This project is from last year, when I lived in a teeny-tiny apartment in New York City's East Village. Nonetheless, it's worthwhile endeavor if you find yourself with some dingy old chairs in need of some refinishing love.
In this case, I got the chairs from my grandmother. Though they look kind of cool in the photo, they were actually pretty dirty, and the fabric was stained and smelly. Dan and I decided to repaint the chairs and cover the seats with some scrap fabric I'd collected.
First, we took the seats off the chair using a screwdriver. It was relatively straightforward.
Then, Dan went up to the roof to spray-paint the chairs black.
In the meantime, I peeled the nasty old stuffing out of the chairs and made a new stuffing template by tracing the wooden seat bottom onto some industrial foam. I cut out the foam and used spray adhesive to glue it to the seat bottom. Do this in a well-ventilated area, because spray adhesive is stinky!
Once I'd made foam cushions for all the chairs, I placed each seat over a piece of fabric and traced an outline for the seat covering, allowing several extra inches for the fabric to be wrapped around the bottom of the seat and nailed in. I used a bunch of mismatched fabric scraps, including this great African print I found on Orchard St. for dirt cheap, but you could certainly make a matching set.
Next, Dan and I worked together to uphoslter the seat. We chose to reuse the ancient upholstery tacks that came with the chair, which proved to be difficult, as they were dull and warped and the wood was hard. It made for some serious nailing, but eventually we got the fabric in place on the underside of the seat.
And the finished set of three chairs, along with a 1950s-era formica table in my old studio apartment:
I'm sad to say that after all that work, we eventually had to give up both the table and the chairs when we decided to move out West. They just wouldn't fit in the tiny trailer we'd gotten to haul our stuff. The good news is that they found a home with friends of mine in Brooklyn, where they look splendid.