Transform a chair
Give old furniture a fresh look with new paint and fabric
Turn a drab thrift-store chair into a stylish accent for any room in your home. All it takes is some paint, fabric, basic supplies, and a free weekend. To start, choose a chair with no missing screws or loose legs; it should have interesting features or frame detail.
For a slightly more ambitious project, turn two or more chairs into an eclectic set. Look for designs that have a wooden frame and an upholstered seat and unify them with the same color and fabric.
Materials and directions
- Sanding sponge
- Tack cloth or rag
- Small paint roller
- 2-in. paintbrush
- Chalk or pencil
- Staple gun
Step 1: Unscrew the seat from your chair frame with a screwdriver. Set seat and screws aside.
Step 2: Sand the frame. Use tack cloth or a damp rag to wipe up the dust.
Step 3: Use a small paint roller to cover frame with primer, then follow with the 2-in. paintbrush to fill in joints. Let dry at least two hours, then apply a second coat of primer. Once dry, sand and tack again to create a smooth finish before painting. Clean roller and paintbrush.
Step 4: Apply a base coat of paint with the clean roller. Smooth all surfaces with the paintbrush using long, straight strokes in one direction. Apply a second coat after the first is dry (don’t sand between coats).
Step 5: While the frame dries, re-cover the seat. Pull off the old covering or apply the new fabric over it. Measure and cut a piece of fabric about 2 inches wider than the seat on all sides, first tracing an outline with chalk or a pencil. If the fabric pattern includes stripes, make sure they align with the seat shape.
Step 6: Wrap the fabric over a seat edge and secure with a staple. On the opposite edge, pull fabric taut and staple to secure. Repeat on remaining two sides, then staple all around the edges, pulling cloth tight. Stop 2 inches from corners.
Step 7: Fold the fabric at one corner into a neat finish by tucking the excess underneath and smoothing the top down. Secure with three or four staples, keeping the folds flat and even; avoid stapling over the screw holes. Repeat for each corner. Once the frame is dry, reattach seat with screws.