DIY Before & Afters DIY Furniture Projects DIY Projects - All John & Alice's Family Room DIY Projects John and Alice's Family Room Living Room Decorating & DIY

Reupholstered Cane Chair With Tufted Back

Last Updated on January 10, 2014 by Kristi Linauer

How to reupholster an occasional chair

Happy Monday to you!  I hope you had a great weekend.  I worked on upholstery projects all weekend, just as I said I would.  I only got one chair completely finished.  Well, it still needs a pillow, but all of the upholstery parts are done.

Remember how these chairs started out?

cane chair before


Honestly, they weren’t terrible.  I joke about them having brittle, crunchy, old velour fabric, but really the fabric wasn’t in terrible shape.  The color was just a bit…well…GOLD for my taste, and they wouldn’t have worked in John & Alice’s family room with the gold fabric.  So they definitely needed a makeover.

And I stuck with my original plan, also.

cane chair fabric option


Here’s how it turned out…

chair after 1


It’s definitely an improvement, right?  I love damask fabric, and the color of this one is so pretty.

chair after 2


I still need to make a little lumbar pillow for each one, which will be out of the damask fabric also.

chair after 3


Now I know that many of you are interested in learning how to do the tufting.  I promise that a DIY tutorial is coming, but you might have to wait until next week for it.  But I promise, I’ll get it done!  I took many pictures of the process so that I could show you.

And here’s my favorite part…the back…

chair after 4


There were only two things I left off off of the chair from the original.  The first was a bit of cording on the front of the seat cushion.  I just really liked the way that the fabric pattern met (almost) perfectly, so I left the cord off.

chair after 6


And I also left off two buttons from the back.  This actually wasn’t intentional.  I didn’t realize that I skipped right over them until it was too late, and there was ABSOLUTELY.NO.WAY. that I was going to take the back off just to add two more buttons (which are blue, by the way…can you tell?)

chair after 7


So, once I get the lumbar pillow finished up, this thing will be officially complete (and the seat cushion will make a bit more sense).

But for now, this is what I have.  You’ll see the whole thing, with the lumbar pillow, once John & Alice’s family room is complete.

cane chair before      chair after 1

Update:  I got the pillow finished!  Here’s what it looks like now…

chair with pillow


This is an incredibly long D.I.Y. tutorial, so I’ve divided it into six parts:

  1. Intro – Materials and supplies list
  2. Part 1 – Stripping the chair and prepping the frame
  3. Part 2 – Covering the back side of the seat back
  4. Part 3 – Button tufting the chair back
  5. Part 4 – Covering and reattaching the chair seat
  6. Part 5 – Upholstering the loose seat cushion

Need to make a throw pillow? Click here for a basic throw pillow tutorial.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Wow! I love this and I am so surprised by the combination of pattern and solid — would never have thought of that — really a great makeover!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I have almost that exact chair.  I love what you did with it.  Are you going to show us how you did it? Purty please!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I will, but it'll probably be next week before I can get to it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Love Damask! Nice job and looking forward to the tutorial. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I love it!!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Amber Peters
    June 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I can't wait for the tutorial! I was hoping you would do one soon because i have a similar chair that is in desperate need of reupholstering!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Oh they've turned out so well!  Was this your first time doing upholstering?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Thank  you!  No, I've upholstered other things before…mostly chairs, but one sofa (possibly two).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 21, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I LOVE the back!  I am actually working on re-upholstering a rocking chair that has a similar back to this one, its my first re-upholstery project and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it and make it look good – like you did!  I hope you include that in your tutorial, waiting anxiously 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Awesome chair!!!  Love the black!!! — I want one!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    L.Lane Designs
    June 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    It turned out great!  I love the touch of the blue buttons to bring the two fabrics together! 🙂 New follower from TT&J.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I LOVE the fabric! I would love it if you would link up to my Tuesday Confessional link party going on now: I hope to see you soon!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    sandra mendoza
    July 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I look at your blog once a week, but I never comment…I had to comment on this one – WOW!  What a lovely chair!  I recently bought one @ the thrift store for $10 and am looking for ideas — the chair is very similar to yours.  I will definitely link up to your party once I am done w/my chair!  Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 25, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I am impressed! I like all of the tiny details! Come see my dollar chair I gave up on!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I love it!
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I got a chair exactly like this one, the fabric is ugly burnt orange? Orange is fine but this has to go. Gonna paint the chair white and find some lovely blue/teal fabric.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Part 5 -- How to Reupholster An Occasional Chair With Cane Sides And Tufted Back
    January 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    […] << Return to the beginning of this tutorial […]