DIY: Dining Chair Overhaul

A couple weeks back I finally found a new dining table. Well it's new for us but it's actually over 100 years old! The table is a stellar piece but it didn't come with any chairs. The amazing thing is that when I went to pick it up (found it on Craigslist) the lady who was selling everything and moving also gave me a set of four chairs, two other chairs, and a bench since she needed to get rid of them! Lucky find! :) So these chairs, they were in pretty bad shape because they were also over 100 years old and were not taken care of... they are so old the cushion was stuffed with straw! Crazy that they used to use straw before they could pick up cotton batting or foam.

Anyhow, we thought that with an old table in a mahogany tone that we could modernize the look by painting the chairs black. A quick trip to the hardware store to figure out what we should do and we quickly decided on a black lacquer. So here's the list of all the supplies:

- Black Lacquer Spray Paint (Krylon)
- 2" Foam
- Faux Leather material for the cushion
- 3/4" Plywood
- Screws
- Heavy Duty Stapler which we borrowed!
- Felt Pads for the bottom of the legs so they wouldn't scratch our floor

Step 1: Preparation
For this project we measured the chair frame to figure out how big the cushion should be. These chairs have sort of a trapezoid shape and we made the end opposite the back of the chair about an inch longer to make it a little bigger and to make sure it wasn't short of the chair frame. My husband cut the plywood and I used that as a pattern to cut the foam and fabric. I cut the foam the same size and the fabric an extra 3" on each end.

Step 2: Staple!
I laid the faux leather, good side down. Next I laid the foam and then the plywood on last. We pulled the fabric tight, pulling the foam into the plywood. Then we stapled the fabric to the bottom of the plywood and trimmed the extra fabric.

Step 3: Paint
This takes a bit but it's worthwhile to paint a number of coats. We painted about six coats because we didn't want to sand each chair. We just primed and painted a lot! Be careful not to spray too close as you might get drips/clumps. A nice even spray and some patience to do multiple coats for coverage is key! Also, if you are going to do a big project like this then invest in a $5 sprayer so you don't kill your hand.

Step 4: Attach the Cushion
Next we used four screws four each chair to attach it at the corners of the cushion to the corners of the chair frame. And lastly we put felt pads on the bottom of each leg.

Didn't these turn out great?! I love them and I love that they were so cheap because I looked at dining chairs and they weren't cheap! Now we just need to find six more to fit our table when we put all four leaves in it!

Here's the budget breakdown:
- Plywood: Left over from our headboard project! Love using all the scraps!
- Faux Leather: $16 - I happened to find some on clearance... it was $8 per yard and two yards was perfect. This is normally $30 per yard!
- Foam: $29 - I bought a twin 2" foam mattress topper from Walmart for $29... a serious steal considering the craft store would have sold me the same size for upwards of $80!I also have some foam leftover... looking for a good project for the scrap. :)
- Spray Paint: $25 - 5 cans for about $5 each
TOTAL: $70 for all four chairs! Unbelievable... dining chairs usually go for more than $70 each and don't have as much character or good structure. These are solid chairs.

So.... What do you think? Does the black lacquer look work?

<- Kassy ->

PS - See that basket on the table? I made that for $6! And a matching vase for $2... Tune in over the next few weeks for that DIY post!


  1. Super cute! I'm just getting started on some DIY projects for the first time in my life. Never considered myself "crafty" but this all looks simple enough for me to figure out. Thanks for the detailed post!