Upholstered Chair Makeover

One of my favorite things I started doing during quarantine this year was join a barter and trade Facebook group in New Orleans. It is amazing! I have traded a compost bin for a bag of apples and potatoes, a wood pallet for carrots, homemade cookies for a curling iron, and plastic storage containers for this chair!

It definitely needed some work. There were a few spots that were loose and needed some wood glue, there was one whole chunk missing from part of the wood frame, and then it just generally needed a good sanding and cleaning.

I briefly scrolled through Pinterest at some articles about repairing wood furniture but mostly just kind of made it up as I went. First thing I did was add wood glue to the spots that needed it. I used yarn to tie the pieces together tightly to act as a clamp since the detail work in the chair is curved and made it very difficult and awkward to add clamps anywhere. 

To fix the chunk that was missing I hammered in a couple of really small nails to fill in the area. I pulled this trick from several of the articles about repairing wood furniture, this will help the wood filler have something to grab onto. Because this was such a big piece missing I did two layers of wood filler. A putty would have worked better but I didn't have any on hand and I was trying to keep this project basically free.

Next I used a very liberal amount of baking soda to work into the upholstery and sit overnight while everything dried. The baking soda will help to remove any odors and really clean the upholstery. 

The next morning I removed the yarn and gave everything a good sand. Vacuumed up the baking soda and wood dust. Then I wiped everything down with white vinegar as another precaution to clean and sanitize before painting and staining. 

I have been dreaming of painting upholstery ever since I started watching Debi's Design Diary Youtube channel. She has some pretty amazing furniture makeovers! I didn't have her amazing chalk paints for this project, again I'm trying to use what I have on hand. I opted for this dusty blue house paint I had. I watered it down a ton. Her suggestion is to have it really watery so it's acting more as a stain and you can really work it into the fibers of the fabric. Another note for this project is that I am recovering this chair with the intention of it being a chair we can put in our bedroom and throw all of our clean laundry when we don't want to pick it up lol. So it mostly needs to look cute and won't really get a whole lot of use so it's ok if it's a little crunchy.

After one coat I wasn't really sold on this shade of blue. You could still see the granny florals showing through which didn't bother me a ton but the grey/blue was bumming me out. I happened to just purchase this really deep cobalt blue for another project and decided to use it on this chair and it made a huge difference! It dries a really lovely rich matte color. It did stiffen the fabric significantly so I'm not sold it will stay this way forever. I may use another fabric to upholster on top of it one day but for now I think it's the perfect color! 

I gave the wood a coat of stain, using a really fine brush to get into all the crevices and then an old t shirt to buff it out and even the color. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the stain took over existing stain. From looking things up it seemed like I would need to strip the wood or sand everything to bare wood before adding more stain. And with all those beautiful details in the wood I really didn't want to take away anything. Hopefully this holds up for a very long time! 


Let me know what you think of this makeover in the comments! Let me know what you would have done differently!

1 comment


So pretty! At first glance I thought the fabric was velvet :)

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