Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reupholstering Your Dining Chairs

Finished Product

Furniture shopping can be overwhelming. One must consider many questions while battling a relentless barrage of helpful, smiling salesfolk. Will the new piece match my existing decor? Is it made of used packaging peanuts and will fall apart next year? Should I get this or 29 new shirts instead? Difficult. When we decided that our current dining set was in need of upgrading, we went to the store where my husband shopped while I raced around 12,000 square feet of toddler hiding heaven. Once he found the one pictured above (scratch and dent, good deal) he asked my approval. I nodded, seeing how it had four good legs and chairs and then raced off after the screams of delight that only a good chase can produce. 

When we got them home I found, much to my dismay that these chairs had FABRIC seats. Nooooooo! Why must the furniture fates conspire against me once again? Our last set had fabric seats and were a magnet for every grape drink and over-ripe strawberry in the county. My new set giving me equal if not more distress? This could not be. 

That's why in times of freak-outage, God in his great wisdom gave us friends. Wonderful Jenn said, "You know what? I bet it would be easy to recover those." With her encouragement and support I decided, yes I would take on this challenge because 20 years of dealing with dining anxiety when there are "real" problems in the world, just isn't worth it. 

I checked out a couple videos on YouTube (the one I linked is a good one. I'm not just linking to YouTube) and if you've never recovered anything before you definitely should watch some too. Here are the basic steps they taught me: 

1. Turn your chair upside down and unscrew the screws holding the chair pad to the chair. This part was easy, willing me to believe that the rest would be too. Ha ha ha so naive. 

2. Cut out your fabric so you've got at least four inches or so on the straight sides and six or so on the curvy ones. (If you have curvy chairs like I do) The chairs on the Tube tutorials were all straight sides so that is my excuse for why mine look a little crappy.

3. Staple one side in the middle of your chair pad and use all your hand strength to pull it taut on the opposite side and staple that side in the middle. Proceed to put one staple in each side.

4. Begin stapling the edges leaving a few inches around the corners. Make sure that you pull the fabric as tight as you can so you'll have a nice smooth surface on the other front side.

5. Once you're done with the sides you've got your malicious corners to deal with. I found this was kind of like wrapping a present. You want to get as many wrinkles out by smoothing the sides and getting them to fold on the bottom side of the pad. Use approximately 93 staples on each corner until every fold is nailed down. 

6. Trim the excess from the pad and flip it over to reveal you're beautiful handiwork. Screw it back into your chair and you're done. It just took a bruised staple hand, a few curses and some time but you did it! Now I can rest assured that all little wobbly hands are welcome at my table.  

I think the biggest thing I learned out of this project is that you can do anything. Really. What looks so hard and impossible can be achieved once you take the time to learn, break it down to easy steps and shove all your negative voices out the door. 

Have fun!

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  1. Maren, these look so awesome!! You've inspired me. Reupholstering has been on my to do list for a long time, but I've been timid to give it a try. Thanks for inspiring me with some confidence!! Great job. I love the fabric you chose!

    1. Thanks so much Nancy! Yes you definitely should I was surprised how easy it was. I'm so glad you like the fabric I was afraid going from black to this floral.

  2. I love these! I am sitting on my chair right now thinking it could use a little Maren magic! Great choice of fabric too!

    1. Ha ha ha I'm coming over Laura! JK you don't want my magic when your skills are way superior.

  3. Maren! You have once again brightened my day with an entertaining/informational/creative post. Love the chairs! Can't wait to see them in person. xo

    1. Thanks so much Kris-T! Yes you are welcome any day or night to come take a sit. Just don't look too closely and see all my mistakes.

  4. I'm just catching up on your blog since google reader decided to be nonexistant I am having a hard time keeping up with blogs. And since Maren's life seems way too far away and unfamiliar for comfort I had to catch up. those chairs look way better than the old plain navy anyway. And yes I am glad you got a new dining set. It looks awesome. Now for a cute centerpiece to tie in the cute bright fabric. Love and miss.


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