DIY slipcover over a pleather chair

August 01, 2011

A few weeks ago one of my very best bloggy friends came up to help me out with a project. Traci from Beneath My Heart came to town and I could NOT have done it without her help. That’s what we told her hubby anyway. ;)

I wanted to reupholster the chair in my office:

I got it from Bombay Company years ago, and it’s a great chair, just not the look I’m going for in this space. I wanted to reuse it if at all possible.

My plan all along was actually to make a slipcover for it. But when we sat down to check it out, we realized a slipcover wouldn’t work with the pleather – it would slip and slide all over the place.

So we decided to take it apart and just cover each part individually:

recovering parson's chair

Because this was in no-spend July, we used some fabric I bought months ago to make a bed skirt for our bed. That never happened. :)

I think we had plenty:



We covered the seat like I’ve shown you a few times:

recovering a seat

Then we stopped to tickle a Bub:

OH my goodness, I think the Bub loved Traci more than I do…and that’s a lot. :) He still talks about her.

The original plan was to tuft the back of the chair (it was already tufted), so we took the back portion off:

And then put a dog on it:


He wasn’t helpful. Really.

We left the pleather on the rest of it and just covered it, much like the seat:

back of parson's chair

We used a staple gun for all of the recovering, which was a bit of a pain. The staples were too shallow and wouldn’t grab the wood. We had to do each staple at least twice.

That part was SUPER FUN!

Then we took a nap:

Trace loved the new sofa. ;)

The next day, we put the chair back together and started the skirt. I knew I wanted it skirted because of all of the legs on the desk -- I thought having the chair legs hidden may help to break up all the legginess (word?) a bit.

Traci showed me a bahhhhrilliant way to fake a custom skirt. We hemmed up little corner pieces and then just stapled them along each leg:

When were done, this is what it looked like:

DIY chair skirt

Then Traci had to go, and she left me to fend for myself. We all cried. OK, not really, but my eyes welled up. A lot. :)

It only took three weeks, but I finally finished it up. You all know how efficient I am, so this should not surprise you.

We had hemmed up more fabric, and then I cut it to fit along the sides and just hot glued them on, leaving the corners exposed a bit:

Yes, hot glue baby. It works. It does the job. You can’t tell. It’s not perfect. (Never is.)

Once I trimmed up the fabric, I needed to cover the raw edges, but I didn’t have anything that would work. I was determined to make this happen without spending anything, so I went to some extra fabric I’ve been using in the space:

DIY trim

I cut the blue stripe out of the fabric, then used my hemming tape to fold it over and make a “trim.”

I had to do the same for the back:

By the way, we didn’t end up tufting the back of the chair because 1.) it was going to be a pain in to booty and 2.) the fabric looked like it would tear if we poked through it too much and 3.) it was going to be a pain. :)

Once the trim was in place, it covered all the glue gun sins perfectly:

I came up with a nifty little way to hide where the pieces came together on the back – I just took some of my DIY trim and hot glued it around the edges of the blue banding:

reupholstered parson's chair

And I LOVE how it turned out!!:

reupholstered parson's chair

You can see I threw together a little pillow, with my cutie little sewing machine I showed you here. Traci was not a fan of my little Pixie machine. Pixie’s a little slow going, and you have to be patient with her…but she gets the job done.

Just like me and this office. ;)

Like I said, it’s not perfect, not even close. But I’m totally OK with that, if you haven’t noticed.

So here’s some before and afters for ya – a WAY before of the chair in the other corner, as it was before:


Geez, that seems like forever ago! OH, that’s right…it was forever ago. I swear I’ll finish this room soon. :)

And now:

board and batten office

Can you even believe it’s the same chair? Nuts!

You’ll notice from the first pic (up on top) that I changed up the orientation of the desk. The chair was hidden behind the desk before, and I wanted to show it off! I just feel like this way works better in the space.

But who knows if it will stay this way. I’m still not 100 percent sure anything in the room will stay where it is. :)

Here’s a before of the corner where the desk and chair sit:

And as it is now:

board and batten office

And…NO. I still have not painted the board and batten. It WILL happen this week – it. will. happen.

If I say it out loud it will come true, yes? ;)

Really though, I will have this space done this month, I’m sure of it. It’s about time. I’m painting tomorrow…swear.

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  1. OH MY! I adore the chair!! Fabulous job!!! :)

  2. I love the chair!!! Very cute & so much detail!! Great Job!!

    xx Liz Marie

  3. Thanks for hosting the party! I always find such great inspiration!

    And your office is BEE-YOU-TI-FULL!! I absolutely love it :D

  4. I love it! How incredibly fun that you got to have Tracy come and help you! I really like the trick she showed you on the skirt - I am going to try that! Love the way the room is progressing, and I totally get the length of time to get it done - sounds familiar!!

