an old chair becomes new again

I was bored with my kitchen chairs. They were looking tired and just said, blah. With the long dark winter approaching, I decided they needed a change. A simple and low cost solution – recover the seat bases. Voila’ new chairs. They are much happier now, as am I. The chairs themselves cost me $2.50 each at auction. I liked the delicate curves and the price.

The vintage ticking (picked up at Brimfield a few years ago) cost me $2.00. Total cost $4.50 for a ‘new’ chair, not bad. I wanted them to have a lighter look for the upcoming long dark winter – what better way than vintage ticking.

The whole process only took about 20 minutes. First I removed the bases from the chair. Look under the seat base to see how it is attached;

If it’s screws, it’s easy – simply unscrew.

Then you can remove the old fabric (I’ve already removed a few layers so I didn’t bother this time – this isn’t the first time these chairs were recovered!) and then recover with new or just cover over the old as I did.

Cut the fabric slightly larger than the base itself.  Mine is a bit longer than needed, but I wanted to use up the remaining yardage I had.

You need enough to be able to pull it taught on each side. You can measure or not. I don’t. I keep it simple. I place the seat on the new fabric, pull on each side to see how much I will need to ensure a nice tight fit and then cut. If you do prefer exact measurements – measure and add 1 inch to each side. Be sure to include the height – measure just under the lip on the bottom,  then up the side and continue across the top to bottom and then again, side to side. In this example, my fabric was on the narrow side, so I didn’t have to cut the left and right sides, I had to work with what was there. It could have been a bit wider, but I made it work. These are going to have a lot of use and I’m sure I’ll be recovering them again in the spring, so I didn’t get all crazy with perfection…I just wanted them to look pretty again, quickly and inexpensively.

Start on one side. Begin in center. Pull fabric taught, press down firmly with staple gun and staple. Continue working outwards from there. Repeat with the opposite side of the seat. Pull firmly against the first row of staples to be sure you’ve gotten rid of any wrinkles or bunches. Again, start stapling at the center and spread outwards. When you encounter curves, fold the fabric, making sure all the bunching occurs under the seat and is not visible from the top. Secure the folds with staples. If you make a mistake, pull out the staples and start over. Experiment with corners – try wrapping it like a present; if it’s to bulky, cut away excess, being careful not to cut away too much.

Once all sides have been stapled, remove/trim excess fabric – I don’t, no one is going to see the underside but me.

Return to chair base and screw back in place.

Joy has been returned to my chairs – simple changes create simple pleasures…

Enjoy change.

8 thoughts on “an old chair becomes new again

  1. It just so happens that I have some beautiful old chairs that are in desperate need of a re-cover. Thank you so much for posting the pics and instructions – wonderful! 😀

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