DIY · Life · style

DIY: Repurposing Chairs/Upholstery Adventure + Bonus DIY!

Hi everyone! I’ve been MIA for a hot second, but thats because I have been working on a lot of projects for my new apartment! I have been doing a lot to make my new apartment my own and to make it feel like home, and just seeing the final product of these chairs has inspired me to continue. This project was my favorite one, and I have been so excited to show it to you! I am gonna show you lots of before/after shots and tell you exactly how I achieved the perfect style for my taste!

Let’s start with the origin of these chairs. My grandpa has been in a nursing home for over a year now due to a stroke. Unfortunately, we do not think that he will ever be able to return home and live on his own, so we have been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing of his house. My grandpa was what some may call a hoarder, but I’d like to refer to him as a collector. It just sounds better and is more mysterious. He has just about anything anyone could ever want, including tires, engines, old cars, tools, nick nacks, cooking appliances, lawn care appliances; seriously, you name it, he has it. SO, we go over there to do some minor cleaning and my dad sees these chairs. Turns out, there are 6 chairs to the set and they are basically hidden sporadically throughout the house. After we find all of them, I was convinced that they needed to be saved. We could only find 5 of the chairs, and one was completely snapped in half, but I figured I could make something out of it. These chairs are probably somewhere around 60-70 years old, if not older. They belonged to my great grandma and were just passed down.

Now, onto the process. These chairs were in bad shape. The varnish was just naturally coming off of them, some of the rungs were broken, and they were just really dirty. Everything about them was just…old. Here is an example of the state these were in.

As you can tell, I didn’t have much to work with here. I starter with covering the seats since I wanted to upholster them, and I thought it would be fairly easy. I went to JoAnn Fabrics and got 5 seat cushions, or foam squares, and picked out a pattern that met my fancy. I picked this multi-colored, mandala-ish pattern because I liked the colors and I thought it would give the apartment some pizzazz. This is the pattern I chose.

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To upholster the seats, I took the seats off of the chairs, which basically consisted of using a screwdriver and unscrewing the screws from the back/bottom of the chairs. I then had 4 chair seats, and one seat that would become a bench. Lucky for me, my foam squares matched almost perfect to the actual shape of the seat. I ended up cutting off some foam on the sides but then adding it to the top since my seat was a bit longer vertically and it was narrower at the back of the seat than the front. I then covered the foam and the seat with my fabric. (I got 2 yards of fabric, and I just cut it myself into squares by just putting the seat + foam on the fabric and drawing in marker where I wanted to cut it, leaving room for the fabric to cover the top completely and enough room to staple the fabric underneath the seat). I left about 3-4 inches of fabric on each side so I had enough fabric to be stapled onto the bottom of the seat. Now, this was my first time ever upholstering anything, so it was a learning experience for me. I looked a bit into it on Pinterest, but other than that I was going in blind. I stapled, with a staple gun, the sides of the chair first, then front and back. I saved the corners for last. When doing the corners, I found that it was easiest to slightly twist them so that you can pull from both sides of the fabric, and finally I stapled that corners down. I finished 5 seats in a matter of an hour. I was pleasantly surprised by how little effort was needed to do this. This was my final product for the seats.

Next up, I had to make the decision of what color to paint the chairs and how I was going to do it. I decided that I wanted to use minimal effort and high efficiency when painting these chairs. I am not a woman with patience, so spray painting the chairs was the best option for me. I went to Menards and picked out 2 colors because I am indecisive and impulsive. My gut told me that navy blue and grey would look good together, so thats what I bought. I bought Rustoleum spray-paint with primer included, because if you can kill two birds with one stone, why not? I’m all about saving time because again, I am impatient and I desire immediate results. I sanded down and washed off the chairs, and then began the painting! I ended up using 1 can each for all of the chairs. It took me about 2 hours to paint all of the chairs. I did 2 coats each since I missed some spots the first time around. Here are the results of the painting.

Aaaaaaand the final result of all of the chairs painted (don’t mind the messy garage; my dad has some spring cleaning to do!).

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I let these sit about 2 days just to make sure they were dry. Today, my dad and I screwed the seats back on to the chairs, and they turned out better than I ever imagined. I feel like these chairs now have a second chance at life!

And viola! The final product!

***BONUS DIY: How To Make A Stool Out Of A Broken Chair***

Earlier in this post I said that there were actually 6 chairs; one was lost in the house somewhere and the other was snapped in half. Well, I couldn’t just leave the snapped one there. I was originally just going to use the broken one for practice; the seat was fine and the legs were fine, the back had just been broken off.

As you can see, it was a pretty gnarly break right off of the back of the chair. Halfway through my project with the chairs I decided to give this little broken chair a second chance too, so I made it into a stool! I proceeded with the same process as all of the other chairs, I upholstered the seat, and cleaned the chair. But obviously, I didn’t want a stool with wood sticking out to poke someone! So my dad and I sawed the broken part off and made the frame completely even all the way around. We then sanded it and cleaned it off so it was ready to paint. Finally we screwed the seat on and viola, an adorable stool!

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I hope you guys liked this DIY because I was super excited to show you how to do it! More DIY’s coming soon!

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