Last week I spontaneously decided to refinish a pair of chairs I grabbed at a yard sale a couple years ago. They’ve been collecting dust in our garage and taking up space (Emmett has been beginning me to move them or get rid of them). We’ve been shuffling furniture in our home and office space, so when I needed a couple extra chairs- I pulled these from our garage. They needed some serious help though. I’m pretty sure they were headed for the dumpster before I saved them at the yard sale. Click through to see the before & after, how they evolved, and I’ll link some of my furniture and upholstery tutorials within this post as well! You can also watch the chair makeover saga in video form here.
This is what they looked like before. They were pretty banged up, dirty, and were begging for a makeover! I’m a sucker for a quick, easy project. Many of you messaged, pleading for me to restore the wood, and while I love the idea and the wood tone is actually really nice- these felt too far gone for the amount of time and energy I had to put into them. I tried furniture polish, oil, my stain pens, and nothing seemed to help the wood. There was chipping, minor splitting, and scuffs- and honestly I just didn’t feel like putting THAT many hours into these chairs. I stuck to my original paint plan to keep things moving forward. I wanted to paint the chair frame black to really emphasize the beautiful curvy shape- high contrast is a great way to do that! The seat cushions also needed reupholstered, as there were multiple snags, stains, and wear.
Then things became interesting… I shared an Instagram poll asking which fabric you liked best- animal print or a wavy textural fabric? 70% voted for the wavy fabric and the remaining 30% voted for the animal print. Sometimes it takes asking or someone choosing the thing you DON’T want to realize what you DO want. This happens all the time when Emmett & I are deciding on dinner… it annoys him to no end.
Emmett: What do you want for dinner?
Me: I don’t care.
Emmett: Ok, tacos it is!
Me: Actually, I think pasta sounds better.
Emmett: Ok, so you DO care!!
This was the same scenario. Haha! Can anyone relate? I’m sorry to the majority who voted for the beautiful wavy fabric. Animal print just felt like me… it was the right move for these chairs and our home.
I had leftover paint from another project, so I just ended up using Krylon Specialty Lacquer in black. I liked the idea of a glossy finish. I have tons of paint tutorials (feel free to scroll through them here). I just applied the paint in thin, even coats. I suggest lightly sanding beforehand, but sometimes I’m lazy and skip that step (that was the case here)… no regrets so far, but do as I SAY not as I DO. Haha!
Next it was time to upholster the seat. This is my favorite part of the process! Here is my tried and true tutorial for reupholstering the seat of a chair.
I did a fabric check one last time, and was still convinced the animal print fabric was the right move for these chairs, so I moved along with the plan. I had a lot of questions about the fabric source, and this one came from a local shop- I’m sorry!
Ready for the before & after? Boom! They look a LOT better. I feel like they have more style and personality! I have to say, they’re even better in person.
This was a fun creative project for me. Remind me to step away from my computer and do more of these in the year ahead, ok?! Hold me to it!
What do you think? Are you into my chairs- even though I went against the majority? Don’t hate me! I know animal print isn’t for everyone. Haha! I hope your week is off to a fabulous start. Have a good one!
PeggiJanuary 25, 2021 at 4:37 am
Love ’em! I continue to be amazed at the finish you get with spray paint! That black looks fantastic! It really highlights the lovely shape. I was team animal print all the way! Isn’t that a hilarious phenomenon about choices? Sometimes you really do need someone else’s opinion before you’re certain of your own. Haha, it can make you seem contrary though. A fast creative project always reenergizes me! I usually tackle them when I have the most to do, so, for me, they’re actually productive procrastination. Here’s to more of that! Especially when the result is a sweet pair of chairs. (They looked smashing in your IG drapery sneak peek!) Last week of January…GO!💜
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 9:02 am
I swear by this handy little paint gadget. It’s makes the pressing the nozzle so much easier, so I can get even coats. Team animal print!! I feel bad for polling the audience and going completely astray, but it took that for me to realize what I actually wanted. Haha! The animal print just felt right. I’m with you on the fast creative projects leading to new energy, and I’m also in agreement that I often do these in the worst times- productive procrastination is my specialty. No complaints about new pretty chairs, though. Hope you have an amazing last week of January! xox
LauraJanuary 25, 2021 at 5:41 am
Wow! Just wow! I love what you did to the chairs, Sarah. They look very expensive and glamorous. I always enjoy your furniture makeovers! Keep’em coming. :)
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:55 am
Thank you, Laura! I’m very into the furniture makeovers, too. I’ll have to find more things to restore in the year ahead :) Have a great week!
PamelaJanuary 25, 2021 at 6:02 am
Stunning! Think of the $$$ you saved, these would have been so expensive. Beauty AND brains should help motivate you to step away from the computer more this year. Food for the soul too.
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:55 am
Thank you, Pamela! These were a fun project and indeed- it’s always wonderful to save money :) Thanks so much for the encouragement! xo
BriannaJanuary 25, 2021 at 7:19 am
Holy cow Sarah, these are incredible!! The animal print was 100% the way to go. You’ve inspired me to keep my eyes peeled for some furniture to flip.
