Fabulous Side Chair Facelift

My sister, Beth, found this unique chair at an antique store in Clarksville, VA for $95. antique side chair

She immediately called me and asked me if I thought we could give it a makeover.  I could see from the picture she sent me that the chair had great character and that the wood was in good shape.  Her main concern was the fabric – a little worn out and not very exciting.

antique side chair

 Up for any furniture revamp, I told her “Yes, bring it home!”

She planned to put it in their bedroom, so we found the perfect fabric to match their colors: a quatrefoil design in sage and cream (from Williams & Sherrill).  Over the holidays, we were finally able to find time to work on the redo together.

green & cream quatrefoil fabric

We started with the back rest of the chair.  It had an old trim that we easily ripped off.  From there, we had to remove about 30-40 nails that were (very securely!) keeping the fabric in place.  For this step, we used a flat head screwdriver to pry underneath each nail.

antique chair upholstery nails

Here is the chair with the back rest fabric removed:

antique chair redo

We weren’t exactly sure how we were going to reattach the new fabric to the back of the chair, so we decided to take some time and think about it while turning our attention to the seat of the chair.  The seat itself needed a little support, so we asked my husband, Andrew, to cut a few boards to attach underneath.

chair seat with support

We used the seat as a pattern for the new fabric and cut around it, leaving a few extra inches on each side.

reupholstering a chair seat

We decided the old seat fabric didn’t need to be removed, so we simply nailed the new fabric over the old, using ½” wire nails.  We made sure to line up the pattern in the middle of the seat, and we pulled each side taut as we were nailing.

reupholstering a chair seat

Here is the underneath side of the recovered seat:

reupholstered chair seat

And on the chair:

reupholstered chair seat

(Yes, our husbands were watching football helping us with the project ;)!)

Once the seat was complete, we returned to the back rest.  We first used the old piece of fabric to make a pattern with the new fabric, leaving a few extra inches on each side.

We decided to use the original filling from the chair, but we added a new piece of batting for an extra layer.  After discussing whether nails or staples would be better for this step, we found the staple gun to be the easier method.  First, we stapled the batting over the filling to the back rest of the chair.

chair reupholstering with batting

Once the batting was secure, we started stapling the fabric.  For this step, we lined up the fabric and made sure to keep it tight and even throughout the process.

reupholstering a seat back

reupholstered seat back

When the fabric was stapled all the way around, we were able to slip scissors into the groove of the chair and trim the fabric to the exact size.

reupholstering a seat back

The last step was to add a piece of trim in order to hide the staples.  We found the perfect trim at U-Fab and used a hot glue gun to attach it to the chair.

gluing trim to a reupholstered chair

It was finally finished and ready for its new home!

reupholstered chair

Beth and I had a great time working on this project together!  The modern fabric ties in with their other décor, while the antique details of the chair add an unexpected touch to the room.  She even had enough fabric left over for her mother-in-law to make a few pillows for their bed.

quatrefoil pillows

reupholstered chair

Pin It º What have you reupholstered lately? º Have you ever stumbled upon any great antique store finds?