  5. The infamous chair! We finally get to see it. And what a fab little skirt trick! I'll have to remember that one. Your office is gorgeous.

  6. The whole area looks fabulous. It's so much lighter and brighter. I love the chair too. You all did an awesome job and I love the trim.

  7. It looks great! I actually love the two-tone look on the wall treatment -- I know it's not what you were going for, but in the pictures it looks neat.

    Adore the chair and the desk and the cute vintage table... just fantastic!

    Can't wait to see how it all comes out!


  8. wow! your chair looks great! you guys did an amazing job! love the changes you made to your office!

  9. I love the chair. Great texture. Thanks so much for hosting this wonderful party.

  10. Beautiful office, and great job on the chair!!!

  11. First...the suspense of the office reveal is KILLING me!! I can.not.wait until it is finished!! Its going to look fabulous!

    Second...the chair turned out just beautiful! The skirted bottom is A-Dorable! I LOVE it!

    Third...I am super jealous that you got to hang out & have a sleep-over with my girl Traci! Love her!! :)

    And fourth...I am totally BUMMED that I have nothing to link up this month! BOO!

  12. Sarah, you and Traci did such a great job! Love the soft colors and your chair looks super comfy. It fits beautifully into your new office space, now. Don't feel bad, I still haven't painted the molding in my office. lol I did finally caulk it. I think I'm waiting for the painting fairy to come do it for me. Yeah, right! ;)

  13. The chair is almost as beautiful as the two of you! I am so glad you two had so much fun!!

  14. the. chair. is. amazing. !!!
    what wonderful work you guys do!
    thanks for hosting...

  15. You finished her up beautifully! Of course, it was my advanced sewing skills that gave you the inspiration. :) Now sit your tush in that chair and relax.
    And give Bub a kiss from me!!!
    Love you bunches!

  16. What an amazing space. Thanks for hosting.

  17. Your chair looks so pretty. Chic and fabulous!
    Thanks for hosting!

  18. Wow, it looks so great, good job! I'm always so impressed with everything you do. I seriously love all of it! You've got amazing style. :)

  19. It turned out great, and I love the sweet pillow.

  20. Hi, Sarah! Just wanted to say your chair turned out fab-u-lous. The whole office redesign is great!

    When I saw your linky was about Before/Afters specifically, I almost squealed b/c I just finished up the mother of all master closet makeovers (with lots of help from my best friends, Goodwill, Ross, and Marshall's!)

    I'm more than a little proud of the results: #95. Would be honored if you find the time to look. : )

    Keep up the great/inspiring work!
    ~Abbie (Five days...5 ways)

  21. Brill.i.ant!!! Ahh, I LOOOOVE it!!! Thanks so much for posting; I'm SO going to try this!

  22. Wonderful job!! House projects with friends are the best! I love the "after" so much, especially the skirt--it looks like something from Pottery Barn! I love your blog and your personality, thanks for posting!

  23. oh my LANDS that chair turned out spectacular! What a change!! Thanks so much for hosting this party- I've linked up some dresses I made for my girls out of a set of toddler sheets I found on clearance at Target (number 108) Hope you're having a great day!

  24. Love the chair, love Traci, and love how the office is coming!! I can't wait until it's finished so I can "pin" it as my ultimate office inspiration....I know it's not done, but so far it's coming along exactly as I have envisioned in my noggin for my own dreamy office. ;)
    Thanks for hosting! My cake's #117 - it was so so easy and yummy - you should totally try it! =)

    Mara @ Super Savings

  25. It may not be perfect but it's looks friggin awesome!!!

  26. I love it!! Thanks for the detailed instructions and step by step pictures. Great transformation!!

  27. Your chair looks fabulous! Very chic and I love the details! I love how your "new" chair goes with the whole room. The office is also very pretty as well.

    By the way, I just host a giveaway so stop by and enter for a chance to win a piece of fabulous jewelry of your choice. :) Here's the link:


  28. That area is just looking sweeter and sweeter! It impacts me even more when you show those "before" photos. I love what you did with the chair and will be filing away that little tip on the corners!

  29. Wow... the new look is so soft and inviting! Stunning!


  30. Great makeover on the chair!! :)
    Thank you so much for hosting!

  31. Sarah,
    Your office is adorable! I love the chair and now I need to try it on my dining chairs. Very nice makeover and thanks for having us over! I'm glad other people buy fabric and never use it for the intended purpose. HA, I did that just yesterday!

  32. It looks fabulous! Very bright and open now. :)

  33. The chair looks fantastic! Love the trim detail... and that you had fun putting it together with a friend.

    Thanks for hosting!

  34. Great job with the room! It looks very homey and a place to become inspired! Love it!

  35. Love the chair! The room looks great....what is that fabric you used on the chair?

  36. Wow! What an amazing transformation! I don't know that I could pull that off, but it's nice to see that someone else can. I could handle the pillow.

