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Reupholstering Second Hand Kitchen Chairs


Hi, you guys!  Remember that $25 kitchen set I got a while ago?  You know, the one I scored on Kijiji and had featured on Love on Sunday?

kitchen table and chairs - beforeYeah, that one!

Well the chairs were looking a little… rough around the edges.  Literally.  That fabric was the farthest thing from fresh, and yet the shape of the chairs is so mod that I felt they needed a bit of updating.  Not to mention, now that the hutch is finished the chairs deserve a little love too!  Here’s how their story goes:

Reupholstering second hand chairsA little background on the chairs: the sticker shows they are made in Denmark, manufactured by Farstrup.  I did minimal research, but it looks like these chairs were made in the 70’s or 80’s, and a set like this seems to be valued at around $125 – PER CHAIR!  Can you believe that?  I paid $25 for the chairs and table, so that’s $5 a piece.  Not bad, eh?!?!


I let them live with the greying and fraying tweed for a little while, and then on one of our many trips to IKEA with my mom, we decided to check out their fabric options.  The wide-striped black and white instantly drew me in, an my mom gave the genius idea to mix the wide and narrow stripes.  She’s awesome like that.

Reupholstering second hand chairs | The Learner ObserverThe process was pretty straight forward, to be honest.  We pried the backing off, cut off a piece of fabric to fit and stapled on, doing our best to keep the lines straight.  The bottoms were screwed off and then back into place and the backs were glued on, with a little help from some clamps to make sure everything stayed in place while the glue dried.  Oh, and we did not remove the old fabric – the new stuff just went right over top of it. Oh, and also, yes, I did originally have the stripes going in different directions, but we had a vote and my original pick wasn’t cutting it – my whole family voted for same direction.  Glad their inner interior decorators came out for a few seconds to help me out!

Reupholstering second hand chairs | The Learner ObserverHere is what we ended up with.  Pardon the shift in yellow light vs. daylight – we upholstered in the dark while the MVAs were on.  Thank goodness we finished before that epic Justin Timberlake concert started.  Oh wait, was that still during the awards show?

Anyway, I could not be happier with how the chairs have turned out.  Ready to see them in action int he kitchen?  Me too!


Reupholstering second hand chairs | The Learner ObserverIt’s a much better fit with the black and white in the hutch now too.  I like how the pieces go together without having the same pattern, and I think it’s also great that the kitchen cupboards are white with black hardware, so the whole kitchen kind of matches without matching at all since all pieces are from different places (though potentially all from the same era!).

In usual Learner Observer fashion, here’s the cost breakdown:

  • $25 for the set
  • $24 in SOFIA fabric (not all used) at $7.99 per meter (wide & narrow)
  • $15 for staple gun and staples
    • TOTAL: $64

I can hardly believe I got a kitchen set for less than $500, let alone for $64!!!!  PINCH ME!  K, don’t… I hate being pinched!  Let’s just look at the before and after, shall we?Reupholstering second hand chairs | The Learner ObserverThough I can appreciate what the neutral tweed did for the chairs (which was basically keep them as boring as possible), the fabric was in really bad shape and I think it’s just so much more fun now!

Reupholstering second hand chairs | The Learner ObserverOur kitchen is actually coming together, and I could not be happier with how it’s all turning out!  The best part is that though it’s taking me a while to sort out all of the details, and that can be frustrating for me because I’m not a very patient person, it’s really the best thing for us because it means we can really think about the things we’re choosing and get the pieces that are most perfect for our home and for us.  I should make a poster of this with the words “patience pays off” to remind myself the next time I want to hurry up and be finished decorating the whole house in 8 minutes!

Reupholstering second hand chairs | The Learner ObserverSo, my lovely readers, how did I do?  Or should I say, ‘how did WE do?’ because once again my mom was my #1 helper with this project – thanks mama!  Any tips on what I should put on the fabric to protect it from potential future spills or slobbery puppies?  Tempted to go for the Never Wet solution.  Thoughts?

