Mod-Inspired Chairs

The chairs are done!

Cut straight to the before photo – nice photobomb, Pheebs.

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And now the after. After much back and forth, we decided on this retro-looking orange and white print.

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(Sorry for the dark-ish photo. The light was not cooperating.)

The fabric came from these curtains from Kohl’s. I ended up scoring them for about $28 and free shipping! They’re thick and were perfect for the job. I know, after looking through all those fabric choices, I ended up choosing patterned curtains.

I considered doing a step by step tutorial to show you how to reupholster a chair cushion, but with so many awesome tutorials out there already, some of which I consulted for this project (thanks Pinterest!), I decided it would be better to link to the tutorial I found the most helpful, which is from DesignSponge. My only changes were that I didn’t add cotton batting between the foam and bunting, and I didn’t add fabric to the bottom of the seat either.

As for materials, we were able to recover the wood from each seat, so no extra expense there. Some of the wood was coming apart a bit, so we used wood glue and a vice to push the wood back together. We let the glue dry overnight with the vice attached.

Once we took the cushions apart, it became clear we would need to replace the foam padding. Thirty years of sitting in these chairs made the foam thin and turned some of it into a fine dust. I knew foam was expensive, and my fears were confirmed when I saw each yard of foam was $34.99 at JoAnn’s. You can find somewhat cheaper options online, but we wanted the foam quickly, and not have to wait for shipping. We took a ride to JoAnn’s to see if there were other options, and we found these NuFoam pads. They were a little bigger than we needed, but thought there would be less waste in purchasing the individual foam pads (so we wouldn’t be paying for excess foam we wouldn’t be using). Plus, we had a coupon for 25% off our purchase.

We did run into an issue – there were only four of those foam pads at the store. Not wanting to go to another Joann’s at 8pm, and, not wanting to pay for a half yard of foam, we got creative and bought two foam seat pads that were a bit smaller than we needed. We used extra foam from the bigger pieces to cover the whole seat. Hey – you do what you have to do!

For the batting, since it was 90 inches across, we were able to get by with only 1.5 yards. Batting isn’t super expensive, so if we messed up, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to buy more.

Following the tutorial, and having done a similar upholstering job on the built in seating for the kitchen, we started by gluing the foam to the seats, using Liquid Nails. Once dry, we covered the seats in batting, using a staple gun to secure it. I ironed the curtains to get out all the wrinkles, and we laid it out on the ground flat. Because our fabric had a pattern, we did our best to make sure it matched up the same on each chair. Then, just cut the fabric into squares (leaving a few inches on each side to attach the fabric to the cushion underneath with staples.

Once all the cushions were done, Dan went and sprayed scotch guard on all the seats, just to give the fabric some extra protection against spills and stains. We let them dry in the garage overnight.

Cost wise, this reupholster project wasn’t as cheap as I had hoped it would be. Here’s a rough breakdown:

Fabric: $28

Batting: $6 (1.5 yards X $7, then 40% off)

Foam: $53 (the bigger pieces cost a few dollars more than the smaller ones, then 25% off)

Staples, wood glue, Liquid Nails, staple gun, scotch guard spray: free (had it all in our stash)

So, the total cost was around $87, or about $14.50 per chair. If we hadn’t had to replace the foam, this project would have been much cheaper, to the tune of less than $6 per chair. We did save a bit on the fabric though. The thick upholstery fabric was at least $20/yard, and I think we would have needed at least 3 yards. Still, the cost was worth it. The dining set has sentimental value to me, it matches the house well, the lines on it are gorgeous, and I loved bringing new lift to 30+ year old furniture.

I had planned to show you the mostly finished dining room now, but unfortunately, Daylight Savings Time has been foiling my plan to photograph the room in natural light (the best light to capture room shots). It’s been too dark each night I’ve gotten home from work this week to get good lighting. Frustrating. So, over the weekend, I’ll be sure to take some good photos to show you how the room has come together including big updates, like the reupholstered chairs, and smaller ones, like how I styled the freshly painted credenza.



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