Helloooo! I’m Jen, from Fresh Crush. Let’s start our Friday with a happy dance! I am so thrilled to be here, with all of you ‘Designer Trapped’ fans — I mean, what’s not to love, right? I know I’M a fan… and now I get to take my turn on this crazy-talented, contributor train, with my very first post for the DTLB team!
There is a makeover ahead… specifically, a thrifted, high-back, winged, cane, chair makeover. Yep, it’s as fun as it sounds. This post contains some affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Here’s how she started out. A little rough and worn — dings and scratches aplenty. The caning was sun-bleached, and the fabric felt, “of an era” (and it was a little gross). I needed to unify the wood and caning, and punch up the energy on the fabric a notch… or, two.
I need to tell you, I am not an upholstery expert. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl, when it comes to this stuff. So, I KNOW, if I can do this, so can you. Don’t overlook those craigslist gems you’re a little scared of — especially with some of those prices! But here is a few things I looked for, just to make sure the job didn’t get away on me.
The wood and cane wingback. At first… intimidating. But at closer inspection, it made for the easiest reupholstery project. If you can upholster a rectangle, then you can handle this chair. All the fabric slips around all 4 sides of the chair back, for easy stapling, and then all that staple mess gets covered up by a nice solid backer piece, in your coordinating fabric.
An easy seat. When inspecting, I tilted it over and could see exactly where the previous fabric had been attached. Full access to stretching the fabric over the old seat, and stapling underneath, means, no need for chair dissassembly.
Price. If I’m trying something for the first time, I would never rip apart a $500 chair, plus invest in all that fabric. If it’s not worth the risk of a project fail, and you can’t talk the price down to something you're comfortable with, walk away. (I paid $75 for this chair).
Details. Like all that pretty tufting. I knew after getting the old fabric removed, I could work backwards, using the previous placements and techniques. Not to mention, there was quality metal hardware, attached directly to a good wood frame. As long as I removed it carefully, I knew this could all get reused in my makeover.
First things first. Let's get that chair frame taken care of! The weather was still pretty disagreeable when I was attempting my little makeover, so I tarped up my garage floor and it worked great!
To make sure I was getting great durability, I first used a primer, and then followed it up with a matte black spray paint. (I used Rust-Oleum's, Ultra Cover spray paint and primer, in Flat Black) Why matte over glossy? Just personal preference — our living room is pretty casual, and a bit transitional… I thought gloss could end up looking a bit too “fancy”, especially with the dramatic high back of this chair.
Now for the fun part! Fabrics! After
about 2 hours of shopping FOREVER, and scanning endless bolts of fabric (I can be a little dramatic when feeling impatient), I settled on a cool ikat, mock chevron, and a solid, super dark, denim-like fabric. And, here's a tip: don't be afraid to use the reverse side! That's exactly what I did with the chevron — there was too much white on the right-side (you can see a bit of it, in the photo above)… so, I flipped the script and used the back-side which had a heavier chevron stripe and a lot more blue.
The back of the chair was EASY. The most effort was actually put into my new fabric covered buttons. The old tufting twine was tied but not knotted, so I actually reused that too! All that was left to do was lay down my chevron fabric, use my new buttons with the old tufting twine, and pull through the hole already in place, then staple my fabric edges down around the back. EASY! (Just make sure you have enough fabric to account for all the tufts, and still reach around back).
I decided to lose the tufting on the seat. I used some fiberfill to add some more cushion, and bulk it up a little. After draping my new seat fabric, it was all about the staple gun.
My biggest challenge with the chair was applying this back piece. However, I found this video from Kim's Upholstery super helpful! She taught me how exactly to use all that metal hardware, to get a nice clean look for the back of my chair.
One final trick — because I had an exposed wood frame at the front of the chair… it meant exposed stapes, where I attached my fabric (and that just wouldn't do), so I used my trusty glue gun and applied some black ribbon across the front of the chair, to hide the staples. Easy-peasy. And there it is! Not too shabby for the first kick at a tufted wingchair, right?
All the pretty curves and details of this chair, make me crazy (in the best way)! The painted cane really adds such a fun casual detail, and lets the light shine through.
And, just for fun-zies, let's take this chair for one last spin…
I would love for you to share this post on Pinterest or Facebook! That way, you can refer back to it later AND inspire your friends at the same time!
Fun makeovers, are my jam! I hope you liked this one — you might want to pop over to Fresh Crush, and check out my, Vintage Camp Trailer Makeover, or my Easy Ceiling Fan Makeover! You can also find me on social media: Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter