DIY – Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

When Ryan and I were first married, my parents spent a weekend at my grandparents house getting rid of some clutter. One of the items that was on its way out was an old dining room table and chairs that originally belonged to my great grandparents.

Thankfully, my mom couldn’t bear to see them go. So, she called me! Yay!

I’m always up for a little DIY challenge and Ryan and I just so happened to be shopping for our first house. Perfect!

Mom saved the set from the landfill, Ryan and I bought a house, and the set was ours. We lovingly refinished the chairs with dark cherry stain and I re-covered the seats with a tone-on-tone red damask fabric. Gorgeous! We ended up having to buy a new table because the tabletop wasn’t salvageable (good news, we did save and reuse the legs).

Every time my parents come over for dinner, my Dad remarks fondly how glad he is that we saved the chairs. He remembers the “heart” shape backs from his own childhood. My grandmother has also been tickled to see them in our house. I love the history and stories these chairs tell. All the warm fuzzy feelings!

Now we have three little ones of our own and the stories continue. Sadly though, the red damask hasn’t loved the spilled oatmeal, applesauce, milk, ice cream, yogurt, syrup… you name it, those chairs have gotten doused in it.

I was wandering around Hobby Lobby looking for inspiration, and this is what called my name!

The chairs! Yes!

Materials:

1 yard home decor fabric (Mine was from Hobby Lobby)

6, 1″ foam chair pads (Hobby Lobby again), measuring 15″ x 17″

Tissue paper

Staple gun, staples

Pliers and screw driver (for removing old staples)

Directions:

    I started by removing the seats from the chairs. (Let’s be real, Ryan did that part. Thanks babe!)
    I used a combination of the flathead screwdriver and pliers to remove the old staples.
    I traced the seats out into the tissue paper and then added about 2.5″ all the way around to create a pattern. If you look closely (not only will you see my stylish slippers) you will also see my grandfather’s last name and my grandmother’s maiden name written on the back from when my grandparents were first married and had the chairs recovered. Family history right there!
  • Then I used my pattern to cut out my fabric. I also had to trim the chair foam just a bit to fit the seats.
    Assembling the seats is as simple as fabric face down, foam centered on the fabric, seat (face down) on top. Then staple, staple, and staple some more. To staple, you want to pull the fabric tight, actually pressing down on the foam. Start in the center of one side, and work to the edges, leaving the corners until all four sides are done. Do the corners last, making a nicely finished edge.
    Ryan put the screws back in and… voila!

Chairs full of legit family history sans oatmeal stains!

-h

P.S. Check out my cute little helper…

Reupholstery Part I: Materials

Ok, so I read a lot of blogs and watched a lot of how-to videos before I got started on my upholstery project. One of the things that felt a little overwhelming was all the different tools/materials you need to get started. Many of which I had never heard of and/or didn’t want to afford.

Well, there is a difference between what you could use vs. what you actually need. You don’t need a pneumatic staple gun, for instance, it’s great if you have one, but an electric one will do just fine.

So here’s what I found I actually needed:

Upholstery2

  • Electric Staple Gun and Staples (I used 1/2″ staples)
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Thimble
  • Gloves
  • Curved Needle (not pictured above)

I also found a fantastic book that was my constant companion throughout the entire process. Spruce by Amanda Brown. Not only was this book very helpful and it covers a wide range of different pieces of furniture, but it is also a beautiful book! Highly recommend it!

Upholstery3

 

And finally, my materials. I found a great neutral gray upholstery fabric at Joann’s and Ryan suggested we use white piping (which I made myself, and I’ll explain in a future post).

Upholstery1

So gather your materials, and we’ll cover deconstruction next time.

–h

 

Where should I start? Upholstery!

Hmmm, my first blog post…ever. Where should I start? I’m thinking I will share a recent project that was probably one of the most challenging I have ever tackled.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law and brother were getting rid of an old chair they had in their garage. It was a cute old chair with character, so I thought I would keep it and try my hand at upholstery. Since they were just going to throw the chair away, I figured I had nothing to lose. I also secretly noted that since it rocks it would be perfect for a baby’s room. 🙂

Starting pic:

Best tips for upholstery:

  1. Do not be afraid, you can do it!
  2. Take pictures and document every step of the way. Seriously, you can’t take too many pictures.
  3. Clearly label each piece as you remove it, write where the piece goes, which side is up/down, left/right.
  4. Go for it!

More to come!

–h