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How to recover and update a chair

Updated on August 5, 2011
Before pictures
Before pictures | Source
Before pictures
Before pictures | Source
Removing Screws under the seat
Removing Screws under the seat | Source
Only 4 screws per chair to remove
Only 4 screws per chair to remove | Source
Seat removed
Seat removed | Source
Paint most noticeable parts first
Paint most noticeable parts first | Source
front painted
front painted | Source
painting the back
painting the back | Source
painting | Source
almost done
almost done | Source
All four painted
All four painted | Source
Krylon dries in ten minutes
Krylon dries in ten minutes | Source
Remove the tailored  edge from the chair
Remove the tailored edge from the chair | Source
Staple gun the new material to the chair
Staple gun the new material to the chair | Source
staple opposite sides first
staple opposite sides first | Source
cut excess material off
cut excess material off | Source
clean looking seat!
clean looking seat! | Source
Finished chair!
Finished chair! | Source
Chairs and table.. together forever...
Chairs and table.. together forever... | Source

In 2006 I bought a bran new round pedestal dining room table. It was light wood but, I quickly refinished the table in a rich cherry wood finish with a black edge and a black nautical star in the center. The only problem was that the chairs that were supposed to come with the table were ugly so I did not buy them. I have been looking for just the right chairs ever since then.

I am a thrift store junkie. Yet the perfect dining room chairs were nowhere to be found. I even broke down and went to Pier one looking for just the right chair, only to be disappointed that the selection was expensive and not what I wanted. Two weeks ago I was at Habitat for Humanity and I found the perfect chairs! I could almost hear angels sing as I came around the corner and these gold iron chairs were there! It was $100.00 for all four. It would have cost me over $100.00 for one chair anywhere else.


Power tools are not just for guys anymore. I believe every woman should have a drill. This tool can be used for so many projects you will wonder why you ever went without it! If you have never used a drill, go to Lowes, Home depot, or Sears and find a manly sales guy to show you. You will make his day (they love to demonstrate tools). There is nothing to fear! Even if you are guy who never used a tool before, you should go in and learn how to use a drill.


When I say perfect chairs, I mean that I knew I could make them perfect. White chairs are an industry trick. I do not care how much scotch guard you use, you will never keep a white chair clean (this goes for white rugs as well). When people buy white furniture they better be prepared to cover it with plastic or replace it in six months. Obviously there was no way I was going to leave these seats white. I choose dark brown leather looking vinyl for the seat and of course black paint for the rest of the chair.

Items needed:

Spray paint (I prefer Krylon)


Screw driver or drill (drills make this ultra quick!)

Drop cloth

Dust Mask (in hardware stores)

Staple gun



Anytime you use spray paint you should do it outside away from air conditioners or open house windows. When they say use in a well ventilated area, they mean outside. If you have a garage where you can paint close to the open car entrance door, then that will work as well. NEVER use spray paint inside. If you live in an apartment find a friend with a garage or yard and borrow it.

Paint fumes can cause breathing problems. This brings me to my next tip, use a dust mask. Why? Because, paint will go into your nose and mouth if you don’t. If you don’t believe me then go without it and then blow your nose when you are done, you will see that you have taken in paint. Spray pain goes everywhere so you should have a good foot of space around the item you are painting on your drop cloth. You can see from the pictures that the pain went 4-5 inches around areas I painted.


To remove the seat flip the chair over and simply remove the screws holding the seat on. Put the screws in a Ziploc bag so you don’t misplace them. On these seats I used a drill and this process went really fast. Once the seats are all off, put them in a place where they are away from the spray pain. Material holds that spray paint smell if you leave the cushions too close.


When you first start painting your can should be 5-6 inches from the item you are painting. Start with the areas that will be the most visible such as the front and the back rest. When you get to the end of the can use that on the parts you will not see like the underside of the legs, when your can starts messing up set it aside for the less noticeable areas and grab a fresh can. What this does is it keeps you from having uneven coating on the parts you see every day and saves you from buying more cans to do the under side. Once the chairs are pained let them cure overnight. I know the can says the paint dries in ten minutes but, to maintain the finish you need to leave the chairs overnight.


The seats I was recovering had a tailored edge that I removed with regular scissors. You do not want to leave those edges on because they will cause your material to bow in those spots. To make recovering easier use the cushion as a template and leave 3-4 inches around the edge to staple to the back. I used a regular staple gun to attach the Vinyl to the cushion. Staple the front side first. The reason you want to start from the front is that it will be seen the most so you need to make sure it has a clean line. Then you are going to pull the material from the other side tight and staple that side. Repeat this process for the right and left side. The corners can be tricky; you can either pleat the corner or just pull them tight and staple. Cut the excess material off seat.

Once you flip the seat cushion over it should look new and perfect (pat yourself on the back). You will have to turn the chair upside down again and once your seat cushion is in place, screw the seat cushion back on. For a quarter of the price you will have a custom seat that goes with your décor rather than the same furniture as your neighbors.


If you look at the upside-down picture of the chair you will notice that the slider that goes on the bottom was missing. They do not make sliders for this type of chair. I created new sliders out of gorilla tape and electrical tape. Since this chair was starting to rust it was important to cover the bottom of the chair even though I painted it.


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    • froch profile image

      froch 6 years ago from Tychy

      So useful! Thank you! Vote up!

    • michelleonly3 profile image

      MD Jackson MSIOP 6 years ago from Arizona

      You should do before and after photos. Good luck with the chair!

    • profile image

      jamessteadman 6 years ago

      Thanks for uploading those photos, I plan on putting new fabric on an old winged back chair of mine and seeing them really makes me want to start a new project!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 6 years ago from America

      Great Hub. Your chairs look nice.