Chair Makeover Inspiration or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love DIY

Chair Makeover Inspiration or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love DIY

Carrie McBride
Nov 8, 2010

We probably all have furniture in our home that looks a little shabbier than we'd like. But there's a tipping point between shabby and just kind of...gross. Do you remember that scene in Coming to America when Daryyl and his family leave head-shaped Jheri Curl stains on the sofa? I thought of it every time I looked at my once pristine chair.

The chair is Ikea's Boliden and is similar to the Poang with a tapered top. I bought it to replace a leather chair our cats had ruined and, foolishly, chose the creamy white instead of the dark chocolate brown fabric. A toddler, a hot summer and a pair of cheaply-dyed jeans later it was looking not just sad, but downright embarrassing.

I had tried washing it over the summer which only seemed to make the stains worse. I threw a small blanket over it when company came, but that wasn't a viable long-term solution. And darn it, Bemz didn't make slipcovers for it (though they do now offer covers for the Poang). I'm not a total stranger to DIY projects, but am terrified by upholstery. And this wasn't even upholstery - slipcovers are the easy-going, accessible second cousin once removed to upholstery. But, still, I was intimidated. I had flashbacks to assembling the chair with my sister the first time. We both wanted to tear our hair out. Did I really want to disassemble and reassemble it again? But there comes a point when you just can't make it any worse so you may as well dive in and hope for the best.

Especially if you have a partner in crime. In this case, my less intimidated sister who did the bulk of the work while I did the bulk of the cheerleading. In the end, it isn't perfect, but it's SO much better.

My tips for timid DIY'ers:

1. Work with a partner and goad each other on.
2. Have more materials on hand than you'll need. This takes the pressure off getting it exactly right the first time. It's nice when that happens, but it's good to know you have extra fabric, paint, etc. to fall back on when it doesn't.
3. Strive for perfection and settle for less than perfection. If you absolutely hate things not done right, then hire someone who knows what she's doing. Otherwise, accept small imperfections and don't let them stop you from enjoying your end project. In time your eye will gloss over the little mistakes.

We have a lot of terrific chair makeovers in our archives to inspire you starting with these below:

Nursery Tour: Ezra's Charming Space: If you find an inexpensive chair you may as well splurge on the fabric and that's what this mom did with Japanese import Echino fabric leaving her with a totally unique piece.

Makeover: Dutailier Glider: The ubiquitous Dutalier glider gets jazzed up here with some inexpensive Ikea fabric. The glider itself was a consignment shop buy so all in all a budget chair.

Creative Little Daisy's Glider Makeover: This glider purchased on Craigslist looked to be in good condition, but also kind of ho-hum and boring. Recovering the cushions in two complimentary fabrics gives it a lot of life.

Levi's Woodsy Wonderful Room: The striped fabric used to cover these glider cushions lend a bit of masculinity to Levi's room. They also look very easy to remove and wash.

Glider Makeover: Another glider covered with inexpensive Marimekko (or Marimekko inspired, we're not sure) fabric from Ikea.

Olivia's Re-Decorated Room : Recovering glider cushions is not just a good idea for old gliders, but it can help you tie a room together with your fabric choices like this color Free Spirit fabric.

Glider Makeover: It's hard to tell there's even a glider under this large slipcover!

How To: IKEA Poang Chair Re-covered: This is actually a kids' Ikea Poang chair (a perfect candidate for a cover if your kids are messy) recovered by Caroline of JCaroline Creative. She wrote a tutorial for how to do it which you could more or less follow for a full-sized Poang. (Don't have the time? She also sells slipcovers for Poang chairs!)

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