How I Faked Reupholstery
If you’ve ever wondered what becomes of the destroyed furniture that people leave in their driveways with signs that say “FREE”, they probably end up in my garage. I’m not a dumpster diver or anything, but when I see a piece of furniture with some potential, I have a really hard time saying no. You may recall me mentioning in this post and this post that my hubby & I have made a hobby out of furniture flipping. During the summer, we hit Starbucks, the ATM, & head to the flea market on Saturday mornings searching for treasures amongst all the knock off soaps and used tires (although, I have repurposed some $5 flea market tires in my day). This was not a flea market find, but rather an ill-fated Craigslist trip.
I had spotted a beautiful (but incredibly scratched) nightstand in a Craigslist free add. It was surrounded by baby toys that were faded from being outside too long and broken lawn furniture. The owner had put them in front of her house with a message that simply said "free. don't ring doorbell." No problem! I raced across town, but by the time I got there, the nightstand was gone. I was disappointed but as we were about to drive home empty handed, I noticed this chair. Clearly it had been resigned to the family cat. It was dusty and dirty and the stuffing was falling out. "I want it," I told J. He looked at me like I'd finally lost it and asked why. I reminded him that I'd been wanting to try my hand at reupholstering furniture, a feat that seemed incredibly daunting but profitable. He shook his head, but loaded it into the car (no easy task...we were driving the Civic). When he finally managed to fanangle it in, he looked down at his shirt and realized it has left green residue all over...a side effect of the fabric being scratched stretched too much over a long period of time.
This was last summer and it's been sitting in the garage ever since... taunting me and daring me to try to disassemble it. After much deliberation and research, it finally occurred to me that I was in way over my head. I don't know how to reupholster! The videos I watched were daunting and even the pros seemed frustrated by the end.
That was when I had a brilliant idea. What if I covered it with a slipcover, stapled it into place to make it permanent, and then added some pretty upholstery nails?!
Off to Amazon I went, ordering away one of these slipcovers to my heart's content without measuring a damn thing. I also ordered this set of upholstery nails... probably my only good decision. When it arrived surprise surprise... it didn't fit. So, not one to be deterred by something as silly as having the wrong size slipcover, I simply cut the damn thing up and started stapling away.
Now, this isn't going to be an tutorial exactly, as I was really winging it as I went. However, I wanted to show you all that it is absolutely possible to reupholster a chair with a slip cover without having any idea what you're doing.
First, I cut the slip cover in half, removing the seat from the back rest. I pulled the seat cover over the seat and stapled it in place.
Then, I pulled the back rest cover over the back rest. This is where things got tricky. I realized, in order to make the staples seamless, I'd have to remove the back panel. So I enlisted the help of my hubby to do that part with a screw driver and a hammer.
At this point, I'd run out of fabric. So back to Amazon I went for another slipcover. When it arrived 2 days later, (Thanks, Amazon Prime!) I again, cut the slipcover in half, and this time cut the backrest in half as well, cutting along the seam, to separate the front from the back. I used these two pieces on the "wings" of the chair, tucking and pulling and stapling them in place befor finally replacing the back panel.
Then, I added the upholstery nails to the trim. This was the key, as it made the chair seem so much more special and decorative.
It's definitely not perfect, but I love it so much. It's certainly come a long way from that sad little chair that was sitting in someone's driveway. Unfortunately, a new kitty has now taken a liking to it... mine.