Chair makeover part 2

Since my chair makeover was featured on one of my fave blogs Design*Sponge a few days ago, I have received some reader questions asking for more detailed instructions. Happy restoring!

You will need:

  • screwdriver
  • paint stripper (I used Citristrip, a biodegradable, odourless spray)
  • paint scraper
  • cloth
  • sandpaper
  • tack cloth
  • clear polyeurethane varnish (I used Haymes Glissen in satin)
  • wadding
  • fabric (I used Amy Butler ‘Coriander’.  A regular weight fabric was fine since this was only intended for use as an occasional chair, but if it’s going to be getting heavy use, opt for an upholstery weight fabric instead)
  • staple gun



  1. Unscrew seat from chair; set aside. Protect your work area with a dropsheet or those ugly towels you got for Christmas.
  2. Apply paint stripper; go and have a coffee while it works. Scrape off with paint scraper; use a damp cloth to remove any remaining paint. Allow to dry.
  3. Sand first with a medium grit sandpaper, then with a fine grit. Wipe over with a dry cloth, then with a tack cloth to remove dust residue.
  4. Apply 2-3 coats of varnish. Between each coat, lightly sand with a very fine sandpaper and wipe clean. (I know it’s tempting to skip this, but avoid laziness and be rewarded with a super smooth finish.)
  5. Now, for the seat. I left the existing padding on there but the seat was still quite hard so I added a couple of layers of wadding. Wrap your fabric over the seat and take out some frustration with the staple gun.
  6. Reattach seat to frame (using new screws if yours were rusted out like mine).


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