In pursuit of transforming our kitchen on a budget we were faced with some
very very ugly hideous kitchen chairs.
While our kitchen table went from drab to fab our chairs were still a problem.
We got the table and six chairs a decade ago for $150 and they have served us well.
The inset of the chairs was originally cane but because of the age they quickly wore out.
Our solution was chair covers, which worked for many years. As you can see, though, they were worn out.
As Tim and I discussed (for weeks) what we wanted to do we made the decision to makeover the table and somehow work with the chairs we already owned.
The key for me was finding fabric to match the window treatments (another post to come on that easy solution.) For $20 I bought enough fabric for all six chairs, a table runner and some extra for accents.
Now for the fun part, my new shabby chic dining chairs, and as usual, my husband continues to amaze me with his handiwork.
Handy-husband here! Once
the chief my bride selected fabric to re-cover the seats, it was quite simple to remove the 4 chair bolts on the under side of the seats and attach the new material.
I chose to leave all the existing material on the platforms and attach the new right on top. This would give additional cushioning and preserve the integrity of the padding underneath everything, which probably had some age to it. It was still good, so no problem in leaving it.
I laid the raw fabric on the work surface and then placed the seat upside down on it. After determining the amount of overlap I wanted for a secure fit, the fabric was cut in squares for all six chairs.
Here, the first piece is attached with a staple gun. Simply roll the fabric up and around the edges and staple to the base. I also go back and smack each staple with a hammer to drive them deeper into the surface.
Corners can be a bit tricky, but just trim off all the excess fabric and then staple – it will bunch up there. Trim any excess and they’re done! I was working with stripes, so it’s a good idea to not only check that you’re not applying crooked, but to also run all the chairs in the same way.
The bulk of the work in up-grading these chairs was in the frames, especially the backs. Since the caning had been removed years ago and plywood installed inside the frame where the cane was, this was an area that required primary attention. We had always covered the backs with chair covers, so the fit was neither perfect nor pretty.
The solution? The distressed look! I did re-work some of the backs for a better fit and made them a bit more secure with more nails and screws, but trust me, they were already well on their way to distressed!
The particular chair below actually had arm rests that I removed when the caning went away. That explains the holes and change in color. The holes were filled with wood filler and sanded, no problem.
I had trouble getting some of the screw heads even with the surface, especially on the curves, so I switched to finish nails. You get a good look here at the expertly distressed plywood!
A quick coat of oil-based spray primer (outside) to seal everything up. Again, this look isn’t for everyone, but it worked for where we were headed.
I’m always surprised at the manufactured detail work I miss with a stained finish. The second the primer went over the carvings, they jumped off the chair. It was a pleasant effect that really enhanced the look.
There is a small missing step between primer and this almost-finished product that was simply a top coat of flat white spray paint (latex). I much prefer using aerosols for pieces without a ton of variable surfaces. It is simply faster, plus it makes it far easier to distress with sandpaper at the end.
I thought this fabric was really nice against the chair color, plus it was perfect for the colors in the kitchen.
And here they are back in their place! You can see the distressed edges and corners and the bit of bleed-through on the plywood backs.
One more close-up. Remember, it is important that your distressing makes sense in the context of normal wear over many years. Otherwise it just looks like you dragged the piece up and down the driveway a few times.
Where hands touch the chair over the years is where the logical distressing should be. The same with where it might bump the table consistently, show leg abuse, and the unavoidable distress from children! You can always get that spray can out if you’ve gone too far with the sandpaper.
Hope this was of help to you all!
Total cost: $40: $20 for spray paint and $20 for for fabric