Refurbishing an Accent Chair

Words & Images by Amanda Neal

Pinterest is amazing (and a little addicting) for home décor inspiration- so much so that muscle memory has made the act of opening my Pinterest app and going to the subcategory “Home Décor” involuntary. As I scroll until my eyes go blurry, I pick and pin entire rooms, furniture pieces, and décor must-haves. Lately, I’ve been hooked on living rooms, focusing on the empty corners of my own living space that need filling.

In an effort to spruce up my living room at a price that wouldn't hurt my heart, I went online in search of a second-hand accent chair in need of some TLC. With Craigslist and apps like Offer Up, Let Go, Wallapop, and Close 5, it’s never hard to find furniture pieces people are selling and all-too-willing to give up at a good price. After only about 10 minutes, I stumbled upon a $20 chair stripped down to its bones.

It definitely needed some work; the entire back cushion was missing. Still, it wasn't a lost cause, and I was up for the challenge. To my pleasant surprise, I found it wasn’t too challenging at all.

The first step, painting, was simple enough. I used chalk paint as it’s seriously the easiest paint to work- no sanding, priming, or anything is required as a precursor- just slap it on, and double up the layers if the first is too light. I mixed a charcoal gray and royal blue to get the shade I wanted.

Once the paint was dry, I applied Minwax- Paste Finishing Wax to protect the paint and give the texture a smooth, polished feel.

The seat cushion itself wasn’t in bad shape; reupholstering was as easy as layering batting and my chosen fabric and stapling both into place.

Creating a back cushion was fairly simple too. I purchased a bare cushion at a fabric store and sandwiched layers of my chosen fabric and batting. Pulling it tight, I stapled it against the back of the chair.

To finish the piece, I trimmed the excess fabric on both the seat and back cushion as close to the staple line as possible. To cover the unsightly line of staples, I created piping from left over fabric and cording using a sewing machine. Then with a steady hand, I glued said piping into place. One helpful tip here would be to move slowly; hot glue is not very forgivable on fabric.

With a little bit of Pinterest-inspired styling….

A project like this is totally doable! It just takes a little time and effort at first, but it’s well worth it both for the sense of accomplishment and the financial savings of buying a brand new chair.