A Beginners Guide to Chair Upholstery

We’re sharing a beginner’s guide to chair upholstery today! A special shout out and thank you to my sweet friend Cindy of County Road 407 for hosting the Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop!

The Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop…

The Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop is a series where we share our love of vintage, antique, farmhouse, and repurposed finds and ideas every other month.

If you’ve missed any of our other installments, you can catch up here:

If you’re coming over from Lora’s blog, Lora Bloomquist Create and Ponder, welcome, we’re happy to have you here!

Didn’t you love all the different ways Lora uses stools in her home? I swear, her talent and creativity never cease to amaze me.

A Refresh at Loblolly…

Lately, I’ve been helping my Mom make a few decorative decisions for my childhood home Loblolly Manor.

My parents have been restoring the house for a while now. It’s due for a fresh coat of paint both inside and out this year.

They want to add a pergola out back, finish the treehouse for the littles, change up the artwork in several of the bedrooms, redo the tabletop and dresser vignettes, and update the bed linens too.

Loblolly Manor is actually a play on words because the cottage-style house is one of the smallest homes we’ve ever lived in but it’s the last place we all lived together at the same time consistently so it will always have a special place in our hearts.

Truthfully, we can’t all fit comfortably at the same time anymore because our family has grown so much over the years.

Still, my Mom has been pinning things for months now hoping to create a retreat-like experience for our family to enjoy no matter how many people gather together.

An Esate Sale Find…

My Mom loves to treasure hunt and found this chair for the vanity in the master bedroom at an estate sale for $32.

While the color and chair cushion isn’t really her style, the chair is well built and I knew it would be the perfect piece to try our hand at seat upholstery.

Here’s a look at our process and a beginner’s guide to chair upholstery in case you’re looking for an easy way to update a few pieces in your home too…

A Beginner’s Guide to Chair Upholstery Supplies:

  • Chair
  • Fabric (for the seat)
  • Stapler (you definitely need a heavy-duty one that can do upholstery)
  • Staples
  • Staple Remover, Pliers, Screwdriver, Fabric Scissors
  • Small Jar or Container
  • Paint (optional)

A Beginner’s Guide to Chair Upholstery Steps:

Since we wanted to paint the chair frame, our first step was to remove the chair cushion from the chair.

This was relatively easy given we only needed a screwdriver to back out the four screws. As always use caution and care when using tools and doing projects like this one.

Painting the Chair…

Next, we painted the chair and allowed for plenty of drying time between each coat of paint. Loblolly has a cozy cottage style so we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White.

Removing Staples and Tacks…

While I was busy painting the chair, my Mom was busy removing most of the staples and tacks from the cushion fabric.

Just a little tip, use a container like this one to help to keep all the hardware from getting lost or misplaced.

Refreshing the Seat Cushion with New Fabric…

My Mom chose an oatmeal-colored linen for the seat cushion fabric.

We spread the fabric out on the table and placed the original seat cushion in the middle of the fabric. Then using caution and care, we cut our piece of fabric leaving a little extra room for the sides of the cushion.

Next, we used a staple gun to staple the fabric to the cushion.

Given, this is a beginner’s guide to chair upholstery, we found it easier to staple the sides first

 and the corners last.

Securing the Seat Cushion to the Chair…

Finally, we reattached the chair cushion to the chair frame using a screwdriver and the screws that came with the chair. Don’t forget to make sure the seat cushion is secure!

It took less than an hour to refresh the chair cushion with new fabric and my mom couldn’t have been more excited about the way it all turned out.

In fact, we had so much fun we’re thinking about adding a decorative trim around the seat now too!

A Beginners Guide to Chair Upholstery-Chair After Makeover-The Crowned Goat

Adding Wax to Decorative Details…

Just before we called it a day, I gave the frame of the chair a coat of clear wax and used a tiny bit of dark wax on the detail of the back of the chair.

Here’s another quick look at the before and after again…

A Beginners Guide to Chair Upholstery-Before and After-The Crowned Goat

A Beginner’s Guide to Chair Upholstery Building Confidence…

While I don’t think we’re ready to take on anything major like slipcovers or sofa upholstery, these small projects gave us the confidence to take on bigger projects.

We gave this $32 chair a totally different look using materials we had on hand and a willingness to step out of our comfort zone.

A Beginners Guide to Chair Upholstery-French Country Chair Makeover-The Crowned Goat

We still have a ways to go with the refresh at Loblolly, especially when it comes to picking out paint colors. The house doesn’t get a lot of natural light because there are Loblolly pines and big oak trees all over the property.

Still, it’s fun to dream about all the possibilities…I’ll keep you posted!

A Beginners Guide to Chair Upholstery-French Linen Vanity and French Country Chair-The Crowned Goat

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your favorite white, gray, or greige paint color. And also, your favorite beginner upholstery tips and tricks!

Up next on the Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop is my sweet friend, Emily from Le Cultivateur. She’s always coming up with the most beautiful vignettes and designs!

Once you’re finished there be sure to stop by and check out what the rest of these fabulous ladies are sharing..

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Very nice! I can’t wait to see Loblolly once it’s finished!

