- Removed the old upholstery.
- Refinished the wood frame.
- Installed the new fabric on the seat, back and arm rests.
- Sew the new cushion covers.
- Sew and install the double piping.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Step 1: Choose your fabric
Usually choosing fabric for an upholstery project takes me ages. Not because I don’t like it, I love it in fact. It’s just that here in Melbourne, Australia our reasonably priced choices are very limited. You either have Spotlight or Lincraft (a chain of fabric, craft & home interior supply stores) at the low end with very few options.
Or professional upholsters and fabric dealers that charge min $80-$100 per metre. Nothing in between.
While the high end options are beautiful, they are far too expensive. For that price, I’m better off just buying a new chair. Plus, I enjoy getting my hands into a DIY home decor project.
To find my perfect fabric, I had to settle for hunting through reams at Spotlight and Lincraft. This took a lot of time, but that’s to be expected. You can get it good and cheap, but you won’t get it fast.
Step 2: Understand the construction of the upholstery
Before I removed any fabric, I made sure to take a lot of photos of the chair; particularly of how the fabric was put together.
Trying to remember whether a certain piece went over or under another after you’ve gone through the process of removing thousands of staples and actually get around to installing the new fabric will be next to impossible. So take photos – A LOT OF THEM.
Step 3: Remove the staples holding the existing fabric in place
To remove the old staples that were holding the existing fabric in place, I used a staple remover to lift the old staples and a small pair of pliers to pull it out completely. Before I bought my staple remover on eBay, I used a good ol’ flat screwdriver and the pliers. Frankly it worked just as well.
The staples on old furniture tend to be pushed in quite tightly, so you need to dig into the wood to be able to get under the old staple. My flat-head screw driver did this just fine. Not pretty, and a pain on your wrist, but it will be covered by the new fabric and piping so no need to cry over the dents in the wood.
The structure of the chair and the existing foam and cushion straps were in tip-top condition so there was no need to replace them (yay!).
Step 5: Refinish the wood frame
I wasn’t a fan of the colour of the wood frame. It was in great condition, but didn’t go with anything in my apartment so I splashed on some black paint and topped it off with a Satin clear varnish (lacquer) from Cabot’s water-based varnish range for a fantastic bold look.
I took my time with this because I wanted a smooth professional finish. Check out an earlier post on how I transformed an old dining set I purchased on eBay, which outlines painting tips I followed for this project.