Craigslist chairs get a makeover

Waaay back in August (or was it July?) I bought these 4 chairs and a table on Craigslist for only $25! The seller was a coffee salesman relocating to another state, wanting to get rid of stuff before moving (because I know you were wondering). The quality of the chairs is really quite good; they’re solid wood and very sturdy. I love the arched back and the shape of the center back support. The upholstered seats offered good comfort which is a definite bonus, plus the price couldn’t be beat. So because of all the wonderful attributes of the chairs (and the awesome price), I could ignore the fact that they looked like this: Ick. After showing you how gross they looked it’s embarrassing to admit we’ve been sitting on them for the past seven months or so. Well, not directly sitting on them – we did slap an Ikea chair pad on there to shield our rear ends from all that grodiness. But who are we kidding? They’re nasty. We had originally planned on using the chairs in the breakfast nook, along with a 38″ round table, new curtains, and a new pendant chandelier. We planned to put six Parson’s chairs in the dining room around our bigger pedestal table. In fact, that still is the plan, but we haven’t really touched the breakfast nook since moving in, nor have we bought the Parson’s chairs. So in the meantime we’ll use these chairs in the dining room. The first thing we had to do was remove the seats. They were just held in place by four screws – one in each corner on the underside of the chair. After taking the screws out, the seats just popped right off. Once the seats were off, I sanded the chairs down. After sanding, I gave them a good wipe down and then Blake painted the chairs a deep espresso brown (Rustoleum’s Dark Walnut in satin finish). I suggested using an oil based spray primer first, but he thought it would be okay to skip that step. They seemed to turn out just fine. Worse case scenario, we’ll re-paint them in the future. After removing the seats, it was more than a little challenging to remove the original fabric. We were overwhelmed by staples. But a few nights of prying staples out with a flathead screwdriver while watching TV allowed us to pull off the dingy old fabric (and foam) and revealed 1/2 inch thick MDF seat bases. To be honest, we cheated a bit and just removed a small section of staples, then ripped the rest of the fabric off, which removed the majority of the remaining staples. Whatever staples remained we pulled out with pliers. Next we needed to find some replacement foam and fabric (the fabric I had previously purchased). We went to Joann’s to buy the foam and the adhesive for it. We found the perfect piece of foam that would have been just big enough to do all four seats. Then we hesitated…and a small but aggressive old lady came barreling through and shoved it in her cart. Bummer. Luckily we stumbled upon a bin of foam remnants in another aisle, and found two pieces that would be big enough to do the trick. Blake insisted on 2″ thick foam so his bum could luxuriate in the cushiony goodness. The expert employees at Joann’s recommended we cut the foam with a serrated knife, such as a bread knife. They said that an electric knife would be ideal, but we didn’t have one. They also recommended a specific brand of spray adhesive called LocTite that was made to bind both wood and foam. Seriously, is there anything these ladies at Joann’s don’t know how to do? I should have asked them how to solve world hunger and save money on our taxes while we were there. Finally it was time for the fun part. We got to upholster the seats with paisley fabric (Waverly brand from Joann’s). It has blue/green tones to coordinate with both the dining room and kitchen, so wherever the chairs end up they’ll complement the space. The best part (besides the improved aesthetic) is the comfy seat cushions. I’ll admit that although I was a bit leery of buying 2″ foam Blake was definitely right. It’s like sitting on little clouds. Another great thing is that the project was relatively cheap and easy. When we’re ready for a change again, we can just swap out the fabric (or repaint them) to switch up the look. And to save your fingers from scrolling back up to the top to fully appreciate the change, here is the before picture:

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