90 Year Old Chair Makeovers - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

90 Year Old Chair Makeovers

You've probably forgotten by now, but back in our TV Stand Restoration & Repurpose post we very briefly mentioned that we fixed up some 90 year old chairs for our living room. We're excited that today we're finally getting to share their story! This project was done in the pre-blog days so we don't have many in-progress photos, but we love the transformation so much that we want to share it anyway!

It all started before we even moved to Pittsburgh. Our old apartment was a lot smaller than our current apartment and we previously didn't have any living room seating besides our couch. We knew that our new apartment was going to have more space for seating, so our thrift store hunt for chairs began!

We were visiting my mom in Lancaster one weekend and decided to swing by Salvation Army to see if they had any gems. As soon as I laid eyes on these babies, I knew they were coming home with me. Nick was a little tough to convince, but for only $5 apiece, he couldn't really say no.

Once we got them home, we realized that they were made in 1923! How cool.

Before we could get started on the fun parts, like reupholstering and painting, we had to do the boring work. Since the chairs are 90 years old, some of the legs were loose. We fixed the loose legs and supports with some wood glue and held them together with clamps. Once everything was good and sturdy, it was time to pick out colors!

Our living room has an orange and turquoise theme, so we decided to pick colors that we thought would work well with that theme but in other areas of the apartment as well. We settled on painting the wood white and using purply/magenta patterned fabric from JoAnn for the seats. We also bought 3" thick foam padding to give the seats some cushioning.

The first step was working on the seats. We removed them from the chairs (they're just simply screwed on) and we took off the old floral fabric. Thankfully, we did this outside because the insides of the seats were a disgusting mess! It looked like they were padded with horse hair. I even asked my mom and she said that's probably what it was, being that they are 90 year old chairs and all...

So once we got the seats down to just the wood, we traced the outline of each seat on the foam and cut out the cushions. We then cut our fabric down to the right size and stapled it over the foam padding to the underside of the seats. This was actually much tougher than it sounds. We had to REALLY squish down the padding in order to make sure the fabric was pulled tight. It was definitely successful though!

I tested out one of the new cushioned seats to see how they would look. Pretty good if you ask me! Here you can also see a little bit of the bare wooden seat. I'm definitely glad we decided to give these some cushioning.

Next we gave the chairs a light sanding and wiped them down so that they would be clean and ready for paint! Because the wood is dark and we were painting them white, it took three coats for them to be completely covered. Looking back we definitely should have primed, but they still turned out okay! Once the paint was completely dry, we reattached the seats and were done!

I love these chairs so much. This was our first time reupholstering anything, so I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Here's a side-by-side comparison. Definitely an improvement, don't you think?!

Since Nick and I live alone, we don't get much use of the extra seating, but I love the color and pattern since it helps to brighten up our dark apartment. Have you guys done any fun repurposing/restoration/reupholstering projects? Be sure to share with us!

Sarah & Nick


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