Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to reupholster dining room chairs!

Well, the time has come to reveal what was one of the most difficult DIY projects I've ever done. I mean, I think this was harder than tiling. Then installing molding, fo sho. It was rough. Let me rephrase that -- getting the backs off the chairs was rough. The rest was easy peasy Squeezy. Serious. Let's go through the process, shall we?

First, you'll need needle nose pliers to really grip at the piping (if you have piping). There is no right way to do this, every chair was a bit different. But all involved pulling with the pliers -- with all my might:
Using a flathead screwdriver to pop out the meeeeeellions of staples:
People told me there would be hundreds of staples. I didn't quite believe them. There are hundreds of staples. Felt like eleventy billion.

Then when you start cursing and and sweating and are tired of fighting with the staples, you can just start using the screwdriver as a pry bar:
Even though I used a cloth under the screwdriver to protect the wood, it still got dented along the edges a little. I noticed it when I was doing it, but I haven't noticed the little dents since. No worries. :)

After you stop cursing and fighting with the chairs, take a breath, have a margarita and count to 500 -- then go after it again and just pull with all you got:
Margarita is optional, of course. Needed, but optional. I don't recommend drinking and DIYing. :)
This part seriously took FOREVER. It didn't get much better with each chair either. Some were easier than others, but they were just mocking me. The next one was always the worst of the bunch.

When you get the back off, there will be staples everywhere, so just grab these with your pliers and wiggle them out:
Now comes the EASY part. Covering the chairs is so simple. I wanted to use two fabrics for most of the chair backs, so I started with the back fabric and just stapled it along the sides, all the way around:
Then trim your fabric. For the next step, I used my own process to attach the backs. I'm not sure if this is the right way to do it, but it worked! I used my nail gun to secure the backs onto the chair:
The backs have a little lip that the nail went right into. This part did put me into a bit of a sweat, because you have to make sure the nail doesn't miss the lip on the chair frame. Does that make sense? I had a couple where the nail didn't hit the wood and are now sticking out the back. ;)

Then, I took the electric stapler (key word -- "electric" -- it's a must have for this project) and secured the front fabric around the front of the seat:
Then I trimmed that fabric again. I found a coordinating trim I just hot glued on to cover the staples:
And here's what you get!
The seats are easy -- you just take the cushion off and use the stapler to secure the fabric like I showed you here:
I chose a linen-type fabric for the seats:
Here's the worst of the damage to one of the chairs -- easily touched up:
This fabric was originally going to go on the back of the chairs, but I quickly realized there was only one chair you would see the back of (if I keep the bench I'm redoing), and the fabric was too pretty not to be seen!
On the backs is a solid brown faux silk. And when I got the room back together last night, I realized the print on the fronts of all of the chairs was a little too much. I have the head chairs in the corners of the room because of the bench I'm working on, and it was just a smidge too busy. So I recovered those with the solid brown to tone them down a bit:Joann's is out of my trim so once I get more of that, all six chairs will be done!
I cannot tell you how very much I love these chairs. They are LOVERLY! And they are perfect in the room. OH, and we only eat in this room maybe once a year. So there's not much of a danger of them getting food on them, but I do plan to stain guard them just in case. Cause I would totally cry if one got ruined. Serious.

I cross my heart promise to show you the entire reveal, with plenty of befores, later this weekend. I need to decide if I'm going to keep the bench at the table and if so, finish it up.

Stay tuned for another great giveaway this weekend! :)

76 comments:

  1. BEAUTIFUL!!!! See? It wasn't that hard... (says I, while staring at my half-naked un-upholstered chair) Hmmm..... Glad it worked out for you! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get my tush in gear!! ;)

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  2. Great job Sarah! I KNOW that was a lot of hard work. But the results were worth it!
    Can't wait to see the whole reveal.
    Blessings,
    Traci

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  3. Sarah! Gorgeous choice of fabric. I know the feeling of having staple hate. I have been there eleventy billion times.

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  4. I just snagged a solid oak wooden desk chair (the swivel kind w/ arms) at Goodwill last week for $1.99 and need to reupholster the seat cushion. These chairs are going for about $399 at PB so I'm excited for your new DIY tip. Thanks for your help. Love your new look!

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  5. Wowza! Those chairs are gorgeous! I'm glad the fabric can be seen and enjoyed.

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  6. Gasp! I have almost the same fabric (except mine has a sage green embroidery thing going on, but the pattern and sheen is exactly the same) and I love it! I made it in to throw pillows for our couch. Don't be too worried about the staining! Hubby dropped a GLOB of salsa on one of them and it totally wiped clean!

    Congrats and I know you will love them!

