Chair Makeover

I worked all weekend on these chairs painting and stapling and gluing and they are finally done! Okay, one of them is done and that’s enough to be able to share the photos with you…the other one still needs trim.


I really loved the size and shape of these chairs I saw on Craigslist.  They had curly arms and a nice curve on the leg.  The finish was in rough shape and the fabric didn’t do anything for me.  But at $25ea I couldn’t pass them up!

The first thing I did was pull up the trim.  It had been stapled on which means I spent a good bit of time pulling staples.  I am not a fan of pulling staples!  A good pair of pliers made light of the work though.  Grip and twist, grip and twist.

Once that was done I got to painting.  I used spray paint and this was the first time I ever tried to refinish anything with spray paint.  I’m not sure how I feel about it. One chair looks pretty good but the other one had some issues with bubbling up and chipping off.  I sanded it down and put on another coat and it seems to be ok although I can still see the areas where I had problems.  I’m curious to see how it will wear.  I used a coat of primer and about 3 coats of paint after all was said and done.  Here’s a shot of the painting in progress.

After the paint was all finished it was time to upholster!  I found the most fabulous fabrics at Chintz and Co.  I ended up buying too much and spending a bit extra but that just means I’ll be able to make some throw pillows or something to accent the rest of the room.

The purple fabric is a great upholstery weight but the floral fabric (OMG HOW AMAZING IS IT?!?) is lighter in weight and that’s why I only used it on the back.  Because nobody will be sitting on it, or spilling on it it should hold up ok.

I made a template of the area I needed to cover with parchment paper (the kind you use for cooking) and that way I was able to place it on my fabric and figure out which part of the pattern I wanted to use. This helped me center the pattern on the purple fabric and find the best part of the flowers to use on the floral.  I folded the template in four to illustrate the center point.

Once I had all the bits stapled in place I covered those staples with some pretty trim. I just used a hot glue gun and put the trim in place. I made sure to tuck in any stray bits of fabric and I also tried hard not to stretch it out too much.

That was pretty much it!  It wasn’t overly difficult but just took some time.  These Craigslist chairs are far from perfect…imperfections with the paint…a few areas that I scratched with my scissors (oops!) and some other issues here and there (ahem, staples can get away from you)  But, for what I paid for them I think they’re pretty fabulous.    Now my biggest issue is figuring out where in the house to use them!!



  1. That looks really good. Great job, Heather! I have a metal stool type chair I am going to refinish soon to put under the freaky “breakfast bar” thing we have in the living room. Mine won’t be quite as complicated as your project but I will be using spray paint. LOL

  2. The fabric on the back is drool-worthy.

    I refinished a vintage 70’s French Provencal dresser in the same color spray paint a couple months ago. I was going to do some decorative painting on it and antique glaze it, but the appeal of instant gratification was too much for me to


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