5 DIY Chair Makeovers That You Need to See

One person's trash is our treasure: Paint, fabric, wax, and cord fashion forlorn chairs into design-smart seats.

Before: Ready to Rehab

Old wood chairs are perfect fodder for easy DIY rehab. Simply repair any cracks or holes with wood filler and sand smooth. 

After: Stripe It Happy

Crisp lines and bold color contrast give this chair style that takes center stage. This project relies on chalk-finish paint with a wax finish for an enviable sheen, as well as an extra layer of protection. Apply the chalk-finish paint thoroughly and you might be able to skip a second coat, but don't omit the wax curing time: It's essential to allow paint to fuse with the wax, which helps repel unwanted stains.

Before: A Sturdy Backbone

This small but elegant side chair just begs for a refresh; its lines offer good bones, but the finish and fabric present a tired facade. It's perfect for a reupholster DIY!

After: Fresh Fabric

With a rich coat of navy paint and a new patterned cushion and back, this reupholstered chair becomes a room's focal point. Here's the secret to reupholstering: It only looks hard. After you master these insider hacks (pull the fabric tight and staple, staple, staple!), you'll find yourself updating all sorts of worn-out furniture using only a few supplies. Remove the original fabric carefully so you can use it as a pattern for the new covering.

Before: Office Space

This old chair needs some serious work before it leaves the office, but rich velvet and a metallic finish will have it ready in no time.

After: Compare and Contrast

Juxtapose colors and materials to infuse your chair rehab with a more up-to-date, personalized look. Here, plush, richly hued velvet contrasts a metallic finish on the chair's base and arm pieces. To paint metal, disassemble as many of the chair parts as possible and thoroughly clean with a degreaser. After you paint enough coats to achieve a color to your liking, seal the surface with a clear coat, which will cut down on annoying fingerprints.

Before: Tired to Trend

Is your neutral furniture making your home sleepy rather than stylish? Ditch the gray cushion for a trend that is crazy cool without sacrificing comfort. 

After: Warp Speed

A harder-than-it-looks pattern gives a retro-modern feel to this recast side chair. Macrame cord—a favorite of '70s-era plant hangers—offers the just-right give for a comfy-yet-sturdy seat and back. After you remove the cushions, use the chair's arms, side, and back pieces as foundational elements for weaving. The key to this DIY is to learn the repetition—down, over, and around an oversize crochet hook. Once you have that, you'll make quick progress on both the vertical pieces and the horizontal cords. The colors here create a fun motif, but pick a combo that suits your decor.

Before: Dark and Dreary

Reupholstery is a classic flourish that gives furniture a straight-from-the-store look. See how it transformed this tired chair. 

After: Weekend Update

Once you master reupholstery, add to your DIY furniture repertoire a great finishing element: homemade piping. In this project, a graphic pattern offers just enough visual zest to contrast with the restrained lines of this side chair. The cording that edges the cushion seat and back is simply sandwiched and sewn between a 2-inch-wide strip of fabric; the fabric edge is then tucked below the cushions and stapled or glued into place.

More Furniture Tips and Tricks

Refresh a wood chair with spray paint. Here'€™s how to complete this easy decorating project that will give old furniture new life.


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