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  7. AMAZING! You impress me more and more every day! I love all the fabrics and tones that you have worked into the room so far! WOW, that looks like a lot of work .. I would need a pitcher of Marg's and I totally recommened drinking and DIYing :)

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  8. ~Gorgeous chair fabric Sarah! Great job!

    Love your new light fixture.
    I also saw it at Pottery Barn and lurved it too. Thanks for telling us about Home Depot. :)

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  9. Woman that room is too pretty to eat in just once a year -- I'd use it daily, and I have two small little boys! Really beautiful!

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  10. Way to go! They look great! I bet your fingers are pretty sore. Pretty soon you'll be upholstering all sorts of projects!

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  11. Great job! Love the fabrics you chose!

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  12. Well, when you asked for advice I wasn't so sure about this project. But you pulled it off with fabulous style. The whole setting, with the table, chairs, and tablescape is beautiful! Enjoy and don't serve the kids spaghetti in there!
    Janell

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  13. Dang girl, you rock. I always see chairs like this style and think "I should buy them to redo" but that thought is always followed with "HECK NO! THat looks Waaay too hard." So props to you. It looks amazing!

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  14. NICE job! I TOTALLY get it about those staples. When I redo a chair I have to sometimes take a day or four in between the rigorous staple yanking!

    LOVE HATE relationship with staples. :)

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  15. You did it! It looks awesome. And it looks like it was tons of work. But worth it. Beautiful!

    XOXO
    Jen

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  16. Wow, I LOVE the fabric you chose for the back of the chairs - that is gorgeous!

    Great job!!

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  17. The chairs look amazing, great job.

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  18. WOW....absolutely gorgeous. Can't wait to see the entire reveal. Love all your DIY's.

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  19. How fabulous are those? Love what you did to them.

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  20. The chairs look great! I just redid chairs myself, but mine didn't have a fabric back. I cursed just doing the seats, so I don't know how you got through the backs and kept your sanity! I love your fabric choice and the trim ~ it looks so lovely and I love that you can see it.

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  21. They look GORGEOUS!!!!! Looks like a tough job, but well worth it.

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  22. they turned out great, I love that fabric you picked out for the chair backs.

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  23. Those gorgeous chairs have GOT to be worth all the effort, esp. since you also got to have a margarita. ;) They look amazing!!

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  24. I hate doing the chairs! Yes... it appears to be so easy, but once you start working with the #%$@& staple gun, it's all over for me. I have yet to find one that works well. I think maybe next time (If I don't hire out) I'll use our compressor and nail gun.
    I cursed the whole time I did it at my daughter's house for my recent "weekend warrior project".
    Yours btw... look fab! great job!

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  25. Wow, thanks for the lesson. In fact thanks for all the tutorials you have. I have been so inspired by you and now realize I can decorate/remodel my home and not spend a fortune. My husband is building a set of built in bookcases from wall cabinets as we speak! This would not of been possible without your inspiration!

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  26. Oh my gosh. You are totally fun to read... and your chairs are FABULOUS! They look great. Love the dark tones in the dining room. I'm looking to paint ours (someday soon~ ha!) and like the "chocolately" look of yours.

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  27. The fabric is beautiful and is an elegant addition to your evolving dining area. How does it feel to know there were others figuratively sweating it out with you (and literally enjoying that margarita!) Fabulous job!

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  28. Absolutely GORGEOUS! Love the printed fabric.

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  29. AWESOME!! You truly are a genius!! What am I even doing with a blog?! I come to yours and it puts mine to shame!! I still love you though :)

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  30. Great job Sarah! They are beautiful! I love the fabric on the backs. Super classy and elegant.

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  31. Nice job! I was given a dining room set and love it but do think I will recover the chairs. Glad to have some pointers :)

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  32. That fabric is TO DIE FOR! I love what you did, and I completely agree that having two of the chairs in solid brown was an inspired choice. Great work!

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  33. I am BEYOND impressed! My mother in law just forwarded your blog to me, I'll be back often!
    Hugs,
    Liz

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  34. That fabric is AMAZING!!!! It must have been what pushed you along through your project because I really loved your before chairs - but I can see now why you needed to change them - GORGEOUS!!! And one of a kind! I hate when I find my furniture in someone else's house...

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  35. The fabric is BEAUTIFUL. Great job on reupholstering the chairs. Even if you don't use them a lot ... I hope you have some extra fabric just in case.

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  36. OK- I couldn't wait for this post as my chairs are in dire, D-I-R-E!! need of a reupholster. Hooray!

    BTW- Thanks for your daily dose of inspiration and humor. I nominated you for an award on my blog! :)

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  37. GORG!! I thought reupholstering this style of chair would be difficult… They turned out beautifully!! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Tiffany @ Mine Are Spectacular!

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  38. Oh, Sarah! Your chairs are so beautiful! I love the fabric you chose and what a great job you did! Be so proud and be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

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  39. Yeah see? That wasn't so bad! They look awesome!

