Thursday, January 19, 2012

Armless Chair Recover

I love reupholstering furniture.  It reminds me of wrapping a present, and I love wrapping presents.  I decided that my first chair upholstery attempt should be an armless chair. I figured it would be a good learning project. 

I found this armless chair on craigslist:

It had a 90's hotel feel.
My wonderful husband went with me to purchase it so that he could help me load it in the car.  One thing that the craigslist photo didn’t convey was that this chair is BIG!  It takes up more floor space than I expected.  My husband lovingly named the chair “Big Bertha”, and that name has stuck.

I started off by unscrewing the back off of the chair.  I didn’t realize the chair was capable of this from the craigslist photo.  This made reupholstering it much easier.  Then I took a lot of photos of the chair.  The photos were going to help me remember how it all went together.

Then comes the part that takes some nerve: tearing apart a perfectly good chair.  I removed the fabric by prying out the staples with a flat screw driver and pliers.  The trick is to remove the fabric CAREFULLY.  The original fabric was going to be my pattern for the new fabric.  As I removed each of the pieces I labeled where they came from with a Sharpie, for example, “back of chair”.  This part of the process was pretty slow, it probably took about 4 hours to get all of the staples and fabric off the chair.

I ordered new fabric called Wood Fern by Amy Butler.  I found this chart that helped me decide how much fabric to order.  This 54” heavier weighted fabric turned out to be perfect for an accent chair like this.

I cut the new fabric to match the old.  Then I stapled it all on with my electric staple gun.  I would highly recommend an electric staple gun if you are serious about upholstery.  This was the quickest part of the whole process, it only took about an hour and half!  

I am smitten with this chair!


Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog


  1. I LOVE wrapping presents, too! It must be why we are friends. Also, the new fabric is very you.

  2. I have a chair just like this that is perfectly good but I kinda want to change up the fabric! I'm your newest follower! If you have a moment I'd love it if came and visited me at :)

  3. Beautiful, I would love to do something like this, but as yet not found a chair, cheap enough to experiment on.

  4. You did a great job! Big Bertha should now be known as Big Beautiful Bertha! That fabric you chose is just perfect too. And it's nice to "meet" someone who also love wrapping presents! I even wrap pre-printed boxes. I've always wished gift wrapping paid well so it could be my full time job! heheh Thanks for sharing her with us :)

  5. Amazing - especially for your first time! I love your fabric. It looks like a totally different chair!

  6. Big Bertha looks beautiful! Great job..

  7. Stunning redo, love the fabric she looks fabulous!

  8. a similar chair over here that needs recovering...similar but with round sort of curvish arms that make it look like the chair wants to hug you...maybe we should name ours "Big, Round-Curvish Bertha?"

    LOVE the fabric. I was thinking about slipcovering ours but I might just consider doing what you did...I too would be nervous about taking the fabric off. But since I found it for $30 at a thrift shop maybe it's worth it? Hmm...following you. :)

  9. It's darling- love how it came out!! Thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday!

  10. I only had your old blog. I'm glad you told me one still existed! You're right, my chair and Big Bertha are definitely related. I love it!

  11. Hi, Your chair looks awesome. I have a couple questions, how much fabric did you use, and did you sew anything or staple it all. About to take on a similar project, any advice would be great. Thanks,Erin

  12. Buy and sell new and used modern, outdoor, office, bedroom and home furniture.
    Choose from a great selection of gently used furniture for every room in your home.
    More here used furniture san antonio

  13. Emily, how did you ease the fabric on the front corners of the seat where the old fabric had seams?

    1. Although hard to see, the new fabric has seams, as well.