Hi guys! After a few takes and a lot of procrastinating, I finally finished my chair upholstery project… and I think they turned out pretty amazing even though I took some shortcuts. I don’t claim to be an upholstery expert, and anything I do with a sewing machine is up for debate and sometimes a good laugh, but I thought I’d share this makeover anyway. Hopefully, it will inspire you if you have a similar chair project you’ve been putting off – because if I can do this ANYONE can do this – seriously!
You may remember these chairs. I found them curbside in excellent condition but the old upholstery wasn’t looking good. When I tried painting over the fabric, it didn’t go well at all. Both the tufted back and the seat cushions turned rock hard and cracked like a scorched desert floor. If you’re curious about how NOT to paint fabric you can see the post here.
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS USED. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
So, take two. My goal was to recover and create an informal-comfy-salvage-style-chair the quickest and easiest way possible. I wasn’t into taking the chair apart or removing any of the old fabric. Instead, my vision was to paint and distress and then create oversized soft seat cushions with a matching back to look and feel soft, casual and inviting. Mission accomplished. 🙂
- Chairs (Salvaged | Curb Shopped)
- Buttercream Chalk Mineral Paint
- Paint Brush
- Fabric (mine was a $3/meter sale upholstery end!)
- Ruler or Straight Edge
- Scissors or Rotary Cutter
- Measuring Tape
- Upholstery Gun (similar)
- Sewing Machine
- Cotton Batting
- Pillow Filler (I used down feathers from pillows I already had)
The day before I started recovering this chair, I painted the wood in this warm soft white. I used a brush for the body but found the weaved sides were taking too long to cover. I ended up pulling out my spray gun and giving it a few coats which covered it beautifully.
7 SHORTCUTS & TIPS FOR DIY CHAIR UPHOLSTERY::
Tip #1. Measuring
Measure to determine how much fabric you will need to recover your chairs. If you’re inexperienced – like me – what I like to do is take the basic measurements of the chair along with a few pictures of the project on my cell. The associates at Fabricland (or any reputable fabric store) will help determine how much you need. I like allowing for a little extra for any slip-ups. 🙂
Tip #2. Pneumatic Upholstery Gun
Like I mentioned, I’m not an expert, but it’s my guess that any upholstery job is WAY easier with a pneumatic upholstery gun. I LOVE this tool and it’s perfect for upholstery and craft projects.
Tip #3. Cover Existing Piping
To create the appearance of ‘new’ piping detail on the back of these chairs, I cut a 2-inch strip of fabric and used my pneumatic upholstery gun to staple it snuggly around the existing piping. I started by adhering it wrong side up and then flipped it over so no cutting was required and all the staples remained invisible.
Tip #4. Cover Existing Back with Batting
To create a smooth look on the back of these buttoned chairs, I placed some extra cotton batting. This really helps to create a soft layer under the new fabric.
Tip #5. Pull The Fabric Tight For No-Wrinkles
Placing the top of the fabric on the top of the chair (wrong side out) staple along the top being sure to get right into the crease and into the frame so no upholstery staples will be visible. I found the key to a no-wrinkle fabric was to adhere 3 staples along the top – then pull tight and add 3 on the bottom – then pull tight and repeat on each side. This helped to hold the fabric in place before shooting in ALL the staples.
Tip #6. DIY Pleat
I really didn’t feel like sewing – or at least do as little as possible so I cut the excess overhang fabric down to an inch and then folded it over and stapled to create a pleat on either side. It looks more like a pleat than piping but I’m pretty happy with it. I think it adds a little extra detail and hides all the staples beautifully.
7. Sew & Stuff Oversized Seat Cushions
I like the idea of soft and comfy so I did an easy to sew oversized throw cushion for the seats. It’s not fitted so the measurements didn’t have to be perfect and if you can sew two pieces of material together (right sides together), you can do this! I went a little fancy and added piping to the front which looks great. I used down feathers from pillows I already had to fill these cushions.
Add a throw pillow and blanket along with a cup of coffee and a good book and voila! I have two good looking salvaged-styled chairs for my bedroom! I already had the paint, batting, piping and down feathers and I was lucky to find this upholstery end on sale for $3 per meter. The total cost for both chairs was $13 and a full day of my time.
HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN ON AN UPHOLSTERY PROJECT? IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS OR SHORTCUTS YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, FEEL FREE TO CHIME IN… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!
I hope you have an inspiring creative week!
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