Hand-me-down furniture is great. It saves money, it recycles unwanted furniture, and it saves every 20-something-year-old from living off of camping chairs. However, there comes a point in time when you get to be a real adult that you need to take a look at that furniture you get when you first moved out on your own and ask if it is still worth holding on to. Sometimes you don’t even need to ask, sometimes it just becomes super obvious to you. Like when your family and friends go to sit down at your dining room table for a beautiful dinner you have prepared and spent hours cooking, and as they sit, the sound of wood cracking and snapping fills the room. A look of terror crosses their face as the brace themselves for the inevitable fall. Luckily, this time, the chair stays put and nobody hits the floor. They look at you for an explanation as to why their life just flashed before their eyes. And you explain that you got this dining room set as a hand-me-down from your sister when you first moved out.. 8 years ago. And that since then you have just been to cheap to buy a new one. And that… is when you know it is time.
So as you may have read in my previous post about “dining in the dark”, we bit the bullet and bought a brand new dining room table and bench from Ashley Furniture (when they had a crazy sale of course). We absolutely LOVE the pieces, but we need chairs to go with them. Enter another hand-me-down. More chairs from my sister! But these ones were only used for a few years and are very well made. They cost her a pretty penny in their prime! There is far less chance of our loved ones embarrassing themselves in these. Plus, the finish of the wood matches our new table!
So although the finish is the same, clearly they need to be reupholstered. My 4 nieces and nephews have done a number on this fabric that no Scotchguard could stand up to. Plus they don’t match my new awesome wallpaper! Also, the middle of the chairs have lost some of their support. Sometimes when you sit on them, you feel like your butt is sinking closer and closer to the floor. But that’s an easy enough fix! I think…
So our first step was to figure out how to reinforce the cushions. We discovered a network of thick elastic bands that was currently holding them up and they had just been stretched out. So my husband made a template out of cardboard that perfectly fit in the notch on the underside of the chair.
Then he used the template to cut perfect size pieces out of 2×2 particle board. First he used a table saw, and then a jigsaw to get the rounded edges.
While he was cutting the wood, I was inside using a pair of rusty pliers that looked older than me to pull the staples out of the back of the cushions. These chairs had already been reupholstered by my sis and brother-in-law so we wanted to take that fabric off as to cut down on the bulkiness. I alternated between these and flat needle nose pliers for the really tricky ones. Some forearm cramps and about 45minutes later, the cushions were de-upholstered.
Next it was time to get the new fabric on! We purchased 3 yards of upholstery fabric (it comes in longer strips so you purchase less yardage) from Hobby Lobby. We didn’t want it to completely match the wallpaper but wanted it to reflect some of the colors and the round shapes. We found this beautiful scroll fabric and of course, as always at Hobby Lobby, it was on sale. Once we got it home, we cut it into pieces big enough to give use plenty of room to make nice neat corners. Seth originally started on this process but I quickly took over as my faux-OCD kicked in (you should see me wrap presents at Christmas time, nice neat corners people!!). I started with a corner and worked my way around using this handy-dandy light duty staple gun. We then cut the excess fabric off and we were set to go.
After all 5 cushions were reupholstered, we fit the particle board pieces into the nook on the underside of the chair. We used extra pieces of wood we had laying around (from our DIY patio furniture, stay tuned for that post when they are done!) and screwed it into the wood frame of the chair over the reinforcing piece to make sure it stayed in place. Be sure to get screws that aren’t too long, nobody wants to feel that when they sit down!
So after about 3 total hours and not too much money, we had fully reupholstered and reinforced chairs that matched our new dining room table! Such a relief. We no longer have to worry about our family and friends breaking chairs and never wanting to visit us again. Instead we can just break bread 😉
Particle Board: $8