Projects & Improvements

Real Life Rescues: 10 DIY Ways to Update Your Vintage Seating

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Christina M. Felice)

This is the weekend! Finally take that vintage/free/found/Craigslist chair, sofa or stool and pull out its potential! If you’ve been sitting on a DIY seating project because you just weren’t sure what to do with it, we’ve got 10 real-life examples of taking an old piece of furniture and adding a zing of personality. Perhaps one of these ideas will inspire your own makeover this weekend?

Pictured above: 1. Add bold geometric pattern to your seating and see it completely transformed from a bland, blend-into-the-background piece to something that stands out completely.

(Image credit: Charlotte Smith)

2. Add bold geometric pattern and paint a bright color to the frame for any chairs or seats that need a double punch of wow.

(Image credit: Funkytime)

3. Paint your upholstery you don’t love! Painting fabric sounds crazy, but it sure comes off gorgeous and successful in this project thanks to the materials they use.

(Image credit: Patchwork and Co.)

4. Dye your slipcover for a whole new look. If paint isn’t your thing, trying a dye job to give some seating a makeover might be something you want to try.

(Image credit: Antler Imageworks)

5. A simple solid can be just the way to go. You don’t have to update your seating with a wild color to make it a successful makeover. A simple solid color can be soothing and delightful.

(Image credit: Annalisa Gemmiti )

6. Take off unneeded detail to modernize, like in this chair that was found with a fringe skirt on it. With new fabric and a lack of the fringe, the whole look is updated.

(Image credit: Kathy Cruz)

7. Add more detail like pom-poms! It might not work on a huge scale, but on a cute little piece like this vanity stool, a fun detail like pom-poms makes a huge impact on a piece.

(Image credit: Landon Pelt)

8. Add tufts to any back to add detail, even on slim profiled pieces. Perhaps even especially on particularly thin profiles. It adds instant sophistication.

(Image credit: Cat Sieh)

9. Reupholster in different but complementary fabrics. Who says your whole piece has to be the same textile? Mix it up by mixing two contrasting or complementary patterns, colors or textures on the same piece.

(Image credit: Rachel Baumann)

10. Forget the cushion; repaint and drape. Don’t feel like you’ve got to salvage a bad cushion. You could just repaint the frame and drape something thick like a carpet or sheepskin in its place for a great effect.

How have you updated your vintage seating in your home? Share your ideas in the comments below!