before and after

before & after: reupholstered chair

by Kate Pruitt

I took a beginner’s upholstery class last fall, where my fellow students and I were cautioned against choosing an intricately patterned fabric to work with on our first attempt. Stupidly, I ignored my teacher’s advice and chose a plaid — not a great idea. I simply could not get the pattern to align properly and was thoroughly befuddled, which is probably why I love Susie’s reupholstered chair in all its patterned glory. I actually adore how the center folds all have the same repeat happening; it’s unexpected and a bit surreal, exactly how I would describe the awesome Josef Frank fabric she used. Great work, Susie! — Kate

Time: 1.5 weeks

Cost: $200 (not including fabric)

Basic Steps: First, I definitely wanted to change the finish of the chair to give it a more modern, updated look. The original orange-y finish tends to look a little grandma-ish, which isn’t necessarily bad but wasn’t the look I was going for. I think the dark espresso glossy finish gives the chair a more polished look. I then replaced the old tapestry fabric with a fresher, cheerier print, which really makes the chair pop. I’m super happy with how the chair turned out!

I rescued this chair from a garage sale, so take the time to go treasure hunting if you’re looking for a good deal. When shopping for vintage furniture that needs to be re-loved, make sure the frame is in decent shape. I usually note the lines and shape of the chair, and that helps me decide what kind of fabric I’ll put on the piece. Don’t be afraid of color or pattern! I think every room can use an unexpected piece of furniture. — Susie

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.)

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  • Just found this site(thanks to Nate show). Just how much fabric did it take to redo this chair? I have one almost exactly like it in my attic and just need to buy fabric. BTW, gorgeous chair and great job!

  • Is this possible to do without keeping the old fabric as a guide? I have a very similar chair and the old fabric smells horrid so I don’t want to keep it around any longer than I have to.

  • This chair restoration is STUNNING! Very beautiful Is there any fabric left – I would love to buy it? You posted the designer, but is it easy to find and econmical? I have a chair similar to yours, so I took a class and reupholstered it, a solid fabric, it took 6 yards of fabric. Now I am reupholstering it again to modernize the room and your picture is my inspiration! Thank You for posting it.

  • This is superb – This repro chair now has the level of style and elegance it was attempting to emulate when made – I could quite happily live a lifetime with this :)

  • I can’t figure out how to do the back of the chair the material seems to be very bulky when trying to make that curve the chair that I have is shaped like a seashell it has the same definition as the One shown I’m using leather also is not as forgiving as fabric.

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