Makeover Your Dining Room Chairs

Hello everyone! I haven’t had much time on this computer the last couple of weeks because I had my 3-year-old grandbaby, Monday through Saturday, both weeks. While I was able to work on projects in my basement or outside while he played, there’s not much for him to do in the bedroom where I have my computer set up. Needless to say, I worked where I could be the most productive, and still keep him happy, because that’s what grandparents do. At least, that’s what I do. My life is much easier when he’s happy, as I’m sure most grandparents can attest to. Never the less, I need to be happy too. So, I squeezed in as much time as I could while he napped or played by himself to get my old dining room chairs finished. I had stashed these particular chairs in the basement when I extended the table for the winter. That’s when I have more Sunday dinners with my son and his family, and four chairs are just not enough for all of us.


Since I needed six chairs instead of four, I recovered a set of six kitchen chairs my mother-in-law had when she moved in with us and they were just sitting in the basement doing nothing.  I was inspired to recover these chairs when I saw an article in HGTV magazine. They had before and after pictures of old ugly chairs that someone was throwing out and they had redone. Mine turned out great, at least I thought they did, so I used them instead of the old ones. Frankly, I got tired of carrying those old ugly brown chairs up and down the stairs every time we had company. I loved how they brightened up the room but my husband liked the old chairs and thought the frames of the new ones were kind of cheap looking. I included a picture of the dining room with the old redone chairs so you can see how it looked before I redid the original chairs. Nice and cheerful looking, right?


Anyway, it didn’t take long to change my mind once I found a picture in another magazine of chairs I really loved. Shortly thereafter, I decided to redo the old chairs and reduce the table back to its original size. The summer is too busy and usually too hot to get together inside, so the new idea took off. The problem was, my chairs were a totally different style. So, after thinking it through, I came up with a plan of how I could make my chairs look like the ones in the magazine. This picture shows the style of the ones in the magazine. It made me want to change the whole colour, scheme of my rooms, but that was not in the budget.



I decided to put a wedge of wood in the back of the chairs to fill in the curved design of my chairs and fill in the back rails with  1″ by 2″ pieces of cut foam. Then I cut a thinner piece (1/2″ thick) of foam sheets to fit the front and back of the chair backs.  I found the vinyl fabric and the floral Waverly fabric at my local Joann Fabric Store. I found out the Waverly fabric was discontinued in the store but is still available online. I used white paint for the chairs and since they were stained and varnished, I had to first apply a good oil based bonding primer to make sure the paint would adhere. I sanded between each coat and applied a clear non-yellowing protective sealer for added wear. After painting and adding the wedges, I laid the chair down so I could work on the very back of the chair backs first. I cut and laid the foam down, then covered it with the fabric I had cut to size. Before placing the fabric down, I coated the edges with some fray check to keep them from fraying while I worked with them.  Next, I stapled the fabric down, covered the edges with cross grain ribbon, and used decorative upholstery tacks spaced 1 1/2″ apart to mimic the chair design in the picture. If you are working on wood chairs, you may find that the upholstery tacks want to bend because of the hard wood. I had to drill a pilot hole into the wood so I wouldn’t lose so many tacks. I needed to use a very thin drill bit that was the same size as the tacks and could only drill down so far or the tacks wouldn’t sink into the wood at all. After finishing that part of the chair, I turned it over and worked on the other side. I had to fill in between the slats with the 1″ x 2″ pieces of foam and then lay the foam sheet piece on top of them. I did have to make adjustments to some of the pieces I cut for this purpose because the wood pieces were actually curved in places. Next, I followed the same steps I took for the backside and proceeded to the chair seat. I simply covered that with the vinyl and added the cross grain ribbon and upholstery tacks, then attached the finished product to the chair. Below you can see the steps.


With my project finished, I placed the newly covered chairs in the dining room. I also made matching placemats. Since the chandelier lamp covers didn’t match the new fabric, I recovered them too and knowing that I had some leftover wood pieces and some of the vinyl, I put them to good use by making a tray for the table. I picked up some inexpensive glass vases from the local Dollar Tree and made some floral arrangements to go in the tray and I had my final look.



My next project is to make some new valances for the living room. I didn’t really like the curtain fabric I have up now and since it’s summer I don’t want any side curtains. Since I really like the Waverly fabric I bought for the chairs, I have decided to make the valances with that. You can see the finished look and the steps for those when I finish the project. Thanks so much for sharing this time with me. I wish you luck with any projects you may have in the plans and hope your home is a place that brings you as much joy as mine brings me.

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