Whew, that’s quite a title, isn’t it? I’ve been working the past couple weeks on this reupholstered chair makeover that actually kind of scared me at first.
It came into my life a year and a half ago when I saw it for sale on Facebook (it reminds me of a throne and it was pretty much love at first sight) and I agreed to meet the seller at her workplace. Here’s the ad, with her name and location blocked out:
$20 is a steal for that, right? And the description only read “Beautiful chair.” When I met the seller, she informed me that she had bought the chair to redo and never got around to it. It didn’t take me too long to figure out why!
Before we get any further, I have exciting news! A few of my creative blogging friends and I have teamed up to bring you the “Furniture Fixer Uppers” – once a month we’re getting together to share our latest furniture makeovers and tutorials to inspire you. Be sure to stick around till the very end of this post to see their projects!
I knew the seat was messed up, and it wasn’t safe to sit on – but I didn’t know how bad it really was until I finally started taking it all apart…
The padding in the seat had almost completely fallen apart, and there were only crumbles left in the seat back as well. I had my work cut out for me.
Last June I completed my first “major” reupholstered chair makeover (this chair) – but the innards were all in perfect shape. Now, after finishing this chair, I have a much better understanding of what really happens in a major reupholstery project!
*This post contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you, so you can easily find the same or similar products that I’ve used. Discover my favorite brands and tools for doing DIY makeovers here.
Are you ready? Let’s start this reupholstered chair makeover tutorial:
First up, a trip to Hobby Lobby:
- New poly foam padding (2 inches thick, I had to buy a giant roll because the seat is so wide)
- New batting (cotton, because it lasts longer than polyester)
- New fabric (after changing my mind several times, and buying 2 yards of a different fabric, I stumbled on a clearance curtain for $6 that was perfect!)
Now that I had some of my necessities, I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Country Grey and painted the frame of the chair, then applied a General Finishes topcoat.
I loosely followed some of the steps in this tutorial for reconstructing the seat.
Then I cut the foam and the batting…
And finally I cut the fabric, being careful to keep the pattern straight. (After that last reupholstered chair makeover I did, I swore I wouldn’t choose a pattern that had to be perfectly aligned the next time… Ha.Ha.)
After everything was cut, I stapled the batting over the foam.
My hands were red and hurting super bad after all the stapling I’d done so far, and the stapler was starting to give me fits anyway, so it was time to change things up! I got brave.
Now, not all of you guys will see the bravery here, and that’s ok. But some of you are probably like I was and might freak out at the thought of using a fancy stapler attached to an air compressor. We’ve had this thing since last year when Mr. GITG bought a power tool package deal, and he’s been harping on me to try it out for too long. So I finally gave in.
Just like magic, my hands were saved. It. Is. Amazing. (insert heart-eyed emoji here) And it’s actually super easy to use! Click Here to learn more about this kind of stapler. Just don’t tell Mr. GITG he was right, ok? 😉
Next I stapled the very back panel of fabric onto the chair. I always try to cut the piece large and then trim it down later. When you’re doing a reupholstered chair makeover and have a pattern to line up straight, it helps to staple the top and bottom first, and then use that as a guide for the rest. I do a few on one side, and then switch to the other side, back and forth to keep things as even as possible.
I put the back foam in place (just foam, no batting this time) and then stapled the front panel on.
Remember to fold the unfinished edge underneath before you staple.
I put several staples at the end of each section.
For the arms, I put a few staples right into the foam to keep it in place…
Then I stapled the top and bottom first (to line up the pattern), while continuing to tuck the unfinished edges underneath and going back and forth from one side to the other.
Finally, at the end of this project that seemed like it might never end…
It was time to hide all those ugly staples with gimp trim and a hot glue gun. This is toffee gimp trim that I found Here on Amazon.
Wow, you guys. That was an epically long tutorial but I sincerely hope it inspires you to try a big reupholstery project or to get brave and try out a tool that you’ve been dreading!
Here’s how the reupholstered chair looks now:
Oh my. It is light years from where it started! I still get amazed sometimes at the power of paint and new fabric (and some blood, sweat, and tears, Ha!).
