Flea Market Flip: Thrift Store Chair Gets a Fresh Upholstery Update
Once you flip one piece of furniture, you'll want to thrift and flip it all.
It’s Flea Market Flip Theme Week on I Heart HGTV! All week, we’ll be sharing our best thrifting tips and makeovers. Come back every day for a new take on upcycling.
"One man’s trash is another man's treasure," am I right? Here at HGTV, we believe in the power of transformation thrifting, so my fellow editors and I headed out to find six pieces of lonely furniture and bring them back to life.
I landed the classic chair flip. Now, you might think that as an HGTV editor I was inherently born with the gift to reupholster a chair. Eh, not the case. This was a first for me, so I'm here to tell you how a rookie reupholster-er gave some character to this $6 find.
I thrifted around quite a bit before I found the winning piece, and I won’t lie, I almost overlooked it. It was a sad blue, sunken-in chair (probably from the '70s) that looked like its home had been a dentist office waiting room. Nevertheless, it was the perfect size and looked like it would be manageable to reupholster. Plus, it was a whopping $6 and you can’t argue with a pricetag like that!
Keep in mind, I have never reupholstered a chair. Thankfully, my friend’s wonderful mom is a pro and offered her guidance. Here’s a quick rundown on the process. For starters, I needed fabric. I picked two different types: a cream suede and a green-gold cotton blend. I wanted the chair to be neutral but not boring.
Fun fact: I dragged my chair into the fabric store and asked them to measure the chair so I could get the right amount of fabric. I’ll consider that my pro tip of this post. For the sake of your muscles, you should just measure at home.
When it came to the actual reupholstering part, I attempted to disassemble the chair so I could add my new fabric to the individual pieces. Well, I learned that chairs built decades ago were made to withstand an apocalypse. In other words, no amount of hammering would take that chair apart.
With the help of my handy-dandy staple gun, I was able to stable the fabric over the existing fabric, folding the new fabric over to ensure a clean seam showed. I then went nail-head crazy. I measured out where I wanted to put decorative upholstery nails in the chair and added them around the body to make sure the new fabric stayed in place.
Finally, I sanded the legs down and painted them a lighter cream color to match the other neutral hues. I added a wax layer on top to seal it and prevent it from chipping. And just like that, my sad little chair became a furniture piece my living room is quite proud of! Not to mention, my feline child has found her new favorite nap spot.
The Budget Breakdown
Overall Budget = $100
Considering my chair was $6, I had a lot of room in my budget to buy all the essentials. I was able to pick two types of fabric ($50), paint and wax coating ($12) and upholstery nails ($12). Bringing me to a grand total of $80, $20 under budget! #Winning
From the sad blues to a fresh and modern arm chair. Not bad for a gal that has never reupholstered!
What I Learned
Your plan may not be the chair's plan. When I originally got the chair I thought I would be able to take it apart. Instead, I had to get creative with how to put the fabric on, hence all of the upholstery nails.
Give yourself a lot of time and be patient. I seriously underestimated how long this project would take. I had to space it out over multiple days because I would get frustrated. Be patient! It's definitely worth it.
Cats truly run the household. I was super pumped to get this baby in my living room. When I did, it became my cat's chair, not mine. Oh well, she's still pretty cute.