5 dolla chair

We are back to winter in Colorado today, so I thought I’d share a bright spring project I recently finished.

This morning

But last week when I went antiquing with my cousin, it was sunny and warm. She was looking for a few things she needs for her new house, and I was happy to look for things I don’t need for anything. As we were leaving the Habitat Restore, empty-handed after a quick run-through inside, I walked passed a crowd of ugly old chairs. They barely registered, being upholstered 1970s throw-aways. But at the last minute, something jumped out and pulled me back for a closer look. Really, I felt like one of those big stage hooks slipped around my waist and yanked. There, in the back corner, was this beauty!

And she was only $5 to boot! Score.

Ever since reading this post on my favorite diy blog, Young House Love, I’ve been itching to try my hand at upholstering a seat cushion. I loved the mod-ish, retro look of this chair, and it had a simple seat cushion I figured I could manage. Plus, for $5, if I messed up it wouldn’t really matter.

I grabbed that sucker and happily paid my $5 and change. Can you see the potential? Yeah, no one else could either. But I am special so . . .

Next it was off to hunt fabric. Me and the boys headed over to JoAnn Fabrics, to see what inspired us. First, this caught my eye.

I loved the fresh green color, and the fun, graphic pattern, but I was considering painting the chair green, and green fabric + green chair = green overload.

Next, this

I liked the neutral color, which I thought would pair nicely with a green chair, but finally decided it was a little too “garden party” for me.

Next up, this

This was by far my favorite. I loved the colors and the design, and it looked very similar to my YHL inspiration chair. But after consulting with my 0n-call interior design expert (aka my mom), decided the style didn’t really fit the retro look of the chair.

So where did I end up?

With this sweet little punch of flowery fun. The colors don’t read great in this little iPhone photo, but they are bright and cheerful, and go with the general color scheme of my house. Plus, I figured I had some flexibility to choose the perfect paint color. And finally, this stuff was on sale, 40% off. I bought two yards, along with some batting, all for just over $17.

Even though I’d been thinking green paint for the chair, when I got home I realized I had a bunch of yellow left over from the boys’ dresser, and it was a perfect match.

So I got to work sanding, wood puttying and removing the old, gunky padding from the chair seat.

What is that? Turf? Insulation? Yuck.

Graham was a great helper.

I gave the chair a light sanding on the flatter areas, and then used some liquid deglosser to reach the round spots and a few nooks and crannies. I filled the holes and gouges with wood putty, and while I waited for that to dry, I got to work on the upholstery. Here’s the cushion, after a couple layers of batting.

Then, I just moved the fabric around over the seat until I got the pattern how I wanted it. Once I got the look I wanted, I pulled each of the four sides tight and hit them with the staple gun to hold the fabric in place. After the fabric was secured, I worked my way around each side, pulling and stapling, until the seat was riddled with staples. During the stapling process, I occasionally turned the seat over to check that things were still lining up the way I wanted.

Once the seat was done, I started in on the primer and paint.

This is what Betsy (that name just came to me) looked like after a rough coat of primer and one coat of paint.

The final product

Doesn’t she look like a pretty little Betsy, with a spring dress and pin-curled blonde hair? Ha.

For now, she’s in a corner of my dining room, but I hope to find a better spot for her (in a new house?) at some point. Right now we are renting, and I don’t have a great spot, but some day, I envision her sitting next to an entry table, or in a mud room. Something like this

Photo: anafternoonwith.com

Or this

Photo: via Pinterest, here.

In retrospect, I probably would’ve had better luck spray painting the chair. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and the paint is pretty smooth, but I think I’d have gotten a more flawless look with spray paint. Considering I wanted to use what I had on hand, I love the end result. And for a grand total of about $22, I don’t expect it to be perfect.

Ok, off to an actual yoga class at my gym. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt up to a real class, so we will see how it goes. Wish me luck!


9 thoughts on “5 dolla chair

  1. terry says:

    Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu are awesome.
    The chair looks like it came from West Elm!!!!
    You are not only inspirational but sooooooooo creative and fun.
    Enjoy the snowy day in Colorado!!!!

  2. Erin Grant says:

    Ummm so we have been channeling each other in a major way. I just today saw the pattern of your chair on a hat box and fell in love. So I bought it for the wedding to use as the card box! Just have to put a slit in the top. Now I’m seeing it on your chair! Crazy!

    PS – Awesome job!

    • wishfit says:

      Would you like to borrow my chair as your bride throne? That pattern is also very similar to my duvet cover, though I didn’t realize it until Mike pointed it out. Which, now that I think about it, is a little weird. Well, if there is anyone I’d like in my head, it’s you, so that’s good. 🙂

  3. Bev says:

    Your chair turned out so great! I love how you can see something like that and envision a new life for it. And, I’m always happy to be your on-call interior design expert!

    • wishfit says:

      I’m trying to do more stuff like this so I DO have more fun. It’s the master plan! Glad you like it, though, because I know you do many fabulous things!

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