From Start to Finish: Accent Chair Makeover in a Weekend

The Art of Furniture Restoration

This chair was headed for the dumpster, when a good friend called me and told me to come check it out. The seat was broken and the fabric was questionable, in both style and cleanliness, but there was certainly potential for a great chair. I knew that this would be a fun and easy weekend project to work on.

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What you'll need:

  • 1 yard of fabric
  • 1 yard of muslin
  • 1 piece of 1 inch foam cut to size
  • Stapler
  • 1 quart paint
  • Primer
  • Water based polycrylic
  • Paint brush
  • 120 grit sandpaper

The first thing I did was remove the seat from the frame of the chair. I would have to replace the seat, but I kept the original around for measuring purposes. I had some 1 inch MDF board lying around so I used that for the new seat, but plywood or most woods would do. (Remember - be resourceful and make things easy on yourself by using materials that you already have). After tracing the dimensions of the old seat on the MDF board, I cut it using an inexpensive electric jigsaw.
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Because I wanted to paint the body, my first steps included quickly sanding the frame with 120 grit sandpaper and applying a light coat of a water-based primer. I had some hi-gloss white and light grey latex paint in my basement, so I mixed the two together to create a lovely bone white. After applying 3 coats of the mixed paint on the chair, I applied a coat of a hi gloss polycrylic for extra shine and protection. If you want your piece to be really glossy, choose to brush the polycrylic on rather than using a spray can.

Time to work on the seat. I knew I wanted a bright patterned fabric, so I went with Swanky Swell's Mum Mustard cotton fabric. I bought a yard, which was more than enough. I'll use the scraps later on to make a cool lamp shade (to be seen in future post!) I cut a piece of 1-inch foam to the size of the seat and stapled its edges to the board. I wrapped and stapled one piece of muslin over that, and finally wrapped and stapled the Mum Mustard fabric. Make sure to fold your fabric appropriately to your seat to avoid awkward wrinkles.

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Bolt the seat back into the chair's frame. Now sit, relax, and enjoy a weekend-restored accent chair.

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