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:52 am
Thank you, Brianna! I really do love the animal print. Happy furniture hunting :) my fingers area crossed for you!!
LynnJanuary 25, 2021 at 7:28 am
They look gorgeous – very high end! It’s amazing what a new coat of paint will do!
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:52 am
Thank you so much, Lynn! I’m always amazed by the transformative power of paint :)
LaurenJanuary 25, 2021 at 7:34 am
Team animal print for the win! I was so excited you chose that fabric. The wavy fabric is beautiful, but you’re absolutely right; it didn’t feel like you. Against the drapery these chairs just look dreamy. It’s a quite hilarious conundrum about choices like that, and it happens to me all the time! The end result is stunning! You’ll be happy to know I made it to SW on Friday and was able to pick up a Nylox brush, a cut-in brush, some roller covers and a ton of paint samples! Jeff will be in your neck of the woods later this week and I plan on painting while he’s gone. We are getting snow today, and it’s the last week of January! I hope it’s a great week for you! Xo
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:52 am
It’s such a beautiful fabric! It really is funny how those decisions come to fruition. I’m glad you can relate! Haha! Amazing work on grabbing yourself some awesome paint tools :) Jeff is arriving to Salt Lake at the perfect time. We finally got a bunch of snow this week, so it’s looking more beautiful than ever. So fun that you’re getting snow, too! Have a wonderful week, Lauren! xox
Jennifer LauraJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:48 am
So cute- love how these turned out!
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 9:14 am
Thanks, Jennifer :)
Danna FJanuary 25, 2021 at 9:17 am
I too am impressed with the power of spray paint on wood furniture. I think it may be in part to your technique (making note to go back and look at your tutorial). Love the animal print, black color and design of the chairs. I did vote for the lighter fabric only because I thought that might be the direction you were going. Animal print is always good! Glad you saw the potential in the wood chairs and saved them. I have a few things to spray paint for the house this week (nothing exciting just vent covers) since we are finally getting some warmer temps and sun. Getting anxious to see your design board for the office. I haven’t missed it have I?
Speaking of paint, are the paint swatches/sheets something that you could share coming up? I have had friends, painters and our local Sherwin Williams store asking where I got them because they loved the idea of those. Have a good Monday!
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 10:05 am
It really does make an incredible difference! There was really no wrong fabric choice :) Both are so beautiful in person. I’m sure I’ll find a use for that gorgeous wavy white fabric in the future. You have not missed the office design board! I’m still finalizing some things and putting the final touches on the built-in design- I changed a couple things. I’ll be sharing it soon! The paint swatches are so handy, aren’t they?! I’m really happy you liked those. They’re for designers and trade members who have Sherwin-Williams accounts. They’re made for presenting and sharing with clients. I have to order them online through my wholesale platform. I’m not sure if consumers are able to buy them or order, but I can definitely look into it for you! Have an awesome week, Danna – and happy painting!! xox
ColleenJanuary 25, 2021 at 9:56 am
Omg Sarah! Your chair project is stunning 🤩 where are you going to put those beauties? I can’t wait to see your exquisite styling and I wait in anticipation to see them perfectly placed in your beautiful home. You certainly do have the knack for salvaging and bringing out the hidden attributes of diamonds in the rough. Well done! Another gorgeous restoration project to inspire us all. Thanks for sharing as always ❤️
SarahJanuary 25, 2021 at 10:02 am
Thank you so much, Colleen! We finally setup a desk for Emmett at home, and my plan was to use one there, but I’m thinking I’ll keep both of these for my office once it’s finished. Haha!! I’ll have to hunt for some more furniture to restore in the coming year :) Thanks again for your kind words. I hope your week is off to an awesome start. xo
StephanieJanuary 25, 2021 at 3:05 pm
Stunning! Love them. I’m always so impressed with your style. Your post is timely as I am looking to do something similar with chairs that were my mother’s. I tried to watch your video, but it isn’t working for me. Not sure if others are having any issues. Also, I know the fabric is from a local store, but what type of fabric should I look for when I’m sourcing mine? Any guidance would be helpful!
SarahJanuary 26, 2021 at 8:19 am
Thank you, Stephanie! You can try opening the videos in Instagram (it’s saved to a highlight called “chair makeover” on my profile). As for the fabric, you’ll want to find a heavy upholstery weight fabric. Check out this post for additional insight- https://roomfortuesday.com/designer-trick-choosing-fabric/
TeriJanuary 25, 2021 at 9:27 pm
No surprise that these chairs turned out so beautifully. You have such mad skills! BTW, I have a chair very similar but with arms, so I knew the animal print was the best choice :). Can’t wait to see where to use them.
SarahJanuary 26, 2021 at 8:16 am
Thank you so much, Teri! These were a fun, fast project for me :) I’m really happy with the end result. Have a great day!
TaylorJanuary 26, 2021 at 9:05 am
I voted for the wavy (felt like a print that would fit in my home) but my gut feeling told me you would go with animal print either way! Since you’re the one living with it, you have to go with what will make you happy! Thanks for the inspiration.