Ugly Duckling Thrift Store Chairs Can Be Swans
I found this chair in the "DYI" section of a thrift store. I had to laugh because everything I buy at the thrift store is a DYI project for me. I guess they thought this one needed some "real" work.
This sad chair did need a makeover. Now, when I look for something to reupholster I look for a sturdy frame (or something that can be easily repaired) and a decent seat if I do not feel like ripping it down to the frame and re-tying the springs. Since most of us are not up to that, look for a smooth seat -- no lumps or bumps when you sit down, and you should not sink to the floor either. If you do, the springs have given up and retired. Most chairs that need a new cover look a little deflated, but that can be solved easily with some extra padding.
Here is the chair all decked out in new paint and fabric. I found a tan and white ticking stripe to complement this floral toile pattern. The ticking on the chair back keeps the whole thing fresh since it is a little unexpected. Toile by itself can feel more traditional than what I was going for - casual, fun, beachy
Here is the back of the chair. Ticking works well for welting trim because trim fabric is cut on the bias (diagonal grain) of the fabric to make it easier to lay around the curves that come with upholstery. So the stripes form this wonderful diagonal pattern around the chair.
Details like these are a good way to make a ho hum piece a real knock out. I love to use contrasting welting, or buttons, or other "dressmaker" details like pleats or special ties. These really do not add much to the cost of an upholstery job since most chairs need welting and/or buttons anyway. By making them stand out, we give the seat an "expensive" custom look.
Our ugly duckling is now completely transformed. I get such a kick out of seeing the change in these old unwanted pieces. They still are beautiful and have plenty of life left in them. Someone else must have thought so because it only spent two weeks at my booth before being sold. Ah, another stray chair re-homed!
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