My dining chairs for the breakfast room are finally finished! Here’s a look at one of them after sanding, priming, and painting the frame, and then reupholstering the backrest and the seat. Here’s the front…
And here’s the back…
And just as a reminder, this is what these chairs looked like before…
These are the Rustic Java Greyson Side Chairs from World Market, which I bought on sale. I think they were something like half price when I bought them (maybe less). It seems like I ended up getting them for about $60 each or something like that. The original was pretty, but very neutral and brown. That’s not really me. But the new and improved version is very much me, wouldn’t you say?
I painted the chairs a Sherwin Williams color called On The Rocks, which is somewhere between an off white and a super light gray.
On the front and back of the backrest, I used this fabric from Joann Fabric, which was 40% off.
And for the seat and welt cord, I used this fabric, which I also got on sale.
I didn’t really take pictures for a thorough start-to-finish tutorial because all three upholstered parts of these chairs were basic wrap-and-staple (for the seat) or wrap-and-glue (for the backrest pieces). I mean, it took a while to complete four chairs, but the process was really very simple. But I do have some process pictures and hopefully some helpful hints to share.
The back of the backrest was that thick cardboard that’s often used on upholstery. I just popped it out of the frame with a flat head screwdriver (it was secured with tiny little finishing nails). The front of the backrest was thicker 1/4″ pressed hardboard.
On both pieces, I just removed all of the fabric, batting, and foam, and then started from scratch. On the back, I just covered it with a layer of batting (adhered with spray adhesive), and then covered with fabric. On the front, I adhered 1/2-inch foam, a layer of high loft polyester batting, and then the fabric. I cut the batting so that it went right to the edges of the pressed hardboard. In other words, I didn’t wrap any of the batting around to the back because I didn’t want to add any width or height to the pressed hardboard, which fit snugly into the seat frame.
Upholstery projects with patterned fabric will always result in a lot of wasted fabric because you have to make sure the pattern falls in the same spot on each chair.
To attach the fabric to the backrest pieces, I used hot glue.
If you’re going to use hot glue for upholstery projects (which is completely acceptable on projects like this where staple guns won’t really work), I highly suggest getting a big, sturdy hot glue gun. Don’t try to do upholstery projects with those tiny glue guns you see for three bucks hanging in the checkout line by the register in the craft store. I got my hot glue gun and the big hot glue sticks at Home Depot.
The welt cord for the backrests was sewn just like regular welt cord. (Be sure to check out my tutorial for sewing continuous welt cord.) But then I trimmed off the excess fabric as close to the stitched seam as I could.
And then I glued it so that the stitched seam was facing down and hidden between the chair frame and the upholstered backrest.
The welt cord wasn’t really necessary on the backs, and it actually looked nice without it. But I like contrast, and I also like welt cord, so I opted to use it on my chairs. You can see here the difference between the back with the welt cord and the back without the cord.
If you want the finished look of welt cord on your upholstered projects, but don’t want a high contrast look, you can always use the patterned fabric to create welt cord to go around the edge of the patterned fabric.
The seats were also just a wrap-and-staple, which is quite easy, but corners always seems to stump people. For the front corners, I stopped stapling the front edge about four inches from the corner. Then I wrapped the fabric from the side around to the front and stapled it into place.
And then I folded the front fabric so that the crease was right along the corner, and stapled it underneath.
This created a very clean look on the front without having to sew a seam.
The backs were done in a way that is specific to this particular chair design. I had to staple around all of the screw holes and then cut away the fabric that was in the way.
It was a long process from start to finish, but I’m so pleased with how these turned out.
I finally have seating for my breakfast room. Now I just need a dining table.