Driftwood Armchairs

11 Materials
6 Hours

Abbey from gave these armchairs a classic makeover complete with new upholstery, Driftwood, and a touch of Antiquing Wax and White Wax!
When a friend asked if I wanted these chairs I jumped on it. A matching pair of anything isn’t always easy to find…and I’ll always accept free furniture!

While I’m not new to reupholstering I’m far from an expert. This type of chair may look daunting but it’s easier than you’d think; I’ll run you through the process. I didn’t take as many progress pictures as I should have so I’ll try to be detailed.

First I stripped the trim from around the top (ok, so my husband did it because, dang, that trim was NOT coming off without a fight). Since the seats came completely off I didn’t bother stripping that little bit of trim. Using needlenose pliers I removed as many of the 500,000 staples as I could from around the top cushion. You don’t necessarily have to remove them all, just as many as possible to be sure nothing gets in the way of new staples or pokes through new fabric.

Time for paint! While I’ve seen some amazing super bold and colorful makeovers of these vintage chairs, I decided on a more classic look. I gave the frames two coats of Country Chic Paint’s Driftwood, new to the standard color line. When I first saw the color and first painted with it I was skeptical because it wasn’t exactly the prettiest color looking more like orange-ish wet sand than a warm taupe…until it dried. It dried darker and much prettier (let this be a lesson to always give paint a chance to dry before passing judgement!)
I applied a little of Country Chic Paint’s antiquing wax around the details after I distressed with sandpaper. It still wasn’t quite the look I wanted so I added a little more depth and interest with some white wax. Perfect.

Now to get back to upholstering! With the seats removed, I cut pieces of canvas drop cloth to fit around with plenty of excess and stapled. To be sure everything is smooth and taut, staple the center of the top then the center of the bottom and work your way around, always smoothing as you go.

Using a large sheet of packing paper I cut a very rough pattern of the top front and back cushions and used the pattern to cut the fabric I needed. I left plenty of excess to make sure I could stretch the fabric as needed. Again I started by stapling the top center and the bottom center and worked my way around, being sure to smooth and pull taut as I went.

Once I trimmed the excess fabric I was ready to attach my decorative trim. All you need is a hot glue gun. I worked slowly around the cushion making sure the trim was perfectly placed and solidly adhered. It took about an hour and a half (and a number of scalded fingertips) to get it all done.

How beautiful are these chairs now? I love the classic French look and how simple and rustic the canvas drop cloth is as a fabric.

Suggested materials:

  • All-in-One Decor Paint  (Country Chic Paint)
  • Antiquing Wax  (Country Chic Paint)
  • White Wax  (Country Chic Paint)
See all materials

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To see more: http://blog.countrychicpaint.com

Have a question about this project?

3 of 14 questions
  • Merry Straub
    on Feb 13, 2019

    I have 4 chairs, 2 sets of 2, that I inherited from my parents. I'd say they are at least 75 years old. I want to refurbish them. The wood is mildewed and in terrible condition. Where do I begin? This is totally new for me. I think I can handle the cushions (?). Your chairs came out so beautifully I thought you might be able to give me some info. Thanks. Merry

    • Beth
      on Oct 27, 2019

      The lady in this post used a solid fabric. If you use a fabric with a pattern, always center the same item on the pattern on each seat cushion, and have it facing you as you look at the chair. For example, if the fabric has flowers on it, center the same flower on each cushion so each will look exactly the same. And the pattern should be placed so it appears correct as you stand in front of the chair and look down at the seat.

  • Lisa Fauerbach
    on Feb 16, 2019

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Knit Wit
    on Nov 11, 2019

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the trim that was used. What size was it?

Join the conversation

2 of 78 comments
  • Carla
    on Oct 17, 2019

    Lovely upcycle!

  • Carol Z
    on Jan 3, 2020

    I love the way these chairs turned out! Beautiful! I love anything with letters/handwriting/calligrahy! Inspired. Well done.

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