Thursday, March 3, 2011

Before and After: Thrift dining chair

I love how someones junk can become somebody else's treasure.  I especially love it when that treasure is mine.

Last year I bought this sad old dining chair at a thrift shop, despite the fact that I had no clue what I wanted to do with it. After months of deliberating between painting the chair white or keeping the wood finish, I decided on an antique white finish, paired with this modern wide horizontal striped fabric from Ikea.

This is how it looked when I picked it up for $12 at the local Value Village


Then I got to work with some primer, soy based paint remover, sandpaper, and a staple gun.

House of Movi ~ After

House of Movi ~ After

The step by step:
(Am I the only one who wants to belt out NKOTB when they hear that?)

1. Remove the cushions and store the screws in a labeled zip lock bag (you will thank me for this later, I promise).

2. Gently sand down the frame with 220 grit sandpaper, and wipe with a damp cloth.

3. Apply two coats of a white interior primer with a small brush. I used Essentials primer from CIL that you can find here.

4. Apply a thick coat of soy based latex paint remover, and let process for the recommended time. I used Smart Strip aerosol paint remover, and it worked perfectly.

5.  After the remover has set, scrape off enough paint to get your desired look. Once it dries, sand again with 220 grit sandpaper to dull any too perfect spots, and help the primer "meld" with the wood.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 if needed, and wipe with a damp cloth when fully dry.

7. Tear old fabric and foam off cushion

8. Secure new foam to board with spray adhesive, and trim any excess foam from around the edges. ( Most craft stores will sell easy to use, chair sized pads of foam just for this purpose)

9. Lay out your (freshly ironed) fabric, print side down and place your seat, foam side down on top of it. Starting with the front edge of the seat, pull the fabric taut and staple in the middle.  Turn  it around, and repeat on the other side. Once you have secured all four sides, continue to move around the chair, keeping the fabric taut, and secure every inch or so. When you get to the corners, take care to gather the fabric, folding gently, and stapling to avoid creases. A great video on how to re-upholster a dining seat can be found here.

10. Cut away any excess fabric, and re-attach seat to the base using the wood screws you set aside earlier.


  1. I love that chair! Thanks for the "step by step (ooh baby, gonna get to ya girl)". I'm definitely trying this.

  2. Thanks Amanda! Let me know how it turns out. Now i have new kids in my head all over again, lol.

  3. You are so talented! I loved how you pair that chair with the glam console and modern accessories. The whole look is very eclectic chic and unexpected! Totally my style! I always enjoy all your DIY projects!

    Jessie from

  4. Hi there, stumbling in from D*Sponge! I was wondering if you can supply any info on the pop art style print featured in your chair 'after' pictures - I just love it and would be interested in hanging one up down here in Australia :)

    Argh, having trouble posting with my google account so just going to leave my email in case you get back to me ~ cheers


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