My husband has a red vinyl covered chair which is practically the only piece of furniture left from his bachelor days…I made sure everything else disappeared over time…he he. It has travelled across the country and back again and was originally purchased by his mother. I like the chair design and it has a good sturdy frame, but the red vinyl definitely has to go! We keep it as an occasional chair in our bedroom, but red vinyl does not look good in a duck egg blue bedroom.
This is my first attempt at upholstering a chair, though I have covered a bedhead before. The most daunting thing about recovering a chair is that you never know what is waiting for you underneath the outer exterior. It might be mouldy, full of insects, dusty and falling apart and you may need to replace stuffing, webbing or foam, but until you prise off the exterior, you have no idea how much work you may need to do.
I gathered together my tools of the trade, pliers and a flat screw driver, and started removing tacks and staples.
Thankfully as the chair isn’t too old and was well constructed (they don’t make them like they used to), the internal materials were in good condition which made my job a lot easier.
Once the red vinyl was off, I gave the chair a light sand, wiping off the dust with a damp cloth afterwards. I used a water based furniture oil to give the wood some shine. I didn’t want to use a lacquer as the chair won’t be used regularly.
I kept the vinyl pieces to use as a template with my replacement material. I also wrote on the back of the vinyl what part of the chair they belonged to so that I knew what needed to go where. I chose a good quality upholstery material which reminded me of a Laura Ashley design. I placed the material front side down and marked an outline with a ballpoint pen and cut out the pieces.
Time to assemble. I used a spray adhesive to position the material on the chair. Spray adhesive is ideal because when you upturn the chair to staple, the material doesn’t move. It also nicely smooths out the material so that no kinks or creases appear. Staple gun time. I have a very cheap version, but it does its job.
I did the chair base first as it was the easiest to do. From the base I stretched the fabric taunt in the centre and stapled down. I then moved from the centre in increments of an inch or so. Once a panel side was stapled I added more staples in the spaces before moving to the next side. The base is done and looking fine!
The back was really fiddly, as there was a back and front panel with lots of folds and tacking required. I tweeked the design slightly as I wanted to hide all the staples (unlike the original). I did the front panel first, then the back.
Thankfully the back of the chair will be facing the wall, as it wasn’t the neatest finish, but it’s done and I must say a marked improvement from the red vinyl.