    1. It’s definitely coming along, finally! It should be called “the little cottage that could” 🙂 Hugs, Coco

  2. I love the color and the fabric you guys chose for this chair CoCo! A very relaxed, yet sophisticated look. I look forward to seeing the cottage come together 😉
    Lori from LL Farm
    Lori from LL Farm recently posted…Re-Purposed Cable ReelMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Lori! It feels like we’ve been working on this sweet little cottage forever. We can’t wait to be finished! Hugs, Coco

  3. HI Coco, I love this chair and it is very similar to our dining room chairs. Love the cane back. The tips you gave are so great and make it easy to do. How fun to fix up your family home. have a great weekend Lisa
    Lisa recently posted…Yogurt Granola ParfaitsMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Lisa! We’re excited to learn new skills so we can do even more projects. I love your dining room. It’s beautiful. Hugs, Coco

    1. Thanks so much ladies! We’re excited to learn new skills 🙂

  4. Beautiful makeover, and I love your upholstering tips. I’ve done a chair cushion like this one but never anything harder. On a whim I bought a couch from a thrift shop with the intention of recovering it but it’s been sitting under my covered patio for nearly 2 months now because I think I bit off more than I can chew and I’m afraid to start taking it apart :).
    Amy | Canary Street Crafts recently posted…When To Prep Before Chalk PaintMy Profile

    1. I can totally relate, Amy! I’ve passed up so many bigger pieces because I was afraid to take them apart. I hoping that fear will pass for both of us soon and we’ll be able to rock a new skill 🙂 Hugs, Coco

  5. You make this all look so simple CoCo. Love how the chair turned out💗💗

    1. Thank you, Ann! It was definitely easier than I thought it would be which definitely makes us excited to try even more. Hope your weekend is filled with all good things, CoCo

  6. Such a cute chair and great tips! Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us!!!
    Happy weekend!!!

    1. Thank you bunches, Emily! Hope your Valentine’s Weekend is peace-filled and relaxing, CoCo

  7. such a great frenchy little chair. You two did a wonderful job and I love the paint color and that precious caned back. and oh my, that gray desk paired with it is so lovely. Can’t wait to see more of the Manor as it gets a refresh this year. Have a super fun Valentine’s Day, CoCo.

    1. Thank you, Debra! It was a fun chair to save and helped to boost our confidence along the way. Upholstery always seems super involved so I’m glad we at least took a tiny step forward in learning more. We have a lot of decisions made already but goodness gracious the paint color is giving us a fit. Fingers crossed it won’t be too much long and we can finally make a decision. Sending you hugs for a blessed Valentine’s Weekend, CoCo

    1. Thanks so much, Katie, I really appreciate it! Hope your weekend was a fun one, CoCo

  8. You and your mom did a great job on this chair makeover. I am looking forward to seeing the end result of your parents’ house update.

    1. Thanks so much, Paula, I really appreciate it. Loblolly is definitely one of those homes where one things leads to another quickly. Hope your day is filled with all good things, CoCo

  9. Only you get to grow up in a place called Loblolly Manor. I actually lived in about 6 houses by the time I graduated high school so I was never attached to any of them. Great memories in each but nothing with an adorable name. Great tutorial. I just bought some Fusion paint in Cobblestone and plan to paint the fabric on a Bergere chair that isn’t my vibe anymore. Fingers crossed it works out! Thank you for joining in. I love the new look of your chair.

    1. I know exactly what you mean about living in so many different houses, Cindy. Loblolly was our first and Bliss Barracks is lucky number 13. I think Loblolly has such a tender place in our hearts because it was the last place we all lived together on a regular basis, family dinners every night and all. It’s a tiny house but a sweet one so I’m glad my parents kept it all these years. I LOVE fusion mineral paints so I’m really excited to see how your chair comes together. They make such beautiful colors and it’s so easy to work with too. No doubt, it’s going to be fabulous. As always thanks so much for putting these hops together. You guys are the best! Big hugs, CoCo

  10. Great makeover! Pinned. How fun to be joining your family and giving their home a new look:)

    1. Thank you bunches, Lora! It’s fun to help them with a place that is near and dear to our hearts. I hope it will be a place we can make lots of happy memories together in the years to come. Big hugs, CoCo

  11. You really did such a beautiful job on the chair CoCo. I just love the color of the chair itself and the upholstery. Thanks for the great upholstery tips too.

    1. Thanks so much, Kim, I really appreciate it. I keep telling my Mom every project no matter how big or small is a learning experience which helps to take the pressure off and makes us want to try even more things. Big hugs, CoCo

  12. Love this little makeover CoCo! The chair has classic lines and the color update couldn’t be better. What a difference paint and fabric can make!

    1. Thank you, Michelle! Chairs like these are always great starter projects because you can usually find them for a reasonable price. I’m hoping we can find some cool trim to add to the front too. Hugs, CoCo

  13. CoCo, I love how your mom’s chair turned out!! Isn’t just the best when we refresh chairs?! I need to make new cushion covers for our kitchen chairs, which are very similar to your mom’s. The caning is blown out on one and Hubby has torn out several covers just with use at his desk. Always a project!

    Anyway, happy to feature your post at this week’s Share Your Style #337 for you,
    Barb 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet feature, Barb, I really appreciate it. It was so much fun to give this chair a fresh and budget-friendly feel. My parents always have something going on and we’re thankful to be along for the ride. Hope your weekend is filled with all good things! Hugs and thank yous for the feature, CoCo

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