Before & Afters by the Dozen: 12 Amazing Vintage Chair Makeovers

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)

You walk into a thrift store, flea market, or garage sale, and there it is: a fab vintage chair for a steal. Sure it needs a little work, but it has amazing bones. Have you been there before? I have, many times. If you like a good DIY challenge, scoop up that chair! If you’re not much of a DIYer, maybe it’s best if you just pretend you didn’t see it and walk away, unless you’re prepared to invest a little to have it reupholstered—in which case turn around and grab that chair! The other thing you may be thinking is, “What I am I going to do with just one fab chair?” Here are 12 amazing vintage chair makeovers, as well as lots of great inspiration for how to incorporate one in your space.

There are plenty of ways to update a vintage chair. Some just needs a little elbow grease and paint, while others need an overhaul. Reupholstering is always a great option that’s sure to give you a dramatic result. However, most of the time it’s neither inexpensive nor approachable for the DIY beginner, so you have to really love the piece and be prepared to invest some money and/or serious time.

Here’s a bold update to a classic by Emily Henderson.

(Image credit: The Sweet Escape)

This Mid-century modern classic just needed a really simple reupholstery update that even a beginner could handle. You’ll never believe where the fabric came from—it’s a double makeover. Check it out on The Sweet Escape.

Fresh paint and an updated pattern did wonders for this chair; the tutorial is on A Beautiful Mess.

(Image credit: Olive & Joy)

This makeover by Olive & Joy is so chic and modern.

You can stop hiding your extra folding chair in the closet when it looks as great as this one by Design for Mankind.

(Image credit: Home Made Modern)

Here’s another simple paint job and reupholstered seat, this time by Home Made Modern.

(Image credit: Dans le Lakehouse)

Dans le Lakehouse made over this fabulous Scandi piece.

A simple and inexpensive vinyl bar stool gets a fresh pattern update by A Beautiful Mess.

(Image credit: Mocking Bird Interiors)

A snooze of a chair gets a really fresh and colorful makeover by Mocking Bird Interiors.

One color is okay, but a colorful pattern is better. There’s so much great detail in this chair makeover by Wild Chairy.

(Image credit: Dream a Little Bigger)

From green to gold and fab—what a great makeover by Dream a Little Bigger.

(Image credit: Dream a Little Bigger)

A little paint makes for a stand-out accent chair, once again by Dream a Little Bigger.

Now that you’re inspired by all those makeovers, you’re thinking, “What would I do with just one amazing chair?” Here’s some inspiration for how you can work a single fab accent chair into your space…


1. Create a cozy corner nook like this stylish space from Inside Out via Rebecca Judd Loves.
2. Stick it on the end of your dining table, as spotted in Adore Home.
3. Make a vintage modern dining mix like this one from Style Me Pretty.
4. Create a corner reading spot like Dos Family did.
5. Make a reading space in your bedroom, as in this home by Kate Maloney Interior Design via Decoist.


6. Provide a place to sit for putting shoes on in the front hall, as spotted on Design Sponge.
7. Make a statement at your desk or makeup table, like in this home designed by Vella Interiors via Decor Pad.
8. Use a chair as a simple hallway accessory, as seen in Domaine.
9. Repurpose a chair as a nightstand, as spotted on My Scandinavian Home.
10. Include two vintage lovelies and create both a cozy corner and a simple nightstand like in this bedroom on Home Polish.