• Laura

DIY Project: When Going "Old" is More Fun than "New"

Today's post is from guest writer, Laura. Laura is a Midwest mom to three young kids, in addition to working full time in education. In her limited free time, she enjoys sewing, embroidery and decorating.


Have you ever looked around a room in your home and thought, “this could really use a refresh?” Sometimes it’s easy to ditch the old and go buy brand new furniture, but it’s also satisfying to give new life to classic and timeless older furniture!


One reason that I like looking for older furniture to refresh a room is that it is often well made and sturdy, and pieces that are made of real wood are easy to refinish or reupholster. You can typically spend much less and end up with superior quality that will last for years to come! Side chairs, end tables, coffee tables, and bedroom furniture or desks (especially for kids’ rooms!) are some of my favorite items to refresh!


When looking for pieces to refresh your space, it’s important to first consider size, style, and shape. By establishing a general idea of what you are looking for, it will be easier to know when you’ve found just the right item. Facebook marketplace, local swap groups, thrift stores, and consignment shops are all great places to look for your ideal piece! Remember, patience is important and it may take ‘watching’ these places for a few weeks to find the perfect item. My favorite way to find great older pieces is to set up a search on Facebook marketplace; it will send alerts when items that match your search are posted.


Once you have found the perfect piece, it’s time for the magic!


We recently moved and purchased a desk from the previous owners. This chair came with the desk and we have the perfect spot for it in an odd space in our living room. I love the character of the chair, but the fabric needed to be refreshed.


Time needed for this project: less than 30 minutes


Tools/materials needed for this project:

  • 1 yard of upholstery fabric (I used this fabric from Joann's)

  • Staple gun and staples (I used this one)

  • Screwdriver

  • Scissors

  • Optional: additional foam for seat


Step 1: Use a screwdriver to remove the cushion from the chair frame. Typically several screws attach the cushion to the frame on the underside of the chair. Save the screws to reattach later.


Step 2: Determine if you want to remove the old material and if additional/new foam is needed. For my chair, I covered over the existing fabric. I chose not to add any additional foam because the existing did not show heavy wear.


Step 3: Position fabric over the seat with the pattern facing out. If needed, center the print on the chair cushion. This step is not necessary for fabrics that have smaller repeating prints. For my fabric, I wanted a large diamond centered on the cushion so I positioned the fabric in the center before I did any cutting.


Step 4: Flip the cushion over and cut around the general shape of the seat, leaving several extra inches of fabric all the way around.


Step 5: Begin by stapling near the center point of one edge. Pull the fabric tight and staple in the center of the opposite edge. Work your way from center toward the corners, pulling tight as you work. Fold the fabric and manipulate as you go, always pulling the fabric tight. Stop before you get all the way to the corner. Manipulate the fabric until it looks clean. Pull extra tight and staple several staples around the corner. Remember staples can always be removed and redone, so this step should be stress free! You can’t mess this up! You are finished when there are staples spaced about every inch all the way around.


Step 6: Once the fabric is secure, use scissors to trim the fabric closer to the staples.


Step 7: Place the seat back on the chair frame. Use the original screws to reattach the seat to the frame. If the chair is used for dining or will be used in a high traffic space or by children, a bit of Scotchgard spray can help to protect the new fabric from stains. Spray and let dry before reattaching to the frame.


Ta da!




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