Home » projects » How To Make A $10 Chair Look Like A Million Bucks

How To Make A $10 Chair Look Like A Million Bucks

Did you know you can change the whole look of a dining chair just by replacing the fabric? That’s what I did with my $10 junk chair find. The process of changing the fabric is super easy and really fast.

white chair for makeover with distressed paint and new fabric seat

The chair is from my favorite junk shop and I paid $10 for it. I started this project thinking I would use watercolor paints on a drop cloth and cover the seat with the drop cloth. Things went totally sideways.remove chair seat

The first thing I did was turn the chair upside down in order to remove the padded seat. I used a screwdriver to remove the four screws on the bottom side of the chair seat, one on each corner. Then I distressed the paint by hand with 80 grit sandpaper. The paint was already a bit scuffed up but not in a perfectly imperfect well worn way. 

pretty floral fabric

This is where the project took a turn. I walked by one of the many junked-up areas in the shop and caught a glimpse of this fabric. I bought it at the junk shop too. I’m not sure of the price but probably around $1 for the bag of scrap pieces.

thrift store fabric with pretty design in blue, turquoise, and green

I decided not to paint the drop cloth and to use the pretty fabric instead. I mean, look at those colors. I love the various shades of blue and turquoise and green.

cut fabric to recover chair seat and staple it on

After ironing the fabric I laid the chair seat upside down on the fabric and cut a piece big enough to staple onto the seat. I always cut the fabric way too big but that’s better than finding you don’t have enough fabric to wrap around the backside and staple in place. I just trim the excess fabric when I’m finished.

recover a fabric chair seat

After stapling the fabric to one side of the seat I stapled the opposing side pulling the fabric tight while stapling. Then I moved on to the other two sides of the chair seat.

fold corners carefully

The last thing to do is gather the corners up as smoothly as possible and staple them down. This is the area that takes the most time and it all comes down to just working the fabric until it’s basically smooth and wrinkle-free on the front side of the seat. 

seat cover

Ta-dah. The process of stapling the fabric to the seat takes maybe 5 minutes, 10 tops. Now you just have to reattach the newly covered seat to the chair.

turquoise and blue floral fabric design updates a thrifty 10 dollar chair

How easy was that and how different the chair looks now.

Make A $10 Chair Look Like A Million

The cost of the chair and the fabric was no more than $11. That’s not bad for a solid wood chair with arms.

thrift store chair looks like a million bucks after getting a fabric seat update

Have you recovered any chair seats? I can’t tell you how many I’ve worked on in the past few years. When we lived in Florida we had a dining room set I gave new life to by covering the chair seats with a beautiful fabric.

My first attempt at covering chair seats was also in Florida. I set on the floor of our tiny living room in our tiny apartment and recovered seats for a set of six chairs. I don’t have photos of those projects because it was before my “blogging” days and “taking photos of everything” days.

How to cover a fabric chair seat and distress the paint

WAtch my video on how to recover a chair seat. You can see the whole process…..

How to Recover a Chair Seat

Find 21 exceptional dining chair makeovers here….. 21 Dining Chair Makeovers: Painted Chairs With New Fabric Covered Seats

dining room chair paint ideas

So what do you think of the chair makeover? Leave a note if you have time and thanks for being here. Kathy

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *