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Decorating Ideas-How to Fix an Ugly Desk Chair

Updated on June 14, 2016

Turn an Ugly Desk Chair to Funky Modern

Decorating Ideas-How to Fix an Ugly Desk Chair. I picked up this chair at a garage sale for a couple of dollars and change it with good techniques. It was functional but the upholstery was dirt, one of the arms was worn and loose. First I used white face cloth and some hot water with a little carpet cleaning solution mixed into it. I scrubbed the chair with the solution which quickly turned brown. Next, I used clear water on the cloth to rinse the fabric and dried it with white paper towels. Once the chair dried completely, I removed the screws that fastened the arms and removed them, since the screw holes were stripped beyond repair. I used the chair for a while an thought I might attempt to reupholster it. Then, I saw a chair someone had painted the fabric with latex paint great decorating ideas came to me so. I decided to try painting it with the idea that I could always find another chair if it didn't turn out.

Note how homely this chair was in the photo below, it was functional for my craft room and I didn't worry about messing it up during crafting. The decorating ideas I used made it the centerpiece of my craft room. I have so many decorating ideas it's hard to decide which ones to do next. You will see that this chair idea really brightened up my studio.

Now If I get it dirty or drip paint on it I can touch it up with matching paint. I may eve decide later to use a stencil on it to give it another little update later. I was thinking maybe some large white paisley. Paint stamps would also work, or maybe you want to try some free hand painting. I'll bet you could use an iron on photo for a kids room.

Changing an Ugly Duckling to a Swan with Simple Decor

Home Decor

1. The first thing I did was take it out to the garage, where I used a white spray primer on spokes, wheels and and adjustment knobs. When the primer was dry, I sprayed the areas with a white satin finish spray paint.

2. Next, I covered the painted section with newspaper to protect it from any splatter I made hand brushing the fabric. I mixed equal parts of latex wall paint and water, making a thin spreadable mix. Before applying the mixture to the fabric, I sprayed plain water on it to make the paint flow better. It took 3 applications of paint to make a noticeable improvement. The final coat of paint was about one cup of paint to 2 tablespoons of water. The final coat was beautiful.

3. I allowed the paint 3 days to completely dry. Then I used decorative tacks to dress up the back of the chair.

The look is great, the fabric is a bit stiff. Since completing this project I discovered that a bottle of paint medium could have been added to the paint to make a softer finish. However, I am very happy with my "Funky" chair! I love new decorating ideas especially ones that are so inexpensive.

Upholstery Spray Paint will change an old tired chair into something fabulous!

Upholstery Spray Paint will change an old tired chair into something fabulous!
Upholstery Spray Paint will change an old tired chair into something fabulous!

A Spacious Desk for all Types of Projects

Here is the perfect desk for all your crafting and computing needs. Spacious drawers for storage an 60 inches of desktop space a great deal!

Stiff Brush

A stiff brush will pint deep into the fabric

Using a Brush on Uphostery

When using a brush on upholstery be sure it is rather stiff so you can reach into the crevices of your fabric. Painting onto a heavily textured fabric may require some light sanding. Light sanding will make the fabric less rough, when painting on smooth fabric a light sanding will make it look and feel like leather.

You may want to practice on the backside or bottom of your piece to make sure that the result of your job does what you want and your color matches your décor.

Spray paint any wood part before painting the fabric. Protect it with a drop cloth to prevent drips

Spray paint any wood part before painting the fabric.  Protect it with a drop cloth to prevent drips
Spray paint any wood part before painting the fabric. Protect it with a drop cloth to prevent drips

Spray instead of Brush

You can also purchase upholstery fabric spray paint. Chair take about 4-5 cans

Spray paint for upholstery

Are you ready to change the color of your chair?

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    • Demaw profile image


      5 years ago

      You gave me some ideas for this extremely old and beat up chair I am sitting on right now.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow, what a transformation! I just bought a new chair, but I could have used this idea 3 years ago when I got my old chair from a neighbor that was throwing it out. All I did was brush off the cat hair...

    • TimothyArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      5 years ago from Chicago area

      If the upholstery on an otherwise good desk chair is tearing, I was able to fix mine by buying a truck "bench style" seat sover from J.C. Whitney and fitting it over the chair. A little strategic pinning and it fits perfectly!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      5 years ago from United States

      What a neat idea! I have never considered painted the fabric on a desk chair. I would have thought I would have to replace the fabric. Really awesome! I love the color you selected. A definite improvement!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      That's my favorite color too. Looks great and you explained the project well.

    • junkcat profile image


      5 years ago

      Cool color for an office chair. I'm going to try this one for sure.


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