Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cheery Yellow Chairs

Hello there.  I'm taking a break from the (dreaded) yardwork to bring you a little update on some inside decorating.  You may remember the "gorgeous" chairs that Reed and I found on the side of the road during Glen Ellyn Clean Sweep Weekend.  It was time to give them a much needed makeover so they could find a new home at our kitchen table. 

Eventually, we have plans to build a nice big "U" shaped seating bench in this dining area, complete with storage underneath and a big pedestal table. Knowing these chairs were only going to be a temporary fix made me more confident in picking something on the wild side for this makeover (such a risk taker over here).

While the wood on the chairs was still in pretty good shape (and some people may wonder why not just leave it how it is), I was worried about the contrast with the wood cabinets, wood floor, dark wood (almost black) table.  So a colorful set of chairs was definitely in our future. I spent some time on Pinterest, looking at kitchens with a mixture of chairs around the table. I found a decent amount of pin-spiration (ya like that?), allow me to show you my pretty colorful chair finds...

Photo Credit (here, here, here, here)

Before beginning the two part makeover, I started by wiping the chairs down with soap and water (adios moth balls). 

Step One: Reupholstering the Cushion
  • Once the chairs were semi-clean, I flipped them over and unscrewed the screws attaching the cushions to the chairs. 

  • I pulled off both layers of the old fabric from the cushion. This step isn't always necessary (you can simply reupholster cushions by putting new fabric over the old fabric), but given the age of the chairs the fabric had seen better days.  And finding them in the garbage didn't make me feel so good about the cleanliness factor of the old cushions.

  • Once I had removed two old layers of fabric/leather (and all the staples), I was down to the piece of foam and wooden bottom.  Like our other upholstery projects (Entryway Bench, Bulletin Board, CrossFit Bulletin Board).  I started by cutting the fabric to size (fabric purchased at
  • Next I used our staple gun to start attaching the fabric.  I like to work the staples by starting at 12, 6, 3, 9 (imagine a clock).  Then I just work my way around, pulling the fabric tight and adding more staples.

  • Once I have all of the sides stapled, I work on the corners.  I like to pinch the fabric so it looks like a rectangle from the bottom.  I think corners are a personal preference- so if you have a better or easier way, go for it! Regardless of how you finish your corners, be sure to stay consistent so they all look the same.

  • Last (but not least), when you've finished stapling, cut the extra fabric off.  I usually leave about a 1/2 inch past the row of staples.
(Trying to decide whether to paint the chairs teal or yellow.  The floral chair cushions are from World Market)

Step Two: Painting the Chairs
  • I quickly took some 200 grit sandpaper and roughened up the surface of our new chairs.  Its important to give the spray paint a surface for it to stick to so it doesn't chip away with use.
  • Just to be safe, I wiped down the chairs with some mineral spirits to keep the dust from making the finish bumpy.
  • Next I used some Rustoleum White Primer to prime the chairs.
  • 48+ hours later (I like to allow plenty of drying time), I attached the handy dandy sprayer to my can of Rustoleum Summer Squash yellow paint and started spraying.  I tried to apply a few light coats to avoid drip marks.
  • After the first coat of yellow was dry (I waited 24+ hours between coats), I went back and did another.  Some of the wood grain was still showing through.  Each chair took an entire can of spray paint! 

(The yellow in the photo below is a little brighter than the chairs are in real life)

We attached the cushions back to the chairs and placed them at the heads of the table (what is the plural of the "head of the table?").  We are loving the sunny yellow and cherry red addition to our calm bluish-green walls. While we tend to start a room with a neutral base, we typically end up finishing it by adding pops of color to brighten things up.  Taking risks with color is easier for us to handle when we are adding accessories that can be easily switched out. (Obviously, I'm sure there will be a day when we get tired of the yellow or red). 

But for now, we are happy to have made some cheer-y chairs for additional kitchen seating. The more (seats) the merrier, right?

Kinda makes me want to find 4 more old chairs to replace the black ones... thoughts?


  1. LOVE the whole combo...from the fabric choice, to yellow chair color, to the World Market chair cushions! Awesome job!

  2. Adorable! I do like the idea of having different colored chairs. However with having the black ones it makes the yellow ones pop.