How-To: Update a Chair
The dining room chairs, battered relics from an old restaurant, got a facelift with new paint, seat bases, and fabric. Here's how the homeowner pulled it off.
For chair frames:
1. Using pliers and a hammer, carefully remove nails and all seat material.
2. Lightly sand the surface of the chair and wipe clean.
3. Apply primer; let dry. Apply at least two coats of durable semigloss or furniture-grade paint (available at specialty paint retailers); let dry between coats.
For cushioned seats:
If your seats have sturdy bases that simply need to be reupholstered, you can skip Step 2.
1. On thick cardboard, measure, mark, and cut a template for seat bases to fit the chairs. Check all chairs against the template to note any slight differences in shape.
2. Use the template as a guide to cut plywood into seat bases.
3. Use the template as a guide to cut foam padding (1 to 3 inches thick, depending on preference) for each base.
4. Layer a foam cutout on top of each plywood cutout, aligning edges.
5. Cut a piece of batting for each seat, with enough extra on each side to attach batting to the underside of the seat base.
6. Wrap the top and sides of each seat with one piece of batting; turn upside down.
7. Using a staple gun, secure the batting to the underside of the plywood bases, pulling as you go to create a smooth surface. Trim any batting that hangs low enough to be visible when the seat is placed on the chair.
8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 with your chosen fabric.
9. Secure one seat to each chair with corner braces or screws.