May 18, 2011

Dining Room Chairs Re-do!

I'm really glad we rarely have dinner guests.  It's not because I don't like cooking ( I don't mind it).  It's not because I was worried about the kids' behavior (they can usually at least tone down the bickering in front of others). It's because our dining room chairs had become so disgusting, I was embarrassed by them.  

When we first bought the set 5 years ago, I knew that fabric seats probably weren't the smartest idea, but I went for it anyway.  After two years, I recovered the seats, thinking that since the kids were past the toddler stage, they wouldn't be as messy.  Yeah, that was so not the case!  

This is what just one of the chairs looked like 
(the others looked similar!)

and those were only the stains I could identify!

I knew I should recover them again, but just kept putting it off because I knew whatever I put on wouldn't last.  Then I saw this post over at Momnivore's Dilemma where she reupholstered her chairs using a pretty vinyl tablecloth.  What a smart idea!  A pretty pattern and it was wipe-able!!  

I ran out to my Home Goods and picked up this...

It's not vinyl, so it won't be quite as stain proof, but it's water repellent indoor/outdoor treated fabric and the colors match our dining room and living room perfectly.  I bought the largest size ( 70"x120", I think) and it was more than enough to do all six chairs, plus I have plenty of leftovers.  Oh, and it was only $19.99, so it was way cheaper than buying fabric by the yard. 

Check out the transformation...

If you've never done a project like this, it's really pretty easy.  I was able to do all six chairs in an afternoon (with distractions!).

1.  You'll need a heavy duty staple gun and staples.
2.  Take your seat off your chair.  (Most are just held on by a few screws underneath).  Put the seat upside down on the wrong side of your fabric.  If there's a pattern, try to center it or make sure the lines are straight.

3.  Cut your fabric leaving plenty of extra to wrap around to the back side.  ( It's way better to have some excess that you can cut off, than not enough to staple down!)

4.  Start stapling down your fabric.  I like to do one side, then the opposite side, then the corners then the last two sides.  I also found that the staple gun works best if you push it tight down on the fabric, then squeeze to staple.  If a staple doesn't go all the way in, you can always give it a whack with a hammer.

Wrapped nice and tight.
5.  Turn it over and re-attach to your chair frame.

Sooo much better.
 While they're not totally kid proofed like they would be with vinyl, liquids just bead up on the indoor/outdoor fabric, so it should definitely reduce a lot of future stains.  Plus, at some point, these kids should finally be able to eat a meal without spilling something, right?  Please tell me that day will come soon, please! 

Sharing the transformation at:


  1. They look great! And so easy! ha ha... bet you wished you had done that ages ago! :)

  2. such an awesome idea! Love the new look. We don't have a dining room set yet, and our chairs in the kitchen are thankfully just wood. I can't imagine what our chairs would look like otherwise. LOL

  3. What a GREAT idea. I need to redo mine too and this is so much cheaper.

  4. I got some new-to-us chairs that need to be recovered. Thinking about finding summery table cloth.

  5. Loved it when I saw Momnivore's post, and I still love it. What a transformation!

  6. wow such a cool idea!! I really need to cover my chairs!! Three little's and boy can they make a mess!! We might do this project this weekend!!

  7. It's a great idea and looks much nicer!

    However, I am more practical and admit that even I spill stuff all over my chairs. I guess it's part of having a kid want to plop in your lap at any random moment. (At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)

  8. turned out real nice, I've had great success doing this to my chair and vanity bench! ;-)

  9. You've done a pretty good job and I can't believe that it seems so easy.

  10. We did the same thing and even used a very similar fabric. It's so nice for a little while... then the stains come back. LOL. Kids!

    You did a great job!

  11. They look awesome! I just finished recovering our breakfast nook chairs today:) I had to laugh at your before picture because I took one just like that too! I used outdoor fabric because I figured it would clean up a little better than regular fabric...I guess only time will tell!

  12. awesome! i'm totally gonna give that a try! now following you! would love for you to come sometime for a visit & follow back! :)

  13. I just repainted some old chairs but haven't been brave enought to recover them yet...the vinyl is so smart!

    Thank you for sharing!

  14. Thank you! I bought a set of chairs because the wood matched my table pretty well, but the seats are a gold velvet that I hate, and there are a few stains. You've given me hope that I can do this!

  15. You did such a nice job. You may consider a water repellent spray for the stains.(found in the camping section in many stores..and apply it outdoors) The spray is GREAT for tenting fabrics and holds up for several seasons, it should hold up for the grueling daily use from your family and kiddos also.

  16. Awesome!! Looks great! I don't know how to reattach the cushion to the chair (I'm clueless!) What did you use?

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