Might Be In Over My Head…Maybe?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was reluctantly keeping my husband’s old table and chair set…again very reluctantly. It just seems wrong to have your husband’s ex-wife and his furniture in his and your new place. But since I had to for the time being, I was absolutely not going to leave them the same. Besides the whole ex-wife issue, they were country and yellow and didn’t coordinate with my blue and gray modernized kitchen feel. It was the eyesore, where your eyes just came to a glaring dead stop…and not for a good reason. So I was going to refinish my table and chairs and reupholster the seats – recycling at its best. (Truth be told, now that it’s all done and finished, the set really feels like mine and I don’t mind it being in the house so much anymore.)

So I already went through this whole plan of staining the set only to have that back fire and ditching a complete paint for a stain and paint combo that you can read all about in my TDK – Temporary Dream Kitchen:  Hand Me Down Hoedown Table to Modern Simple Recycled and Refinished Table post. Its drama but worth the extra sweat equity that comes in three digit weather.

The painting of the chairs is pretty much the same process of painting the table legs on the table and the same process I used for painting my kitchen cabinets found in my two kitchen cabinet posts. (TDK: Temporary Dream Kitchen – My Cabinets…Doing the Insane Yourself and TDK: Temporary Dream Kitchen – DIY Dos and Don’ts of Painting Cabinets)

  1. Sand
  2. Wipe off dust
  3. Prime
  4. Two coats of paint
  5. Let cure

One thing I did learn is for these chairs which had a lot of curves, the sponge tip brush technique I used on the table and found in the table post worked really well and I would even recommend it over spraying when you are working on really hot days. It’s almost as good.

Side view of the painted chair

Side view of the painted chair

Front view of the painted chair

Front view of the painted chair

What was fun about the chairs was reupholstering the seats.

Shopping – The Steal

As I shared in my post on my curtains (T.D.K. – Temporary Dream Kitchen: Broken Windows need a Temporary Curtain Solution), I found this awesome steal of deal at TJMaxx! I found these amazing and perfect patterned Tahari Home curtains.  They had this awesome ivory textured weave with a tan/beige non-connected circle link pattern that I thought would give a perfect connection to the beige found in my connected family room. There was enough material left from my curtain projects to reupholster 6 chairs! Total cost for my chairs was only $15 since I only needed one panel to do all six chairs! I’d call that savvy shopping and one heck of a deal!

Curtain fabric used for chair covers

Aren’t they cool! Can’t believe I was able to make 6 chairs for $15 total!

Good-bye Green Gingham, Hello Neutral Texture – The Reupholstering Process

The process itself is pretty easy. Here are the tools I recommend:

  • Pliers
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Scissors – fabric (yes there is a big difference)
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Appropriate sized staples – determine this by the depth of the board your cushion will rest on
  • Staple gun
  • Fabric
Chair Tools


The first thing you will need to do, if you have not already done so, is remove the existing fabric cover seat cushion. This really should be an easy task. All you are doing is unscrewing the connections that hold the cushion in place. Make sure you keep the original screws so you can put the seat back on. After I was done, I noticed I had some loose connections in the chairs themselves, so I tightened them.

Next, I measured for my square of fabric to cover the cushion. You will want to start by first spreading out the fabric. Like my helper? She is actually more of a fabric weight but she does like to help. She brings mommy her toys to distract mommy when mommy is frustrated. She offers to give her opinion by sitting on the cushion and of course “unspreading” mommy’s fabric. Did you catch her in the chair photo…she was supervising. Anyways, once spread out, I put the existing cushion on the fabric and made sure I had at least on inch on each side of the cushion taking into account that I need to fold the fabric over and have one inch all-round the perimeter on the backside (wood side). Once I was sure I had enough fabric to cover the entire cushion, I cut the fabric and set it aside. Old rule of thumb, “measure twice cut once”…you hope.

My Yorkie Helper

Aside from the help of my little Yorkie, spread the fabric flat for measuring the cushion cover.

Measuring Fabric

Make sure there is at least one inch of overlap fabric when extended to the back

Next, was removing the old fabric. This is where the flat head screw driver and pliers come in handy. I had done this before so I knew that staples can get stuck and are just plain hard to pull out. Carefully, I wedged the flathead under the staple and pried it up enough to then take the pliers to remove it fully. In the case of my cushions, the original stapler went way over board…there were probably 50 staples easily per chair. My chair cushions also had a black covering (adding to the amount of staples). If yours does too, I highly recommend keeping it and reusing it. Not only does it save one thing from going to the trash but it also helps your project look more professional and finished.

Removing the Back

Use a flat head and pliers to pry the staples and remove the from the existing cushion.

Existing Cushion Fabric Removed

Existing Cushion Fabric Removed

Cushion and Fabric

Now you are ready to cover your seat cushion with the new fabric

Once the old fabric was removed, I took the fabric I had measured and cut and laid it flat, pattern side down. I then took the cushioned covered seat and laid it cushion side down, wood side up. I elected to reuse the existing cushions since they were surprisingly in good shape. Next, I gently pulled from the back cushion fabric overlay and stretched it and stapled it in the middle to the board. I did the same for the remaining three sides. I kept gently pulling trying to keep the same tension as I did and stapled each side in place. I then wrapped the corners like presents and stapled them in place. In order to keep the tension, this required several staples. Once I was satisfied that the fabric was firmly in place, I laid the black cover back over the seat and stapled it on. Reupholstering was done.

Assembling the Cushion

Make sure you lay the cushion foam side down and wood side up. The fabric should also be laid pattern side down.

Staple the middle of each side first to create stability

Staple the middle of each side first to create stability

Fabric Stapled in place

Fabric Stapled in place

Stapled Corners

It takes a lot of staples to keep the corner down and in place. Fold like a present and this should help.

Black Added Back

Black Added Back

Finished Cushion

Finished Cushion


Putting it all together

Next, came putting it all together. In order to do this, I recommend a partner or being extremely flexible. I opted for the later. In hindsight, a partner might have been easier. I laid the chair on its back. Then I put the seat in place. I wrapped my legs around the base of the chair to hold the cushion in place. I then leaned in and began to screw the cushions back on. I recommend having the screws near you or else you might be performing some very advanced yoga moves. Make sure you apply pressure to the cushion to get a firm connection and help the screws grab. Once finished, flip the chair over and admire your work. I think it came out pretty and modern. What do you think of my finished project? Not bad for recycling chairs, huh?

Chair cushion in place

You can either do some major yoga moves or get someone to help you hold the cushion in place to screw it on.

Chair Connections

Chair Connections


My Recycled, Refinished and Reupholstered Chair

My Recycled, Refinished and Reupholstered Chair


Finished Recycled and Refinished Table

So what do you think? Here is my Finished Recycled and Refinished Table!


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