Before + After: Dining Chairs

This last weekend, I finally took on a project that I'd been dreaming about for years: reupholstering the four chairs from our dining set. {Reading about Monica's recent experience on C'est Law Vie gave me just the push I needed!}

This set originally belonged to Kevin's grandparents. Considering its age and amount of use, it's in pretty great condition. All that it needed was a little love focused in on the well-worn seat cushions.

Berkeley spends most of his days napping on one particular chair.


The dining chairs were reupholstered by Kev's mom in 1989, following the Loma Prieta earthquake, which caused damage to their home. As you can imagine, nearly 22 years' worth of wear + tear can take a toll on cloth. I was shocked to find the original color, as bright as ever, on the back side of the woven fabric when I began disassembling the chairs.

The fabric I selected for the project is "Fresh Poppies" in Linen, from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern II collection. I love it SO much... and it matches perfectly with the color on our dining room wall {Sweet Pear by Benjamin Moore}.

The chairs weren't very cushiony, with only about ¼" of batting sandwiched between the plywood base and the top cover. I remedied that by replacing it with a 1" pad of high-density foam and wrapped it with a double layer of extra-loft batting to smooth it all over. Then I followed the "How to Reupholster a Chair" video tutorial posted by Katie of Before & After TV.

Even Tess took an interest in the process!

Several hundred staples, two trips to Jo-Ann, a couple days, one sore palm, and about $50 later... I had this beautiful set to show for it! Definitely worth the investment! {Which reminds me, I have to head to the store sometime this week to pick up a can of Scotchgard.}

Boy, do they ever look alive now!


Is there anything in your home that's begging for an update? What are some of your favorite ways to breathe new life into beloved furniture pieces?



  1. Gorgeous fabric, adorable kitties, beautiful girl... you win! Great job!

  2. I love the new look! That fabric is fabulous! :-)

  3. Your dining set is so pretty! I love the fabric you chose- Amy Butler is one of my favs.

  4. I love that fabric, so fresh & pretty!

  5. Oh that fabric is gorgeous! And I think it's awesome you added padding because uncomfortable dining chairs are the worst. Well done Marissa, they look great!

  6. Aw, shucks. Thanks so much, everyone! It really it a relatively easy update that packs a nice little punch.

    Megan: I agree! I anticipate Holiday dinners to last *much* longer now that we have comfy chairs! :o)

  7. Lovely! I have a whole "update" list. ;) Great fabric!

  8. They turned out so well!!! I adore that fabric as well!

  9. Awesome. Love the new fabric.


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