What do a woven wool rug and a set of worn ladder back chairs make? Pretty awesome home decor items, that’s what! I’m sharing how to recover wood chair seats today one of the many DIY projects I’ve just finished in the North House.
I’ve been hard at work for the past several weeks in the North House. So hard in fact that I haven’t had time to post, or write or almost anything other than hustle to get the work done before I head back to Fl. I’ll have a full house tour of all my projects and tutorials right after the holidays.
But in the meantime, I’ve been itching to share how to recover wood chair seats with you guys! As soon as I knew I needed to decorate the North House I started polling family members up north for free stuff. My Dad had these chairs in his basement and asked if I wanted them. Really Dad? Heck yeah I’ll take them!
This is a quick and easy project. Recovering chair seats is an easy way to update your decor and save good chairs. You’d recover a set of dining room chairs the same way.
I unscrewed the seat base from the chair frame. Since these chairs didn’t have a solid seat base, I needed to make one.
I used the frame I took off to trace an outline of the seat on a wood base of 3/4″ plywood and cut it out with my jigsaw. I cut the 2″ foam pad with scissors. I followed the same steps and used the same supplies as I used in my how to Upholster A Cane Bench tutorial to recover the chair seats.
When I went home for Thanksgiving I filled my suitcases with as much decor items and project pieces as I could fit in and still zipper it. I found this small woven wool rug a few years ago and have saved it knowing it would be perfect for a recovered bench or chair seats. It was more like a piece of fabric, I loved the color and pattern and the texture was pretty awesome too. You’ve seen it before as a rug in my Console Table Makeover.
It’s perfect for a rustic mountain or lodge setting.
The worn wood on the ladder back chairs were perfect the way they were. I didn’t do a thing to them.
I knew they’d be perfect on each side of the fireplace. If we need extra seating they’ll be easy to grab and bring into the living area.
They balance the area well and that end of the room isn’t very useable, it’s more of an area you walk through to get to the kitchen. You’ll see this in my house tour I share later. That awesome mirror is another one of my freebie North House projects. I shared How To Remove Veneer From Wood in that tutorial.
If you’re thinking of recovering chairs seats in the future, pin this post to save it!
You’ll find my project linked up to these fabulous parties!
Love a good dose of DIY home decor, home improvement, the challenge of woodworking and creative ways to make your home look fabulous?
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Linda Mandra says
I am going to attempt this. I have 4 ladder back chairs and 2 captains chairs with rush seats. The rush is in terrible shape. However the chair frames are solid and in great condition. Do you recall how much fabric you used per chair?
Wendi Wachtel says
I used a small 2 x 3′ wool rug for the seats. You’ll need enough fabric to cover the seat, with the cushion with enough left over to fold under and staple. I think I had about a 8″ extra fabric on all sides when I laid it over the seat cushion. I hope that helped! Good luck with your project :).
Richella J Parham says
This is brilliant. What a great way to save ladderback chairs! I’m now wishing I’d kept a couple that had seats I considered beyond repair.
Thank you for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!
Thank you so much! I loved that I finally found the perfect use for the wool rug I picked up. I loved the pattern and knew it would be perfect to recover seating of some sort. It only took me a few years to find the perfect project…LOL Thank so much for the feature too, I appreciate it!
I love these Wendi! I have the same kind of ladder back chairs around my kitchen table and I love them. I like the way you fixed the seat and they look good around the fireplace
Hi Susan and thank you! I loved those chairs as soon as I saw them too! When my Dad asked if I wanted them, I said oh heck yes! They go perfect with the wool rug I had to recover them 🙂 Thanks so much for your note!
I just recently did a chair for the first time and was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I can’t wait to do another esp if I find one broken down and can use this info.
Hi Deborah & Happy New Year! I felt the same way bout the first chair I tackled. After I thought, well gee that wasn’t too bad! I think the rescued and broken chairs are the ones that turn out the best too. Have fun. I know your chair projects will be beautiful. Thanks for your visit & nice to hear from you!
