I don't recall where the chair came from but I remember it was originally dark wood. Because of the style of the back, I thought it would look "regal" if I gave it a gilded finish. I wanted a richer look than metallic paint so I actually used silver leaf all over the chair. This was my first time using any leafing product but I found it to be pretty basic. Just follow the instructions on the leafing package.
I decided on silver leaf because I wanted sort of a vintage looking finish and felt that gold leaf would have been too gold for me. After the leafing process, I simply went over the whole thing with a coat of Minwax Gel Stain in Aged Oak. The Gel Stain really warms up the silver leaf and settles in the crevices, highlighting the chairs carved detail. Gel Stain is a great way to give anything an aged patina in one easy step because it stains and seals in one coat and the product's consistency gives you plenty of working time to remove brush marks, etc.
The beautiful chenille fabric was some I picked up out of the clearance remnant bin. I finished it off with a coordinating gimp to hide the staples.
Tip: I often find chairs with layers and layers of fabric and the original horsehair and cotton, lumps included. I recommend removing all the old stuff and starting over with new foam and Dacron batting. This will remove decades of old smells and who knows what else. If you are putting forth the effort to refinish a chair, you might as well make it like new and enjoy it for decades to come.
Idea: This finish would also be perfect for picture frames, boxes, candlesticks....you are only limited by your own imagination. Happy Gilding!