Last thing, wanna come over for dinner and try these babies out?  They’re actually super comfy!

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  • Reply Johanna

    I WANT TO COME OVER FOR DINNER! Like I said, if you fly me over, I am THERE! haha but seriously, they look great! I love the mix of narrow and wide stripes, your mom is definitely a genius – internet high-five for mom! It really gives the kitchen a lovely pop of color and texture!
    Also THANK YOU for the super-sweet comment that you left on my boyband-thingie! SO VERY HAPPY that Lauren indirectly introduced us! #bloggerlove

    September 9, 2013 at 9:10 am
    • Reply Johanna

      PS: I added your button to my page; however, the code that is in your box didn’t work correctly (it showed a picture of a plant?!), so I tweaked it and now it works.. do you want me to send you the code?

      September 9, 2013 at 9:16 am
      • Reply Thalita

        That is so weird!! I wonder how that happened…? It would be SO awesome of you to send the code! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

        September 9, 2013 at 10:15 am
      • Reply Thalita

        ANNNNNNND of course, thank you for adding my button!!! I have to do the same on my blog soon!!!

        September 9, 2013 at 10:15 am
    • Reply Thalita

      HAHA I’ll get working on that flight!! She IS pretty awesome like that! As is Lauren for bringing us together!!!

      September 9, 2013 at 10:14 am
  • Reply Sherry Hart

    They look great! Love the stripe.

    September 9, 2013 at 9:23 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Sherry!! It seems a little black and white striped fabric never goes out of style, so here’s hoping I can love these for a long time! :)

      September 9, 2013 at 10:16 am
  • Reply Dee

    I love it! These chairs have a great shape and you made them even more fantastic! I would love for you to be next week’s guest judge at The CSI Project! Email me if you are interested. The challenge is Knock off’s!

    September 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      THANK YOU!!! Their shape is my favourite thing about them!

      Oh and I did email you the most frantic and excited email ever. I’m doing my best to stop jumping up and down long enough to type this!

      Thank you SO MUCH for inviting me!!!!! Best news!

      September 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Raven Corwin, aka Meggie

    LOVE it! Very creative using the different size stripes. Crisp, sassy, and classy all at once. The room really looks great, Thalita. :)

    September 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks!!!! Those are all such amazing words to describe this project! And hey, it’s normal to take a year to make over your kitchen, right? haha

      September 10, 2013 at 9:32 am
      • Reply Raven Corwin, aka Meggie

        A year for a kitchen? Absolutely. This is one of the most important spaces in your life. Take your time, get it just right. I learned the hard way when I re-did a kitchen once part-way as I wanted it only to end up gutting it and doing it ALL 2 years later the whole way. The result of the 2nd go around was fabulous, if I do say so myself, but I learned a valuable lesson in patience: wait and do it all the right way once! What you really want is worth the wait.

        September 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm
        • Reply Thalita

          That is some great advice!! Thank you!

          September 11, 2013 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Kayla @ Home Coming blog

    WOW! This is an amazing upgrade. I absolutely love how the chairs turned out!! I’d love for you to link up to The DIY’ers!

    September 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you so much, Kayla!!! I am so there!! :)

      September 10, 2013 at 9:33 am
  • Reply Steph

    They look great! I can’t believe you got that set for $25!!! My Kijiji hardly ever has deals like that.

    September 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Oh trust me, I wasn’t finding any deals like that either and I was looking almost every day. This was some sort of Kijiji miracle!!

      September 10, 2013 at 9:34 am
  • Reply marlin

    Looks beautiful and what a great transformation. You picked a great pattern of fabric !!

    September 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much, Marlin!! So glad you stopped by. I was just over at your blog, drooling over that gorgeous yellow table makeover of yours! :)

      September 10, 2013 at 9:47 am
  • Reply Amy | Love On Sunday Blog

    They look AMAZING! I love how you mixed up the fabric too. I just sold my old dining chairs and I need to get my Louis chairs done…it’s been almost a year now. I’m such a slacker!

