Monday, May 09, 2011

Re-Upholstering Chairs

Sorry this took so long to post--I never downloaded the photos!

I have a beautiful dining room set that I bought from my neighbor in California. I adore the rich color of the wood and the intricate carvings on the back. It's nice and big and even came with a glass top. However, the seats were a problem. They were a washed out goldish color, and the cushions were thin--so thin in some places, that when you saw you were poked with the screws that held them on!

My parents gave us some money for Christmas, and we decided to put it into upholsetring the chairs. My mom is terrific at recovering furniture, so she offered to help out when they came to visit, which was the first week of February.

Here's the fabric I found. I loved the deep, rich colors, and the red was just enough to complement the color of the chair itself. Even better, it was on sale at Hancock Fabric: $13 a yard! Because of the design, we ended up buying 10 yards, about a yard a chair, and we had a lot left over. That's not a problem for creative people like us, though!

The cushions were a little tougher. When I took apart one chair, I realized I could not recreate the shaping. So I decided to just buy high density 2-inch foam to put under the original foam instead. I also did not want to risk getting stabbed with screws anymore, so I decided to use 3 1/2-inc bolts with washers and nuts to lock them in place. That meant we had to drill holes in the wood bottom of the seat and in the chair. One lesson we learned quickly: the screws had been put in at angles, so sometimes, we had to drill an entire new set of holes in the wood seat to match the holes in the chair itself. Next we threaded the bolts with washers through the holes in the seat so that the bolt heads are on top--ie, they would be covered by the cushions.

I marked the centers of the top, bottom and sides of the seat so I could line up the fabric. I set the fabric, wrong side up, then the original cushion on it, the new cushion on the old, then the seat on the cushion, bolt heads down.

After that, I stapled the upholstery fabric on. First, I only did the four centers, then flipped it to be sure the pattern was right. How excited I was when I saw how good the first one looked! Then I went back and did the sides, then did the four corners. I had to hammer the staples down because the thick cushion absorbed some of the force of the staplegun. Then I trimmed the extra upholstery, put the liner back on the bottom of the seat and stapled that into place.

Finally, I threaded the bolts through the holes in the chair and put on the washers and nuts. Voila! they are beautiful and so comfy!

When we had removed the old upholstery fabric, we found the original gold cotton fabric covers were on it. So we washed these swatches and cut them into squares, then sewed up the edges for napkins.

We had a lot of excess material, so my mom made a huge table runner and a valance. We also recovered a couple of old ugly hot pads. Here's the final result. I LOVE IT! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

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