Do you ever wonder what happens to the furniture you see made over on blogs and TV? Where does it go? Who uses it? How does it hold up? Should you buy furniture flips? Well my friends, I’m here to solve the mystery! SIX years ago (man, it seems like another lifetime) I bought a pair of second hand chairs on Craigslist for $25 each. They were in really great shape at the time aside from their look, shown above, which was quite dated.
So I made them over
It was a simple re-cover and paint job and you can read all about the process if you like. These chairs became our dining chairs and we sat on them several times a day – every day. They got spilled on and used. The kids pulled (ok, yanked) some of the trim off, the dog begged for food with her paws on the arms. They were jumped on and beaten and packed on a moving truck and moved to our current home in the north. Six years of that led us here:
I thought I’d do another simple paint and re-cover. I thought I’d right all the wrongs from the past makeover – I never did like the spray paint I used, it didn’t wear well and the dog wore much of it off, but as I pulled the purple upholstery fabric away I saw this:
The upholstery foam had crumbled and turned to dust!
I knew they weren’t as comfortable as they once were and I figured the strapping was going on them which it was, but I wasn’t really prepared for having to replace both the strapping AND the foam!
I whined a bit on Instagram about it. Sorry if you suffered through that. And then I got to work.
This was not easy. I cut off all the old foam and strapping. I couldn’t find upholstery strapping in town so instead I bought nylon webbing which I thought would get the job done – and it would have except my staples did not go into the wood well enough to hold the strapping. These happen to be oak chairs and oak is a very dense wood. I don’t have photos of this part of the process because I was right aggravated by this point! I had to go back to the hardware store and buy softer plywood that would accept my staples and cut out new seats to attach new foam to. The plywood eliminated the need for strapping but I will admit, they aren’t as comfortable as they would have been had they been done with strapping.
I sanded down the old spray paint and the original finish underneath that until I got mostly down to bare wood and then I painted. I was really, really happy with this paint and it seems like it will be much more durable. I also love the matte finish! I chose a mustard yellow upholstery fabric and for the back, I used fabric printed with my own design! I chose a black trim to tie it all together but had there been a deep grey, I’d have gone with that. I’m pretty limited in choices here in Fort St. John so black it was. I think it works.
Was it worth it?
Even though this is the second makeover and even though I basically had to rebuild them from the bottom up, yes, I still think it was worth it. From the first day I picked these up until now, these chairs have worked hard for us. Foam was the most expensive thing this time and over all the second re-make cost around $85 each. Had we bought two new chairs of similar quality they would have been much more. I am also confident that the finish will hold up better and now that my children are old enough to control the urge to pull the trim off we should get another 6 + years of service out of these!
After all that, do I still think you should you buy furniture flips from an artisan or should you bother doing it yourself? YES! Yes I do think so but as with any purchase, buyer beware.
- Always ask what the condition was like when the artisan found the piece
- Always ask what work has been done – have joints been strengthened? Foam been replaced?
- Always ask what materials were used – what type of fabric was used? Can you spot clean it? Do they know what type of wood the item is made of?
- If you can buy new for the same price….maybe reconsider. The value in used furniture comes from saving resources. That includes your cash.
Want more info on flipping furniture? I’ve got you covered.