DIY Dining Room Chair Redo

Back in May, I picked up some dining chairs at Goodwill I planned to redo and recover. I finally got around to it this weekend. I found this set of 4 chairs for $6.99 a chair and figured it was worth a try! I liked the cane detail on the back and on most of the chairs it was in pretty great condition.

I could tell each chair had already been repainted, so I knew that would be the route I’d have to go as well. I could also tell that the fabric was only visible on the top side so I felt comfortable recovering since I don’t trust my skills on projects where the fabric is shown from multiple sides or requires piping.

 First I picked out some new fabric that I wanted to replace the seats with. I was torn between two options, both at Hobby Lobby, but one was on clearance so we decided to go with that one. I planned for at least a yard per seat, even though I knew I wouldn’t need that much but I like to have extra on hand in case I need to replace one in the future. Also, this is a set of four chairs, and if I ever find two that coordinate, I’d like to still have fabric left over to cover those to match as well. 

I had planned to paint them white, but also had a new gallon of a light grey taupe paint saved in my garage that I had picked up from Home Depot recently. If you’re ever in the paint section there, be sure to check out the area where they have mess up paint orders or a returned paint. It’s usually completely unused and usually 50% off or so and might be just the color you need, if your project isn’t too specific. 

Proof of my daughter Palmer “helping me” on this project adding screwdriver parts and wall anchors in any chair hole she could find. haha

Then, I unscrewed each wooden seat base from each chair and set it aside. I sanded the remaining part of the chairs and cleaned them to prep them for paint. These chairs had previously been painted so many areas I had to chip off previous paint as I sanded. 

I then painted each chair with a hand brush taking my time and doing 2-3 coats on each. It’s a little time consuming due to the many angles, nooks, and areas.

You’ll wanna make sure you have a heavy duty stapler for this project which we have somewhere but couldn’t find so I went and picked up another one at Home Depot it’ll cost you around 20 bucks and about $6 to 9 for a pack of stables. You’ll want to make sure it’s a staple gun that shoots square staples and not one for cables that’s rounded. I used 5/8 for the staples but you could use 1/2-inch or whatever works for your project. 

While the paint dried, I removed the previous staples using a large flathead screwdriver, wedging it under each staple and discarding it after. Once I broke the old fabric free from the wood base, I took it over to my new fabric and used it as a size pattern reference for what size I would need to replace it with.

While I did this I made sure I was lining up the fabric with what part I wanted to be the center. I cut the fabric and set it to the side. You can go ahead and cut all the templates you need but I went ahead and stapled one to the chair to make sure that’s how I liked it before cutting my other pieces.

Next I cleaned up the seat base and cut away anything that was falling apart or dirty and cleaned it up. Next I lined my fabric up making sure it was straight under the seat base.

I stapled a couple on one side, then the side directly across making sure to pull it tight but not so tight that pulls the look of the fabric. Next, I stapled the other two sides but skipping all of the corners. Then I neatly folded and pulled the fabric in the corners till it was clean edge and stapled it down as well, repeating this for each corner.

Once I did my first seat and liked its appearance and I cut the other templates so that I can streamline the process a little faster. Once, I recovered each seat base, I set it on the dry chair to make sure I liked the look. Then I lined it up straight and hold it in place while I really screwed it in from the bottom with an electric Phillips screwdriver.

I did the same for the other three and then looked it over for any touchups or fixes and that was it! 

I’m sure we will eventually replace these with some nicer chairs for the spot, but for now, I thought this was a great fix for this space. Thanks for following along!


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