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  40. Gorg! Seriously! Really! I really must get to work on my dining room. Thanks for all of the inspiration!

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  41. Those are the prettiest chairs I ever did see! Great job! :)

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  42. They turned out great! I'm sure well worth the effort!

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  43. Those are so beautiful! And just in time, I am about to reupholster for the first time, and this post will definately help me!

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  44. Wow, looks like hard work! The result is great though.

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  45. They look absolulety FABULOUS! What a difference....!!!

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  46. The chairs look fabulous! Re-covering is a pain in the ars! I did a wing back chair and vowed never to do it again! I am doing a much simplier project now. A simple wooden chair, painting it white and re-covering the seat. It happens to be my daughter's great-grandma's and it is going in her room. You will have to check it out! Great job on the chairs!
    www.sunshinesdesign.blogspot.com

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  47. Very pretty, Sarah! Your DR is looking great. Love the new light fixture. I've recovered many chair seats over the years.

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  48. Nice! I don't think I could ever reupholster something. And I can't help but compliment your beautiful buffet/hutch, I LOVE it! The curves, dark wood and knobs are gorg!

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  49. The chairs are GORGEOUS! Thanks for posting this, I have a chair I need to redo soon.

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  50. Wow!! Your DR chairs are TDF! What a great job you did.....go sit down & enjoy!

    bonnie

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  51. BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the fabric. And thank you for putting in the trim info. I am currently looking to recover the seats in some chairs I got from my mom - but they have that nice seam around the end and I thought to myself I have NO idea how they do that - but this ribbon/trim trick will work out great. God bless hot glue guns! ox

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  52. The chairs are gorgeous. I'm LOVING that fabric....great job!

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  53. Those look gorgeous! I've been doing mine one at a time (we have to have four available to sit in, pretty or not.) Three down, three to go.

    Yours are SOOOO pretty!

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  54. I love the chairs and the new light! So elegant. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Michelle
    www.TrashToTreasureDecorating.com

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  55. brave, brave, woman, please show me your place settings too. ; )

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  56. LOOVVEE the fabric!! Can't wait to see the whole thing done---So. Nice.

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  57. I love the fabric you chose. So far all of the pictures that you have shown from you dining room are great. I can't wait to see the finished product.

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  58. Wow ~ those chairs turned out so beautiful. I love, love, love your DIY projects and how you are so good at letting us all know how you did them. Thank you for always sharing and keeping us amused in the process. Can't wait to see the entire reveal!

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  59. WOW...your dining room look great!!! Thank you for adding my wreath project to your "crack book" page! I was so excited to see it!

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  60. That fabric is so pretty ~ I want to see an overall pic of everything together now!

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  61. They turned out beautifully! Maybe one of these days I will be so brave!!

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  62. Really beautiful job! It looks so pretty, you should eat in there more often!

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  63. Just gorgeous and DRAMITIC! Great job!
    *hugs*Deb

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  64. Oh wow, Sarah!! these are beautiful!!! The Fabris is sooo fab!!

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  65. Wow, when you say that it's the hardest thing you've done... it really scares me! The result is great, but I'll be sure to watch out for project with staple removal ;).

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  66. I have a set of chairs I need to recover. They were my husband's grandmother's, and the wood is beautiful, but the upholstery is ugly green vinyl from, like, the 60's. I want to go for something "natural," like burlap or canvas, because that's what would match my dining room. But I have small children who make massive messes. Would it be completely insane to recover the chair cushions with burlap or canvas and clear vinyl?

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  67. See, now that wasn't too bad! I just finished reupholstering an armchair that had a zillion staples in it. Not fun, for sure. But aren't the end results worth it?! Your idea of hot gluing trim around the chair to cover the staples was just what I needed for my project. You have got to check it out - it is just unbelievable! http://thousandsquarefeet.blogspot.com/2009/11/goodbye-ugly-hello-beautiful-diy.html
    Thanks for sharing all your projects. In my next house, picture frame moulding will abound!!

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  68. I was hysterical laughing when you said "This part seriously took FOREVER. .... The next one was always the worst of the bunch. "
    I laughed so hard because that is EXACTLY how I felt doing my chairs. I was looking for tips on gluing the border but the cold bowl of water was helpful for sure.

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  69. This was exactly the article I was looking for. Your description is making me rethink it, though--I have 12 chairs to do!

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  70. Felt like eleventy billion. I counted the evil little things: there are eleventy three jagillion. In each chair! But so worth it, I love yours. I was given two very nice chairs with the ugliest fabric in the world on them and am in the process of recovering them in blue and white.

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  71. Absolutely FABULOUS! Thank You sooo much for sharing!!😍

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