I’m so glad to finally have this reupholstered chair makeover checked off my list and out of my stash. Only 342 more pieces to go…
Now it’s time for Furniture Fixer Uppers, which means you get 4 more fantastic furniture makeovers from my friends to inspire you.
These are the Before photos – click the links underneath to see the Afters and to read the full tutorial.
I’d love to know what kind of tool or technique that you were scared to try but afterward you felt proud and empowered. Kudos to you for being brave!
Donna Lee says
love the chair, I’m a blue person so just love the blue and white, so fresh
Thank you Donna, I’m always drawn to blue too. 🙂
Tina Matteson says
This is such a gorgeous makeover. And you make it look so easy!
You must have the patience of a saint! I would be terrified to tackle a chair like that. It looks amazing now! love it
Thanks so much, Kandice! <3
Marie from The Interior Frugalista says
Girl, once you go power you never go back! It does the job so much quicker too. Jen, your chair is absolutely beautiful! Love the fabric and gimp colors paired with the country gray paint color. Excellent easy to follow tutorial too.
Aww, thanks Marie! I definitely need to try more power tools once it gets warm out again.
I bought 2 similar chairs from an on-line auction and they sit in my garage because I’ve been so afraid of how much work they will be…but now I’m totally inspired by your wonderful instructions and have decided to keep them and transform them just like you did! Thank you!
Go Linda, you can do it!!
[email protected] of Serial Do-it-Yourselfer says
Wow this is stunning now! Upholstery is not for the weak that is for sure, it is hard work! I have two chairs that have been in my stash for about two years that I need to just tackle already! XOXO
[email protected] of Serial Do-it-Yourselfer recently posted…10 Essential Workshop Tools
Thanks Christy! Haha, so true… I’m in awe of your upholstery skills!
Beautiful chair. Well done job! Great tutorial. I just may try myself!
Kathy Owen says
Jen….that chair is amazing. I don’t know if I have the talent or patience for doing upholstery. The fabric is perfect. Thank you for the amazing tutorial. I may have to try something new.
Kathy Owen recently posted…Beverage Cabinet Project : How To Upcycle Used Furniture
Thank you, Kathy. Upholstery does take a lot of patience – that’s why I can only do this kind of project once in a while. Lol
Karen Marie Kedzuch says
I love it! As a fellow upholstery girl I know from experience what you have accomplished. Fabulous!
Thanks so much, Karen Marie! Upholstery can be a beast for sure!
Fantastic result – it looks stunning.
Jan Cole says
This is an amazing job! I’ve only done a stool or two. I read the entire blog and your pictures are spot on too! I live in a small apartment & plan on doing some painting of 4 antique dining chairs. I don’t have a garage or room very large, but I do have my kitchen tile floor. Do you think I can do it in this space? I have refinished several big pieces in my garage (before I moved) but am a little frighted to try it inside my apartment! I follow all of the wonderful DYI women!
Hi Jan, thank you! You can definitely still do projects in your apartment – just use drop cloths to contain the mess. 🙂 I’ve worked on projects in my kitchen many times when it’s been too cold to work in the garage.
Marcie Lovett says
Gorgeous! I can’t imagine trying that, but you make it look less intimidating.
Robyn Gist says
Amazing! U did a BEAUTIFUL job!!!! Love it!!!
Wow this is gorgeous now! Excellent work!
Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces says
Wahoo! So glad to see you got back in the saddle and rocked it! It’s beautiful
Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces recently posted…Remodeling Stress ~ How to Cope During DIY Projects
Thanks so much, my friend! xo
Rose L. says
oH SO GORGEOUS! I wish you lived close to me as I cannot do it myself with my disability. You did wonders with this chair.
Thank you so much, Rose!
That chair is now so beautiful. I really love the paint finish that you chose and the material is perfect.
Great job ! Love the curtain fabric too! I tackled a chair recently too in blue and white. You can see mine on my business face book page.
Thanks so much, Julie! I got lucky finding that fabric 🙂
Wow! What an incredible transformation!
I love the fabric you chose!
