14 In DIY projects

before + after: an easy chair makeover

Good Monday morning, folks! Hope you all had a good weekend. It was pretty rainy and gray here, so other than a charity event I attended on Saturday night, the rest of my weekend was spent sleeping and lounging around the house. Not bad to have one of those every now and then.

Anyway, I thought I would share a chair makeover I did a little while ago. This is one of those projects that anybody can do – no special crafty/DIY skill necessary.

I started with this chair I picked up at a garage sale quite some time ago (I grabbed 3 identical ones actually – all for $20). The body of the chair was in great condition, but the upholstery was leaving a little something to be desired and the wood was looking a little tired.

Step 1 was to take off the seat and give this guy a coat of paint. I just used an old can of paint I had from a different project, since I liked the neutral putty colour. Since the paint was not high gloss, I knew it would wear pretty easily, so I put a thin coat of varathane on top to seal it all (the same varathane I used in this project).

Then it was time to recover the seat. Sorry, butter yellow floral, you’re just a little outdated.

Like when I reupholstered our dining room chairs, you want to cut your fabric to size, pull it tightly over the seat, and then use a staple gun to secure it on the back. This seat had some rounded corners, so I just had to do my best to keep it smooth and un-wrinkled.

This fun geometric was a fabric I picked up in England (remember my little fabric shopping spree here?). I was excited to finally put it to use somewhere!

And here she is all finished. Much better!

The chair is sitting in our dining room for now, for those times when we need an extra seat around our table. I’m not sure if we’ll keep it there for long though (we have some dining room switcharoo plans coming soon!). Either way, you can never have too many chairs, right?!

What about you guys? Done any easy DIY’s lately? Any painting or reupholstering projects? 


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  • Great job, I love it! The grey with the pattern go so well together

  • I love the fabric you chose for it. The colour of the gray? tan? whatever it is – is very close to that of your leftover paint. Lucky coincidence?

    • gemma

      I know, right?! Definitely lucky! With the number of leftover paint cans I have and fabric swatches, I knew *something* would match!


  • Love it!

    Have you done anything with the other two? Will they be the same, or are you going for a different look?

    • gemma

      Haven’t done anything with them yet! Since I’m not going to be using them as a set, I don’t think I’ll do them the same. I have visions of doing one in pink!!! (just don’t tell my hubby…) :)


  • Talk about creative, I love that you could see the end result out of what you started with. Is creativity contagious?

    Hope so, I now follow you on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/journeyofthezoo/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/JourneyofTheZoo).

    Thanks for teaming up with me for the Canada Day giveaway, really excited!

    Regards, Sarah
    Zookeeper at Journeysof TheZoo

  • i love the color of the chair. i’m not sure i would have ever picked it but that looks so good! well done!

    • gemma

      Thanks Ali! I don’t think it would’ve been my first choice either for the chair, but it worked!! Yay for using leftover paint :)


  • Hi Gemma,

    I found your blog from Tanya’s (DLT) blog.
    I’m intrigued by how easy you made this upholstery project looks!

    Do you have to get rid of the old fabric – or do you just cover it up with the new one?

    Thanks – looking forward for more DIY tips!


    • gemma

      Thanks Starlet! I actually just covered up the old stuff… it was perfectly clean and in good shape, so I just figured it would add a little extra cushion :) If it had been super dirty, had major rips, or was otherwise in bad shape then I would have ripped it off. If ripping off the old upholstery, sometimes you need to fix up or replace the batting on the chair.

      Hope that helps, and thanks for stopping by!! :)


      • Thanks for the tip, Gemma!

        I’ll let you know how it goes when I actually do mine =) and maybe you can give me some feedback.

        • gemma

          Absolutely! I love to see reader re-designs :)


  • Maggie

    Hi there! I’m just wondering if you could tell me the name of the fabric you used for the chair? I love it! Thanks.