Reupholstering: Some Thoughts

Hey Guys! So I have had this Craigslist dining set for a while, and it's a dream of a set. It has great clean, mid century modern lines, perfect medium brown tones and to top it all of, it came with a gorgeous hutch. Basically it's perfect. Except it's not. It's older, so it has scratches and dings up the wazoo. The chairs were so rickety that, if you could figure out how, you could hoola hoop sitting down.

"Recently" (I put quotes there because it's been more than two months ago) I decided I was going to repair the wobbly chair situation. Which has been a vast improvement, and I think everybody I know appreciates it because they no longer feel at risk of breaking....anything, be it themselves or the chair, when they sit on them.

So as I have these chairs taken apart, one by one, I think to myself, "Hey self, good job on these chairs. But while they are already all torn apart, why not maybe change the less the beautiful, stained fabric? You know what self? That's a hell of an idea. Let's do it!" I'm not nuts, I just talk to myself, don't pretend you don't do it too.

Annnnnnnnnyway. This leads us to where we are now. All too often, reupholstering seems like an intimidating, and time consuming task. And it can be both of those things, depending on the project at hand, thankfully mine was pretty simple, but still time consuming. Only for dumb reasons, like "where the hell is the staple gun?!" The fabric part of the reupholstering wasn't all that time consuming.

So I started with this guy. Great frame right? And I like the color of the ivory fabric, but it has a couple of downfalls. 1) It's not the most durable fabric for wear and tear. 2) It is IVORY so it stains pretty easily. You may not know this about me, but I have a three year old who, while adorable, is basically a minion from Despicable Me. He is the sweetest kid and also just the biggest wrecking ball when he wants to be, because well, he is three.

To do this more simplistic reupholstery job, you only need pliers, screwdrivers (philips and flat head) and a staple gun (I had misplaced mine, so it literally took me three days to find it, maddening). We have that spiffy little interchangable screw driver up at the top that makes my life so easy! I don't remember where the hubs picked it up, but I sure love it!

This is a close up of one of the cleaner seats, not bad, but not great. I decided I wanted to use some indoor/outdoor fabric on the chairs to help with the wear and tear issue, and the cleanability. I have 6 chairs total, so not an overwhelming amount to do, which made fining fabric pretty easy. Easier still, because I happened to have a couple of options I really liked already in my fabric stash from previous projects, we'll get to that.

So first you obviously need to flip the chair upside down and see how the seat attaches. Usually it is pretty clear, like it was on my set, thankfully. Sometimes it is a little more hidden. Once you find the screws that hold it together, simply remove them and the seat should come off, hopefully. If you are lucky and doing a simple replacement like I did.

Once you have the seat removed you just need to pry out the staples, I used a flathead screw driver (not the fancy guy this time) and a set of pliers to pull them all out. It wasn't too difficult, you just have to make sure that you find all the staples and remove them.

After I had the staples removed, I simply laid the fabric I had removed over the fabric I was planning to put on to make a pattern. Making sure to keep the lining fabric over the cushion and batting (not shown) I wrapped the newly cut fabric over the seat board and simply used my staple gun to secure it. It is important here to make sure to pull it snug around the edge to avoid wrinkles or fabric slack on the cushion. Once you have the fabric stapled around the seat board, you place it back on the chair and screw it back in.

And VIOLA! newly covered chairs. An easy change to freshen up our nice dining set AND with fabrics I already had on hand! So super bonus! If I had been tackling a chair or sofa to reupholster, I would definitely have called in a professional, but I felt pretty confident that I could manage these guys, especially after taking them apart to make them more structurally sound.

Well there ya have it folks, my beautious new chairs. I have more projects on the horizon, so expect to see more posts like this peppered into the usual blogging routine.

Happy Friday!

- D


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