PM
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EG3d

Fine with finials; fine without finials. Just do what you like.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:02AM
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bac717

Yesterday, I made a quick stop at Home Depot and came up with nothing to use as a finial. Today, I went to a woodworker's store not too far from where we live and tried the smallest wood finial they had. It was 2" tall, almost like a younger cousin of the ones I removed. I tried it on the chair and it seemed too thin. Not the look I'm going for.

Then I found something there called screw hole buttons.

I did also look on line, but again, the selection in something smaller was very limited. Comparing the size of what I can find on line to what I tried in the store, I think they're all going to be too 'wimpy'. Ideally, the finial would be about 1" - 1 1/4" wide and about the same measurement in the height. I'm not sure they exist.

At this point, my plan is to plug the hole with the wood screw hole buttons and get on to painting the chairs. I figure since I'm going to paint the chairs, I can always change out the buttons to some type of finial if I EVER find something appropriate.

So........now I'm going to need a little advice on painting the chairs, but for that I will start a new thread.

Thanks again, EVERYONE, for all your responses!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:33PM
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patty_cakes

If you're really not happy using the buttons, Michael's has all sorts of wooden 'thingies' that could be used as finials if you want to look elsewhere. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 4:43PM
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bac717

I never even thought to look at a place like Michael's! I'll be near one tomorrow, so I'll take a look. Thanks, patty cakes. In fact, I'm already rethinking the buttons and may end up using a finial afterall. Ugh. I have such a difficult time making decisions.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 4:58PM
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HomeMaker

If you are still counting votes, I vote to keep the original finials. :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:30PM
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dakota01

I like the chairs with the original finials.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:47PM
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catkin

Oh good heaven...lose the finials! LOL

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:50PM
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