How to Restore Old Chairs

Written by michelle donato
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Email

Got a tired chair that's begging for a fresh look? With a few do-it-yourself alterations, you can instantly transform an old chair into a dazzling decorative piece. You'd be surprised what wonders new fabric can do for an outdated pattern. Dated kitchen or dining chairs present the perfect opportunity for dramatic colour combinations. You can bring them from drab to sophisticated with a stylish upholstery update and paint job.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Quart of paint
  • Paint brush
  • Fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Unscrew and remove the cushion. This step requires a little elbow grease and patience. Remove the existing fabric by prying the staples from the bottom using a flathead screwdriver and needle nose pliers.

  2. 2

    Sand the entire surface of the chair using a piece of fine sandpaper. This creates a rough surface for the paint to adhere to. Be careful not to overdo it, as too much sanding can damage the wood's integrity. Once sanding is complete, wipe down the chair using a damp rag to remove any dust.

  3. 3

    Apply 2-3 coats of paint to the chair. A paint job will visually lighten the look of your chair. Ideally, you should use a paint colour that matches your home decor You may need extra coats if using a light paint on dark wood. Be sure to let each coat dry before reapplying.

  4. 4

    Place the cushion on your new fabric and trace the shape, making sure to leave a 2-6 inch overhang (depending on the thickness of your cushion). Cut along the lines, and pull the fabric up over the edges. Using a staple gun, staple the fabric along the underside of the cushion. While doing this, periodically check that the fabric is aligned and smooth on top. Once securely attached, trim off any excess fabric.

  5. 5

    Place the upholstered cushion back on the newly painted chair frame. Using the screws you removed at the beginning of the project, simply reattach the cushion.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.