before and afterchairs

before & after: console table + upholstered chair

by Kate Pruitt

Small tables are dangerous territory for me. As with chairs, I have a hard time letting unique and promising ones pass me by, and my apartment has a serious lack-of-space issue because of it. Alyson’s console table is a piece I’d have difficulty passing up, for example. I really love seeing the decorative wood details covered entirely in matte black, and the pop of green is a nice, unexpected touch. Great work, Alyson! — Kate

Time: 3 weeks

Cost: $50

Basic Steps: I stripped the piece and found that there were multiple nasty layers of paint; it was so thick that you couldn’t see any of the great detailing. After that, I needed to go in with wood filler and take care of the dents and peeling wood! Lots of sanding followed. I painted the top with two coats of chartreuse and allowed plenty of drying time. Then I actually used black enamel spray paint for the black detail and went back (manically) with a small brush of the blue.

It ended up that the black then needed touch ups, so I found a small bottle of crafting enamel. There was a viscous circle of touching up with blue, then black, then blue . . . until I was satisfied. After that, there were two layers of the blue on the macro pieces, and I was done. Almost. At the last minute, I decided to leave off the two side doors, so that got some enamel spray as well. My advice is to enjoy the process. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — you can always go back with more paint! Have fun! — Alyson

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.)

CLICK HERE to see Elizabeth’s reupholstered chair after the jump!

I’m sure this happens to the best of us, but sometimes the upholstery on a piece is so unappealing that I forget there’s a nice piece of furniture under there, and I write the whole thing off. Big mistake — as this reupholstered chair from Elizabeth shows, almost any chair can be brought back to life with the right design decisions. Wonderful work, Elizabeth!

Time: 1 month (at professional upholsterers)

Cost: $800

Basic Steps: The chair belongs to a client of mine; she found it on Craigslist and loved the shape, but not the (extremely old and worn) upholstery. We went back and forth about fabrics for a while before landing on Mod Green Pod’s Atticus in Cherry, which worked to bring more color and pattern into the room without being overwhelming and taking away from other pieces. We then dropped it off with the upholsterer, who recovered the chair, made new seat and back cushions and refinished the wooden legs and arm pieces. My advice is to find a great upholsterer whom you trust — they will change your life! Also, don’t be afraid of patterns; they aren’t necessarily overwhelming. — Elizabeth

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  • both lovely. love the fabric on the chair and yes it is tough to stretch our imaginations sometimes.

  • did the chair originally have that back cushion? (it’s hard to see with the icky fuzzy fabric.) fabulous job fixing it up and think the back cushion finishes it perfectly. thumbs up on the buffet too!

  • Darling, darling! Both chair and table! I completely understand your affinity for redoing chairs and small tables. Look at the results!

  • I’m sorry, I have to say it. The table looked better before. You’ve tried so very hard and it shows. More is not more in this instance.

  • both the makeovers are amazing today..the very striking console with its green top and the added tufted cushion that completely changes the look of the chair..thanks for sharing, grace..i have shared images of my daughter’s room ( that i recently decorated) on my blog today..i would love you to check it out..xx meenal

  • @ Sue – the chair did originally have a back cushion, but it was really really sad and worn out (as was the seat cushion.)

    Also, just to clarify, the ~$800 cost is approximate for everything – the chair, the fabric, the new cushions, and the labor on the re-upholstery. Which is a price tag I remain happy with.

  • I will never get tired of these beautiful red patterned chairs. It would have never guessed that was a chair worth saving. Even though you could buy a nice new chair for $800, this way you are supporting small business, keeping some waste out of the landfill, and you have a design that probably isn’t at the local ikea.

  • The chair make-over is awesome. I definitely would have walked right past that ugly thing without even noticing the cute shape. Great job!

    Oh and that table… I’m in love with the blue and black detailing. It was definitely worth all the hard work =)

  • that chair is a miracle, a pricey one but a miracle nonetheless! sometimes I see alleys with furniture people have thrown away that could have been salvaged and loved and turned into something beautiful… it makes me sad that we, in general, lack to see the potential of certain things

  • i LOVE the table…i have a dresser that matches it perfectly and i wish i could have the table! i wanted to give it a makeover and this gave me some ideas! thanks for posting this :)

  • If I saw that chair at a thrift store for $20 I *might* give it a second glance. I’m blown away that anybody would think this is worth $800.

    I do like the look of the table, though I can’t help but wonder if a lot less work could have achieved an almost comparable result.

  • Thanks, ya’ll, for the positive comments! @ Jenee, totally could have happened with less work- This is my first project, so a lot of the time was spend figuring out what I was doing. (same goes for cost) The next one I’m sure will be more efficient with a little more experience. Always learning!

  • After spending 10 weeks (1 evening per week) in a course recovering my one small chair (helped every step of the way by the instructor), and spending around $100 on the fabric – I can say that 800$ is a GREAT deal for such a chair (if you, like myself, can’t do it alone :-) ).

    Although it’s true that you can get a new chair for 800$ (and a pretty nice one!), it would be hard to get one with that shape, real wood, rock solid frame, etc – they can be in the $1000’s. Which is why I have my simple, little, cherished, 10-week chair.

    Great work!

  • i love the incredible make overs on this site. i too love the after of the chair…but i do also think that for $800 you could really have any chair you like!

  • LOVE the Mod Green Pod fabric on that chair! I just went to their website, and there is no way to buy the fabric. Does anyone know why I can’t find it on sale anywhere on the interwebs?

  • Fine work, Alyson! I would love to see more of what happens when you “try so hard and it shows”. What, pray tell, could anyone think looked better about the neglected and forlorn console table in the before shot?

  • Great work on both! The chair is totally fresh and adorable.

    Erin – I’m sad to say that Mod Green Pod’s fabric is no longer available.

  • chair looks great but I can’t get past the $800 to do it. To me the chair is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of design and therefore $800 is way too much to spend on refurbishing. If the price was $100. then I’d say “congrats”