Easy Vintage Chair Makeover

This type of vintage chair makeover is pretty easy, and I used to do them all the time.  I figured since I’m bringing a pretty desk to the Hunt and Gather market next week that I better have a pretty chair to set next to it, in case someone needs both.  😉

Here’s a simple tutorial if you’re unsure how to do this type of chair makeover.

This is the Before…

Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the Garage

1.  First, wipe the chair down with a lightly damp rag or paper towels.

2.  Lay the chair on its back and unscrew the seat – there is one screw in each corner.  Put the screws in a sandwich bag to keep them safe.  Then wipe down the rest of the chair where the seat was.

Sometimes chairs will have details underneath about where they were manufactured.  Pretty cool!

Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the Garage

This post contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you, so you can easily find some of the products I use and recommend.

3.  If your seat is in good shape, you can decide to just recover it instead of replacing it.  This seat had a vinyl cover that was intact, but it was uncomfortable and outdated.

Cut foam the size of your seat (mine is 1 inch thick).  Then cut cotton batting, enough to cover the foam and also wrap around the edge of the seat with a couple inches extra.  Staple it into place underneath with a basic upholstery stapler.  Be careful not to cover the holes where the screws are supposed to go.Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the GarageCut your fabric the same way and then staple it into place over the batting.  If your fabric has a pattern, make sure it lines up however you want it to.

4. Lightly sand any bumps or scratches in the chair frame and use primer if needed.  When I first started painting this chair, some pink came through the white paint right away and I knew I needed to prime it first.  I used Zinsser BIN primer (make sure your work area has good ventilation) and then painted it in Fusion Mineral Paint – Raw Silk.  You don’t have to worry about a topcoat with Fusion Mineral Paint unless you want to be extra cautious (then you can apply their Tough Coat topcoat) – I did not use it on this chair though.Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the Garage

5. After the paint has dried, lightly sand near the edges to highlight details and give it a subtle distressed look, if desired.

6. Screw the seat back on and you’re all finished!

Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the Garage Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the GarageIt’s amazing what a little paint and fabric can do – and this is really an easy peasy vintage chair makeover.Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the Garage Easy vintage chair makeover with paint and fabric. Girl in the GarageDo you prefer the complicated reupholstered chair makeovers or the simple ones like this?  I like a good challenge, but sometimes quick and easy chair makeovers win.  🙂


Here are other chair makeovers you may like…

* The Throne Chair – DIY Reupholstered Chair Makeover *

Reupholstered Throne Chair - Girl in the Garage* Reupholstered Parsons Dining Chair Makeover *

Reupholstered Dining Chair Makeover - Girl in the Garage* Farmhouse Chair Makeover with Ticking Fabric *

Farmhouse Chair Makeover with Ticking Fabric - Girl in the Garage

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13 Comments on Easy Vintage Chair Makeover

  1. Jolinda
    July 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm (2 years ago)

    It turned out so pretty. I have a thing for chairs like this. I found some Liar back chairs next to someone’s trash and re-did them. They turned out pretty good too.
    Love your work.

    • Jen
      July 7, 2017 at 6:50 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Jolinda! I’m a big fan of lyre back chairs. I have two in pretty bad shape that I need to work on.

  2. Linda
    July 7, 2017 at 3:02 pm (2 years ago)

    LOVE your work. I have several chairs that need tightening BUT I have not a clue how to go about it. Have you ever showed said process? We, 2 grandsons and myself, always look forward to your posts. you in advance!

    • Jen
      July 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Linda! 🙂 What part needs tightening? I would flip it over and check/tighten all the screws, but if the joints are loose where there aren’t any screws then I might put some super strong glue in there and see if that helps. Generally I try to avoid buying chairs that are very wobbly, but if you already own one then you can try that. Hope that helps!

  3. Pam
    July 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm (2 years ago)

    After watching Gail Wilson of My Repurposed Life for quite awhile, I’d recommend using a Kreg jig. I bought two different sizes but haven’t used them yet so I defer to her and the official Kreg site. Check them out and you will never be afraid of a wobbly joint again.

    • Jen
      July 8, 2017 at 9:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Great idea, Pam. We have used the Kreg Jig for building new pieces but I hadn’t thought of using it for fixing wobbly chairs.

  4. Rose L.
    July 7, 2017 at 9:43 pm (2 years ago)

    I need you to live by me! I have a sectional needing recovering! I used to have a chair just like the one you did here!! Love the new look.
    Rose L. recently posted…RENAISSANCE FAIRE IN CANBY, ORMy Profile

  5. Debra K Mccoy
    July 8, 2017 at 7:57 am (2 years ago)

    Fantastic outcome for the before, boring, chair. Love your before and after pictures.

    • Jen
      July 8, 2017 at 9:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Debra! 🙂

  6. Sherry Stuifbergen
    July 8, 2017 at 10:23 am (2 years ago)

    I bookmarked one of your chair make overs. I am finally “into” the chair make over as well. I want to invest in an electric staple gun. Do you use one? Surely with all your upholstery you do, you have one by now! I was just asking what brand, etc. I am redoing a chair similar to your red/white makeover…top as well as bottom recovered. I am painting the chair frame too. You inspire me.

    • Jen
      July 8, 2017 at 10:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Sherry! I did start using a staple gun with an air compressor earlier this year, I just don’t always get it out for quick projects like this one. Here’s an affiliate link to the one we have: http://amzn.to/2uXfDMo You can also read more about it in The Throne Chair Makeover post (the blue and cream one which is shown above) here: http://girlinthegarage.net/2017/01/reupholstered-chair-makeover-throne My husband bought a set of several tools to use along with the compressor, but you may not need them all unless you do a lot of DIY projects around your house. Good luck to you! 🙂

    • Jen
      July 8, 2017 at 9:52 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Marie! XO


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