Dining chair upcycle update! {A good old before & after}

First off, apologies for the lack of post last weekend, re-upholstering the dining room chairs has proved to be a longer project than I first anticipated! I’ve now got one chair finally complete though hurrah!

In my last post I shared with you my fabric choice for upcycling our dining room chairs. In case you missed it, this was the winner…

Willoughby fabric
‘Willoughby Dusk’ fabric from the Drawing Room collection by Prestigious Textiles

We recently changed our dining table and the chairs didn’t go any more. New dining chairs are costly, particularly when you need to buy four or six of them so I decided to give our existing Ikea chairs a fresh new look instead.

What I used

  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in ‘Pure’
  • Willoughby Dusk‘ fabric from the Drawing Room collection by Prestigious Textiles
  • Annie Sloan soft wax
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Annie Sloan paint brush & wax brush and a smaller brush for the nooks and crannies
  • Dressmaker scissors
  • A stapler and staples (ask around before buying one, luckily I borrowed my Mums!)
  • A man (well doesn’t have to be a man but an extra pair of strong hands certainly helps!

what I used 2

So originally, our dining room chairs looked like this…

chair before

Comfortable, practical and hard-wearing? Yes.  Stylish, colourful and memorable?  No.

I started off by removing the seat pad using a screwdriver.

seat removed

After a thorough clean, I gave the chair two coats of white paint (I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Pure) then, using 120 grit sandpaper, I lightly sanded down every surface to ensure a smooth finish. Finally, I gave the chair two coats of soft wax and buffed with a clean, lint-free cloth.

painted chair

It was all going so well but the seat pad threw up all sorts of problems!

seat pad

First of all, the original grey fabric was stapled down so well it was impossible to remove the staples without damaging the seat, the staple remover or ourselves! We had to cut and prise away the material as best we could but it was a frustrating process. Just look at this for a sight of destruction..

removed fabric

removed piece of fabric

Once the old fabric was removed (in quite an undignified fashion!) I used it as a template to cut out a piece of the new fabric.


Using the stapler, I stapled the new fabric onto the seat pad as tightly as I could to avoid wrinkling or puckering of the fabric.


A word of warning if you attempt this yourself…whatever you do, do not cover the screw holes with fabric as when you come to re-attach the seat, you’re in trouble (I learnt the hard way!)

Once the seat was re-covered in the new fabric, it was then a matter of screwing it back onto the freshly painted chair frame which wasn’t straightforward either as the screws and brackets didn’t want to cooperate!

Anyway, it was all worth it because this is the finished result and I’m mighty pleased.

new chair 1

close up fabric

I’m glad I took my time with the corners of the fabric as they’ve turned out looking clean-cut and neatly finished.

close up fabric 2

chair 2

Before 2

Wasn’t that grey fabric dull and boring, I hadn’t quite appreciated how much so until I changed it!




I’ve really enjoyed my first taste of upholstery. If you’ve been inspired to try your hand at upholstery, re-covering a seat pad makes for the perfect first project as it’s relatively simple and you don’t have to worry about the stapling being perfect as you don’t see the underneath. Fingers crossed the other three chairs turn out the same as this one!


What do you think of the chair’s new look? Would you be able to recognise their humble Ikea beginnings? I’d love to hear your thoughts!





4 thoughts on “Dining chair upcycle update! {A good old before & after}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *