DIY Thrift Store Chair Makeover

Hi guys! A few weeks ago I was at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and found this lonely little chair. I thought it had a good design and it was sturdy, better yet, it was a whopping three dollars. Custom chairs can cost a ton of money if you buy them at a boutique or a furniture shop. Part of the high cost is that there is a lot of time that goes into it. However it is really pretty darn easy, and if you have an afternoon or so to spare, you can create your own custom fabulous chair for a fraction of the cost!

Here’s What You Need:

*Thrift Store Chair

*Batting or Foam if needed

*Piece of Fabric (I used a remnant of a tablecloth that I had in my stash)

*Furniture Applique if you want to add a little detail

*Paint ( You can usually make do with one of the sample sized jars at the hardware store, mine was a sample of Pantone Emerald)

*Staple gun and staples (Heavy Duty)

*Screw Driver, Scissors, Glue,




The first thing you need to do is remove the seat from your chair. It is usually screwed on from the bottom and you can remove it from underneath with a screwdriver. Set aside the hardware in a safe place and set aside the seat. You can rough up your chair and prime it if you wish. I wanted to give my chair a finish like chalk paint, so I made a paste of a few tablespoons of plaster of paris and water and added it to my paint. Then I started painting. Paint your entire chair. It should take two to three coats of paint. If you are using a furniture applique you can glue it on before you paint, or you can paint it and then glue it on later. Once your paint is drying you can work on recovering the seat. First remove the covering by removing the staples from the bottom and pulling the cover off. My seat was covered twice before, so the original layer of vinyl I could not remove because I did not have a good way to remove the little tacks that were in it. Cut your fabric and two pieces of batting to be bigger than your seat. You will need a border of extra fabric that is about 4 inches wider than the seat all the way around. So if my seat is 18″ wide, I need to cut my fabric and batting to be 26″. Lay your fabric face down and lay the batting on top. Now, lay the seat top side down into the batting and make sure it is centered. Wrap the fabric over the bottom edge on one side and start stapling down every couple of inches. Once you have the first side down, move to the opposite side. Pull and smooth the fabric snugly and staple down every few inches, keeping it smooth and stretched. Now move to the back and staple down, when you get to the corners, fold over the excess from the side and tuck it at an angle towards the middle, then pull the excess from the top over and staple down a few times. Now you need to staple down the front. At the front corners cut out some of the batting so it is not so thick. Pull the side and front tight around the corners and staple down. Then, pull and staple down the rest of the front piece of fabric. Now, trim your fabric down closer to the stapled edge and clean it up so nothing hangs down. And then your seat is ready. There is probably a better or more professional way to cover a chair seat, but this is my way. It’s fast and easy for me. Once your chair has dried you can wax it if you have added a chalk paint finish and then buff off the wax, or you can add a protective finish like a lacquer. To finish off your chair screw the seat back in place with the screws you removed earlier. Enjoy!

I LOVE repurposing chairs! I have done a couple but this one is my favorite! I think the tablecloth fabric is really awesome! You know me, I absolutely adore my tablecloth fabrics! It adds a lot of extra cheer to my mom’s sunroom! The dogs and cats all had to have a turn in it the first day I brought it in. Beau always gets this scared look on his face when I try to get him to look at the camera. Lucky for me, Lily was more accommodating. This project cost me less than twenty dollars to make, in fact, the applique cost more than the entire chair. This is such a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon! You can totally customize your chair to your style and taste by the style of the frame, the paint color, and the fabric choice. I can’t wait to see what you guys create! I’ll be back Thursday with a fun and simple diy. Until then…

Happy Crafting!

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2 Responses

  1. Laura Strack

    I love your chair. It is darling! But I have to say, your models steal the show :)