Seriously. This piece of junk was in my trunk about 5 days ago, on its way home to a new life. I found this adorable chair on Craigslist for next to nothing, but, as many things from CL are, was in need of a lot of love.
My skill level on upcycling furniture is still a work in progress, but my eye is definitely getting better. A lot of times, I will come home with a piece of “junk” and my husband will give me the obligatory “Yeeeeaaah…that’s…nice?” 9 times out of 10, it will end up being a piece of junk covered in white spray paint,and inevitable will end up in the trash. But sometimes, I have good ideas and actually pull them off. Either way, lesson learned that everything, even things that look like they are worth nothing, have some value. Like this chair. When I bought it, it was covered in a blackish brown veneer that was chipped along the front of the chair back. (Does that make sense? “Front of the chair back”?) The seat cushion was literally dustified when I pulled the DISGUSTING maroon fabric off of it. (And I mean GAH-ROSS!)
Instead of talking your ear off, I’ll just show you what the process was like:
What’s funny is that from the picture on Craig’s List that the original owner posted, the crack in the veneer looked like an interesting design. I thought it was original stained this way, which was what had caught my eye in the first place. When I got to the owner’s house, I was too much of a wuss to renege on the purchase, so I just bought it and smiled and braced myself for what would be HOURS of sanding.
Luckily, the veneer on the front of the back of the chair (again…is that the best way to phrase that?!) easily peeled off, shaving at least 30 mins of sanding time off of this project.
This was the nasty condition of the seat before I replaced it. Ugh. The fabric underneath this was even worse. I decided to spare you the visual image. You’re welcome.
I removed the seat and was relieved to find that the chair was in excellent structural order. I was not prepared to make another trip to the hardware store. Next, I began what would end up being a 4 HOUR SANDING ORDEAL. A real treat.
Eventually, I bring the chair back to its natural state. Or at least as close to it as possible. Chairs take a lot longer to sand because of all the different surface levels. I decided to give myself a break on the wood around the perimeter of the seat on top of the chair, since it would be covered by the seat itself.
This is my favorite part. I LOVE staining wood. If you like instant results, then you should look into finding a career path that involves staining furniture. I chose a natural stain for this chair because I wanted to brighten it up.
Aaaah. This was truly cathartic. I put about two coats of this stain on the bones of the chair, and let it cure over night.
After taking a much needed break, the next day I tackled the seat of the chair. I bought this poly-fil foam seat cushion insert. You can find these at Michael’s or any fabric store usually.
I found this awesome Moroccan Lattice fabric at Hobby Lobby. Gah, I love Hobby Lobby. They don’t have the BEST fabric selections, but every so often, they will surprise me with gems like this. It kind of looked a little nautical to me, too. This part is pretty simple. Just cut the fabric, pull it around the seat and staple with a heavy duty stable gun. (I’ve seen chairs that used regular staples or nails instead, so if you are in a pinch, give those a shot!)
The corners are the trickiest part of recovering anything, especially the LAST corner of the project. Just remember to wrap it the way you would a Christmas gift, making sure the fabric is as taut as possible on each edge. This is soooo much easier with two people, but, it can be done solo, too.
After you staple all of the fabric down, turn it over and give it a good inspection. I always end up pulling some staples out and redoing them.
After I attached the freshly recovered seat, I decided the chair still needed a little something. I have some spare sample paint (which, by the way, is the best for crafts – instead of buying them a gallon at a time, just buy the $3 sample sizes instead. They last forever!) that I decided to use on the back of the chair to match the white in the fabric…
The final product!
I love the way the red and the natural wood play against each other…
…and the white back was a good choice, too. I am loving this chair so much!
The ultimate question is, where should I put it??? I tested it out in my bedroom next to my dresser, but I might try a few other places. I love adding bright details to small pieces of furniture because they are super mobile and add a little something to any room they are in.
What do you think?