before and afterchairs

before & after: bright summery chair makeovers

by Kate Pruitt

Chairs are unquestionably my weakness. I don’t think I can fit another chair in my apartment, and I even have a few that just hang out here and there in corners, but that didn’t stop me from buying stools at Brimfield. They’re like half-chairs, though, so it’s okay :) Whenever I try to stop noticing them, a great chair makeover inevitably falls in my lap, and I’m on the hunt all over again. These sunny yellow caned chairs from Dayka are like neon sculptures, and I love them nestled around that dark table with the dramatic mirror: very glam. This is exactly the kind of color jolt my home needs for summer. Thanks for sharing, Dayka! — Kate

Time: 2 hours

Cost: $30

Basic Steps: The chairs were in almost perfect condition, so I lightly sanded them with a (one-sided) foam sanding pad and then used my sprayer to apply primer and paint from Porter Paints. In no time, I had a “brand new” set of chairs that were completely customized for my decor! — Dayka

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

I’ve been very into asymmetrical patterns in upholstery lately, and I love this chair from Samantha at Post 61 Collective for this very reason. The John Robshaw quilt looks stunning on this simple curved frame, and the composition of the pattern is beautifully done. Great work, Samantha!

Time: 2 weeks

Cost: $200 (not including materials)

Basic Steps: The first thing we did was bring the chair out of the attic and give it a good cleaning. Then we started pulling out fabrics, trying to decide which could make the chair a statement piece. As soon as we laid the quilt on this particular chair, we knew we had found the perfect idea. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Yes, we all need classic pieces, the ones that are easy to add to any room. But every room also needs a bit of whimsy! — Samantha

Suggested For You


  • Actually, I love the original chair–I’d stick it, as is, in my apartment in a second!

  • I love both versions of the green chair and I think they both have their place. What I love is how different they are from eachother just because of the fabric. Great print on the after version.

  • I have to admit.. I like the green chair the way it was originally. I think it turned out well, but maybe it’s just a matter of preference.

  • My mother owns the originally yellow (you guys are calling it green?) chair. It’s an antique – that yellow was the original upholstery. She would probably drop dead if she saw this post (so would you if you knew just how much money you lost by reupholstering it).

  • love the yellow bistro chairs..so spunky!! thanks for sharing..have a lovely day..do visit my blog when you have a moment..my dining table is on display today! xx meenal

  • Hello Sunshine! Love the bentwoods in yellow! Yet another example of why I’m so addicted to your ‘Before & After’ posts…

  • There has been a set of those yellow chairs on my local craigslist forever, I guess no one sees the potential in them and I don’t need another chair either!

  • Thanks so much for including our chair in this post!
    We loved this chair too which is why we rescued it from the attic; sadly the upholstery was in terrible shape before so we decide to have fun with it!

  • Thanks for your great comments about my yellow vintage Thonet chairs! I love that a simple, classic chair like this can take on a whole new life with a fresh coat of paint–a world of difference!

  • LOVE this!!! Oh So Sassy! Please can you share the name of the colors on the black table AND yellow chairs, and what type of paint finish you used? They are perfect!

  • The yellow chairs look amazing! I’m very keen to get a spray gun for painting furniture as it gives it a beautiful professional finish!

  • I agree with a bunch of the other comments…
    The upholstered chair was dynamite in the original velvet, and somewhat uninspired in the replacement upholstery. I better change would have been to paint the wood.

    Velvet should never be undone.

  • i love the patterning of the second chair – gorgeous!! i find the yellow chairs are actually too small to sit in for a typical size male though – I have one at home and I barel fit on it (i’m a little 5’3″ girl). I still love them though – great job!

  • The original green velvet is timeless and soooo much better! The new pattern will look outdated in no time.

  • Yep, the original green chair was better, or at the very least, the newer chair will beg to be reupholstered again very soon.

  • Love, love, LOVE the yellow chairs and black table. Beautiful.

    The side chair would have been great lacquered black or another complimentary color. Love the upholstery.

  • I have a serious, unbeatable addiction to bentwood chairs. The yellow “after” set is adorably cheerful! But, please, if you come across that chair style and it bears a Thonet label, DO NOT paint it … email me instead! ;)

  • The yellow chairs are brilliant. It’s noteworthy to highlight that what makes the makeover impressive is the use of bold, luminously neon colors to contrast the otherwise bland hues. Much better if someone can tell how environment-friendly this thing could also be.

  • I love the look but wish I knew how to reupholster myself. Did you guys outsource the reupholstering?

  • For those who inquired, the yellow paint on the chairs is Forsythia Blossom (212-4) by Porter Paints/PPG. The table is actually an old Target find–I simply added a coat of high gloss urethane to the top for shine & protection and have rocked it for a few years now. I also agree with the commenter who said that Bentwood chairs are a bit small for an average size man–they’re definitely not chairs to lean back in! :)

    Thanks again everyone for your kind comments.

  • I have a gallon of yellow paint that I didn’t know what to do with. (left over from failed diy project) I’m so painting some chairs now! Maybe not a whole set, but a pair. Thanks for the inspiration…