    September 10, 2013 at 9:44 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Amy!!! Your Louis chairs are like a million times more work than these dinky chairs though, so I totally don’t blame you for taking your time! Though I guess not having any chairs will force you to finish them, huh!? I can’t wait to see them!!!!

      September 10, 2013 at 9:49 am
  • Reply the cape on the corner

    that looks amazing, love the shape of that set, too.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:55 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you!! The shape is 100% what sold me on this set. Can’t beat it! :)

      September 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply Jenna

    Wow! That fabric totally changes the look of the table! Love it!

    September 11, 2013 at 11:25 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you, Jenna!!! Puts a smile on my face every time I look at it :)

      September 12, 2013 at 8:41 am
  • Reply Georgia

    Looks amazing!! Still looking out on kijiji for a dining table…I may need your help.

    September 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hey Georgia! I’d be happy to help! I didn’t get an email from you in case you tried to contact me, but I’m totally open to helping you with your Kijiji hunt!

      September 12, 2013 at 8:43 am
      • Reply Georgia

        Just have to gather my inspiration photos to show you. :)

        September 14, 2013 at 8:49 am
        • Reply Thalita

          I can’t wait! :)

          September 16, 2013 at 9:38 am
  • Reply jen

    Great re-vamp, it looks so much better and I just love the classic black and white stripes. Well done. Jen-COM

    September 12, 2013 at 10:52 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks, Jen!!! Honestly, those stripes put a smile on my face!

      September 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Katharine of Kat's Almost Purrfect World

    My parents bought these chairs in the late 50’s when Danish Modern was in style for the first time. The material is the original material. My dad and uncle reupholstered them in black vinyl which I always thought was leather. lol On one of my chairs where the upholsterer is ripped I can see the original fabric. I “inherited” the set when I was in my early 20’s and I’m now 51. I like what you have done to them. They are very comfortable chairs so enjoy them.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:27 am
    • Reply Thalita

      You are giving me great hope that these chairs will last me a long time! I do love sitting on them because they’re so confortable. My last kitchen chairs definitely did not do us any favours if sitting for more than about 20 minutes, whereas with these I can sit on them for a lot longer! They look great in black vinyl – I have seen several other models that way and I did consider that for my kitchen too. I’m sure I’ll rethink my choice of cotton once we have kids!

      September 16, 2013 at 9:38 am
  • Reply {nifty thrifty sunday #125}

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    September 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm
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    September 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Naomi

    Oh my word! I LOVE these :) Wow, you did such an amazing job! I have been in love with both of those striped fabrics from IKEA and it’s so fun to see how you used them!

    September 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Naomi! I want to use those fabrics everywhere now! Already considering a pillow with some of the leftover fabric!

      September 17, 2013 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Kathleen

    Oh my gosh, these look incredible!! Love the coordinating stripes. See you at Blog Podium this weekend! :)

    September 19, 2013 at 11:28 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Kathleen, how did I miss this comment?!?! Thanks so much! And I’m sorry we missed each other this weekend. It might have something to do with all of the lovely distractions and the enormous sea of bloggers?

      September 23, 2013 at 9:37 am
  • Reply Steph

    Looks great! Great hanging out with you at the Princess Margaret house last week – take care!

    September 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Steph! It was so nice getting to meet you! Always good when you walk into a Master Bathroom thinking it’s a library and have someone to reassure you that “no, that really IS a bathtub!”

      October 1, 2013 at 9:41 am
  • Reply Christina

    Adorable! And so funny, because I found a very similar pair of chairs last week for our kitchen and recovered them last night!

    Love your stripes, they’re so cute.

    December 12, 2013 at 10:25 am
    • Reply Thalita

      That’s awesome!!!! I’d love to see them. You’ll post about it, right?!?! :)

      December 13, 2013 at 11:43 am
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  • Reply Trisha D. @Black and White Obsession

    Thalita the chairs turned out ah-mazing!! Really dig the varied stripes.

    March 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm
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