Wednesday, June 25, 2014

DIY "Upholstered" Sitting Chair

I've had to put "DIYing" on hold for the most part over the last 2 months in favor of organizing and packing and unpacking, and I've really missed it so much. I get such a boost of creative energy from getting out the spray paint or a hammer and nails, and now that we're getting settled I'm finding time to take on some projects I've been keeping in the back of my mind.

I got this chair a few years ago (from TJ Maxx) because I loved the shape and style and thought it was so sweet and ladylike. It's an ideal little sitting chair for a bedroom which is where I had it before, but in our new house I think it's made for this spot in our entryway. We'll be able to sit here to put shoes on and it fills this little wall space to a tee. Here's how it looked before.

I never really loved the speckled grey finish of the metal frame or the bland fabric covering the seat and have wanted to change it from the beginning. It was a great day when I discovered the top could easily come unscrewed. All I'd have to do to update its look was spray paint the frame and "upholster" the seat with a prettier fabric.

I chose a rich black/charcoal velvet from a local upholstery shop that has an amazing remnant section. This was an expensive fabric that was deeply discounted and I still have some left over for a pillow or two! I love how the color changes in different lighting--sometimes it's a true black, other times grey, sometimes it even looks navy or forest green.

Covering it was so simple--I'm not sure "upholstered" is even the right word because it wasn't at all fancy or difficult like the word implies. I used a staple gun and worked back and forth on opposite sides to make sure the material stayed taut and even. This was a great first "upholstery" project because all of the messy staples and cut fabric are completely hidden underneath.

Once I had the fabric I decided on a glossy black for the frame. It's funny because my natural inclinations are usually to go white or at least lighter, but I'm so glad I tried something new and went dark and dramatic. I was trying to channel this incredible lady who is never afraid of mod, glossy paint and deep, highly pigmented colors, and whose DIY work is always spot on.

You can see that the seat isn't as perfectly covered as it was before, but I've learned to embrace that quality in DIY projects. Of course it won't look factory-perfect! I'm not a factory! A touch of a homemade element is completely ok with me, as long as it's a subtle thing and not an actual mistake. It's like leaving your own little signature, a reminder of your hand in the piece.

Anyway, it's been awhile since I've done a DIY post so I hope you enjoy reading about this project as much as I enjoyed doing it! What do you think? An improvement on the original?


  1. This gives me hope, that one can reupholster something right at home. And I love your baseboards and trim!

  2. love the chair's front legs - it looks like it's about to spring up into action!

  3. Such a cool description! They do look like that now that you mention it.


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