How to Reupholster a Chair

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Do you have a chair sitting in your house, or maybe even your garage, that you know has good bones and great style, but the fabric, or the color, or BOTH.. need some help?

I had such a chair.

I saw it out of the corner of my eye, perched on the side of the road as if it were just waiting for me to drive by.  I slammed on the brakes, made a quick turn around, paid $10 for it, and stuffed it into the back of my husband’s extremely tiny Saturn. (I still don’t know how I got it in that car… you should have seen me trying to get it out!)

Do you ever buy something and then a few days later, or a few months later think, what was I thinking?

I tend to do this mostly when I bring home garage sale finds.  OR, when my husband sees my garage sale finds and asks, “Now what are you planning to do with THAT?”


Well, this chair is a good example of just that.  I brought it home and hid it in the kid’s playroom.  It really didn’t go with anything in our house, but I loved the curves, the size, the way the legs flared out… I just knew it could be something beautiful.

Eventually, I knew I either needed to sell the chair or do something with it.

Never, and I mean never in a million years did I think I could reupholster a chair!  Now, dining chairs are a whole different story, but a chair with fabric… everywhere… eek!

First of all, you must know, I don’t sew.  Nope, not a stitch.

So, by now you may be wondering how in the world I could possibly reupholster anything without sewing.  Well, I’m about to show you…

The first thing I did was take the seat cushion off.  Most chair cushions are held in place with four screws.  One in each corner of the bottom of the chair.

Next, I removed the millions of staples holding the fabric in place.  MILLIONS… This part probably took an hour and was the most tedious and strenuous task I could have possibly gotten myself into.

Then, I sanded the whole chair down to remove the finish, and painted it white.  Once the paint was dry, I lightly brushed on a dark stain to give an aged look.  Once that was dry, I lightly distressed the edges and applied a clear furniture wax to protect the finish.

By now, my chair looked like this…



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Claire Berard

My name is Claire and I am behind the blog... The Rustic Pig. I love to buy antiques, paint them, and give them a chance to be loved again!