  37. Wow! What a transformation. And I totally heart your office. Can't wait to see the final show!

  38. OMG LOVE the new chair...and love Traci too :) She's so CUTE! You ladies did such a great job on this it off proudly!!!

  39. I love your chair! Is that dropcloth that you used? That is my latest craze! My office "before" looked much like yours and I am now going to a lighter yours, as well. I think I am going to give the board and batten thing a try when life slows down.....maybe 2030 or so!

  40. like everyone else, i love it! wow.

    but what i love more is the real-lifeness of the post. your ability to include your family in your projects is great. or at least stop for a tickle break here and there. i get quite task oriented sometimes and this is a great reminder ...

  41. It's gorgeous! And actually, I thought you had painted the board and batten a soft tan to contrast the white and i thought it looked really pretty! haha

  42. Love the chair! What a find idea to add the additional trim! Thanks for hosting the party! I don't have anything to link up this week, but I love to look around!

  43. The chair turned out great and fits so well in your room!

  44. The chair looks great! I love the helpful dog. Mine always seem to do the same thing...the cats too ;)

  45. Great job! Makes me feel like I could Mayyyyyyyyybe tackle a project like that :>) How do I call up Traci?! :>)

  46. I am so in love with that room. The colors have my name written all over them. And that board and batten - finished or not - makes me want to do it in my house every time I see it.

  47. Your office is looking fabulous! I linked up my office chair re-do this time. Great job on your chair!

  48. Aww, look how much fun ya'll had! Wish we could all hang out more often. Love the new chair, what a difference it made! Loving the new office too, cute cute!!

  49. Fabulous work. Love the trim detail and it looks comfy and more feminine than the pleather piece.

  50. You are so right, it doesn't even look like the same room. A very lovely and fresh space.

  51. i want you to move next door to me!

  52. The chair looks fantastic!! It's perfect in your new office. Love the light and airy feeling in there, yet so cozy.

  53. What a transformation. Thanks for outlining how you re-created this office chair. The photos are wonderful.

  54. Thanks for hosting, Sarah! I meant to link up last night but got distracted with being a worry wart over all the surgery stuff b/c I am a weenie like that. I love the way your office is shaping up. The chair looks fabulous!

  55. the chair looks great! I'm all about the "if I'm okay with it, then it's okay!" theory.
    I don't care if it's in style or not...if I like it, then that's all that you go girl!!

    The office is coming together and I'm getting rather used to the board and batten not being painted...LOL

    can't wait to see when it's all finished!

  56. love how the fabrics coordinate. I am SO bad at that :(

    So if you're painting board and batten...that means you won't be at BlogHer?? :(

  57. Hey, this is your newest follower:) chair looks chick:) I love your blog...

  58. How lucky you never made that skirt for your bed, lol... otherwise you would not be able to make THE MOST BEAUTIFUL chair for your office:) I absolutely adore every little bit of it (including the pillow)!

  59. This is so darn cute. I always laugh at the Pleather and we all have it!!! Great idea to re-use. I've followed for quite some time and really enjoy your fun posts. I hope you come visit my site someday in your spare time! LOL xoxox, cami at

  60. very cute chair....thanks for hosting!

  61. I think you did a fabulous job...perfect is not all it's cracked up to be. :) And you have a story to go with it. Your office is dreamy!


  62. Super cute...way better than pleather!


  63. I. Am. inspired. I have two chairs very similar to that one. They are used at the kitchen table and well, they are in serious need of a new cover. By the way, I am so excited to join my first before and after party on your blog. Thank you for hosting such a great linky party.

  64. Oh, I do love your creativity... and your doggie.


  65. I love what you've done with this room. Where did you get the curtains and fabric for the lamp shade; it's beautiful!!!

  66. Oh and I thought I'm the only one on blog world that doesnt make perfect DIY projects but I loved it...I think now I will be able to make chair skirts/bed skirts any skirt :D
    BTW you can add 3 small buttons to the blue trim on the bed of the chair where the edges meet ( you put some small green trim to cover) I thought maybe a 3 buttons will look cool too :)
    Im your newest so talkative follower lol

  67. Hey! i enjoyed the chair story and it did turn out great! I wanted to suggest something for your future projects. I've taken a couple of wpholstery courses at the local community college and I splurged on a small compressor and staple gun. I got both at Harbor Freight Tools. The compressor was $35 during one of their frequent sales and the gun was $14.95. I've had it for about 3-1/2 years and it still works great. I can bring it inside the house to work on things and that makes all the stapling, etc. got REALLY fast and easy. Last year I went back to Harbor Freight and got the brad nailer and I use that to add trim and appliques to the furniture I redo. It was cheap at twice the price as far as I'm concerned and I couldn't even imagine working with the stapler you used. I know it was really hard work but you did do a great job.


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