As you clean out your garages and basements this summer you may have an old chair or maybe a whole bunch of old chairs that you are planning on kicking to the curb.
Hold up on that thought until you check out all the great things you can do with an old chair or two.
One of my favorite classes I used to hold when I had my upcycle and paint shop, Fabulous Rehabs in Arizona was the chair class.
I would have everyone bring an old wooden chair that they wanted to upcycle.
You would be surprised by how many cool things you can do with an old chair.
If you only have one chair you can use it as an accent piece but if you have two or more, you can paint them as a set to use as dining chairs.
Even if the chairs are not identical you can make them coordinate by using color and fabric to create a quirky, cool look.
A chair without a cushion can be painted on the top with a stencil design on the seat.
However, if the chair has a cushion that is old and yucky you can easily pop it off and recover it with a fun fabric to coordinate with the color you painted the chair.
I have even turned a funky chair into a plant holder by using the space where the cushion used to be as a place to put a plant.
It is super simple and fun to upcycle an old chair. Just follow my steps below and you will be on your way.
Always start with a clean chair. You want to remove any grease and dust from your project surface before you paint.
I usually use Simple Green because it is a great degreaser. But you can even just use some water and vinegar solution.
Depending on your chair and how much wear and tear it has endured in the past, you may want to do a light sanding to remove any loose paint or varnish so that your new paint will adhere properly.
If you are using a chalk-based paint, you are now ready to get painting.
However, if you are using a regular latex paint you will need to prep your chair by priming it first. If you do not do this step your paint will eventually begin to peal off.
Chalk-based paint is designed to avoid this step.
You may choose to paint your chair all one color or if it has some nice detail you may choose to use multiple colors to accent the design.
If you want to get creative, you can use different techniques such as dry brushing or glazing to enhance the texture of the wood.
More on that in one of my upcoming blogs.
If you used a chalk-based paint you will need to seal the paint, or it will wipe off when you try to clean your piece.
You can use a wax that is designed for use with chalk-based paint, or you can use a poly product to seal the paint. If you used a latex paint, you do not need to seal it.
(Either way you will have a two -step paint process. You are either priming and painting or painting and sealing).
If you have a chair without a cushion, you can create a cool effect on the seat by either stenciling a design, adding a transfer or if you are a talented artist, hand painting the top.
Since I cannot draw a stick figure, I stick to stencils and transfers.
If you have a cushioned chair, you can easily re-cover the chair with a beautiful coordinating fabric.
It is a good idea to get new foam cushion to put under the new fabric.
Make sure when you cut the fabric that you leave enough fabric to pull over the edges for stapling to the bottom.
Also make sure that you cut around the areas where the screws fasten to the chair.
You can even use something unique for fabric like this sack cloth I used on the chair below. Get creative.
And lastly, if you are making a plant stand chair, make sure that you measure the opening before selecting a plant to set into your chair.
If the opening is too large you can always nail some trim onto the chair opening to help support the plant.
If the plant stand will be outside you might want to seal it with a water based outdoor sealer to protect it from the elements.
I hope you have found some great ideas to save your old chairs from the dumpster.
Or maybe you are rescuing someone else’s chair from a terrible fate.
My favorite mantra is one gal’s trash is another gal’s treasure. Let us reuse, recycle and reduce our way to a beautiful space.
If you want to learn how to create a Zenful Space go and check out Traci’s Top Ten Tips & Tricks to Create a Zenful Space on my blog.