So a few months ago I found this chair on the street, it was pretty dusty and a bit battered but I knew the shape had potential, I just had to decide how I was going to do it up! My first thought was to decoupage the wood and then cover the seat part in a plain fabric but I decided to try something else as I have decorated a chair that way before – I will post about that soon!
I decided on a bright teal/turquoise colour and then a bold black and white patterned seat cover in the end. This is how I went about updating this tired looking chair I got for free!
My first step was to remove the seat part and sand, then prime the wood. I did two coats of primer and then left it for 2 days so the primer would harden. The primer I used really needed two coats as it did not cover very well but other brands may be different.
Next I painted the chair. Once again I have gone for tester pots of emulsion simply to keep the cost down, I bought two pots costing just over £1 each and actually only used one pot despite doing three coats of paint! In one of my previous posts you will see that I decorated a chest of drawers using emulsion paint and I have so far found it has held up really well to any wear and tear. Although I am sure that proper furniture paint would be a better idea I have found that with a base primer layer and then a covering with something like a clear lacquer over the top emulsion is fine on furniture.
The trickiest part of the painting process was managing to cover each surface of the chair without leave drip marks or ridges of paint on the other side. Doing three light coats worked best for me and I was very careful to go over each area and check for drips.
Once I was happy with the paint coverage I left the chair to dry for a day before giving it a coat of this multi-surface enamel spray paint in clear lacquer. I would have liked to give it a few coats but I ran out of spray! I will make sure to get some more soon and give it a few more coats as chairs get a lot of wear and tear and it will need protecting.
The next stage was to tackle the seat of the chair. I was really worried that the foam underneath the horrible fake leather would be old and disgusting but it turned out to be in ok condition, meaning I did not have to replace it. Taking out the staples which held the fake leather to the wooden seat turned out to be one of the hardest parts of this project!
Next I cut my fabric to size. The fabric I chose was a black and white patterned upholstery fabric from a local fabric store, I wanted something hard wearing as it will be sat on so that ruled out an awful lot of the more beautiful fabrics I looked at. Although this fabric was not one of my first choices it actually ended up working really well with the colour of the chair and it was cheap at under £5 a metre.
After cutting a piece of fabric slightly larger than my padded seat I enlisted some help to wrap the fabric tightly round the seat and begin stapling. At this point I would love to say that it was simple and all went well but I’m afraid I can’t. The staple gun I had borrowed from my Dad (having a dad who is a carpenter often comes in handy) used staples that were too long a poked through the other side of the seat.
After trying a few different techniques to fix the fabric onto the seat we essentially gave up and decided to temporarily wrap the fabric round the seat and keep it held in place by fixing the seat onto the chair frame and securing it with the wooden locks on the underside. As soon as I find some shorter staples for the staple gun I will be able to properly finish the project. Here are some images of the finished/not finished piece!
I am so happy with the way this chair has turned out, it looks fresh, bright and interesting and is a huge improvement from the unloved state it was in before. My favourite thing about this project has been that I found the chair on the street, taking something unwanted and making it beautiful on a very low budget makes me very happy!