Re-upholstered Seat Cushions

Amen to Friday!

I’ve actually been down in LA for the week – my first week on the new job – so I’ve felt really disconnected from everything “normal”.  The weather was so fabulous, and LA is one of those places you always feel like you are on vacation, but it was a busy week for sure.  After a wonderful start to the new job, I am so happy to be back home, with Kris.

I’m ALSO excited to share a mini DIY project I worked on last weekend!

Our dining room chairs were looking very sad.  I bought them from Craigslist with an antique (aka old) table for $50 total, and since buying them over three years ago, I have done nothing to fix them up.  I like to refer to the chipped paint as “shabby chic” but the cushions were just plain sad.  The old linen fabric was yellowed from probably decades of wear, and they were badly stained (from god knows what).

Actually confessing that on paper is so embarressing since we lived with them like that for YEARS, but last weekend, I finally did something about it.

While at World Market (picking up our FABULOUS new tripod lamp… yes, I pulled the trigger on that), I saw some curtian panels on sale for 50% off.  For just $15, I scored some amazing fabric with enough yardage to cover four seat cushions (and then some).  Sunday afternoon, I busted out the staple gun and went to work…

Here are a few “before” shots so you can appreciate the afters:

This is looking into the dining room from the living room – not awful, but the chairs were definitely on the plain side from afar…

 Closer up, you can really see how badly the paint is chipping…

And another angle – this room is pretty small… maybe 11’x10′, so it’s hard to photograph from a distance, but the mirrored wall helps a little… also, ignore the mess in the corner – those frames are still waiting to be hung!

Ok this photo is the last “before” that I’ll post, but this one does a really good job illustrating how disgusting the fabric was – stained, yellowed… this is so embarrassing!  I can’t believe we lived with these for YEARS.

Ok time for the “after” shots!! Here they are in all their glory!

One of the chairs still acts as our desk chair, but I love it as much in the living room as in the dining room, and dare I say it… it looks amazing with the tripod lamp 🙂

Here is a zoomed in shot – you can really see the raw texture of the fabric here – I love the “grain” in it (is that a term, or did I just make that up?)

And just for fun, here is a photo with the new lamp in place… that inspiration board I put together is really coming together!  I am absolutely LOVING the desk next to the window, and the light from that enormous lamp shade is just so pretty at night.
More pictures of that lamp later – I need to figure out how to camouflage the cord!!

I am loving the colors, the pattern, and the fact that in just over an hour, the chairs looked a million times better!

The paint is still chipped, but I’m going to choose to ignore that for now – we’ll get to repainting everything another weekend.  One, step at a time, am I right??

Let’s talk about the process for recovering the cushions for a minute – trust me when I say that it is SOOO easy.

Step I:
Rip off old disgusting fabric – you would not believe how dusty it was.  SO gross!

Step II:
Staple fresh layer of batting over cushions if needed – the actual cushions were in good shape, so I skipped this step.

Step III:
Staple new fabric onto cushions.  I found it was easiest to get the fabric smoothest and tightest by working on opposite sides.  Pull the fabric taut along one side and then staple (leave the corners for last!!)  Pull fabric taut on the opposite side from the one you just secured, and then staple.  Pull remaining sides taut and staple. The fabric on the corners should still be loose – this is where you finish the cushions.  I just pleated the fabric along the corner as neatly as possible, and stapled as I went.

There are basically two different ways to pleat the corners.  One was like a fan, the second like a box pleat (kind of).  Take a look at these pictures – you’ll see what I mean.

“Box Pleat” fold:

“Fan Pleat” fold:

Step IV:
Finish everything off by cutting excess fabric from around the staples – any bulky fabric will prevent the cushino from sitting flush with the seat – if you are able to, screw the cushions back on the seats.  Ours have a lip that goes over the front of the chair, holding them pretty secure, so I also skipped that step.

All in all, this project took me about an hour.  One of the most labor intensive parts was cutting the fabric up, and removing the old fabric from the cushions.  The actual reupholstering took almost no time at all!

Next on the list is to repaint the chairs (and table – god the table needs some love), but for now, I’m happy with the improvements to the cushions!

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