How to makeover a chair | How About Orange

February 22, 2008

How to makeover a chair

A couple weeks ago I bought a brown, scuffed up chair from our local Salvation Army and turned it into this for our bedroom. I think I'm in love with it.

How to do it:
1. In your workshop (or dining room, in our case), flip your ugly chair over and remove the four screws holding the seat on. The seat will now lift off. Set it aside.

2. Sand the whole chair to rough up the finish a bit so the paint will stick. Smooth off any scratches or weirdness. Wipe the dust off with a cloth.

3. With a brush, apply a coat of general-purpose latex primer. Don't worry that your chair looks hideous after this step. Then put on as many coats of latex paint as you need for an even finish. I put on three over the course of two days. This is a pain.

4. To recover the seat, flip it over and remove the staples or tacks that hold the fabric on. Don't be grossed out by the condition of the foam cushion under there. If it's icky, just go buy new seat foam at a fabric store. A piece of new seat padding is available for a couple bucks and comes wrapped in plastic and perfectly sized. I was astonished. It turns out most seats are a standard size. The foam piece is perfectly rectangular, so just trace your wooden seat bottom onto it with a pen and cut off the wedges with a scissors to form a trapezoid that fits your seat.

5. Stack the foam and wood bottom onto a piece of fabric and use it as a template to cut a new seat cover, leaving enough margin to be able to fold your fabric around to the underside of the seat. When positioning your seat on the fabric, pay attention to the pattern in your fabric so your seat will align nicely with the repeats. (This fabric is Peapod.)

6. Use a staple gun to tack the new fabric cover snugly onto the seat.

7. Screw the chair bottom back onto the chair, and you're done.

68 comments:

Jem♥Jam said...

Looks so nice and crisp!

Aja said...

I agree, I love it.

Leslie said...

awesomely worded tutorial. and your fabric looks SO GOOD with the white!

well done, as usual. i love your blog!

Alison said...

it turned out so beautifully! makes me want to go take a trip to the salvation army store now.

Grandma G said...

Beautiful! And the swirly design on the chair back goes so nicely with the decals on your walls, too!

Love,
Mum

reinaswan said...

What a great way to turn old into new.

Ang said...

I am in love! I want to make one using your fabric too!!

Julie said...

Nice job!
If anyone needs to cut the foam - a good tip is to use an electric knife (the kind used for carving turkey) - it makes nice smooth edges.
PS: I love your creativity, and wrote about you on my blog yesterday! =)
Have a lovely weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica, I have been reading your blog for a few months now..I was excited to see that your blog made it to "Today's Creative Blog"
I love the chair too : )
TerriC/Grand Prairie, TX

jcaroline said...

Awesome chair! My that fabric is stunning. Where ever did you find it? ;)

Jess said...

Ha ha.

Minna said...

I lvoe how that turned out! It looks really good - and your fabric really does match the chair :)

Amy said...

Goodness that is just the cutest little chair! I for one would have loved to see the before!

Tami H said...

I want that chair! Fabulous.
Funny thing...I have the chairs, 4 of them actually, nice and white already, all I have to do is put some new fabric on. You make me feel oh so lazy. ;)

Rachel said...

I love the chair. I had a similiar experience last year with two chairs. I have one more waiting to be sanded. Sadly, it needs a lot of sanding. I'll have to wait until the weather warms up to tackle it. I am inspired by your cushions. I definitely needs could use some cushions to brighten things up.

planetjune said...

Your chair looks beautiful! A perfect use for your fabric too.

Larissa said...

I. love. this. chair.

Liz Ness said...

Thanks for the post yesterday (I've been looking for a place that does both downloads and post).

AND, thanks for sharing this awesome project. I LOVE your print so much and it's rockin' on that chair (which I love, too -- very cool)!

rebecca said...

Thanks for posting this! I have two scuffed up dining room chairs that need a little love, but I didn't know how to do it!

And yours is loverly!

melissa lewis said...

Great job. That is one of my favorite things to do. Find old stuff and refinish it. The chair looks great!

Kim - ScrapToMyLu said...

Love the chair!
The crisp fresh white with that fabric is perfect.

Did I already give you my email? So I can send you your blinkie?

krjdemmon@comcast.net

Eileen Dover said...

I love it! The best thing of all is that you don't have to sew anything!

Jess said...

Precisely. :)

Amy said...

I found you from Kim's at TCB...beautiful work, that fabric just screams Spring...what a fun blog you have!

47cats said...

I love the chair! Fabric is fab.

studiosmith said...

Crazy. What an transformation. The negative space in the chairs' back just jumps off that photo. Well done.

Mahan said...

A handy tip for bachelor guys who furnish their apartments in Early Thrift Store! This is much appreciated, Jess!

Kristen M. said...

Love it. I have two ugly brown chairs in my garage waiting for a transformation. Thanks for the inspiration.

Kathy said...

