Recently I was lucky enough to be given a set of dining chairs by generous friends. I also found and bought a new dining table from an antiques shop and together I felt I had a bit too much dark wood going on.
So I decided to update the chairs by painting and recovering them. Painting the chairs is obviously the bigger, more permanent change than recovering so needed a bit more thought. Although it’s not for ever, you can of course strip them back or change the colour even if doing so can be very time consuming.
I started by sanding down the chairs and giving them an undercoat.
I then chose a new colour for them. After much agonising I went for Chalk Violet from Fired Earth.
I also had to choose some fabric for the seats. I wanted something with a strong pattern and considered doing each seat in a different fabric but in the end I found this simple design in John Lewis . I thought this had a bit of interest but would also work with other fabrics and patterns in the same room.
This is where my slightly basic approach comes in but I kept the process of recovering the seats really simple and quick.
I removed the old leather cover and retained all the stuffing and the black piece of fabric used to hide all the workings.
Then using the frame as a guide I cut out an section of frabric with enough give around the edge to allow me to fold it up and staple the sections to the frame, but not so much that it would be bulky and hard to manage.
I have a staple gun for stretching canvas when I am painting and I used this to fix the fabric and stuffing in place. Mine in reality isn’t strong enough so I had to help some of the staples in a bit. It can be tempting to add in loads and loads of staples but having spent hours removing them and knowing I might want to change this fabric one day meant I was fairly restrained.
I added staples bit by bit, first on one side, then the opposite and working round like this to create and even look.
When folding in the corners you have to make sure you get it pretty tight as this will need to drop back into the chair frame.
Then I fished out the bit of black fabric to cover this slightly erratic stapling and neaten things up.
And you have a finished base.
Then you simply drop this back into your painted frame and you’re done.