Have you ever seen a piece of furniture and instantly known that if it was yours, you could refinish it and make it beautiful again? That’s just what happened with this antique cottage style chair. I found it on Facebook market place and paid $10 for it. Honestly with the condition the fabric and padding/cushions were in, I should have offered $1. But here we were with a totally disgusting chair, full of years and years of cat and dog hair, dust and dirt and every time I looked at it, I wondered why I bought it.
Trash to Treasure
We’ve all heard the saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Every time Jess looked at it, all he saw was trash. He thought I was crazy for bringing this piece home, after all, it really was in very poor condition. As soon as we stripped it down – I saw the potential and immediately got so excited to bring this tired, worn out, antique chair back to life.
Yes, we stripped off the fabric and the old padding and threw it away. Then we got to work scrubbing and prepping the chair for a new look. There were many times Jess was going to throw it away. He even tried to give it away twice. Shocker that both times it was turned down. (Insert a little laugh here.)
After bring the chair down to bare bones and giving it a good scrubbing, we found the springs still in great condition so we decided not to replace them. Here’s a list of materials we used:
- upholstery fabric
- burlap fabric
- foam padding
- upholstery staples
- heavy duty stapler (upholstery stapler)
- chalkpaint clear wax sealer
The first thing we did after scrubbing it clean was apply two coats of chalky paint. Farmhouse white is our favorite color. We like to let the first coat of chalkpaint dry completely before applying a second coat. That usually means overnight. Then after the second coat is applied and dry, we seal it with clear wax sealer. Personally, we like to let the wax sealer set for several days before using the furniture or continuing to work on a piece.
Reupholstering the Seat
The next step was to cover the springs with burlap to protect the foam from the springs. The springs will rip up and tear the foam over time, so burlap is a great option to keep wear and tear to a minimum.
Cut the foam to fit the seat and the back of the chair. Most fabric shops, like Joanne’s, will have furniture foam you can purchase. Once the foam is trimmed to size, it’s time to cut the fabric and start to staple it into place.
Tips For Attaching Fabric
Keep even tension on the fabric to prevent the fabric from puckering or having loose slots.
Use a heavy duty upholstery stapler (like the one pictured above). We’ve always used a hand upholstery stapler and it works great. You can find those at fabric and craft shops. You’ll use upholstery staples to staple the fabric in place.
When you come to corners, carefully fold and tuck the corners to create even tension in the fabric, then staple in place. On corners, I like to use an extra staple or two as the folds and tucks can be a little more bulky.
It’s okay if you need to take a few staples out and adjust the fabric and re-staple. You want the fabric to look smooth and be secure.
A Brand New Look
When it was all finished, I think I actually giggled. It turned out so much better than I imagined it would. I left Jess speechless in how gorgeous it is. He really didn’t think it was possible to make this chair look this good.
This chair found a cozy spot in the front entry way of the house we rented. It was the perfect reading nook. I love the fabric and how it gives the perfect cottage/farmhouse look to any corner of our home. Once we moved, the chair needed a new corner of our home. It has tried out a few spots but ultimately ended up in our living room by the window perfect for a reading nook again.
I’m so glad we didn’t give up on this chair and toss it out. It’s a little bit wider than a standard chair, which makes it easy to curl up on and spend the afternoon or evening reading. We had all the materials on hand to refinish this chair, except the fabrics and foam. This ended up being a fairly inexpensive refinish because we had the tools, staples, paint and wax sealer on hand. I think that is the beauty of refinishing furniture, after a few pieces you’ve acquired the basic tools and then it’s just using what you have.
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Joleen and Jess