Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Re-furbished Dining Room Chairs

In trying to rid the Dining Room of the Blah-Brown phase we decided to try our hands at reupholstering the dining room chairs.  Now don’t get me wrong the fabric was durable and fabulous for hiding the occasional food spillage.  It was the overwhelming brown of every piece of furniture that prompted this change.

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Changing out the material is a whole lot less expensive than buying new chairs and less time consuming than painting the wood.

I chose a blue weave upholstery material that I found fairly inexpensive at Fabric.com .  Maybe spent around $5.98 per yard and used around 3 1/2 yards to cover eight chairs.  What I loved about the site was the fact that you could buy sample swatches on the cheap so I could see the colors before investing in a bunch of yardage.  That, and they were the quickest at shipping out of four different fabric stores that I ordered online from.  So the cost of repurposing all eight chairs was less than $20.

Supplies needed:  Upholstery fabric, scissors, staple gun and staples, pliers and something to pry up old staples, and a screwdriver.

First unscrew the padded part of the chair from it’s base.

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Once it’s separated from the chair notice how the material is folded and stapled to the base.  You’ll probably want to make similar folds on your new cushion.

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Whoever constructed my chairs used a lot of staples (curse them). 

So then, you can either spend a lot of pry-time working out the staples, (I found pliers and a can tab opener to be my best friends for this job)…or

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cut off as much of the old material as possible.  I ended up using this method on 7 of my 8 chairs.  Decided this option after spending 1 1/2 hours removing the staples from just one chair.

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Then I flipped the wood over so that the old material would be on the top inside of the new pad.  I’ll explain this in a bit.

I reused the cushion because I was too cheap to go buy new and the old cushion was still in pretty good condition.  Then I cut out my new material using  the material from the first chair (which I unstapled) as a pattern.    Place the material (right side down) and put it on the floor.  Then added the foam (top side down) on top of the material and finally added the wood chair base (pretty [unstapled] side up).  Like this.

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Once it’s all laid out you can trim the excess material off.  I even went a little further and cut out some small triangles in the corners to the fabric wouldn’t bunch up too much.

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In before stapling the material to the wood base I folded a tiny edge so as to give  the material more durability when being stapled.  I could just imagine the staple pulling through the weave.  So folding seemed like the right thing to do.  Plus, it looks nicer should anyone decide to plop themselves on your floor and look at the underside of your chair seats.  Ha, like that will happen.

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Then start stapling away.  I stapled side to side then back to front leaving the corners until last. 

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Here’s my tip.  You can do all of this on your own – However, if you really want a smooth nice corner, enlist a friend to help with the stapling.  That way one person can hold the material to the proper tauntness (love making up new words), while the other staples away.  Ms. Passion helped me.   Thanks  to her the chairs turned out great.

Instead of gathering the corner and showing pleats when decided to try the method used by whomever it was that put my chairs together in the first place.  Ms. Passion called the fold a diaper fold.

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It involves making tiny gathers on the underside of the seat while stretching the top side so that no gathers or pleats are visible.  

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The final fold is what Ms. Passion called the diaper fold.    Once in place so that your corner looks great from the upper side, staple away.

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We tackle the back corners of the chair first (less visible and more practice) and then worked on the front corners.  It was a little time consuming and took both of us around 8 hours spread out over three days.  A couple of the seats we ended up taking apart and trying again because the cushions had shifted while we were stretching the material.  But the finished project was gratifying.  You would never know they were a re-do.  Once the cushion meets your approval screw it back on to the chair.  Go slowly so that if the screw happens to catch a thread it won’t pull.

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That’s it – You’re done!  And the final approval was immediately recognized by my fat cat Pumpkin.  He seems to think every new surface in my home is a brand new bed made just for him.

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So from this…

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to this  (Yeah, no more brown)…

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Believe me, they will look great in my new dining room.