Re-Upholster a Drop-in-Seat Chair

Vintage Chair 5I bought this unique accent chair (second-hand of course) because the wood veneer is stunning. The pink upholstery and pillow were hideous, Todd however didn’t seem to mind:

Vintage Chair 2   Vintage Chair 3

The back of the chair had some type of stain, possibly water damage to the finish. I rubbed down all of the wood with a little bit of oil based wood polish. Not the greatest solution but it did shiny the wood and remove most of the stain. Down the road I would love to give it a sanding and a coat of Danish Oil and really bring out the grain… like I want to do with most of the furniture I own. Before and after polishing below:

Vintage Chair 4   Vintage Chair 6To remove a drop-in-chair seat, turn the chair over and remove the screws holding the seat to the frame:

Vintage Chair 7Turn over the seat and remove all the old staples holding the fabric to the padding and wood base. If the wood and padding are in good shape than you can skip to cutting new fabric. To replace the wood or padding simple buy more and cut to the right size using the old stuff as a pattern. I thought about replacing my wood base as it was slightly bowed in the back, but I had the new fabric out and everything so I didn’t!

The fabric I picked for my chair was an old remnant from a long ago project. It’s a very subdued pattern with light vintage colors that I really liked against the yellow-brown of the chair.

If your new fabric is patterned like mine is lay it right side up first, so you can adjust how the pattern will sit once stapled:

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Trim the fabric with the old stuff as a guide.

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Use your handy staple gun to attach the new fabric, I like to pull tight against the corners first:

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Then fold the remaining fabric around the sides of the corner to make a nice clean wrap. As you staple around the sides, pull very tightly, you don’t want the finished seat to have baggy fabric, and voila!:

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Here is the finished chair:

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I really like the shape of this chair, very shallow but with a generous width. I’m currently using it as my desk chair/Oliver bed:

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Vintage Chair Vintage Chair 13Replacing the fabric on a drop-in-seat chair has to be the absolute easiest upholstery project imaginable. If your old or second-hand chair has fabric you like but want to clean, remove the fabric as describe above wash and re-attach. Keep in mind that the fabric might shrink so check to be sure there is a least a few inches of overage so you don’t run into a problem re-attaching. That is what I did for these chairs years ago since I wasn’t ready to re-cover the seats:

Bentwood Chair Set

I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind for a while now to turn these into a bench… possibly with different fabric on each seat. Or maybe a custom cut piece of wood that curved at the ends but made for one long seat. So many ideas, so little time and space.

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