How to give a vintage chair a brand new look!

Vintage Furniture Revival – same old chair, brand new look!

Same vintage chair, brand new look
Same vintage chair, brand new look

Take one vintage chair, a lot of time and enthusiasm, and a small budget.  As I do not know how long I shall be living in my present rented home,  I wanted to create a look that works without spending a lot and I am also an avid fan of recycling,  Being tied to a green carpet is very restricting,  even though the walls are magnolia and the doors are a neutral putty colour.  The cottage needs some more vibrant colours to give it a warmer feel and also to personalise it and make it feel more like home for the time I shall be here.

Vintage Chair before

It took a while to work out which colours would be right.  All my pinks from my last wood and white scheme just did not work, no matter what time of day and regardless of whether it is sunny or overcast.  I trawled through a lot of fabric sample books and ordered some samples to be able to see what they would look like in the lighting of the room itself.  I pinned different samples to the back of the chair in all sorts of weathers to get a feel for them.  It took a while, but in the end I opted for a fabric with magenta velvet flowers on a natural background so that the colour would not overpower in a small space but be bold enough to add a splash of va-va-vroum, whilst tempered with the subtle background.  The fabric is from the Villa Nova ‘Tiku’ Collection, in colours Flax and Grape. 

The arms were covered in neutral Italian linen
The arms were covered in neutral Italian linen

I already had a piece of linen to hand which made a good match, so to keep costs down I used the linen for the arms and back of the chair, with the floral cut velvet on the inside of the back and on the top of the seat cushion for dramatic effect.  I also piped the edges of the arms, the cushion pad and the top of the back in Tiku for contrast.  The legs were painted in Dusted Moss, Satinwood, from the Dulux colour mix range (left over from the previous project, the shabby chic sideboard  ), and adds a complementary touch.

Strengthening the back with an extra layer of hessian
Strengthening the back with an extra layer of hessian

Whilst recovering the chair I tightened the springs, improved the padding where necessary and strengthened the inside back with another layer of hessian as it had stretched with use.

The recovered chair

The end result is quite ‘bijou’ if I may say so myself.   Being petite, the chair is a perfect fit and I am hoping that even when I find my more permanent nesting place, it will be sufficiently versatile with the neutral background to fit in anywhere.  If not, maybe a throw?  Or a large cushion?

What projects have you got to share?  We’d love to hear about them.


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