Upcycling dining chairs

I enjoy nothing more than taking old pieces of unloved furniture and giving them a new lease of life! And it doesn’t have to be a hard slog or expensive.

Classic chair. Copyright Littledesignerlou

I bought a set of two chairs from a charity shop close to my home. I thought they had a very classic shape which I could up-cycle very easily, whether it was to sell or to keep. It’s shape is based on a mid century danish style chair, which still looks very contemporary! Look at these photos online…

I started by removing the seat pad, which I expected to be really tricky, but it turned out to be ok.

Choosing a colour…I decided to paint them in a satin black, in homage to their past, as many of the classics that I came across where made with a rich dark wood. I then thought I would bring them bang up to date with a pop of colour in the upholstery.

Next was sanding, painting and painting….and painting.

Here’s a tip. IKEA CHILDREN’s BRUSHES ARE THE BEST! I used the flat brush to get into all the nooks. But hard to clean if u don’t wash them straight after use.

B&Q satin black furniture paint was very easy to use, and took only two coats to completely cover. After this I applied a rustoleom furniture wax to seal the paint.

I think the black paint really extenuated the slick and simple shape of the chair. Although neat painting is essential when using a dark satin paint, as it shows up any marks very easily. To a careful hand and eye would be beneficial.

Next was upholstery!!!

Oh…so many choices out their, especially for an interior designer. But there was only one company I felt I could really use to give a quality finish with a link to a strong Scottish brand. BUTE FABRICS which are very close to my heart as the Isle of Bute is one of my favourite places to visit, and they still make many of their fabrics on traditional looms, which is amazing!

My favourite range within the BUTE FARICS collection is ‘Alchemy’ which as you can see below, is bold, fun and full of unique flex’s of colour. Any of these fabrics would add character and personality to any piece of furniture.


All I needed was my fabric….measured our with a few inches extra on every side, some pins and a trusty staple fun. Also a phone handy to call an ambulance if I accidentally attached myself to the seat pad.

It was again ALOT easier than I had thought. Starting in the straightest edge, add a single staple on all fore edges (back obviously), just to keep the fabric tight.

Then work your way round all sides with neat line of staples. When it comes to corners it’s all about the fold. Fold all fabric away from the staples edge at 90degrees add one staple…then to the opposite side…and staple. There will be an excess of fabric in the middle with you then pull tight pointing into the middle of the seat and staple.

It will matter at this point if you are adding a dust sheet lining, if not, you’ll need to neaten this off later, however I added a bright purple lining to cover any less than perfect corners. Phew!

Tah dah! Two seat pads. Completed! All ready for reassembling my dining chairs.

photograph by http://www.leedavidsonconnor.com

I’m so happy with how these chairs have turned out. They look slick and contemporary with a nod to their classic inspirational roots!

All they needed was some paint, wax & funky fabric!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.


@leedavidsonconnorphotography @butefabrics @ikea @b&q

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