Thanks so much, Kim! 🙂
Oh my goodness!! I can’t believe it. It looks fabulous!! And I never would have figured out how to put it back together – cutting a new plywood seat and stapling stuff to that is the extent of my reupholstery fixing know-how. 😉 It looks perfect! I almost feel like you should brag to the person you got it from. 😉
Thanks so much, Zovesta! That’s my favorite kind of chair makeover – new seat and fabric 😉
Stunning!! You really worked hard on this.
Thank you, Eliz! Sometimes I get a little crazy and decide to go for the difficult makeovers… I think I’ll go easy for a while now. Lol
Your chair looks amazing, Jen!! You’ve made upholstery look like something I can actually do. Good for you for trying that new tool.
Are you keeping this or will it go to your shop?
Thanks so much, Paula! 🙂 I might actually try to sell this one on a local upscale website before taking it to my booth.
Well, NOW it is a BEAUTIFUL CHAIR!! Outstanding job.
I’m 73 and I just bought the same Porter Cable tool package and I absolutely LOVE the stapler. What a difference it makes, right? I still have another chair to tackle reupholstering and painting. Hope I can do as good a job as you have done.
Linda, this is my favorite comment. You rock! (and I feel totally silly now that I was scared to use the stapler!) 😉
[email protected] says
Nice job, Jen! I gotta get me one of those staplers! 🙂
[email protected] recently posted…Bookcase Makeover: From 80’s Oak to Modern Rustic Industrial
Absolutely stunning. I bought an older chair to refinish and it sat in my house for a long time. When I moved, I sold it as I realized I would never redo it. Had your tutorial existed back then, I may have been brave enough to try it. I laid wood flooring last year and put off re-installing my baseboards for a couple of weeks. I was scared of the finishing gun that came with my air compressor and had never used that kind of tool before. But I knew I could not drive a nail in straight to save my life. After watching a really good video on it a few times and reading the manual a few times, I did a few trial runs on some scrap 2×4 pieces. Took me less than 20 minutes to do the bedroom and hallway. It also came with a brad nailer and staple gun so I can see me using those in the future. It was amazing how easy it made the job.
Pam, that is awesome! Good for you!! (And I know if you find another chair to redo, you’ll make it beautiful!)
Brenda Young (@UniqueJunktique) says
What a great tutorial Jen, I still have as yet to tackle the upholstery on a similar chair where the springs popped out the bottom, you’ve inspired me to get started on her real soon! Pinned for later thanks!
well done, you have really made a nice job of this. it would have been awful to throw such an elegant chair away..bravo
What an amazing makeover and so inspirational. I’m pinning this to my DIY Board. Please share your posts on my Sunday’s Best linkup. Starts every Saturday night at 8:00 pm. I love DIY posts.
Rhonda recently posted…Destination Wedding and Party Rentals
Kate Evans says
Hello Jen, This is such a gorgeous makeover. Your chair is looking so beautiful. You have shared such an awesome ideas. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful blog with us.
Laura Lane says
Hi Jen! I love this and thank you for posting. I have a Bergere Chair & Ottoman that is waiting for me and have been afraid. This has helped inspire me.
BTW…do you live in Indiana? If you do, I live in Bloomington, Indiana. 🙂
Hi Laura, yes! I’m far northwest, close to the Chicago area. Good luck with your chair and ottoman! 🙂
Laura Lane says
I had no idea all this time you was a Hoosier. Lol
How long did this chair make over take Jen?
Oh gosh, I don’t exactly remember. I tend to have to take a lot of breaks since I have three kids, but it probably took me a few days altogether.
Oh WOW! What a fantastic job you’ve done on this chair, and provided me with just the tutorial and inspiration that I was in need of, at the exact right time!! I’ve part done a quite similar chair to this, trying to re-use the old springs, but even having covered it will loads of batting, it’s really uncomfortable. I’ve been trying for ages to get inspired to tackle it again, and will now replace the springs with foam, and follow the rest of your tutorial to help me finally get this project finished.
Thanks SO much for the inspiration.
Judi in the UK
Jen, Girl in the Garage says
I’m so glad you found this tutorial helpful, Judi! Best of luck with your chair! 🙂