Chair before and after

Colorful Chair Makeover

Finished Chair

According to my patient husband, I am a hoarder of chairs.  Admittedly, we might have a few extras hanging around, but they all have so much potential!  In an effort to update a hand-me-down and create comfortable seating for our little guest room, I finally refinished one last week.  

When they replaced their conference chairs at my husband’s work, he brought home two of the old ones for me.  Even though he fusses a bit, he is actually an accomplice to my hoarding. I have been eyeing them for awhile, and finally the opportunity arose to use one in the guest room.

FullSizeRender (5)The chair before.

I had a yard of indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric I had purchased for some outdoor seat cushions, but hadn’t used yet.  Sorry outdoor cushions, you aren’t a priority right now.  It turned out to be the perfect amount for one chair, and it had all the colors I have been using in the room.  I also have an embarrassing number of sample paint pots.  I found a great blue in my stash, so I was all set.  I did purchase some quilt batting on sale over the holidays so I could plump up the softness in the chairs a bit.  There is plenty of batting left for several more chairs. Using materials I already had meant this chair refresh cost less than $5, but even if I would have had to buy it all again it would have been less than $20. I have a hundred projects (not kidding) in my head all the time, so I almost always wait for sales.  Waiting takes patience but it allows me to do some pretty fun things.

After gathering all the materials, the next step was to take the chair apart.  The seat was easy with just two screws holding it into the frame.  I had a harder time getting the back off, so I ended up starting to remove staples to see if I could figure it out.


The back eventually required chipping out the wood plugs in the side of the chair to get to the screws, which were all stripped and mangled by whoever assembled the chair originally.  We had to break out a hacksaw for a couple of them, but finally got it all apart.  Then came the most time consuming part of it all: removing the remaining hundreds of staples holding the original upholstery on the chair.  I used a flat screwdriver and needle-nosed pliers for this job.  

Once the cushions were off the chair, I washed the chair with soapy water and then sanded it lightly.  I used two very thin coats of paint, allowing it to dry thoroughly each time.

Painted chair frame

While paint was drying, I removed more staples.  When the staples are all out, you can take the fabric off and use it for a pattern.  I made sure to label the back of the fabric and the back of the seat so I could put it back together correctly.  Pin the the old fabric to the new and cut out the shape.  My fabric had a direction to the print, so I made sure the pattern was facing the right direction before cutting.

I wrapped the seat and back cushion with a piece of batting and then it was time to staple on the fabric.  I started in the center of each side and then worked toward the edges.  When you get to the corners, fold the fabric like a present and staple away! Screw the seat and back onto the frame again and you have a unique and comfortable chair that works perfectly with your decor.  Here’s a side-by-side!  What do you think?

Chair before and after

4 thoughts on “Colorful Chair Makeover

  1. I love all your creative posts and projects! 🙂
    And p.s. – he can’t call you a hoarder is he’s the one supplying them! :p

  2. This is great! My husband brought home four similar chairs recently–there was a miscommunication when he asked about bringing them home and I thought he was bringing some much-needed patio furniture. 🙂 Now I feel like there may be hope for the office chairs that have been hanging out on the patio!

    1. HaHa, Brooke! Glad I am not the only one! With some fun outdoor fabric and a little paint, no one will ever know they started out as office chairs! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *