$15 Thrift Store Chair Makeover

IMG_6246I am learning more and more to embrace the rhythm of my life and enjoy every season. There are times when my life is fast paced, and filled with adventurous travel on a weekly basis. During those times I am extremely busy, I barely see my home, and when I do see my home, I just like to relax in it. Other times, things are slower. Many times the slowness comes without warning, and my brain is still in busy mode, unaware that things around me have slowed down. Finally, it all catches up to me, and I surrender and learn to take advantage of the moments I have to stop and smell the roses. During the slow times, I try to productively occupy myself with the things I love to do. I read books more, blog more, entertain people at our home, etc. But one of my favorite things to do is tackle a decorating project in my home. My home is my retreat space. There is a certain feel I want to experience when I walk into it, and I am willing to invest the time and effort it takes to create the space I love.

One of the ways I invest my time into my home, is by scouting out great and inexpensive finds in my favorite thrift stores. I am fairly new to thrifting, and by no means consider myself an expert, but I am getting an understanding of how to recognize a good piece of furniture at a good price and learning how to reinvent furniture pieces.

I keep a running list in my head of furniture pieces I need for my home, so I am able to grab a great deal when I see it (it’s very important to act fast on thrift store deals). My oldest daughter needed a desk chair in her black, yellow, and white transitional styled bedroom. I spied this $15 cane bake chair at the thrift store, and thought it would be a great fit. Since my investment was low, and the chair was already in good shape, I knew I would not have to spend a lot more money to redo it. It would not require an expensive reupholstery job or any major repair job (it was only missing one screw, which my husband fixed in 3 minutes flat).

Got this chair for only $15

Got this chair for only $15

Since I had never covered a seat cushion before, or painted a cane back chair, I scoured Pintrest to get directions on doing it right. I was set on spray painting it (looking back, I probably would have painted it with a brush for more even coverage). I made a quick trip to the fabric store, and enlisted their help on what I needed to cover the chair. The current seat cushion was pretty flat, so I certainly want to replace it. I bought a yard of yellow and white fabric from the clearance section, a foam seat cushion, and some batting for the low low total price of $15 (the cushions and batting were on sale).  I’m up to a whole $30 spent on this chair so far. I’m impressed!


Next I went to Lowe’s for primer and spray paint. I have some experience painting furniture, so I knew the primers and paints to get. I ended up needing 2 cans of primer and  3 cans of spray paint. I did not use all of the 2nd can of primer, and hardly any of the 3rd can of spray paint, but 1 can of primer wasn’t quite enough, and neither was 2 cans of spray paint. I spent about $35 total on primer and paint. Now I know primer and paint come together, but I would suggest using just primer in this case since I did not want to sand off the finish on the chair first. Anyway, that’s about $65 spent on this chair. I’m still impressed!




First coat of primer


I enlisted (also known as forced) my teen son to help me. He removed the staples and took off the existing seat cushion fabric layers (yes, there were 2 layers), and discarded all the disintegrated foam, until we just had the board, free and clear. I used that to outline my new cushion, and then cut it with a knife. I placed the cushion on the board (I didn’t staple it because it would make indentations in my thick cushion), wrapped it in batting, stapled the batting to the board, and then covered it with fabric, securing it with more staples. I would strongly suggest reading this blog for more specific instructions.

Outlining board on my foam

Outlining board on my foam







After dusting and then priming my chair, I applied the first coat of spray paint. I allowed drying time before turning it over and spray painting the underside. After a few coats of black spray paint, and drying time, we attached the newly upholstered cushion and it was done!  I am pleased with the outcome. Pretty good for a newbie!