Chair Upholstery Makeover

Have a chair in need of a face lift? Country Living's associate editor, Rebecca Thienes, did. So she learned to upholster at The Furniture Joint in New York City to transform this faded occasional chair into a fabulous find.

After the class, I attempted my first project: a worn Louis XV-inspired chair with carved fleur-de-lis details and pretty cabriole legs that were overpowered by a dowdy fruit-patterned fabric. With help from the shop's owner and course instructor, Matthew Haly, and interior designer (and fellow student) Jennifer Eisenstadt, we made over the chair in a single day.

Price point: For the average DIYer, upholstery will prove itself a challenging but rewarding activity that can save on decorating costs. Look for classes at local trade schools, or consult a book that details the basic techniques, such as Upholstery: A Beginners' Guide (Guild of Master Craftsman). Projects that require tufting, pleats, or major restoration are best left to professionals. To strip and reupholster this chair, a pro would charge about $350, in addition to the cost of materials.

Fabric facts: Selecting upholstery fabric involves several important steps. First, consider function: This side chair won't receive as much use as a sofa, so a more delicate material, such as this 100-percent silk "Poppea" fabric from The Silk Trading Co. (shown on the reupholstered chair, above, right), is appropriate here. Next, the amount of fabric comes into play. This type of chair requires a small amount of yardage, so we splurged on this more expensive fabric that makes a big statement. When estimating fabric yardage, remember to take the repeat into consideration. If a repeated pattern is centered, add half a yard to your estimate. Finally, be sure to smooth out and center the fabric, iron out wrinkles, and then "make nice and measure twice" to avoid costly mistakes.

See a slideshow of the makeover process.

Related Links:

One Chair Makeover

Signature Slipcovers

Thrifty Chair Makeover

What Color Should I Paint My Chairs?

Limited Time Offer - Order Country Living & Save up to 81%

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.