How To Reupholster Bistro Chairs

1 Hour

Looks pretty simple. And typically, it is. Reupholstering a chair cushion, in most cases, takes only a few minutes, but in the case of these gems, it took a little elbow grease.

I found these chairs at the Goodwill a few months ago for only $10 a piece. My plan was then, and still is now, for them to make a stylish addition to my garden house — that is yet to be built. Speaking of garden house, the plans are underway, the ball is rolling, so it only makes sense to plan and start the decorating process now.

In chairs like these, the cushion is simply held on by four screws. Take out the screws, the cushion comes off and the reupholstery process can begin. But these chairs; these chairs had to be completely taken apart for me to get to the cushion. Not sure why, but that was the case.

Once I got the cushion free, I was able to cut new foam pieces ( click here for the best and easiest way to cut foam) and I stapled on the fabric. To paint them, I placed them flat on the floor and spray painted one side, waited for the paint to completely dry, then turned the chairs over and painted the other side.

For all of the rusted screws, bolts and washers, I soaked them in a container filled with distilled vinegar for 24 hours. I brushed them with an old tooth brush and rinsed. This tip got the majority of the rust off. Certainly keep this in mind when working with rusty hardware.

Once the all of the paint was dried, I fit the reupholstered cushions back in the seat case. Sean had to help me put the chairs back together – if I were an octopus, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but we really needed 4 hands.

Now those battered and worn bistro chairs look fresh and fancy, ready to live in my garden house.

Garden house coming soon.

Farmhouse 1820
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Anita Ali Sipes Anita Ali Sipes on Jun 14, 2021

    What paint did you use? Did you have to prep them in some way? I tried spray painting a metal chair and it did not stick well.

    Your chairs are beautiful!

  • Ardale Ardale on Jul 03, 2021

    OMG I love these as well as your choice of color and material pattern! I have four of these chairs a friend gave me several years ago which are only taking up space in our garage. Where did you buy your upholstery fabric??? I'd like to redo mine and pair them with an old square pedestal diner table I also have had a long time. I painted it dark green many years ago and taped off and painted a chess board on the table top but hubby never uses it so it's time for another make over for it and I think it would pair well with the ice cream chairs once I redo all 5 pieces. Thanks for the inspiration since I've been trying to think of a way to use my pretty ice cream chairs. You did a beautiful job and your chairs are lovely. They will look so pretty in your garden house!

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