My search for a perfectly girly chair for Piper Jane’s nursery was long and tenuous. In fact, while I patiently waited for the right chair, I temporarily repurposed one of our living room chairs to Piper Jane’s room.
However, when I laid eyed on this gem at Mile High Thrift (my favorite thrift store in Denver), it was love at first site. Ok, well, actually, more of love-of-possibility! Even though the chair was a little beat up, and the green velvet was hideous, and the seat was super uncomfortable due to some crazy springs and a worn cushion, I could envision it redone in aqua linen and was smitten.
But the first time I saw it, it was still $40. So the answer was nope. Imagine my delight when I went back a few weeks later and The Chair was still there- but marked down to $15! And then my even greater delight when I checked my go-to for linen on etsy and Nicole was having a sale- the turquoise linen was $3/yard (it’s $4/yard now- still a STEAL). Me and this little chair were meant to be!
Isn’t she pretty all fixed up? Piper Jane thinks so, that’s for sure.
Now, before we start this little how-to, I should tell you that this is the first time I’ve tried anything like this. I am not an expert, by any stretch, and most likely will not be able to answer any questions you have about a different chair. And I don’t want to lead y’all astray (if you know how to reupholster and you’d like to chime in, please do!). But I am going to answer the email/comment call for a how-to. Just consider yourself warned.
To give your chair a makeover, first check to see if the frame is solid. If the wood is coming apart, wood glue and clamp together.
Then, take off all of the trim.
Remove stapled seams to get upholstery edges free. We did the chair backing first and then moved to the seat and then the back. Use a screwdriver and a razor blade for leverage. The stuffing started coming out as this point. Take pictures as you go, so you remember what goes where.
If you have button tufting, remove the buttons and set aside. Remove all staples and excess scrap fabric that is hanging onto the frame.
Roughed up with medium grate sand paper. Prime the wood with primer and let dry for a day. Paint the wood. It took us two coats plus touch ups.
To make the upholstery pieces, seam rip apart all sewn edges, taking care to note which pieces went together (I marked them with a fabric pen). Trace all of the individual pieces onto the fabric you’ve chosen, leaving a wide margin (at least an inch… it was even helpful to us to have a few extra inches of margin in the seat).
Cut out all of the pieces and sew together to match the originals that were your template.
Once everything is cut out and sewn together (and the paint is dry), begin to attach your pieces to the chair. Test fit first to make sure you have plenty of fabric. Start with the seat. Replace the foam if needed (we needed!) and cover with your seat piece (made by tracing the old piece like a stencil and leaving tons of room around the edges). Make the front edge clean and then tuck in the back edges. If you can reach them through the open back, staple the back edges down.
Then, if you have buttons, mark your button holes according to the backing piece you removed. Cover the buttons with your fabric. Poke through your marked template holes and pull through the back of the chair.
Begin stapling the upholstery to the chair. Start in the middle at the top (that was easiest for us at least), working your way down on each side. Also, use lots of staples (LOTS of staples). Pull taut as you go, matching the edge where the trim will be as closely as possible.
Repeat with the fabric on the back of the chair, again starting in the top of the middle and working your way down, pulling taut as you go and using tons of staples.
Once everything is stapled in place, begin hot gluing the trim in place over the rough edge. This is the place where you can make the frayed, stapled, kind of crazy edges look clean and nice again.
Repeat with the chair backing, trimming out all of the edges until the whole thing is clean and ‘finished’ looking.
Add modern pillows (monogram “B” pillow tutorial here, Land of Nod knock off pillow tutorial to come!) for a little extra sass, and add to the girly goodness in a nursery near you!