Thrift Store Furniture Refresh (The Chair I Bought For $5)

Thrift Store Chair Makeover

I was recently included in a wonderful group all about furniture refreshes! Each month we tackle a furniture project in need of a little bit of love and give it a makeover based on that months theme. The month of May we completed a project piece using stain.

When it comes to thrifting, I’m fairly new. I still won’t always see the full potential in a piece until after I’ve walked by and then back again. This piece was no different. It was at the last store that I walked around that I found the piece I could give some love to. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, but with the help of Sarah over at The Project Pile, we hit the stores and found some wonderful things!

I found my chair for $5.00. It’s a steal to be honest because, really, all it needs is a little bit of a refresh. Overall my chair stood strong and I wouldn’t be afraid to actually sit down and use it! It’s not just intended on being a decor piece.

Before and After Chair

Being as I’m currently in the process of remodeling a house, I was really looking to match some of the decor that will be going in the house, but since it’s a little bit too early into the process I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of decor I would be adding. My favourite is dark coloured wood and the colour teal, so, why not add the two together to make a wonderful piece!

I started my project by disassembling the pieces. I unscrewed the seat and removed it from the chair. This part was fairly easy. It was just a matter of removing four screws. The back portion was much harder though. I had to start by removing the round head upholstery tacks. There were more than 160 around the fabric. When I had removed all of them I was surprised to see what was underneath. It was another layer of fabric held on by about another hundred tacks. Under that layer, again, was another one with another hundred or so tacks, and finally the fourth layer with more tacks. I had a bucket full when it was stripped.

Chair x3

Chair x3.1

I spent the next little bit sanding down my chair to rid it of the old finish. This took time to complete but after a couple of hours it was completely sanded. When it came to the stain I didn’t have any coloured stuff, only clear, so I left the project alone for another week or so before coming back to it.

Sanded Chair

One night after dinner, I ended up in town at the hardware store and scooped up a tiny can of stain. I used a stain in the colour “Dark Walnut”. It turned out perfectly! I applied one coat, let it dry and came back to put a clear coat on it. I used the same clear coat as what was used on my coat rack. The link to the stain below is what I used for my chair!

The next task was fabric. I looked around for a solid teal colour, but what I was able to find was all patterned or was not thick enough to be used as upholstery fabric. The fabric store we have in town has some funky hours, but I finally made it in to grab some fabric.

The associate at the fabric store showed me around and suggested several different fabrics with teal in them, but it was the one that I chose that I really liked. When I saw it I said I didn’t want to look anymore, I want that one! (I didn’t want to have to choose later on.)

Stained Chair

When I got home I sat down to get my fabric ready. I traced around the old pieces to get a shape – sort of. The bottom was easy to do, the top not so much. I didn’t actually take the bottom fabric off, I just put new fabric over top. When I attempted to pull the old stuff off, it was brittle and basically molded to the base. I used new tacks to hold the material in place instead.

Chair 2

Chair 3

Chair 1

For the back I started by tacking on a piece of fabric facing behind, so when you look at it from the back you can still see the pattern. When the very back portion was put on, I went back to the old fabric layers that were used for cushion and reinstalled them. They worked fine for the job. I personally didn’t go crazy with the tacks though, I didn’t seed a need to put 400 more holes in the wood! I wish I would have taken pictures of putting my chair back together, but to be honest I forgot my camera!

To finish off the back of the chair, I ended up using the old piece of backing that had come off and put my new fabric over top of the old stuff. I couldn’t get the new fabric to stay in place, and when I attempted to get it to stay in place, stray ends kept popping out! It was intended that I put some new decorative tacks on in place of the old ones – and I think I still will, but I forgot mine at the store (darn it!!!).

This project was definitely a chore. It took a lot longer than I thought it ever would. I am super happy with it, and I cannot wait to get my new house finished so I can stage it to look so much better than in the pictures! (Kind of sucks because the only things in the house right now are paint cans, ladders and roller brushes).

What do you think of this thrift store chair refresh? I love it! The extra fabric that I had left over will be used again to make something else!

Sarah’s chair! The Project Pile
Michelle’s Stools – Sheltring
Anj’s Table – Make My Apt A Home

Thrift Store Furniture Makeover

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  1. I love how the chair turned out. First of all, you can’t go wrong with dark walnut, it’s my favorite stain of all. Second, you can’t go wrong with teal…ever! Upholstering is always a figure it out as you go thing. Nice job!!

  2. Your chair came out great! I love the fabric choice. It’s very bright and cheerful. I love thrifting, too! I just posted about my thrift store finds yesterday. I’d love for you to check it out!

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