Thanks for the great idea and how to. I was thinking I’d have to relegate a similar chair to the garden and put a pot in place of the seat. Now it can stay a usable chair. I can’t seem to pass up chairs whether I buy them or find roadside! Of course, there are lots of other items I have trouble passing on like tables, pictures, empty frames, etc. I am new to your website and will definitely be checking back! Happy New Year!
Hi Ruth and welcome! Sorry it took a while to answer back, we are still catching up from the holidays. I so understand the chair thing! I love chairs and get so excited when I find a new one. I just fond an 1850 wood farmhouse one for $12 and I was the only one excited in my family! How can that be?? LOL! So glad you can save your chair. Welcome again and I hope you take some time to browse the blog. I have over 400 posts and projects up on it! Happy New Year to you as well!
Mary-the boondocks blog says
Wendi I have a few of those cane chairs that have also seen better days. This is a great way to give them a new life. Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!
Hi Mary! This was such an easy way to save those old ladder back chairs! I carried that rug all over just waiting for the perfect project. So glad it finally got used and the pattern is perfect for that spot! Merry Christmas and wishing you a very happy New Year filled with LOTS of love and success my friend!
Marie from The Interior Frugalista says
Nice save Wendi – love the idea of using a lightweight rug for upholstery! Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas. xo
Merry Christmas Marie! Thanks so much on the chairs, I loved them, especially the free part. Now they don’t look dated, just cool! Wishing you a wonderful New Year and lots of success and happiness in 2017 girlfriend!
I love old chair projects, and heck yeah–you can’t beat free! I love how your chairs turned out, simply beautiful!
Hello to you! I know you love old chairs and I love what you do with them! I’m constantly inspired by your creativity. I’m very happy with how the chairs turned out, the patina was perfect as it was and the wool rug made them unique. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope one day you can see the place in person!
handmade by amalia says
Beautifully done! And a new treasure for your home.
Hi Amalia & thank you! These recovered chairs are a treasure…I have a huge weakness for chairs and fell in love with these as soon as I saw them. Love them even more since they were free! Thanks so much for your visit and have a Happy New Year!
Angie ~ ambient wares says
These chairs are awesome and I love that you used a rug. The fabric design is just great!
Hi Angie… don’t you just love the pattern in the rug? I think I pid $11 at most for it. I knew it would be perfect on a chair or bench. I was too happy that I finally had a chance to use it…since I’ve had it for a few years now:) Happy Holidays and best wishes for a fabulous New Year!
Wendi this post came at the perfect time. I have six antique oak chairs I have had for years and I used them for years, but now the cane in them makes them unusable, and actually I am down to five now I sat in one last week and it totally collapsed (ouch). The cane doesn’t cover the whole seat just the center, so I’m thinking I could cut some plywood to fit the center then upholster the whole seat. What do you think.
I will have to do some repair on the chairs and if I can just save two of them I will be happy, they really have sentimental value to me.
Of course all of this will have to wait, I have been in terrible pain for months now I have herniated disks and protruding disks, I had back surgery in 2012 and my only choice is more surgery or epidurals and I have opted for the later and hopefully they will work, anything to avoid surgery, so I am sidelined until they can get me out of pain.
I love the way your chairs turned out I love ladderback chairs I had a cherry dining room set with a Jackson press and ladderback chairs so when I down sized I had to let that go in my auction I hated to let that go, but I knew it would not fit in this house.
You have really made me feel better to think maybe I can save my old chairs and what is so good is that the finish on them is beautiful, thanks wendi, like I said perfect timing.
Hi Patty… My note back is terribly late! It was crush time finishing everything up to leave VT and I had way more to finish than I had available time. I did exactly what you mentioned on the chairs, I cut new seat bottoms out of 1/2″ plywood to replace the caning frames that only covered the outside edges. I used the existing screw holes in the seat frame to attach it. Look at the pics in the post and you’ll see. If your chairs don’t have them already, they are easy to add with a drill. I hope you are able to save the chairs, I understand how special it is to save the special pieces that have meaning.
I hope your disks calm down, I also know how painful that is as I had two crushed discs and had to have the surgery. Technology is so much better than it was in 2000 – hopefully you’ll find relief! I hope you are able to save your chairs too! …wishing you good health, happiness and success in 2017!