before & after: betsy’s chair + caroline’s bench


this next chair project comes from d*s reader betsy o’gara. betsy found this chair at a garage sale for $6.50 and grabbed a can of discounted (mis-tint) paint from lowes for only $1.00. she re-used a burlap bag (from rice at costco) to create the new seat and loves the way the girly pink paint contrasts the more rustic look of the burlap bag. thanks for sharing, betsy!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]


CLICK HERE for caroline’s bench makeover after the jump!


d*s reader caroline recently left her full time graphics job to work on restoring furniture. her first big project was this bench project, which actually started as a coffee table. while visiting her local salvation army in baltimore, caroline found this table for a steal and decided to bring it home and make it a bench so she would have a place to sit while putting on her shoes. i love the upholstery she chose- it reminds me of a rug (which would actually make for great upholstery) but is actually a regular upholstery textile. great work, caroline!

  1. Jordan says:

    Love these two before & afters! The chair is adorable and the upholstery on the bench looks great. So creative!

  2. PDisco says:

    I think the chair BEFORE was beautiful and had so much potential. I truly hate the AFTER. I just feel like the pink is awful and isn’t cohesive with the rice bag at all. (maybe if the chair was a bright red that popped instead of the pepto pink). Not sure, but a light sanding and a new stain job would have really brought this beauty back to life for sure. kudos to Betsy for trying something different though…

  3. Laura says:

    You NEED to share the source of that bench fabric!

  4. imdb says:

    Maybe the lighting is poor. Does the fabric match the paint? (Of course, when I’m perfect, I’ll post my own projects)

  5. Jen says:

    I think the pink chair looks just fabulous in the room it is in with the grey walls and blue stand next to it, it pops really well and I think it’s really fun!

  6. Gina A. says:

    LOVE the idea of the burlap rice bag!!

  7. stylefyles says:

    I love the chair upgrade. The pink and burlap are both so unexpected, and what was amazing about the chair to begin with (the fabulous structure) continues to be highlighted.

  8. both turned out lovely.

  9. wow …would have never though PINK …because it would have looked great rustic and with just the textile change …BUT I LOVE IT!

  10. sarah h says:

    wow, fantastic! never thought i would enjoy a pink + burlap combo, but this rocks.

  11. patrick c says:

    like it better before.

  12. Tess says:

    Love the chair- it reminds me of that great Diana Vreeland quote, “Shocking pink is the navy blue of India”.

  13. Evie says:

    I love the chair, I think the pink contrasts nicely with the blue and the red is so minimal that it doesn’t feel too clash-y to me. The burlap sack was a genius move!

  14. CS says:

    :( Another DIY gone wrong.

  15. Tonja says:

    Love Betsy’s chair! Right up my alley!

  16. Kristy says:

    At first I thought the bubblegum pink and rustic rice bag combo was so jarring but it’s really growing on me. It’s so unexpected and makes the perfect statement piece in an otherwise mellow atmosphere.

  17. Emme says:

    I swear, the Before and After section of this website is my absolute favorite! Everyone does such creative things to make old junk look awesome! I’m totally jealous.

    Also, I hate pink… But I want that chair. Reeeaaaallly want that chair… I’m reconsidering my anti-pink prejudice! Thanks a lot, Design Sponge, what am I supposed to stand for now? ;)

  18. Kelly says:

    Wow, if you had described that chair to me I would have said “yuck”, but I quite like it! And I am not a pink person at all.

  19. why do people like to be mean! anyway, i love that chair makeover! soooo fun! the bubblegum pink is the best, and i love it with the burlap bag! :)

  20. matthewizzo says:

    Great idea gus modern is doing something like this as a ottoman i love it… http://www.matthewizzo.com/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=17&products_id=3737

  21. Ever since entering the blog world, I have been seeing people reupholster this and spray paint that. Maybe I am not in a ‘creative circle’ but I never hear of friends or family members do anything like this!! But reading blog posts such as this one 1) makes me feel slightly ‘behind’ (or lazy, maybe:) but 2) incredibly inspired to head to the thrift store and create my own b/4 & after! Loooooooove that chair (and am imagining a similar project for little chairs belonging to my daughter’s art table).

  22. Liz says:

    Love the chair! I may just have to steal this idea for myself… Thank you for sharing.

  23. Erika Martenson says:

    I love how people are so critical …. They just don’t have the cajones to think outside the BOX!!!

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