Friday, July 5, 2013

Recovering Chairs How-to

Sometimes I arrange to meet someone for a Craigslist deal, excited about how I'm getting this awesome thing for pennies, then I see whatever it is, and think to myself, "Yup, that's why it's so cheap..."

I might have thought that very thing about these chairs...

Seriously, they had to live in the garage for 3 days in front of a box fan to get rid of the smell.

I got two armchairs and two without arms for $100. What a deal! (If you ignore the horrible stains on three of the chairs and the 70s yellow velvet on the fourth. Awesome.)

I have been searching for cane-back French Provincial chairs for probably three months. 

What's redeeming about these chairs are the intact cane, the solid wood frame, and the lovely arms & legs.

Anyway, the only way to get rid of the feeling I might catch a communicable disease if I sat on the chairs was to paint them and recover the seat cushions.

Get your scissors, upholstery-weight fabric, 10 mm staples, and heavy-duty staplers ready!

First, take the cushions out of the chair. This may require you to take out screws underneath the seat

Lay the fabric on the floor, right-side-down, then lay the cushion top-side-down on the fabric.  Make sure you leave enough fabric around the cushion to pull the fabric over the sides of the cushion. Also make sure your cushion is centered on your fabric's pattern.

Pull the side closest to you over the side and towards the center and staple in place (just one staple for now).  Repeat with one or two staples on each of the 4 sides. Pull the fabric as tightly as you can before stapling to avoid wrinkling. Trim any extra fabric.

Now the fabric is secured to the seat, so the corners can be addressed.

The pictures explain the corners the best...

I take the corners of the fabric and space the two folds equally from the corner of the chair.

Hold it in place and staple a few times until secure. (Sometimes pictures point out I should really invest in a manicure every once in a while...)

Repeat this on the other corners.  If your corners don't look exactly like this, but you find a nice, neat way to put them in place, just be consistent on all corners :)

The chairs I recovered here have two corners in the front and are rounded in the back.  If you have a chair like this,  attached the fabric almost all the ways to the sides, like below.

Then create 2-3 evenly spaced folds and staple in place. Repeat on the other side.

You can see the folds in the pictures below...

I chose to paint these chairs with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in "Grainsack" then lightly distressed with 80-grit sand paper along the corners where furniture would naturally wear.

Reattach the seat cushions, et voila!




  1. Those chairs are beautiful. Good for you to see past their past and create beauty! Well done.

  2. Very nice job! I Loved to see and hear how your progress took place.

  3. Your website is very beautiful or Articles. I love it thank you for sharing for everyone. Tim hornibrook