Lovely Transformed French Flair Chairs
Apparently, once you start any sort of hobby, people catch on and find enjoyment in giving you things to perpetuate that hobby. It’s a wonderful reputation to build when you actually need those things, but earlier this year, I’d collected a few too many generously donated furniture items to fix up and was in over my head. Thankfully we have a decent amount of storage space for said items and I was able to allow them to sit for months. Recognize any of these pieces?
Within that pile of stored up furniture items were two chairs my Mom scored at a garage sale earlier this year. I immediately saw their potential, but had so many other things to give love to, that these got pushed to the back burner. Well, if you have been following along on Charming Imperfections, you’ll know that I have accomplished a lot in dwindling that pile (Woven Seat Bench, Farmhouse Bookcase, Bentwood Rocking Chair, American Upholstered Chair), and have finally found the time to fix up these chairs my Mom gave me so long ago.
Obviously, they weren't in perfect condition.
This project took one afternoon to finish (not counting paint drying time) and I would say is a beginner project. Chairs like these are a great precursor project for upholstery and painting furniture.
Materials and tools you’ll need (Affiliate links indicated by a *):
To start things off, flip the chairs over and find where the seat is screwed into the chair frame. Unscrew to remove the seat in order to re-cover later.
I mixed plaster of Paris with this paint (and a little water) to make my own chalk paint. I was able to avoid sanding because of this as it goes on thick and smooth and results in a lovely matte finish. Paint lightly over detail areas so the cracks don’t fill up with paint and stand out on the chair. You can also fill those cracks with Vaseline which will prevent the paint from sticking to the area.
While those drying you have a good chance to recover those chairs. I like to save myself from extra work by not pulling off all the old material just to replace it with new when the old is in decent condition and clean. Woot, woot for saving time and energy, right? So, we will just be covering the existing fabric with new.
I decided I wanted grain sack stripes. These are a wonderfully beautiful trend that point to repurposed farmhouse items. Love it! Making the lines was easy (well, it would have been easy without an 18 month old).
Cut and lay out your fabric.
Next, measure to find the center of fabric on one of the edges and add a mark one inch to the left and one inch to the right of the center. Lay some duct tape (sticks better than painters tape on fabric) using those lines as a guide for a straight and centered stripe. How do you like my sparkly pink tape?
Paint in between those pieces of tape with the same color you painted the chair. I wasn’t too worried about the fact that it wasn’t fabric paint. It’s not like I’m going to be throwing it in the wash or snuggling with it.
Next, measure and mark 1” and 1 ¼” from one of the sides of the line you just made. Lay tape on both of those new lines for your thinner stripes. Paint, and repeat on the other side.
As a cautionary note, don’t let the tape extend past any unfinished edges, and if it does, pull very gently because it will unravel the canvas easily. If you are able to pull the tape off without incident, give yourself a round of applause and admire those lovely stripes.
Admiration time over! Now it’s time to cover that old ugly seat. I’m always amazed at how easy it is to re-upholster something. Lay the fabric out with the seat turned upside down over it and start stapling!
I have found that to get an even pull on every side, staple once in the center of each side, then expand out ward from that center staple until you are about 2 inches from the corner.
Fold the corners nicely and staple those down.
When you are finished, cut off any excess fabric.
Check that your chairs are dry and distress the edges if desired.
Attach the seats by screwing the screws back in from the bottom.
I knew these chairs would look lovely when finished, but I honestly was blown away at how perfectly they fit that French country style.
These pretty chairs have it all: the elegant curves, the decorative edges, the detailed craftsmanship, and I feel like the new paint job and seat cover really bring out that character.
As I placed theses French flair chairs in our living room, I had to wonder why I let these lovelies sit in storage for so long.
Sure, I was overwhelmed with projects, but had I known they would turn out so well, I would have done them first.
With a simple coat of paint and grain sack striped upholstery cover, these chairs were given a beauty treatment that shines beautifully.