About a year ago, I found an ugly, waterlogged chair on the side of the road. It was pouring down rain, and the chair was gross. But, I loved the structure of it, so I took it home with me, determined to refinish it. Finally, a year later, it is done! And I am so happy with it!
The deconstruction of the chair took me nearly as long as putting it back together. After letting it dry out, I tore off all the fabric. Under that was layers of old batting and a sort of nylon/plastic netting. I’m sure it has a formal name, but I don’t know what it is. Then came the staples. Hundreds and hundreds of staples to pull out. I didn’t get all of them, but I pulled out as many as I could.
Once the chair was completely stripped down, I began sanding. There was a bit of wood stain remaining on the wood, but it was pretty scuffed up. I used an electric sander for the flatter areas, and hand-sanded the detailed areas. This took a lot of time and patience, but as nearly everyone who has submitted something to DesignSponge (one of my fave sites!) will tell you, sanding well is worth it.
Additionally, the four posts of the chair had wooden discs at the top, but a couple of them were broken, so I sawed them off. I didn’t know what I’d do with the posts in their place, but knew I couldn’t keep the broken parts.
Once the chair was sanded clean, I stained it with a dark walnut stain, and a coat of polyurethane to seal it. I wanted to make sure the wood of the chair was completely finished before I began the upholstery.
I found a local upholstery class and spent two days reupholstering the main part of the chair – the seat and the sides. Honestly, it wasn’t too difficult, but the class was invaluable to getting the base right. After the class at home, I glued all the cord and sewed the two seat cushions. The hardest part of the cushions was trying to match up the fabric. Since the chair has a fabric base, I tried to line up the cushion fabric with the fabric on the base of the chair. Not easy!
Finally, after trying out a number of different knobs, I found wooden doll heads and toy wheels. Once they were stained and stacked, they turned out to be perfect for the four chair posts. I drilled holes into the posts, used a dowel and glue to attach the tops of the post, and voila! Love it!
And now, my chair is done! It’s so nice to have a little reading spot in my bedroom. It’s such a cute, chunky little chair – and a perfect fit for my cute, chunky little cat, too!
If you have a chair or other piece to re-finish, don’t be afraid! Find a local upholstery class and dig in! With a little love and a lot of patience, you will have a piece of furniture you can be so proud of!
*to see more pictures of the chair refinishing process, check out the official Modern Homemaker Facebook Page.