Thank you! I could do the seat fabric change but the tips on the sanding process of the chair is priceless. What you said made perfect sense! I have six dining room chairs on my list to redo and hopefully now that I understand ALL the steps, lol, I will start working on them!
Kathy
p.s. I do love your fabric designs!

Jenn said...

Your fabric designs are incredible!

Cakespy said...

Totally hot! The colors make me happy in this sometimes dull time of year. Thank you for sharing!

Bela said...

Just gorgeous! :-)

Katie said...

What nice fabric you've chosen! ;-)

LINDA BARES said...

The chair looks awesome! What kind of paint did you use? I painted an old desk, but didn't prime it first. The paint still feels sticky 6 months later. I wonder if the primer would have prevented that.

suzanne b. said...

This is adorable, and I always love your tutorials. :)

Miss*Laurence said...

OMG! You reminded me of our chair to do, it was a " present" from someone moving away, it's in a state, but interesting.... must do that soon!

platinum blonde said...

great tutorial!

Jess said...

I just used white Behr latex paint, satin finish.

Jenny said...

I love it. It looks fabulous!

shellyfish said...

Wow! Very beautiful, and inspiring. I have a small little cupboard/drawer/furniture thing in our kitchen that needs to be redone, and you have inspired me.
I found your blog about two weeks ago and love it! I'm adding you to my blogroll, so others can find you, too (though you obviously have many fans!)
Shellyfish

Marcia said...

I have 4 chairs like that in my shed! This Spring, it looks like I'll have another project.

Concha said...

FABULOUS tutorial and FABULOUS looking chair!!

Mellissa - wondermommy said...

Beautiful, I think I'm in love with that chair, too.

Amy said...

Your result is gorgeous! Many thanks for sharing the steps. You've given new hope to scratched brown chair I brought home from antiquing two years ago.

amy said...

Your chair is fantastic and looks so great with the wall paint color in your bedroom. I'm getting married next month and we're consolidating furniture, and doing the kitchen in white and green. I may have to paint and recover some chairs in the herb print!

quenna said...

That turned out fabulous!

j. said...

Great job!!! I love recycling chairs & tables from Goodwill.

erika said...

thanks to you my dining room chairs are beautiful!

Jess said...

Great!

Sharee G said...

Hi Jess! I'm new here and really enjoying your blog and links to other interesting blogs. I actually started my own blog yesterday because I feel so inspired. Anyway, I LOVE these chairs ! I currently have some old spindle-back chair that can't be recovered. This tutorial makes me want to sell them and go thrifting so I can refinish and fabric-cover new old ones !! Have a great day!

Teal Chic said...

You make this seem so easy!!!

Uptown Girl said...

Can you tell me where your curtains are from? I'm in love!

Jess said...

Ikea!

Anonymous said...

Sooo darling! Just what I was looking for when I tried to google up some instructions for repainting my dining chairs white. Although I'm wondering how *much* to sand first. Does the wood need to feel rough? I feel like I can't break through the layer of shiny stuff on my wood chairs. I don't want to ruin them by sanding too much... Thanks! I'll read your site regularly!

Jess said...

I think as long as you just sand it a little, the finish gets a little rougher and less smooth. You don't have to take it all off. I didn't, anyhow. Just go over it once, and even if it still feels smooth, it will have a bit more "tooth" than it did before, and that will help the paint stick.

Anonymous said...

Wow - thanks for replying back! I can't wait to make this my weekend project. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Wow - thanks for replying back! I can't wait to make this my weekend project. Have a great day!

Mina said...

I did this tutorial and my chair came out great! You made it sound soooooo easy and it was! Thanks! : )
Mina
www.bohemianvintageonline.com
Bohemian Vintage

Jess said...

So glad it worked for you. Great!

cygnetsmall said...

Love your blog. (LOVE it!) I starred this post a long time ago because I have a bunch of chairs to recover and thought it useful. Now I am actually getting around to it and wondering where you get the seat cushions pre-cut, someplace like JoAnn's or would it have to be a fabric store that specializes in upholstery? Thanks!!

Jess said...

I think I got mine at Joann's. I betcha most fabric stores have them.

cygnetsmall said...

Thanks! :)

Beautiful Disaster said...

A tip for painting chairs? Hammer some nails halfway into the bottom of the legs...then the chair is raised off the ground for easier painting and you can just pull the nails out when it is dry.
Gorgeous, as always!

Beautiful Disaster said...

A tip for painting chairs? Hammer some nails halfway into the bottom of the chair's legs...then the chair will be raised for easier painting and you can simply pull the nails out when the chair is dry.
Gorgeous work, as always...I am a HUGE Orange fan!

Beautiful Disaster said...

Oops! I posted twice...sorry! I guess it worked the first time!

wildstrawberrypicking said...

Hi well done, but I do traditional upholstery and for on an old chair like that you would use layers of horsehair or coconut matting then a canvas layer,on top of that cotton felt and then the fabric I only use tacks not staples have a look on e-bay under wildstrawberrypicking and totally enviromentally friendly too.If you need any advice let me know.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing it.

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