Reupholstered Side Chairs- One Room Challenge Week 5

Psssst… this post *might* contain affiliate links: see my disclosure here.

Back in Week 1 of the One Room Challenge, I discovered that the two Restore side chairs I was planning on reupholstering were in DISMAL shape. The cushions reeked of cigarette smoke and when I pulled the fabric off… I discovered that the foam was… not. It was completely dried up and crumbled away when I pulled back the batting.

side chair before

foam of original

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Thankfully… I have friends in high upholstery places. My friends at Fairfield World to the rescue! They sent along this 2″ foam that was PERFECT for two brand new upholstered chair cushions.

upholstery materials

How to Reupholster Side Chairs

Step 1

For these chairs, I started by unscrewing the seats, pulling all the fabric off and removing all the staples I could. I was left with 2 seat skeletons.

bare chair frame

Tip: When pulling apart upholstered furniture, it’s essential to carefully document each piece you deconstruct and to save any fabric pieces to use as a template.

Step 2

I cut and stapled some leftover canvas drop cloth to prevent the foam from falling between the chair ‘springs’.

first layer of drop cloth

Step 3

Trace and cut the foam. I’ve mentioned it before, but my favorite tool for cutting upholstery foam is an $16 electric bread knife (affiliate).

cut foam with bread knife

Step 4

I use this cotton batting .  Pull the batting taught over the foam. Staple and trim any excess batting. (I use this staple gun to work with our pancake compressor… all affiliate links.)

wrapping batting

wrapped and trimmed batting

Step 4

I used the old fabric as a rough template and traced the new fabric. I’ve been sitting on this fabric sent by Minted for WAY longer than I care to reveal… I’ve known for a while that I had to have it in the dining room.  Mission accomplished. These chairs have a funny little cutout and the template had an extra piece of fabric sewn in here. I *tried* to copy this, but I’m not sure that I accomplished too much. The seams aren’t great, but thankfully they’re covered by the arms of the chairs. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to pull the fabric around this cutout without the extra fabric?

marks for fabric cut out

extra fabric at cut out

Step 5

General upholstery crash course. Make sure to line up your fabric so that the pattern sits on your piece of furniture the way you’d like.  When stapling, make sure to start in the middle of one side, and move back and forth continually pulling the fabric taught over the foam.

Corner fabric detail

Step 6

To finish the seat off, I decided to don my big-girl-upholstery-pants and add some trim! You guys. Grab a pencil and write this down. You HAVE to get a piping foot for your sewing machine if you’re going to make piping. I didn’t have one until recently and it’s changed my world. I use this one from Amazon (affiliate).  Piping with this foot is a piece of cake: make bias strips by cutting diagonal strips of fabric and sewing them end to end.  These will wrap around the cording to make the piping.  (Here’s the cording I use.)

Step 7

The cording simply staples onto the underside of the chair.

trim for underneath the chair

Step 8

This is optional, but I had some on hand so I was able to add a dust cover (affiliate) to the underside of each chair. It covered the piping and helps protect the underbelly of each chair.

dust guard underneath seat

Step 9

I TOTALLY cheated and asked my upholsterer to make the two back cushions. They have a little curvy shape to them and it was worth the $60 or whatever it was to have them look pretty and identical. Know your limits. That’s the lesson of the day!  Thanks again to Fairfield World for saving the upholstery day!

finished upholstered side chair

This chair won’t normally sit so close to the matching curtains, but I wanted you to see how the fabrics relate… remember the whole curtain debacle from Week 4? This was my solution…

chair with curtain

And… I wanted to whet your whistle for next week and give a sneak peek of the bar cart I’ve been painting. I wanted a blue that was different than the navies throughout the room… this is different alright! I used the MaxxGloss again in Blue Crystal (affiliate)… it’s a little brighter than I expected but I need to set it up to really see! Regardless… OBSESSED with this paint.

sneak peek of bar cart

Can you believe there’s only ONE WEEK LEFT before I get to show you the whole dang room COMPLETED! If you read my last post, then you know I’m headed for L.A. to find fame and fortune. Or at least 7 minutes on air with my glue gun!  If the rain EVER goes away in Connecticut, I’m going to take pictures this week so my post will be all ready for the big reveal. Believe it or not… I’m FINISHED. Just the fun part of styling, setting the table, and taking pictures. Woohoo!  (And yes… I DO have a source list for you. I’ll share that over the weekend!)
WEEK 5- Upholstery

As always, head over to Calling It Home to see the link up with all the designers AND those of us who are just ‘playing along’… so many amazingly talented people and amazingly awesome rooms to peruse!  And just because I can… here are links to what I shared in Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4! Phew. (Also… I popped any materials I mentioned with my affiliate links into a materials list further below.)

Reupholstered Side Chairs



Electric bread knife

Cotton batting

Staple gun

Pancake compressor

Piping foot


MaxxGloss in Blue Crystal

Dust Cover

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  1. Those chairs are fantastic and I loooove the color of the sideboard they are sitting next to. Can’t wait to see how amazing it all looks next week. Yay for you being finished… I am so not anywhere close 🙂

    1. Thanks, Marcie! I had SO many other big things going on personally during the ORC that I was pretty diligent about staying ahead of it all in case of weird unexpected surprises! I STILL am cutting it close since I leave on Sunday for a few days and have to take all the pictures today and tomorrow. Good luck with yours! YOu took on a MILLION percent more than I did… black trim? That deserves an award!

  2. I CANNOT get over how great this chair looks! Just love that fabric on it’s own and it’s especially great here. Can’t wait to see next week!

  3. This is so gorgeous! I love how it’s old meets new. I never got to introduce myself to you yesterday, and you post is the first one I clicked into for this week ORC. Such talent, love this piece!

    1. Thanks!! Loving your room… you guys have taken on a TON! Walls… building… painting. Gah! I didn’t expect the meeting to go so long and didn’t get to chat with half the group! Next time! 🙂

  4. Charlotte these chairs are fantastic! I love the direction the room is going in. As a fellow ORC participant its been wonderful to gather some fantastic inspiration. I’d love for you to share your progress at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Our readers would love to see it.

  5. Charlotte I’m loving this, so beautiful! Kudos on re-upholstering this side chair yourself! You know I love blue and white and anything coastal! Can’t wait to see this room finished next week! XOXO, Sarah

  6. Once again, AMAZING. I have some very very old chairs which someone left outside during the renovation and this summer I plan to do something with them.
    At some point I will send you photos and ask for advice.

    In the meantime I am thrilled that you were selected to go to HOLLYWOOD. Good going, and good luck!

  7. So jealous that you’re already done! Thanks so much for the detailed upholstery work. I’ve got several chairs I’d like to recover. Looking forward to the reveal!

  8. I love the chairs! You did a great job! I am excited to see the reveal, so far I am loving what I am seeing!